Thursday, June 21, 2012

What to do this weekend in Catasauqua

I was sitting here playing games on Facebook until my mine went numb and I thought, hey why not blog. I told someone today from Palmerton that I write this blog, but I was running out of things to say.   And even though I don't really have anything to say, that has never stopped me before.

I  thought maybe I would tell you what's coming up this weekend.  I will be volunteering at the North Catasauqua Small Town USA Community Yard Sale and Flea Market presented by the We Sing Chorus on Saturday, June 23 from 8 AM to 2 PM at the North Catasauqua Park.  I was there last year and there was sooooo much stuff to look at.  If you are a yard sailor check it out!  I also see that the Sixth Annual North Catasauqua Small Town USA Golf Tournament will be held Sunday, June 24 at Willowbrook Golf Course.  An 8:30 AM tee time is planned with a shotgun (wow) start, four person scramble competition (whatever that is I have no idea). 

In Catasauqua the band Common Bond (they are really good, I just heard them up at the North Catty Carnival) will be kicking off the Catasauqua Park Summer Concerts this Friday at 7 pm to 9:30 PM, it is free, bring your lawn chairs or sit on the three dips and bring your favorite refreshments (I don't think they mean the blue raspberry vodka that I am drinking while writing this, but hey you never know).

I would like to catch part of this concert and maybe I will, but I have, and I will blog about this later, a Court of Honor for A. J. Renn who will become an Eagle Scout on Saturday afternoon.  Very exciting.

Well you can see that there is a lot to do this weekend in Catasauqua, I hope to see you around, if you see me, say Hi (I really think I need to invest in those "Another day in Catasauqua" t-shirts).

and that is....another day in Catasauqua.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Intercourse, Blue Ball and Virginville

On Saturday, Parke and I drove to Shillington for my Grandson's birthday party.  On the way we passed Virginville.  I said to Parke, there is your favorite town, he said no, that Intercourse and Blue Ball were his favorite, which caused a discussion on why are the towns named such provocative names, especially since they are in "Amish Country" I said to Parke, good subject for a blog, and so here we go.  Most of the information was either found on the Township's websites or in Wikipedia.

1)  Intercourse, PA

Intercourse was founded in 1754. The community was originally named Cross Keys, after a local tavern. Intercourse became the name in 1814. The village website gives several theories for the origins of the name.
"Another theory concerns two famous roads that crossed here. The Old King's highway from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh (now the Old Philadelphia Pike) ran east and west through the center of the town. The road from Wilmington to Erie intersected in the middle. The joining of these two roads is claimed by some to be the basis for the town 'Cross Keys' or eventually 'Intercourse'. A final idea comes from the use of language during the early days of the Village. The word 'intercourse' was commonly used to describe the 'fellowship' and 'social interaction and support' shared in the community of faith, which was much a part of a rural village like this one."
 2) Blue Ball, PA

 The name originates from the Blue Ball Hotel, which stood on the southeast corner of the PA 23-US 322 crossroads. The inn is no longer standing; it was torn down in 1997 after more than 200 years.  In the early 18th century, John Wallace, an Irishman, built a small building at the intersection of two Indian trails - French Creek Path (Route 23) and Paxtang (Route 322). He hung a blue ball out front and called it "The Sign of the Blue Ball." Locals began calling Earl Town Blue Ball, after the inn. So in 1833, Earl Town officially changed its name to Blue Ball. Years later during Prohibition, the inn changed its name to Blue Ball Hotel.

3) Virginville, PA

No one is certain about how Virginville (originally called Virginsville) got its name, but it is the subject of much debate, and is a place where it is tough to hang on to road signs, which are taken regularly by souvenir hunters.   Some say Virginville was named for the untouched beauty of the countryside: others attribute the name to the honor of Comte de Vergennes, a foreign minister to France’s Louis XVI.

4) Bird-In-Hand, PA

The legend of the naming of Bird-in-Hand concerns the time when the Old Philadelphia Pike was surveyed  between Lancaster and Philadelphia. According to legend two road surveyors discussed whether they should stay at their present location or go on to the town of Lancaster. One of them supposedly said, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," which means it is preferable to have a small but certain advantage than the mere potential of a greater one; and so they stayed. By 1734, road surveyors were making McNabb’s hotel their headquarters rather than returning to Lancaster every day. The sign in front of the inn is known to have once "portrayed a man with a bird in his hand and a bush nearby, in which two birds were perched," and was known as the Bird-in-Hand Inn.

Well, there you go, Catasauqua doesn't sound so weird after all does it?  And that's another day in Catasauqua

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Singing in North Catasauqua TONIGHT!

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose, Nothin' don't mean nothin' hon' if it ain't free; and free it was tonight at the North Catasauqua Small Town USA Carnival (besides a $1.50 for a diet pepsi).  Yes people - I was reliving my childhood with bff, Cathy as we listen to The Large Flowerheads at the Carnival tonight.

The North Catasauqua Small Town USA Carnival began today at the North Catasauqua Park located at 701 Grove Street, Carnival opened at 6:00 pm and runs through to Saturday Night.  If you don't believe me go as Alice, when she's ten feet tall.

There's plenty to do, rides and game and great food to eat.  Cathy enjoyed a waffle ice cream sandwich, I think I might stop by tomorrow night and get a taco salad. 

Spent some quality time with with Jaime and Cathy's favorite son-in-law Rami, who is recovering from surgery on his cauliflower ear, get better quick Rami.  I never knew anyone with cauliflower ear before, I always saw it in the cartoons when I was kid.  But then it was like an actual cauliflower on the ear, so I am not sure what it really looks like and they told me not to google any images because it is gross. I didn't but I do have to say, what's new pussycat?

