Timeline of Slatington History

Fire Destroys Slatington's High School Building

Tuesday afternoon, 20 February, fire consumed the building which had been built in 1897, a total ruin; housed high school and grades 5-8. See the article from The Slatington News, 23 February 1917

Rebuilding would take some time, but the process started quickly.

6 April 1917: The school board hired architect Scholl to rebuild the old high school building; he is also in charge of the new high school building being erected.

27 April 1917: The blueprints for the rebuild of the school approved.

8 June 1917: Harrisburg kind of approves the plans for rebuilding of the old school

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Military Service in the Great War, June 1917

Without any disorder whatever the men of Slatington and Lehigh county registered on Tuesday for military service as required by the Selective Draft Bill.

The number registered in the three wards of town was 341. Divided as follows: First Ward, 134; Second Ward, 102; Third Ward, 105. (The Slatington News, 8 June 1917)

A lot of men from the town and immediate are were called before the draft board in 1917 and 1918, but not all had to serve. In fact, quite a few did not pass, and many more asked to be exempt. For example, the results of men called in Lehigh County's second draft to fill the county quota: 23 accepted and did not claim exemption; 62 accepted but filed for exemption; 40 failed to pass. (The Slatington News, 14 September 1917)

A parade was held in the town for the first set of draftees (39 men) leaving for service in September 1917. (The Slatington News, 21 September 1917)

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September 1917


A bad wreck occurred last evening on the Lehigh and Berks Railroad, between Slatington and Emerald, which completely blocked the track and tore up the road bed for about 150. ft. Nobody was hurt.

The place where the accident happened is just west of the National School Slate factory. The train, with Engineer John H. Hartman, of Reading, at the throttle, came bowling along at a lively clip. The tender of the locomotive jumped the tracks and the baggage and two passenger cars followed. The brakes were jammed on, but the momentum carried the train for fully 150 feet over the ties.

The engine ran on to a steel bridge and the tender upset on the bridge but did not fall off. Hartman and his fireman, John Reitz, of Emerald, stuck to their posts and were uninjured.

The train is due in town at 7.55. Last evening, however, there were not many passengers aboard. The passengers, beyond receiving a good shaking up, were none the worse for their experience. Had the one coach traveled fifteen feet farther it would have toppled over a high embankment.

Neither the conductor, Adam Bechtel, of town, nor the engineer could account for the wreck. There were wild rumors circulated last evening that the train bad been wrecked, but there was nothing to substantiate these rumors.

The wrecking crew was sent for to clear the tracks. It will be necessary to lay new rails and ties for the entire distance that the train traveled after leaving the tracks. The rails are bent into all kinds of shapes.

November 1917


Since the beginning of the week one of the desires of many of our people, the installation of a real town clock, has been realized. Quite a long time ago we are told that a number of our citizens subscribed to a contribution for this purpose but it remained for the graduating class of 1915 of the Slatington High School to gather the funds needed and to make the wish of former years come true. The money was raised by the class on the same plan that the various class memorials of the schools have been raised and thus far has been the supreme effort of any class in this direction. The fund was raised with the idea of installing the clock in the tower of the burned high school building, but fortunately when the clock had once been bargained for, and the committee appointed to care for the installation the prospect of the new high school building arose to delay this action. By this the destruction of the new clock was saved and a more suitable location secured.

The clock was secured from the Seth Thomas Clock Company, the oldest and most reliable firm in the business. It is as perfect a time piece as the company makes and is covered with their guarantee. It is an eight-day clock, run by weights, making it more reliable than an electrically controlled clock. There are four plate glass dials, each 4 feet 6 inches in diameter and the dials bear near the center the numerals of the Class of '15. It strikes on the hour and the half-hour. When the building is supplied with electric current the tower will be lighted at night, the lighting being controlled by an automatic device which may be set to turn the light on or off at any desired hours of the 24-hour day. The appearance of the dials is very good and will be strengthened and improved somewhat by the final painting of the tower and the molding around the dials.

Many expressions of approval and appreciation of the gift to the town have been heard and the class, and those who have directed them in their efforts, merit the word of praise they are receiving. The School Board, too, who have cared for the local cost of installing and have made it possible by providing for the tower and the bell in condition with the new building deserve credit for their action. The cost has added little to the total cost of the building and the people of the town who pay the money thus expended will realize as much or more real advantage and pleasure from this sum than from any like sum expended. "The News" takes this opportunity to join with the community in an expression of approval and appreciation of the action of the board and the class in this installation of a public time piece.

Reported in the Slatington News, 8 June, 7 September and 16 November1917