Ashland is a borough located in Pennsylvania, United States, 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Pottsville. It lies in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania. Settled in 1850, Ashland was incorporated in 1857, and was named for Henry Clay's estate near Lexington, Kentucky. Population in 1900, 6,438; in 1910, 6,855; and in 1940, 7,045. The population was 3,283 at the 2000 census. The borough is located mostly within Schuylkill County. A tiny portion lies within adjacent Columbia County. Centralia, Pennsylvania, is located two miles (3 km) north of Ashland and has become a ghost town due to an underground coal fire which continues to burn.
The Schuylkill County portion of Ashland is part of the Pottsville Micropolitan Statistical Area, while the small Columbia County portion is part of the Bloomsburg–Berwick Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Ashland is home to the The Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train,called the Lokie. A TOP 10 Tourist Attraction in Pennsylvania. In May 1963, Pioneer Tunnel, which ceased operation in 1931, was retimbered and reopened as a place where visitors could experience a real anthracite coal mine. The Tunnel affords visitors an opportunity to learn how anthracite coal is mined. It shows how a vein of coal lies between rock and strata; it has a gangway, manways, and chutes. Part of the Tunnel is timbered and part lies in solid rock and requires no timbering. Our guides are experienced miners who know mining thoroughly. Visitors ride into the Tunnel on mine cars rebuilt to carry passengers; the motive power is provided by an electric mine motor. Deep inside the Tunnel, guests alight from the cars to follow their guides as they give an explanation of deep-mining methods. Our other featured attraction is a narrow gauge steam train ride aboard the Lokie Henry Clay. Lokie is a colloquial term for small locomotive. Henry Clay is a steam saddle tank engine of 30 tons used years ago to haul coal cars. Now it pulls passenger mine cars along the side of Mahanoy Mountain. Pioneer Tunnel is owned and operated by Ashland Community Enterprises, a non-profit corporation established for this purpose with the further provision that profits will be used for community welfare, notably parks and playgrounds.
The Museum of Anthracite Mining was formerly administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Commonwealth's official history agency. In 2006, the museum was turned over to the Borough of Ashland and it's still a museum and home of Ashland's Borough Hall.
A little bit of history: The mining and use of anthracite coal in the 19th century was critical to the industrialization of Pennsylvania and the United States. Its production and use were the basis for the growth of transportation and manufacturing and led to cultural and social changes of major importance.
The Museum of Anthracite Mining focuses on the history of anthracite coal mining industries and technology. It features a diverse collection of tools, machinery and photographs that depicts the mining of hard coal.
Exhibits and equipment offer a unique glimpse of work in and around the anthracite mines, from an era when workers labored underground with pick and shovel—to the surface mining operations of today.
Adjacet to the The Museum of Mining and Anthracite Museum is the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train Tourist attraction.
Not far off the borough's main thoroughfare is the large bronze monument of the Whistler's Mother, visible from Hoffman Blvd. while driving north on Pennsylvania Route 61. PA Route 61 junctions with the PA Route 54 a block in front of the statue. The statue was commissioned in 1937 during the annual Ashland Boys Association (ABA) homecoming. This statue is modeled after 1781 painting of James Abbott McNeill Whistler's (Artist) mother which resides in the famous Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
A plaque at its base proclaims that the statue-completed as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Work Projects Administration - "Honors all mothers, past and present, and is the only one of its kind in the country."
The Ashland Boys Association, established circa 1901, remains active in the borough, and continues to host its annual Labor Day parade based on the association's age-old tradition of inviting its boys back to their stomping grounds to celebrate fond memories of growing up in the Anthracite Region. The ABA Parade was voted #1 on the TOP 10 Festivals for Good Times on Anthracite Coal Region of Pennsylvaniawebsite.
Local folk stories tell how scores of Ashland boys, mining lanterns illuminating the evening streets, would disembark from the train at the base of Main Street and make their way home in a procession, which eventually become the annual ABA parade.
The Ashland Police Department is a 24 hour full-time law enforcement agency that protects and serves the citizens in Borough of Ashland. The police department has been existent for many years, having 24 hour coverage since the 1940s.
In 1857, before the title of police chief, the leader of the police department was Chief Burgess J.J. Connor. Connor was the first Burgess.
In 1867, the Station House (Borough Hall) was built at 5th and Chestnut Street at the cost of $1950.
In 1881, Chief Burgess was Charles Beckley.
In 1914, The Ashland Borough Hall at 5th and Chestnut Streets built all new cell lock ups in the basement area.
In 1915, the Chief Burgess was Mr. Campbell who was paid $60 and high constable $200.
