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|| Did You Know?
|| January, 2010
Did You Know?
Did you know there were local warnings about the dangers of marijuana as early
While there had been an outbreak of the illicit sale and use of cocaine in
Fayette County during the earliest days of the 20th Century, marijuana
apparently wasn’t considered a serious problem until March of 1937.
The banner headline on the front page of the March 30th, 1937 edition of the
Uniontown Daily News Standard read: “MARIJUANA DRIVE TO STRIKE FAYETTE.”
That story claimed that Liquor Control Board agents, motor police and federal
operatives were heading to the county as part of a state-wide effort to head off
the “widespread sale and use of the repulsive narcotic or ‘reefer’ in several
districts of the county.”
The marijuana sweep obviously didn’t work.
The August 7th, 1937 edition of Uniontown Morning Herald contained an item
headlined: “YOUTHS WARNED AGAINST USE OF DOPE CIGARETS.”
It was reported that the use of marijuana had become so widespread that “G-men”
were being called into Fayette County to keep a lid on it, because new supply
lines into the county had been recently discovered.
“Young boys and girls in Uniontown and Fayette County are warned against the
cigarettes which create such a craving for the dope that it undermines health
and morals of those addicted to its use,” it claimed.
But even while there was an effort to rid Fayette County of marijuana, and at
least to get it out of the hands of young people, there was another problem that
Just five days after the latest marijuana warning (on August 12th), it was
reported that a local Junior High School student had been busted for being a
The Morning Herald carried an account of the so-called “Pritts gang,” which was
said to have been caught operating a still by State Liquor Enforcement officers
in the “mountain wilds back of Ohiopyle.”
Although the Pritts’ were said to “have the reputation throughout the mountains
of having the best moonshine,” 38 year-old Homer Pritts and 18 year-old Kenneth
Pritts were taken to the police station in Uniontown, then later transferred to
Yet, the most troubling part of that story was that a seventh grader was the
alleged third participant in the moonshine operation.
That day, however, there was a bit of good news for local entertainment seekers.
Jackie Coogan, who’d been a child movie star (most notably as Charlie Chaplin’s
young co-star in the classic movie, The Kid) was about to appear at the Lucky
Star Inn in Hopwood that night.
He brought his Movieland Dance Orchestra and his Hollywood Hit Parade Revue, for
a single performance.
Just three months later, Coogan would marry another Hollywood legend – Betty
Of course, if you still aren’t sure who Coogan was, he played Uncle Fester on
the 1960’s TV show The Addams Family.
Did you know that in 1979, and with the help of a reported $500,000 grant,
Fayette County was about to have the first-ever community powered completely by
The Clearfield (Curwensville, Phillipsburg, Moshannon Valley) Pa. Progress
reported in its December 29th, 1979 edition that a 180 acre Fayette County tract
of land (called New Village) was being built with an eye toward it being
sustained by solar energy.
The project was being built out of what the participants were calling “disgust
with the cost of high energy bills.”
Did you know that a young Uniontown child once made national news because his
legs kept breaking?
The March 2nd, 1938 edition of the Oakland (CA) Tribune carried the story of a
two and a half year-old who’d just been admitted to Uniontown Hospital after
he’d suffered his fifth broken leg.
The report carried the rather tepid pun, “Sammy Lee Moore gets all the breaks in
Did you know that in 1901, a trio of Masontown residents got a bit of news for
the rather unusual use of their legs?
The November 23rd, edition of the Daily News Standard carried the mention of Ira
L. Smith, Amadee Johnson and Ray Anderson of Masontown, who’d walked all the way
to the opera house in Uniontown and back on the same night.
That could have been a combined distance of 25 miles.
Did you know that an 1889 home invasion robbery in McClellandtown once made
It also figured in one of the most notorious crime waves in Western Pennsylvania
I’ll have the details next week.