Call me a Jazz Age junkie if you will, but I just can’t get enough of the 1920s. Long before the various versions of “The Great Gatsby” hit the screen I was mesmerized by that decade.
So I’m volunteering today to be quiz master in a little game of local history called “Are You Smarter than a Flapper?” Ready? Answers are below.
1. Despite the prohibition law, this four-term mayor of Wilkes-Barre was reputed to have a private bar on the top floor of his Hazle Avenue home.
2. A local audience was privileged to hear this musical work – perhaps the most famous one of the decade – when the renowned Paul Whiteman Orchestra gave a 1924 concert at Irem Temple.
3. Wyoming Valley got its first radio station when this one went on the air in 1922 – just a year and a half after the very first station in America opened.
4. This world-famous pilot became the toast of the town in 1928 when he made an emergency landing at the Coxton Yards in Duryea.
5. Kingston increased its population in 1921 when it merged with this smaller neighboring town.
6. The area saw its first four-year college when this school opened in Dallas Township in 1924.
7. Damage was heavy and many people were injured in this weather event impacting Hanover Township and Wilkes-Barre in November 1928.
8. One of the biggest industries in Wyoming Valley made a product that went up in smoke. However, it’s not coal mining.
9. If you wanted to see nationally famous vaudeville acts, you couldn’t do better than this theater on Wilkes-Barre’s South Main Street.
10. In 1926, members of this controversial organization paraded through a West Side community, drawing cheers from some and scorn from others.
11. One of the most famous poets and novelists of the 1920s — though now little-remembered — is buried in the Forty Fort Cemetery. Who is it?
12. In 1928 Pete Latzo and Tommy Loughran came to the area for what event?
13. This borough became Luzerne County’s fourth city in 1926.
14. The Wilkes-Barre area had three daily newspapers. They were …
15. This 1920s stage actor later became a long-serving member of Congress.
OK, is everyone ready?
1. Dan Hart. He also wrote plays and once had three running in the same year on Broadway.
2. “Rhapsody in Blue,” by George Gershwin, sometimes called the “anthem of the 1920s.”
3. WBAX. It’s still in operation.
4. Just a year after his famous New York-Paris flight, Charles Lindbergh paid us a visit.
5. Kingston merged with Dorranceton, one of the few successful mergers in the history of Wyoming Valley.
6. College Misericordia, now Misericordia University.
7. A tornado struck the area.
8. Wyoming Valley used to be a center for cigar manufacturing.
9. Poli’s, later remodeled and known as the Penn, offered the latest acts.
10. The Ku Klux Klan.
11. Elinor Hoyt Wylie. She was a member of the Hoyt and Loveland families, both very important in the history of the area.
12. At Artillery Park, they fought for the light-heavyweight championship. Loughran won.
14. The Times Leader, The Evening News and The Record.
15. Daniel J. Flood, who brought a theatrical style to politics and served in the U.S. House until 1980.
What, you got all of them right? Wonderful! I have a prize for you. We’ll go find a nice speakeasy, sit down with F. Scott Fitzgerald – and I’ll buy.