On Nov. 11, 1927, the Ashland Kiwanis advocated employment of a full-time night officer in the borough. The Kiwanis solicited businesses from 3rd Street to 13th Street, and asked Borough Council to assume liability for the officer. Council would pnly have to pay $40.00 a month toward the officer. Kiwanis recommended Lewis Kessler as first officer working hours of 7 pm to 5 am at a salary of a $150 a month.
In 1928, John V. Snyder was hired as the second shift night officer. Chief Burgess was Raymond Lauer and later Charles Yeager.
In 1940, The pump house was built at 15th and Centre Streets under Roosevelt's WPA Program. The police department was moved from the Borough Hall to the Pumping Station for privacy purposes.
In 1951, Patrolman John V. Snyder became Ashland's first titled Chief of Police, and later became borough fire chief at the same time. Chief Snyder was a big, tall, and respectable man. During his time as police chief, the officers working for him: Author Oestreich, Herbert Williams, and later Author Flanagan.
In 1961, Author Flanagan formerly serving with the U.S. Air Force became a full-time patrolman.
On January 11, 1969, at the Marko Towne House was banquet for the Ashland Police Department.
In 1969, Chief of Police John V. Snyder passed away. Borough Council passed and honoed him. Borough Council named the street adjacet to the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine: Snyder Drive. There's a lot of question today on why the street sign was changed from Snyder Drive to the original street name: Oak Street.
In 1970, Arther Flanagan a full-time police officer under Chief Snyder became Police Chief. Everyone always remembers Chief Flanagen with a pipe in his mouth and saying, "that's a Big 10-4" (affirmative) on the police radio. Chief Flanagan never attribute his authority to the firearms, Flanagan's previous successer Police Chief John V. Snyder, who always told him what it takes too be a good cop, "Common sense and good attitude."
During the 1970s under Chief Flanagan, the police department was at it's max consisting of eight full-time police officers. A Chief of Police, Sergeant, and six patrolman. Patrolman Thomas Joyce became the Borough's first Police Sergeant.
In 1974, Borough Council hired Adam J. Bernodin, Jr. as full-time Patrolman.
In 1977, Borough Council hired Keith Knock as full-time Patrolman.
In 1978, Borough Council hired Joesph G. Groody as full-time Patrolman.
In April of 1982, Chief Flanagan retired after 21 years and was honored by Borough Council, and received a plaque from the Ashland Kiwanis Club.
In May of 1982, Sergeant Thomas Joyce was promoted to Chief of Police and Borough council hired two part-time patrolman to full-time. Patrolman Michael P. Sweeney and Patrolman Robert Freiler.
In 1983, Borough Council hired Raymond Walacavage as full-time Patrolman.
On December of 1985, Borough Council created the office of parking meter person. To enforce parking regulations in the borough business district. Susan Jones was hired as meter enforcement officer.
After Chief Thomas Joyce's resignation, he became Ashland's Borough Manager, his full-time vacany was replaced when borough council hired Patrolman John Misiewicz. The police department was reduced during the 1980s to six full time officers.
In January of 1991, Patrolman Adam J. Bernodin, Jr. a well known 17 year veteran police officer was promoted to replace Chief Thomas Joyce. Chief of Police Adam J. Bernodin Jr. is known for his dedication on the job, offbeat sense of humor, and always active volunteering with various organizations in Ashland. When Bernodin started the Ashland Police force back in 1974, former Ashland Mayor Robert Felker (a former Ashland policeman) gave the advice, "In order to be a good cop you must be involved with the community."
In 1991, Rev. Joseph Kean, St. Joseph's Church, started the tradition of the Blue Mass. The Blue mass honors all law enforcement and emergency personnel.
In August of 1992, Sergeant Keith Knock, a 15 year veteran officer, and Patrolman John Misiewicz resigned and advanced to a state law enforcement positions. At the same borough council meeting, council hired Patrolman Mark O' Hearn and former Butler Township, Police Chief Charles H. Davies. A couple months later, Patrolman Michael D. Aulenbach was promoted to sergeant.
In 1992, The Ashland Rotary Club purchased and donated six Glock firearms to the Ashland Police department.
On June 18, 1993, Patrolman Joseph G. Groody, police department criminal investigator, escorts 17 year old Kelly Diane Rubrecht into District Justice Bernadette J. Nahas office for an arraignment. The Ashland Police Department arrested Rubrecht for apphyxiating her seven-month old son and later found guilty of the murder.
