"In summer, the song sings itself."

— William Carlos Williams

THIS WEEK IN U.S. HISTORY

July 31, 1790 The U.S. Patent Office first opened its doors. The first U.S. patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins, of Vermont, for a new method of making pearlash and potash. It was signed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

July 30, 1965 The Social Security Act of 1965 was signed by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. The act established the nation’s Medicare and Medicaid programs financed by higher Social Security payroll taxes.

20 YEARS AGO (2000)

The Cherokee Ordnance Works was celebrating its 50th anniversary this week. There were several dignitaries that made speeches praising the achievements of the plant at the celebration.

According to the news article, congressmen and mayors applauded Merck’s products, growth and teamwork philosophy. A letter from Gov. Tom Ridge was also read at the ceremony. All were thankful that Merck made a major decision to bring the plant to Riverside.

“Thank God they did,” said State Senator Edward Helfrick. Plant tours were part of the celebration. The summer picnic was held with 1,600 people present, former employees reunited, present employees enjoyed socializing and kids played with sand art and bean bag games.

The Cherokee Ordnance Works was built in Gearhart Township in Riverside in the early 1940s and was operated by Heyden Chemical Company manufacturing products essential to making explosives used in munitions for war purposes. The plant closed soon after WWII.

A long-term lease for use of that property, between the U.S. government and the Merck Chemical Inc., of Rahway N.J. was signed on May 14, 1950. The transfer of the plant from the Ordnance Department to Merck was made on Aug. 1, 1950.

King, a collie was pictured in the local newspaper standing guard as his owner, Eileen Woll, of Danville, sat on a bench enjoying the view at Montgomery Park on Water Street.

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The park is a very special place to gaze at the beautiful scenery, enjoy nature in the sky, on the water and the banks. It's nice to watch daily life pass by running or riding bicycles, pushing carriages, or sitting on a bench with the local cat, feeling peaceful. I stop by Montgomery Park every day to watch the ‘River on Dreams’ flowing by Danville.

40 YEARS AGO (1980)

Daryn James, 9, of Riverside, captured runner-up honors in the district competition of the Burger King-sponsored Pitch Hit and Run event. James competed against 15 first-place winners in his age group from throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

James, a Danville little league pitcher and shortstop for CATV, received a silver medal and a shirt for his efforts.

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Toastmaster Mike Kuziak welcomed parents and friends to parents’ night during closing exercises of the Montour County 4-H Toastmaster project. Twelve 4-Hers received certificates and ribbons for their endeavors upon completion of the public speaking project. They were Don Dietz, Carla Stamm, Jen Wentworth, Laura Little, Kim Lynn, Ronda Pfleegor, Earl Harris, Mark Woodruff, Mike Kuziak and Karen Dragon. The president of the Penn State Extension Association of Montour County presented the certificates. The members in turn presented their leaders with charms and pens for their first-time efforts in a project of this fashion.

Strange hats and shoes were the order of the day at the Washies Playground’s Hat and Shoe Show. Participants included Glenda Johnson, Angel Hack, Justin Treadway, Karen Buck, (Miss Washies) Harold Hack, Jim Lunger and Don Earlston.

40 YEARS AGO (1960)

Danville Little League All-Stars lost a 1-0 decision to Big Valley in the District 11 finals of the Little League World Series. It also prevented Danville from claiming the District 13 championship. A pitcher’s duel from the start, Danville managed to get two men aboard in the opening inning, one by a walk and the other on an error.

A photo in the newspaper showed Danville’s pitcher, Duncan Kishbaugh, congratulating Dennis Kelley, pitcher for Big Valley. The game was won on an unearned run. A near score on a hit by Larry Driscoll, Danville catcher, was headed out of the park until the Big Valley center fielder, Haller, caught the baseball right at the fence.

The Kiwanis Club sponsored a watermelon feast at Sunnybrook Park and youngsters of all ages turned out to enjoy their favorite fruit.

William Vannan, one of the members of the local club helping with the event, passed out the watermelon.

75 YEARS AGO (1945)

Pvt. Calvin Megargel RD2, a member of the famed 42nd Rainbow Division, had been awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge in recognition of his exemplary performance of duty in ground combat against the enemy.

He had three brothers also serving in ETO, S-Sgt. Earl Megargel; Cpl. James Megargel of the infantry; and Sgt. Joe Megargel of the 155 Photo Ren. Sqdn., Army Air Corps. Their parents were Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Megargel.

Pfc. Harold Kreigh, stationed at Quantico, Va. with the United States Marines, returned to base after a furlough with his mother, Mrs. Elmira Kreigh.

According to an article in the local newspaper, for the fourth time since it began producing for American Victory, the Kennedy-Van Saun Mfg. and Eng. Corp. received the Army-Navy Production Award. The award was revealed in a letter from the War Department of Washington D.C. to the men and women of the company. The final paragraphs stated: “by maintaining the distinguished record which previously brought you distinction, you are once again proving your leadership on the production front. The third White Star added to your Army-Navy Production Award flag carries with it the thanks and congratulations of our Armed Forces.”

100 YEARS AGO (1920)

An article in the local newspaper reminded parents of children who were about to enter school for the first time on Sept. 7 that a child may not enter school without a certificate of a successful vaccination according to an amendment of the School Code passed in 1919. It took ten days after receiving the inoculation to verify that it was successful. This information was provided to make sure there was time for the second shot if the first wasn’t successful. There would be a severe penalty for any person who should violate any of the provisions of the act.

High school training that would equip boys and girls for their life work, rather than just for college entrance, was declared one of the most important revisional steps to be undertaken by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Instruction.

“Heretofore high school courses have had for their aim little more than preparation for college and 90 percent of graduates never reached a college.” Specialists were working on a revision of high school courses to permit a wider range of study to include student government in every high school and give such work that would make the best sound citizenship, the true function of education. The state department was working on a democratic educational program and the details of revisions would be sent to all schoolmen in Pennsylvania for their criticisms and suggestions.

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National Friendship Day is celebrated on Aug. 2. According to their slogan; it celebrates the importance of loving platonic relationships. Friendships are the purest type of human relationships. Today, with social media, you can celebrate with your friends wherever they are in the world. Today, July 30 is International Friendship Day.

"Remember to have a friend you need to be one."

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

A quote I used in my high school yearbook.

Sis Hause is a Danville historian. Her weekly columns appear in The Danville News.

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