This week in local history: Half-car, half-homemade pick-up truck was involved in Clarks Summit accident in 1969

June 25th, 2015 3:04 pm

Travellers from Frankfort, Indiana, while passing through Clarks Summit mid-summer of 1969 in this half-car, half-homemade pickup truck, crashed with another automobile at the corner of State Street and Highland Avenue.
Lackawanna Trail students cool off at the swimming hole at Little Rocky Glen during the summer of 1968.

1963 — Mr. and Mrs. Louis H. Healy, of Waverly shared with Journal readers a Civil War Journal of Mr. Healy’s grandfather, First Lieutenant Samuel Healy, Co. I, 56th Pennsylvania Volunteers.

At 7 a.m. July 1, 1863, the lieutenant wrote, “On the move again. I am in the ambulance. I wish I could march. Our division reached Gettysburg about 10 a.m. and met the rebs about the same time. The fighting was very severe. Our corps and part of the 11th engaged with Ewell’s Corps. I did not reach the regiment until afternoon. We were out-flanked and obliged to retire to rear of town. Regiment very badly cut up. Company I nearly all gone somewhere. Battle continued until 5 p.m. General Reynolds killed.”

1968 — The swimming hole at Little Rocky Glen was the place to be during the hot and muggy summer weather. A photographer captured the splashes and fun of a group of Lackawanna Trail students cooling off among the rocks and falls.

1969 — A group of travelers from Frankfort, Indiana, who got into an automobile accident at the corner of State Street and Highland Avenue in Clarks Summit, were described by witnesses as “gypsies” or “Tabacco Road types.”

Their vehicle was just as peculiar.

Made out of a 1954 Ford passenger car but licensed as a truck, it was described as “half-car, half-homemade pick-up truck.”

“Witnesses said that the home-made Indiana auto continued and came to a halt at the Summit Diner,” reads the article. “The auto then became the center of local attention for a short time, because from it and other cars traveling with it sprung 15 people who looked like they had stepped out of the pages of the textbook written to cover the Jukes-Kallikak recessive gene theories.

“They were unwashed, had unkept hair and were riding in a vehicle that was a wonder in itself. It looked like a chicken coop that had somehow been attached to an automobile by cutting away the rear seat and trunk of the auto and then attaching the chicken coop.”

1971 — Phase one of the construction of the Lackawanna State Park’s then-new half-acre swimming pool and bathhouse was at a standstill, due to a nationwide operating engineers’ strike. According to George Weber, park superintendent at the time, the originally projected mid-August opening date was not looking very promising.

Today, a new swimming pool, bathhouse, splash playground and concessions area are under construction at the same location.