On November 14, 1994, Patrolman Charles H. Davies resigns due to illness and later passed away. Patrolman Davies was well known throughout Ashland, Girardville, and Butler Township area. Ashland Borough Council passed a resolution "Charlie was honest, conscientious, and respected officer who served the community faithfully throughout his time of service." Patrolman Davies funeral procession was one to remember. A parade of approximately 50 police cars and local fire trucks from different municipalities proceeded his last patrol through Ashland, led by the Pennsylvania State Police Patrolman Davies was the Shenandoah Evening Hearld "Person of the Week" that week.
After Davies resignation, the police department was reduced to five full-time officers, one full-time meter officer, and ten part-time patrolman.
In 1995, Ashland Trusts donated $4,400 for safety equipment.
On May 16, 1996, An estimated $500,000 in marijuana (46 pounds), money, guns, and paraphernalia was seized from Daniel Villarreal. Villarreal was charged by the Ashland Police Department and the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force and later found guilty.
In 1996, Chief of Police, Adam J. Bernodin, Jr. received the "Citizen of the Year" award from the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.
In 2004, Ashland Police were notified, and with cooperation with state and local authorities for security. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's motorcade drove through the borough, from Pottsville to Bloomsburg University on a campaign trail.
In December of 2005, Chief of Police Adam J. Bernodin, Jr. was extremely surprised at a borough council meeting when former Mayor Rosemarie Noon presented him the "Life Saving Award" from the American Police Hall of Fame and Museumin Titusville, FL. Only 30 "Life Saving Awards" are issued nationwide each year. Only six people were awarded different awards the week Chief Bernodin received his honor.
Chief Bernodin saved Bryan Slotcavage who came in contact with a electrical line working on a roof in 2002. Chief Bernodin used the Automated external defibrillator to bring him back to life. Steve Manley was helped by Chief Bernodin and two citizens to escape a 7th & Centre Streets fire on December of 1996.
In March 2008, The Borough of Ashland received a $99,640 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist renovation of the new Borough Hall at the Anthracite Museum. The money will go the lower level of the Anthracite Museum/Borough Hall for the borough's new police station.
In July of 2008, Patrolman Joseph G. Groody, a well known 30 year veteran police officer retires and advances in the Schuylkill County Sheriff's Office Patrolman Groody has been known for his dedication on Criminal Investigations over the years. The asset to this community will be lost.
Due to budgetary concerns, borough council decided not to replace Patrolman Groody's full-time position. The Ashland Police Department currently has 24 hour police protection with four full-time officers, one full-time meter officer, and ten part-time officers.
In 1858, L.P. Garner and Bros. lost their iron work by fire. On June 5, 1860 according to Borough Council Meeting minutes, L.P. Garner and fifty nine residents asked council for an allowance for the purpose of establishing a “Hook and Ladder Fire Co.” No action was taken until 1866 when a volunteer fire company was organized On September 12, of that year council purchase two pair of fire hooks, 2 ladders (one and one 40 feet) fifty fire buckets and of hose.
In 1867, the Washington Hook and Ladder and Engine and Hose Company was organized. A Carriage and hose was purchased from the Enterprise Carriage Shop in Ashland for $500
In 1869, a site for a fire house for the company was selected on Tenth St. between Chestnut and Market, the contact for the building was awarded to Samuel H. Fenstermacher for $495.
In 1870, the “Hookies” asked council to take over the debt on their equipment and in turn they would transfer their property to the Borough. The transfer was completed in 1871.
On July 7, 1875, the Washington Fire Company notified council of their intention to disband. On July 5, 1876, council offered an appropriation of $100 yearly to any fire company who would organize, the Hookies accepted this offer and returned to active service.
On September 12, 1881, the company received it's charter with the following charter members:
William D. Reese August Burmeister August Grosser
Fred Yung William Wallauer August Koepke
Charles Yung Michael Schneider Christ Horning
Peter Horan Louis Schneider H. J. Constein
John Schwamlein August Kappe, Jr. J. Fred Buck
Jacob Cloes Charles Kirchhafer Peter K. Horning
Celestin Spahn Anthony Feist C. Hanburger
John Schmole James Minogue Henry Hornung
Martin Dwire David Llewelyn Charles Schwamlein
H. H. Scherris F. Knapp
In 1883, the Washington Fire Co. purchased a lot on Centre St., west of 13th for $1,100. Council took over the lot and built and new firehouse. The contact for constructing the new building was awarded to Samuel Fenstermacher for $4,766. A dedication was held on January 1, 1885. W.A. Marr made the presentation and James F. Minogue accepted on behalf of the company.
On February 27, 1885, the old firehouse was sold to L.C. Bolich for $55 and was moved seventy-five feet west and was used as a livery stable.
In 1887, The Washington Fire Company initiated a yearly Fireman’s Parade on July 4th, followed by a picnic at the Washington Park until 1897, when they were discontinued.
