This week in local history: Santa’s workshop was discovered in Clarks Summit in 1966


Compiled by Elizabeth Baumeister - ebaumeister@timesleader.com



International Salt Co. workers in the technical department pose for a photo in 1965 around their handmade Christmas decorations. From left, first row, William J. Harris, of Tunkhannock and Walter S. Neher, of Scranton. Second row, Charles E. MacKinnon, of Clarks Summit; Charles Klugg, of Clarks Green; Richard R. Mitchell, of Scranton; Lester J. Weeks, of Dalton; James H. Cain, of Waverly and Mrs. Marie Latzanich, of Dunmore.


Abington Journal file photos

Wallie Brong, then 86, ropes a miniature four-poster he built as a Christmas present in 1966.


Abington Journal file photos

A tranquil 1967 view of what is now Summit University.


Abington Journal file photos

1965 — From a space capsule-shaped Christmas tree in the technical department, to holiday art and messages tapped out on a computer in the data processing division, the International Salt Co. on Morgan Highway was decked out in homemade Christmas decorations.

“Two years ago the Salt Co. used to have a professional decorator drape Christmas cheer around the building, but the professional’s work has been gradually cut down to include only the main lobby, the executive hall and one tree by the cafeteria,” read the 1965 article. “Now many of the 265 employees themselves do the decorating, with the largest single influence being the feminine touch of the droves of secretaries manning the first floor.”

1966 — A real-life Santa Claus was discovered in Waverly: Wally Brong, then 86, a woodworker who crafted miniature doll furniture.

“He has the majestic white head of hair for the part, but no beard,” described the Journal article. “Instead, like any master woodworker, he had stuffed an unlit cigar in the corner of his mouth.

“Inside beyond the area for cars, back of the tractor, Mr. Brong has hidden his workshop. Otherwise, curious children might peek through the glass windows ad learn what he is building for Santa.”

A photo appeared on the front page, showing the craftsman working on a four-poster doll bed, complete with “real ropes for springs, the kind the early settlers of the Abingtons slept on.”

“Once slept on a rope bed like that with a straw mattress,” Brong told the Journal reporter.

1967 — Under a simple headline, which read, “Tranquility,” ran a large photo of an ice-glazed lake at The Venard, home of the Maryknoll Fathers until the sale of the building to Baptist Bible Seminary, which was then located near Binghamton, New York.

“The institution has purchased option on college and is expected to take title next year.”

Known as “Baptist Bible College and Seminary” until recently, the school is now titled “Summit University.”

International Salt Co. workers in the technical department pose for a photo in 1965 around their handmade Christmas decorations. From left, first row, William J. Harris, of Tunkhannock and Walter S. Neher, of Scranton. Second row, Charles E. MacKinnon, of Clarks Summit; Charles Klugg, of Clarks Green; Richard R. Mitchell, of Scranton; Lester J. Weeks, of Dalton; James H. Cain, of Waverly and Mrs. Marie Latzanich, of Dunmore.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_ABJ-LH-1223-1965.jpgInternational Salt Co. workers in the technical department pose for a photo in 1965 around their handmade Christmas decorations. From left, first row, William J. Harris, of Tunkhannock and Walter S. Neher, of Scranton. Second row, Charles E. MacKinnon, of Clarks Summit; Charles Klugg, of Clarks Green; Richard R. Mitchell, of Scranton; Lester J. Weeks, of Dalton; James H. Cain, of Waverly and Mrs. Marie Latzanich, of Dunmore. Abington Journal file photos

Wallie Brong, then 86, ropes a miniature four-poster he built as a Christmas present in 1966.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_ABJ-LH-1223-1966.jpgWallie Brong, then 86, ropes a miniature four-poster he built as a Christmas present in 1966. Abington Journal file photos

A tranquil 1967 view of what is now Summit University.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_ABJ-LH-1223-1967.jpgA tranquil 1967 view of what is now Summit University. Abington Journal file photos

Compiled by Elizabeth Baumeister

ebaumeister@timesleader.com

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