“When witches go riding,

and black cats are seen,

the moon laughs and whispers,

‘tis near Halloween.”

— Unknown



Oct. 28, 1636, Harvard University, the oldest institution of higher learning in America, was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was named after John Harvard, a puritan, who donated his library and half of his estate.

Oct. 28, 1886, The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France commemorating the French-American Alliance, during the American Revolutionary War, was dedicated on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor.

Oct. 28, 1919, Prohibition began in the U.S. with the passage of the National Prohibition (Volstead) Act by Congress. Sales of drinks containing more than one half of one percent of alcohol became illegal. Called a “Nobel Experiment” by Herbert Hoover, prohibition lasted nearly 14 years and became profitable for organized crime groups, which manufactured and sold liquor at saloons called speakeasies.

Oct. 29, 1929, The stock market crashed as over 16 million shares were dumped amid tumbling prices. The Great Depression followed in America, lasting until the outbreak of World War II.


20 YEARS AGO (2000)

The local newspaper commented that Danville held the biggest Halloween parade in the town’s history and, in most people’s minds, the best. It drew an unusual assortment of participants and 29 floats.

Brandyn Gill, 3, and Eric Gill, 21 months, both sons of Danville Police Department Cpl. Eric Gill, were enjoying the parade with a view from a stroller along Mill Street. Tyler Gregg, 4, stood along the parade route hoping to catch some candy. Cathy Seidel, 1-month-old, dressed as a pumpkin, viewed the parade from the arms of her father, Brandon Seidel, of Mayberry Township. Adam Kahlie and Halie Eisenwien had fun on the back of the Geisinger Health System float.

Danville Area High School junior and senior Key Club members voted for the Autumn Queen and Princesses, which was sponsored by the Danville Kiwanis Club. Junior Paula Zimmerman, princess; junior Justine Delbo, princess; and senior Renee Long, who was named queen, were part of the Halloween parade.

The American Cancer Society Multi-Unit held its Volunteer Recognition Dinner, honoring its Volunteers of the Year. This year’s recipients were Bernie and Wilbur “Red Swank” for their involvement in Daffodil Days, "Look Good … Feel Good" and "Man to Man" programs. Lauren Day was also honored for her involvement in the Relay for Life.


40 YEARS AGO (1980)

Montour County held its annual Halloween parade in Danville with participants from Danville and Riverside. The parade drew most of the local community to enjoy this annual event.

Theresa Hagenbuch, elected Halloween queen by students of Danville Area High School, along with the two runners-up, Myleah Fisher, and Shereen Bowes, were driven along the parade route.

Awards were presented to Boy Scout Pack 3325 for their floats; Jeff and Jack Welliver for costumes; cheerleaders and Valerie Sarisky for marching units; Susquehanna Poison Center for best adult group; Junior Girl Scout Troop 444 for Girl Scout unit; Cub Pack 33 for Boy Scout unit; and Junior Troop 444 and Cub Scout Pack 3325 won the judge's awards.

Goblins, witches and ghosts gathered in a dark lane by the Bush barn in Washington for the annual Halloween party for Cub Pack 37. Thirty Scouts enjoyed the festivities. The headless horseman also made an appearance.


60 YEARS AGO (1960)

Members of Montour District Boy Scout units were pictured in the local newspaper displaying the distinctive tag they planned to distribute in the Montour County-Riverside area for the Scouts' ‘Get Out The Vote’ campaign for the upcoming election.

They visited all homes in the area asking residents to make sure they vote. They also hung a ‘Ring the Bell for Liberty’ tag on the doorknobs of homes. There were several drives launched by young people encouraging those qualified residents to visit the polls.


The annual Halloween Parade, sponsored by the Danville Boys and Girls Band, passed the judges’ stand in the Weis parking lot (today Cole’s Hardware store) and moved on to Ferry Street to begin the parade route. Weather nearly forced the postponement of the parade, but “spirits were un-dampened as the parade marched through a slight drizzle.”

Marchers were divided into three age groups. The first included children from one to five years, the second, six to 9 years, and the third 10 years of age and up. There were 125 prizes given, which were donated by local merchants.

L. Russell McConnell was the parade grand marshal and members of the band parents were his aides. A food stand was on Mill Street operated by band parents. The Kiwanis Club gave each child in the parade a treat.

Homeowners on Lower Mulberry and Ferry Streets were asked to turn on their porch light for the over 800 participants that took part in the parade; including Chief Burgess and members of the borough council, a float of the Montour County Democratic party and another of the Montour County Republican party.

Danville High School Band was among the 60 Pennsylvania high school bands to be on display at the Penn State 11th Band Day in connection with the Nittany Lions-West Virginia football game.


75 YEARS AGO (1945)

Eleven bands enthused the marchers and an eager community awaited the Victory–Halloween parade sponsored by the Washington Hose and Fire Company. Residents of Honeymoon, Market, Ash and Center streets, were asked to light up the streets with their porch lights. There were nineteen judges on a stand in front of the Masonic temple and thousands of viewers along the parade route.

The members of the Fire Company placed a "thank you" in the local newspaper to the hundreds that overwhelmingly contributed to the success of the parade, including all the street residents, for their “hearty cooperation” with the lighting. He also stated, “such cooperation shows what Danville can do if the community works together.”

Over 300 people attended the Halloween Dance at the Y. M.C.A. with music by the Kings of Swing Orchestra from Bloomsburg. Many of the participants were in costume, while the rest were “jauntily attired in shirt and slacks.”

After an hour of dancing, a parade was staged with those dressed as gypsies, clowns, ghosts, skeletons, Red Riding Hood, cowboys and cowgirls. The most spectacular of the group was Professor Dinwoodie, the absent-minded professor. At the grand finale,  Dinwoodie turned out to be Frank Jedlicka, who won first prize with the little organ grinder. Helen Jean Phillips placed second and Carol Barsch took third.


"By voting, we add our voice to the chorus that forms opinions and the basis for action."

— Jen Stoltenberg

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

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