In 1890, the settling of the firehouse foundation had cause the brick to crack and the apparatus had to be removed. The nest year the tower and upper stories had to be removed. In 1892 it was decided to replace the remains of the firehouse with a frame structure. The contact was awarded to Robert Magdeburg for $2,750, the new building was dedicated the same year.
In 1912, the fire company changed to screw couplings to enable the connection to the hose of surrounding communities because the need for mutual aid was growing.
In 1919, the Ashland Borough Council purchased two identical Seagrave 500 GPM Seagrave pumper trucks. The first modern day pieces of apparatus for the Washington Fire Company and American Hose Company.
In 1929, a new modern day Seagrave ladder truck with a 500 GPM Pumper was purchased for $4,000.(Borough Council paid $3,000 and the company paid $1,000).
In 1929, the Ashland Borough adopted a strict ordinance. "That the Hook and Ladder truck shall not at any time or for any purposes go beyond the Borough limits."
In 1933, a new Seagrave engine with a 750 gpm pump was purchased to replace the 1919 Seagrave truck.
In 1942, The fire company is well served by an active ladies auxiliary that was organized and charted. The first elected officers were as follows:
President - Freida Donalth
Vice President - Violet Pulfrich
Recording Secretary - Evelyn Miller
Financial Secretary - Ana Houseman
Treasurer - Elizabeth Natschke
In 1955, A Maxim 750 GPM pumper was purchased to replace the 1933 Seagrave pumper truck. The 1933 Seagrave was acquired to the American Hose Company.
In 1957, the Ashland Fire Department had a Firemans Centennial Parade for the 100 Anniversary of the Ashland Borough existence. There were bands, floats, and neighboring fire companies that joined the event. Hundreds of people attended to see the parade.
In 1959, an American LaFrance 85' aerial truck was purchased to replace the 1929 ladder truck.
In 1965, Old Washington Park was demolished by the vote of the Washington Fire Company members.
In 1969, well known Ashland Police Chief/Fire Chief John Snyder and Washington Fire Company member passed away.
In 1972, Ashland Borough Council approved Washington Fire Company member Thomas P. Towers as borough fire chief.
In 1976, a 1000 GPM Hahn Pumper was purchased to replace the 1955 Maxim engine.
On July 24, 1976, the Washington Fire Company and Washington Fire Company Community Ambulance held a Triple Truck Housing. The 1976 Hahn 1000 GPM pumper, 1972 Ford Bronco Highway Rescue Truck, and a 1976 Dodge Ambulance was housed on the same day. Fire Chief Thomas Towers had a Centennial Float on the back of his orange Ford pick up truck. Lifelong company member Curly martin cracked the champaign off the Hahn Engine and compamy member Jim Reiner cracked the champaign off the Highway Rescue truck.
On November 29, 1976, Washington Fire Company member John Stepanchick passed away a short time after complications involving injuries he suffered from being inside a building collapse. The fire was on 5th and Walnut Streets in the Borough. A monument of his memory is at the Schuylkill County Firemans Association Fire Training Grounds outside of Frackville.
In 1978, The firehouse was completely renovated inside with the help of federal grant money. The outside appears the same due to its registry as a historical site.
On September 19, 1981, the Ashland Fire Department - Washington Fire Company and American Hose Company co-hosted the 27th Annual Schuylkill County Firemans Convention. The event was held at Washington Park.
In July 1982, The Ashland Fire Department went nationwide on the 19th and Centre Streets fire that claimed two lives of a mother and daughter. The article was published in the Fire Engineer Magazine with the heading, "Alternate Water Sources Needed At Fire During Severe Drought."
In the mid 1980's, the strict borough ordinance of 1929 stating the ladder truck must stay in the borough limits, was unexpectedly broken on a mutural aid fire call in nearby Girardville Borough. Since this fire call, the ordinace was lifted and the ladder truck responds to out-of-town fires when needed.
In 1992, Fire Chief Thomas P. Towers was "The Man of the Year," awarded by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.
In 1993, the 1959 American LaFrance 85' aerial truck was completely refurbished by American LaFrance and retitled.
On June 26, 1994, the fire company had a truck housing for the refurbished 1959/1993 American LaFrance 85' aerial truck. Bill "The Burp" McHale cracked the champaign off the ladder truck. A clock plaque with the company patch in the center was awarded to Anthracite Fire and Steam Company Mt. Carmel, Goodwill Hose Company Frackville, Rescue Hook and Ladder Company Shenandoah, Goulds Pumps Inc. Ashland, and Ashland Borough Council. For assisting the Washington Fire Company and citizens of Ashland when the ladder truck was out of service due to being refurbed at American LaFrance. Everything after the fire truck parade was held at Washington Park.