Any way - the entertainment for the rest of the week is as follows:

FREE Entertainment Nightly at the band stand!

Thur. 6/14 from 6:30-9:30pm- The Main Attraction band
Fri. 6/15 from 7:00-10:00pm- Midnight Special country band
Sat. 6/16 from 7:00-10:00pm- Common Bond

I see my red door and I want it painted black, no colors anymore I want them to turn black, but that is neither here nor there was it comes to the carnival.  No, I didn't have any magic mushrooms, but I did have a lot of fun.  So if you are in the area this weekend stop by, and remember I'm not your stepping stone.

Oh, I could hide 'neath the wings of the bluebird as she sings, the six o'clock alarm would never ring.
But it rings and I rise wipe the sleep out of my eyes, the shavin' razor's cold, and it stings

Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean......but another day in Catasauqua

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Can you say Poltergeist?

I can't resist this piece of history.  Being a horror movie buff the Townhouses at Haven Ridge in Whitehall are the kind of places that cause me to say "don't go into the basement."  They are beautiful houses, that look well built, but personally I think they are just at a bad location sitting under the Fairview Cemetery.   Plus, I have nothing against the Townhouses which just happen to be named "Haven" Ridge, which coincidentally is the name of one of my favorite shows Haven on the Syfy Channel.  Which is about a town in Haven, Maine that turns out to be a longtime refuge for people that are affected by a range of supernatural afflictions (called the troubles)  based on a story by Stephen King.

I think the townhouses are very nice looking, but I always picture the scene in "Poltergeist" where a body washed up in a hole they are digging for a swimming pool. (Some movie trivia - they used actual human skeletons, which caused concerns on the set about putting a "curse" on the film series)

Now I know you are wondering, what has this to do with Catasauqua, well from the book "Early History and Reminiscences of Catasauqua the author mentions Indian relics.  He says, that very few Indian relics had every been found in and around Catasauqua.  The did, however, find a skull while they were digging for the Lehigh Valley Railroad that was surrounded by boards, pipes and Indian tools.  But here is the best part, "Shortly before his death in 1886, Joseph Miller related to William Glace, Esquire, that he had heard  his Grandfather say that there was an Indian Burial Ground on the lowlands; that the elder Miller, who lived in the old Stone House above the cemetery gates on the road to Hokendauqua, peering through the underbrush at different times, saw parties of Indians bury their dead on the lowlands."  So is the stone house the one located on the other side of the Pine Street Bridge which is located outside of where the gates of Fairview Cemetery once were;  and is Haven Ridge, in fact, located on top of an Indian burial ground?  I don't really know for sure, but if you are living in Haven Ridge and your child or someone is watching the static on your television set and says "They're here"  run and don't look back.

and that's another day in Catasauqua

Monday, June 11, 2012

A corpse in Catty

I haven't delved into the history of Catasauqua for a while, so I decided to surf around on the web.   I came across an e-book that is free called A History of Catasauqua in Lehigh County written in 1914.  As I perused the chapters one was marked "Corpse" so,  I just had to read it.

 1914 Cadillac Hearse, not local, but I didn't know what picture to use 
It talks about Owen Fredericks who began directing funerals in 1848, it starts out by saying that "In ye good and olden times" loved ones did not understand the art of preparing and laying out a corpse so as to conceal the horror of death.  It goes on further to describe how Mr. Fredericks prepared bodies in those days.  They would put a board between two chairs, cover the board with wet sod and then place the body of the wet sod (grass side up of course) and then cover the body with a sheet.  Later the undertaker bought a metal box 2 feet by 7 feet and 6 inches deep where you could put the body in and pack it with ice.   He upgraded to a metal box which was 24 inches deep where the body would lay in the bottom,  wrapped in a sheet with a tray on top that would be filled with ice and had a lid.   There was a little spout so the water could drain into a bucket.  Catasauqua was introduced to embalming in 1884.

Another interest fact was there were no caretakers for the cemeteries back then.  The pall bearers would also be the grave diggers or grave makers, as they were called.  When a person died, 4 men would be sought out.  These four men would fill a "stuetze" (I can't find a translation of this, you guess is as good as mine) with water or cider and go out to the cemetery and dig the grave.  When they were done they would go to the "house of mourning" where they would have a dinner prepared by the neighbor ladies.  The neighbors also prepared the food for the out of town mourners.   When a prominent person would die several beef roasts, a whole veal calf and 2 to 3 dozen chickens were used as a base for a funeral dinner.  It was said that Frederick Biery introduced this tradition to our area. (He must of had a large appetite)

After the actual funeral the pall bearers, would then put on their overalls and fill in the grave, and then they were released from their duty

In a different book, "Early History and Reminiscences of Catasauqua, Pennsylvania" written by William Glace (also in 1914, must of been a busy year)  described the first funeral in Catasauqua.
"FIRST FUNERAL— After the completion of the first furnace, a young man named John Thomas
(a relative of the superintendent) fell from its top and was killed. Samuel Thomas, the
 son of the superintendent, told me a few years prior to his decease, that he saw the young man drop. The body was buried in the grave-yard at the rear of the Presbyterian Church on 5th street, in Allentown. (wow, that was a hike)  It was carried on a bier, on the shoulders of relays of fellow-employees, who wore high hats from which hung long streamers of black crepe, after the custom at that time prevalent in Wales."

There is a lot of interesting reading in these two books and some obscure facts, and you know I love the obscure so look for more from .....Another day in Catasauqua