Andrew Popalis



Coat of Arms

Military History

Lithuanian History

Shenandoah History

Image Galleries

Map Room



Popalis Family History

Little Known Shenandoah Facts

Source materials for this page included; "Some Curiosities of Modern Photography - Part II" by William G. FitzGerald (February, 1895), Catholic Information Network (CIN), and "The Path of Progress, Shenandoah, Pa. Centennial" - 1966.

In Schuylkill County Court, January 1902, those interested, filed their petition for retail, wholesale, bottling or brewing licenses at the Office of the Clerk of the Court. Shenandoah was represented with over 165 bars and 2 breweries. This coal town offered more bars per thousand people than any other location in the world.

A photographer by the name of George M. Bretz, is considered one of the fathers of subterainian photography. Mr. Bretz, who had a studio in Pottsville, was the first photographer to make pictures inside a deep coal mine and he made these historic photographs at the Kohinoor mines, in Shenandoah. In 1895, William G. Fitzgerald of Strand Magazine wrote, ?The beginning of photography in the bowels of the earth may be traced to Mr. Bretz, of the Kohinoor Colliery, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.? It was noted that the ". . .clever engineer's apparatus consisted of a number of tin reflectors shaped to parabolic curves, which concentrated the light produced from six to ten inches of ordinary magnesium ribbon."

If George Bretz is considered "one of the fathers of subterainian photography", then Frances Benjamin Johnston might be considered the "mother". Ms. Johnston visited the Kohinoor workings in 1891, to take photographs for Demorest?s Family Magazine. Ms. Johnston's hours of work produced only three negatives. She described the problems of mine photography, ?everything was so hopelessly black, except the blank white reflections caught on the polished surfaces of the coal, while the atmosphere was fogged and heavy with dampness, smoke, and fine, gritty dust.? Despite the difficulties of her work, Ms. Johnston enjoyed her assignment in Shenandoah writing, ?I confess to the strange charm of the people, their labor, and the country. I would like to go back some day. I shall be very sorry if I don?t.?

Ripley's Believe it or Not once stated that Shenandoah, Pennsylvania was the most congested square mile in the United States, not excluding Chinatown in New York or San Francisco.

Over the years Shenandoah has been descibed in many different ways. During the town's hayday Shenandoah was called; "the only Wild West town in the East" for the rough and tumble attitude of its residents, "the city of churches" for the many houses of worship located within it's borders, "the Vilnius of North America" for the large Lithuanian community, and "little New York" for the town's diverse population.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad Station served as the main passenger terminal in Shenandoah, but the Lehigh Valley Railroad was not the only railroad to service Shenandoah. The town was also served by the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads, making Shenandoah the only borough in Pennsylvania to be serviced by three railroad companies.

Over 8.5 million pierogies leave Mrs. T's kitchens every week. This Shenandoah company has 10 varieties of pierogie; Potato & Cheddar, Potato & Onion, American Cheese, Jalape?o & Cheddar, Sauerkraut, Potato & Roasted Garlic, Broccoli & Cheese, Potato & Cheddar 'Rogies, Jalape?o & Cheddar 'Rogies, and Cheddar & Bacon 'Rogies.

On November 21, 1886, the first Ruthenian (present-day Ukrainian) Catholic Church in the United States, dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel, was blessed by its pastor. The new parish got its start four years earlier when a group of seventy Galician and Subcarpathian Ruthenian families gathered together and agreed to petition the Ruthenian Catholic Metropolitan of Galicia. That meeting took place under the guidance of Carl Reiss, a Lithuanian immigrant.

Shenandoah was home to eight newspapers. The Hearld - 1870, The Sunday Morning News, The Weekly Advocate - 1893, The News Budget, Anthracite Labor News - 1903, The Daily Times - 1905, a Lithuanian Weekly, and a Polish Weekly.

St. Casimir Roman Catholic Church is listed as the oldest Polish parish in the Eastern United States. The parish was established mostly by Lithuanian immigrants and was home to the first Lithuanian priest in America, Father Strupinskas.

The Society of St. Casimir changed its name to The St. George Beneficial Society when St. Casimir church was listed as a Polish parish in error and a Polish priest was assigned to the church. The new St. George Beneficial Society built a second church in 1891. Originating in 1872, St. George parish is the first Lithuanian parish in the United States.

During the Great Strike of 1902 the Pennsylvania National Guard was called into Shenandoah to keep the peace and curb rioting by angry miners. The strike would only be resolved after President Theodore Roosevelt intervened.

If these facts sound interesting to you, go to the Shenandoah History page and read more.

Copyright © 2000 - 2014 by Andrew J. Popalis
All Rights Reserved

Privacy Policy