In 1999, a military surplus 1986 Chevrolet pickup was acquired through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and placed into service as a brush truck. The work was completed largely in part by company members.
In 2000, Ashland Borough Fire Chief Thomas Towers (Lifelong Washington Fire Company Member) retired as fire chief after 28 dedicated years. Everyone has benefited greatly from Chief Towers leadership and guidance. Chief Towers had his commitment to the Schuylkill County Fire School and served as 1995 President of the Schuylkill County Volunteer Firemans Association.
In 2000, Ashland Borough Council approved Assistant Fire Chief and American Hose Company member Phillip Groody as borough fire chief.
December 2002 - www.Hookies.org is on-line
On July 23, 2003, the Washington Fire Company received the "2003 Assistance Firefighter Grant" of $109,694.00 from the U.S. Homeland Security (FEMA) to purchase equipment, fund firefighter health and safety programs, fund medical service programs,and conduct fire preventions and safety programs. Only 23 were issued in Pennsylvania and 450 in the United States.
On December 31, 2004, the Washington Fire Company received notification that "Fire Act 2004" grant was approve by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (FEMA). The $225,000.00 went towards purchase of a new fire engine. (Ashland Borough paid $80,000.00)
April 2005, A contract was signed with American Lafrance to build a custom pumper to replace the 1976 Hahn.
In 2006, an American LaFrance 2000 GPM Pumper entered the streets of Ashland. The 1976 Hahn 1000 GPM Pumper found a new home at the Schuylkill Historical Fire Society Museum in Shenandoah.
On May 19, 2007, the Washington Fire Company and Washington Fire Company Community Ambulance Association held a truck housing for the 2006 American LaFrance Pumper and a new 2005 Sterling/Marion Rescue Truck. Lifelong company member Bob Martin cracked the champaign off the new American LaFrance Engine and Ronnie Klock cracked the champaign off the new Rescue Truck. The event was held at the fire company. A plaque of appreciation was presented to Goulds Pumps/ITT Industries.
The Ambulance Association was formed in 1936 and obtained a Studebacker ambulance. The first Board of Governors consised of the following:
Paul Reidler, President Albert Donath
James Neary, Secretary Tony Klein
Harry Natschke, Treasurer Art Proctor
Elwood Bracey Dan Kripplebaur
Harry Strunk George O'Neill
Charles Staudenmeier Harold Burmeister
Dr. William O'Neill
The need for a local ambulance service for Ashland and the surrounding area was born out of the fact that previous to 1936, the only ambulance available to the area was based at Ashland State General Hospital and had a very large area to cover with the limited personnel on duty to man it. The first trip for the local ambulace was to transport Michael Corrigan of Byrnsville to Ashland State General Hospital.
Fourteen ambulances and four rescue trucks have been involved in the history of the ambulance association since 1936. The association serves approximately 10,000 citizens residing in Ashland Borough, Gordon Borough, and Butler Township areas, and works in cooperation with Girardville and Centralia Community Ambulances to cover each other's territory when an ambulance is out of service for any reason.
Today, the Washington Fire Company Community Ambulance Building is located next to the Washington Fire Company. The ambulance association houses two ambulances and a rescue truck. The ambulance association was originally housed inside the Washington Fire Company until 1996 when the ambulance board moved them into the new building.
One full-time EMT, many part-time EMTs, and volunteer members of the Washington Fire Company comprise ambulance crews and board members. In service training, upgrading, and purchasing of new applicable equipment is constant.
Hoffman Boulevard is located on PA Route 61 in the borough. Originally named Third Street. In 1937, Hoffman Boulvard was named and honored after Dr. J. Louis Hoffman. The Hoffman Memorial is at Hoffman Blvd. and Spruce Streets. Dr. Hoffman was extremely generous and a civic-minded citizen, as well as a highly recognized physician. Among his credits was service as council president for 24 years. He contributed to construction of the Ashland Reservoir, formation of the American Legion, and erection of the Mothers Memorial. He was a well-known entertainer with organizations. Dr. Hoffamn passed away August 18, 1940, and his funeral procession to Fountain Springs Cemetery was quite impressive.
The great Depression began with the stock market crash in October of 1929. To keep themselves busy, groups of idle neighborhood men - with assistance from borough workers and the W.P.A. - began clearing areas to create parks in the town. Three such parks are in this general part of town.
Willow Park was the first to be completed with swings, slides, pavilions, and at one time, home of the Ashland Little League Field. With recent efforts, the Willow park was brought back, and home of the Ashland Girls Softball League.
