Catholic Churches Churches Fires

St. Edwards Roman Catholic Church Fire Photos – April 8th 1971

Around 2 o’clock on the morning of April 8th, 1971 a fire broke out at the historic St. Edwards Catholic Church on Shamokin Street in Shamokin. The blaze was said to have been the worst the city had seen in over 50 years and completely destroyed the 99-year old house of worship.

A little over a month later, it was determined that a fallen vigil candle was likely the cause of the blaze. The investigation concluded that the candle fell from its holder and ignited woolen carpet and spread throughout the church. The large belfry acted as a chimney making it impossible to save the structure.

By October 1974, the rebuilt church rededicated. Today the church continues to serve the Catholic community of Shamokin as Mother Cabrini Catholic Church.

In this exhibit, we present some amazing photos taken by Frank Posca, not only of the fire as it happened but also of the devastating aftermath it left behind.

These photos are being presented courtesy of the Northumberland County Historical Society. Click Here to learn more about the life and work of Frank Posca.

Rare Photos of St. Edward’s Church Fire – April 8th 1971

Front Page Coverage of St. Edward’s Fire – The News-Item, April 8th, 1971

St. Edward’s Fire Cause Determined – News Item, May 24th, 1971

Events Old Home Week 1914

Shamokin’s Old Home Week Parade – 1914 Photos

In this exhibit, we present a series of photos from Shamokin’s Old Home Week Parade in 1914. These photos were captured by Frank Posca and presented courtesy of the Northumberland County Historical Society.

Click Here to learn more about Frank Posca and his work.

Shamokin’s Old Home Week Parade 1914

Old Home Week Parade 1914 – Shamokin Street Looking North – The Shamokin Band marching
Old Home Week Parade 1914 – Independence Street Looking East
Businesses People

Frank Posca

A Glimpse of Shamokin’s Past Through Frank Posca’s Lenses

Frank and Dorothy Posca, 1978

Francesco (Frank) Posca as born in the province of Calabria in Southern Italy on June 15, 1901. The youngest of four children, he worked with his father and learned the family trade if shoemaking as he grew up. Frank’s father came to Shamokin in 1912, acquired the tools and machinery he needed, and set up a shoe repair shop. He wanted to bring his family to Shamokin and returned to Italy in 1916 for that reason but became ill and never was able to come back to America.

In 1919, Frank’s father encouraged Frank to leave Italy so he immigrated to America and reopened his father’s business in Shamokin. He supported his family who remained in Italy and attended night school to learn the English language and American customs. On May 25, 1927 he was naturalized and became a United States citizen.

There was not much demand for handmade shoes in America so Frank repaired shoes and did orthopedic work for people with special needs. He developed an interest in photography and enjoyed taking pictures of people, places and events around the community as a hobby.

Frank Posca’s Shoe Repair Shop today – 320 N. Shamokin Street

Frank eventually set up a darkroom in the back of his shoe repair shop, and learned to develop film and print pictures. He experimented with different types of film and photo papers and learned to use lights to his advantage as he cleverly composed and captured images.

Frank also enjoyed music and learned to play the violin. He joined the St. John’s Evangelical and Reformed Church and played in the Sunday School Orchestra. He always had a love for music and the arts.

In 1932, Frank met Dorothy Thompson and they married on May 26, 1934. The shoe repair business prospered and the shop became a gathering place in the neighborhood. People stopped by to rehash the day’s events, watch Frank work on shoes, and see his latest photographs. Frank also learned to repair cameras and offered advice to those who wanted to take better photos. He joined a local photo club and took his camera wherever he went.

Frank continued to support his mother who remained in Italy. During World War II, communications were disrupted and Frank did not learn that his mother passed away until the war was over. Over the years he took thousands of pictures and captured life in Shamokin – both celebrations and tragedies.

Frank ran the shoe repair business until 1986. After he retired, he spent a lot of his time reviewing and cataloging his photographs. Frank left this world on August 22, 1994 but left behind a legacy of photographs of Shamokin, the town he called home and loved.

Shamokin News-Dispatch (September 10, 1927)

Frank Posca

Central Shoe Repairing Shop

320 Shamokin Street, Shamokin, PA

The Central Shoe Repair Shop at 320 Shamokin street is undoubtedly one of the finest and most completely equipped establishments of its kind in this entire section. Originally the firm had been located at 410 Shamokin Street and in that location Mr. Frank Posca, the genial and business-like proprietor, carried on a large trade. As the business grew from year to year, Mr. Posca, with characteristic zeal and forethought, cast about for a larger and more commodious location in order that his patronage be served more conveniently and satisfactorily and for the past three years he has been going ahead in a steady progressive manner at 320 Shamokin street attending to the needs of his large patronage.

The shop is completely equipped with the latest and most modern electrical machinery and nothing is used in the repairing of shoes but the best grade quality of leather. The firm’s affairs extend over a radius of eight to ten miles and includes most of the towns adjacent to Shamokin. The United Shoe Repairing Co. has honored Mr. Posca with the official red sign of the Goodyear Welt Shoe Repairing in recognition of his splendid work.

Satisfaction is guaranteed and Mr. Posca’s lifetime of experience in the shoe business enables him to offer a satisfactory and competent service.

Mr. Frank Posca has been a resident of Shamokin for the past six years and because of his likeable personality and honest business policies has established a large host of friends throughout the entire section. He has always taken an active interest in community affairs and is the type of citizen the town can feel proud of.

Clipping from Shamokin News-Dispatch – September 10, 1927

Recent Posts with Frank Posca’s Photos

Diamond Jubilee 1939 Events

Shamokin’s Diamond Jubilee – 1939 Photos

In this exhibit, we present a series of photos from Shamokin’s Diamond Jubilee in 1939. These photos were captured by Frank Posca and presented courtesy of the Northumberland County Historical Society.

Click Here to learn more about Frank Posca and his work.

Shamokin’s Diamond Jubilee 1939