The Higher-Ups Park at 18th and Spruce Streets, is second. In 1932 a group known as the Higher-Ups Community Club, entered an agreement with the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company to lease this former dumping ground at the cost of $1.00 per year for the purpose of creating a park. It was opened to the public in 1933 - much the same as it appears now: a baseball field, restrooms, swings, picnic tables, basketball court and etc. The pavilion was originally an open bandstand that was later enclosed with windows. The Higher-Ups got their name from entries in the annual ABA Parade. They carried paper mache heads on tall poles, higher up than spectators. In 1963 the Pioneer Tunnel was founded adjacent from the Higher-Ups Park. Snyder Drive is the street that runs between them.
The third park is the Eureka, meaning "I have found it." It is situated across town between North Fifteenth and Seventeenth Streets, behind Market Street. Work on the park had begun in 1933. In the beginning, park financing was done through festivals, penny bingo and consession stands. the park had a memorable huge sliding board, which was taken down due to the borough's liability insurance on safety concerns. The park today has restrooms, swings, see-saws, monkey bars, pavilions, and etc. the tennis court is below the Ashland Little League's left field next to Arch Street.
Eureka Park Basketball Courts - The lighted basketball courts was another hopping place for the Eureka Park. A little over a decade, starting in the mid 1980's, the basketball courts at the Eureka park brought some fine talent to the North Schuylkill Lady Spartan basketball team. Many career 1000 point scorers came from these dedicated girls, who either practiced on there own time, or played summer leagues sponsored by the Ashland Trusts. These girls were faithfully in the Eureka park until the lights were turned off for curfew, and their performance spoke for themselves. The Lady Spartans had a great run for years with Schuylkill League and District Crowns, and how could we not forget the 1992 State Championship Team. Ashland native Amy Chubb, who shoveled snow off the basketball courts in the winter to practice shooting hoops, was the first Lady Spartan to score a 1000 points. Also another well known Ashland native dedicated to the Eureka Park basketball courts was Amy Wetzel. The most popular Lady Spartan in school history, later played Division I basketball at Virginia Tech.
The Toewe-Rebuck Field is adjacent to the Eureka Park, Vine Street runs between hem. Toewe-Rebuck field is home of the Ashland Little League Field. The scoreboard is in memory of James Coyne, and the highest achevement award earned for a little league player was named after Mark Trautmen (Award). Toewe Field was the original name, and honored after Elmer Toewe. Later, a dedicated and most popular Ashland Little League and District 24 President James Rebuck who spent many years with the little league, passed away in 1997. In his memory and honor, a monument at center field was established and his was name added to rename: Toewe-Rebuck Field. On the monument has the picture of Rebuck wearing a Notre Dame hat. Also on the monument has the names of people who dedicated themselves with more than 10 years service to the Ashland Little League organization. Names on the memorial listed below:
Elmer Toewe Jack Fickinger
Sam Chillis, Sr. William Urbanowicz
Wilbur Tiley Raymond Fishburn, Sr.
James Coyne Adam J. Bernodin, Jr.
Edward Hede Carol Hughes
Mark Trautman Sueann & Kevin Kowalick
Robert K. Felker Jean Miller
John L. Snyder Doug Gressens
Sis Mervine Joe & Betsy Woodward
Bob Gressens Matthew Stutzcavage
Washington Park is owned and maintained by the Washington Fire Company. It had its beginnings sometime in the late 1800s and was the site for many celebrations and outings over the years. The Ashland Boys Association held its Labor Day Reunions here form about 1906 until they were moved to Eureka park in 1955. The ABA was a unique organization where only men and boys got together for a day of reflection and camaraderie. The full story is in the ABA room at the Ashland Area Historic Preservation Society.
During the 1920s, some of the top bands in the country attracted large dance crowds here, rivaling Lakeside Park. In 1934, an amateur walkathon was heldhere. It was an endurance contest where 36 participants from the entire area walked or danced as teams. It continued for about a month and was broadcast WKOK radio. A couple from Locust gap won quite a substantial sum of money. During the depression people did all sorts of things to make money.
The icehouse is about all that's remaining of the original structures - the outdoor theatre, skatiing/dance pavilion and concession stands are gone since 1965 when the fire company voted to demolishion. Today, every weekend is booked well in advance for parties, picnics, fire company events and etc.
There was a ball field on the north side of Centre Street, near 23rd Street, known as the West End Park or the 23rd Street Field. Memorial field is located at the intersection of Centre Street and Memorial Blvd. During the 1902 miners strike, Ashland was not a center of disturbances, but state militia, in case of trouble erected a tent city in this vicinity. The field was made into a stadium for the Ashland High School football and dedicated on October 24, 1932. Three thousand people attended the dedication.The 1933 football team was first tabbed with the school nickname "Black Diamonds." The first night game ever played under the lights at Memorial Field was against Gilberton High School in 1945. Memorial Field is Home of the 1935 State Championship Team coached by Al Julian and Home of the 1948 Eastern Conference Champs coached by Stan Hino.
In 1966, after the North Schuylkill School District was established. Memorial Field was Home of the North Schuylkill Spartans Football team. In 1978, a new field was built and all home games were played at the new high school complex. The bleachers and light poles from Memorial field were moved to the new Spartan Stadium.
After the North Schuylkill School District moved the football games out of Memorial Field. The Ashland Borough took ownership and responsibility of the field. the Ashland Midget Football Association has played on the field for years and takes part in beautification of the field. Softball games have been played there over the years, American Hose Company's 4th of July Fireworks, ABA Car Cruise/Shows and many other events.
Oakland Park is a little park located along Oakland Avenue. This park was formed for the children in the Oakland Avenue section of the borough. The park has a basketball court, swings, sliding board, and a couple picnic tables.
Stormy Hill Park
The Stormy Hill park, or sometimes called the German Park, is located on 5th and Spruce Streets. There's swings and a merry-go-round. Stormy Hill Park is famous for sleigh riding in the winter.
9th Street Park
The 9th Street Park, was a park between Spruce and Pine Streets, on the 800 block. The park was formally the site of the 9th Street School, that burned down in 1970. The park consisted of a lighted basketball and tennis court, a merry-go-round, a motorcycle spring moving ride and a rabbit spring moving ride. Today the park doesn't exist, and the property was purchased off the Borough of Ashland from a nearby neighbor.
In 1967, of grounds in various parts of town was purchased under Project '70, equally using state and local funds. as a result, the parks are now owned by the borough, with the exception of Washington Park, and the closure and sale of the 9th Street Park.
On November 11, 1927, the water dam at the Ashland Reservoir was completed at the cost of $238,166.09. The reservoir is located west of Frackville. The reservoir is Ashland's fresh water supply to residents in the borough, and parts of Butler Twp. In the early 1990s, the filtration plant was completed, and that's located a mile below the reservoir. The filtration plant was named after former Mayor Norbert J. Noon.
Always seen traveling south on Memorial Boulevard (PA Route 61) is the water tank. The water tank is located between Walnut and Brock's Cemetery, adjacent to 22nd Street. The million gallon water tank was built in 1946. As the western end of town became more developed, water pressure to this area was not adequete, due to a higher elevation than the reservoir. In normal conditions, the holding tank filled up by gravity during low usage times (at night) and increases pressure during heavy usage (daytime). In drought conditions, the pumping station at 15th and Walnut Streets also increase the flow to the western part of the borough. That booster pump is no longer in used, since a pump was put at the reservoir.
The pumping station was built in 1940 by President Roosevelt's W.P.A Program. It's located at 15th and Walnut Streets. The basement has pumps to push the water to the top of town.
From the early 1920s until his death in 1969, Dr. Robert Douglas Spencer practiced medicine in Ashland. Dr. Robert Spencer (doctor) treated colds, set fractures, and provided basic medical care. But he was unique. He performed illegal abortions.
Dr. Spencer performed his first abortion, his patient a poor coal miner's wife, in 1923. Soon after, the doctor's reputation spread. He began receiving letters from women across the country, asking, sometimes pleading, for his help. Ashland, Pennsylvania, a town of church-goers, grateful to him for his dedication to the mining community, quietly allowed the doctor to practice. The citizens seemed to ignore the steady stream of young women going to and from his office, the out of state license plates, the ever-increasing number of one-night guests at the town's hotel. They even protected him each time the state police tried to shut his practice down. Dr. Spencer was arrested three times but never convicted. Historians estimated that he performed more than 40,000 safe abortions during the course of his career.
The North Schuylkill School District educational complex is located along Pennsylvania Route 61 two miles (3 km) south of Ashland Borough in Butler Twp. The school district, located in Schuylkill and Columbia counties, encompasses of rolling hills and valleys. The district is an area of many contrasts. While it is best known for its anthracite resources and for its past mining history, it also is a land of vast wooded acres and some of the most beautiful agricultural areas found in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Residents of the boroughs of Ashland, Frackville, Girardville, Gordon, and Ringtown, and a scattering of small surrounding villages, are served by the district’s two K - 6 elementary schools and its 7-12 junior senior high school. According to the 2000 federal census, the district has a population of 16,681.
The school district provided basic educational services to 2,083 students through the employment of 8 administrators, 147 teachers, and 114 full-time and part-time support personnel. Special education services are provided by the district and the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29. Occupational training and adult education in various vocational and technical fields are provided by the district and the Schuylkill Technology Centers.
North Schuylkill's school nickname is the "Spartans." In school history, the North Schuylkill Spartans claimed four PIAA State titles and Ashland High School "Black Diamond's claimed one. North Schuylkill also at one time had the state's winningest wrestling percentage thanks to legendary coach Joseph Cesari. Coach Joe Cesari's remarkable coaching record and his dedicated and well talented wrestlers had a feature article in Sports Illustrated "Gold Amid The Coal" issued on January 16, 1989.
North Schuylkill Spartans
Wrestling (AA) State Champions - 1983, 1989, 1995
Girls Basketball (AAA) State Champions - 1992
Ashland Black Diamonds
Football - State Champions - 1935
In 1935, with an impressive 10-0 undefeated regular season coached by Al Julian, bedlam reigned throughout the town and in the high school. After an Eastern Conference meeting in Harrisburg, formally and officially the conference crowned Ashland Eastern Champions. Final tabulation read: Ashland .588, Scranton Central .567, and Allentown .503. The state championship game was slated for December 7, 1935 at Mansion Field, Altoona.
With it all definite, Little Ashland, the smallest school to ever bid for the State's highest award, would meet big Altoona, the Pennsylvania Western Conference Champions, making their fifth attempt to capture State honors.
On Friday, the eve of the big battle, a visitor in town adequately described Ashland "Football Mad." At 8:30 am, the team departed for Altoona. Twenty-five players, three coaches, three managers, and school doctors boarded the special bus. As the bus pulled out in front of the high school and traveled on North Ninth Street, hundreds of fans lined the street cheering them on. Escorted by the school band, they were stopped at Ninth Street by a mob of students and adult fans, who offered cheers and best wishes. On their way on west Centre Street amid the sounding of the fire siren plus ringing of all town church bells. Pedestrians walking the street stopped and waved them a fond farewell. With hundreds of fans shaking off thoughts of bad weather joining the caravan. An estimated 2,000 fans were expected to be among the crowd for Ashland.
The Team Match Ups
Ashland vs. Altoona. At stake - the Pennsylvania State Championship. It was Ashland's 25-man squad against the four-deep platoon-type Mountain Lions with Altoona with home field advantage. Not only would the Black Diamonds be handicapped in manpower, but also in the more important weight department. The average weight of Ashland was 164 pounds against the western champs 169, a difference of five pounds per man. The biggest difference noticed between the teams was the size of the school. Ashland was opposing a team that gathered a student body of 5,000 almost equaling the population of the Borough of Ashland. Population of Altoona was 90,000. Ashland carried 25 players on the roster, 16 of them were letterman. Altoona, with an annual graduation class of 1,000 gave out 108 football awards at the close of the season. That was the pre-game story! Ashland vs. Altoona David vs. Goliath!
The State Championship Game
Better than 8,000 fans greeted the team as they took the field on a icy cold day. Ashland was well-represented, however, with over the estimated 2,000 coal region fans roaring with the appearance of the red-shirted Diamonds on the field. The coin toss favored Ashland and elected to receive.
Losing 2-0, Altoona's Mike Patronik kicked off the opening kickoff and the battle was on. The kick was taken by team captain Bill "Bronk" Brundzo on the six yard line and he returned it to the 18. After a line plunge picked up a scant yard, Al "Simmy" Simononis punted but the ball was partially blocked and bounced out of bounds on the Ashland 45. Altoona couldn't do nothing, so after two downs. Ickes punted for the coffin corner. The ball rolled dead on the Ashland seven yard line. With the ball so deep in their own territory and mud making line plays precarious, the Diamonds again went into punt formation. Simmy took Bennethan's pass behind the goal line, but before he could get the boot air-borne, left side of the Altoona line was on him. Ickes jumped high and the ball rebounded from the outstreched fingers into the end zone for the automatic safety. The Mountain Lions moved ahead by a 2-0 score. The remainder of the 1st quarter was practically Altoona.
That accounted for all the scoring in the game but it by no means accounted for all the thrills and chills that were to make the afternoon the most memorable game in the athletic history of Ashland. The bedlam broke loose on the playing field when the game ended.
The 1935 State Championship Trophy is displayed in the trophy case at North Schuylkill Jr./Sr. High School with all other Ashland Championship trophies. Also in the trophy case is the 1948 Pennsylvania Eastern Conference trophy, coached by Stan Hino. Ashland lost to Blakley in the state championship game.
There were 1,437 households out of which 24.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the borough the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $27,234, and the median income for a family was $34,688. Males had a median income of $30,500 versus $20,920 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $15,036. About 11.1% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 13.4% of those age 65 or over.