This week in local history: ‘Superschool’ and stainless steel were among top news of the past

June 8th, 2015 8:35 pm

Lucy Bailey Sheriff and Harriet Bailey Slocum, direct descendants of an early La Plume Township settler, dress alike at their family homestead, Maple Lane Farm, in 1976. The twins were, at the time, in their 70s.
An 1873 map shows Ransom Township.
The Abington Heights High School senior class of 1967 files in for graduation.

1962 — At the request of a Ransom resident, a map of the township, dating back to 1873, was printed in the Abington Journal. The 1873 census showed 603 inhabitants of the township, with three post offices.

1967 — A large photo of the Abington Heights High School senior class ran across the front page below a story about the new high school, which was nearing completion. The headline read, “Superschool: extreme luxury and radical shift in education.

The building’s architects, Lewis and Berghauser, called it a “one of a kind” school. The article listed examples of “many features not seen in any local high schools and not even in some universities,” such as the Olympic-size swimming pool with spectators’ seating, hockey and tennis courts, air conditioning and a complete educational television system.

1971 — Sandvik Steel celebrated its formal grand opening in South Abington Township. The new plant was expected to employ approximately 150 people in the area, possibly more with expansion. The company was described in the article as “a major producer of carbon, stainless and specialty springs, tube, wire and strip, as well as tungsten carbide cutting and drilling tools.”

The plant is still in operation today.

1976 — The Bailey Twins of Maple Lane Farm, then in their 70s, were featured in an article which told of their family history, tracing back to La Plume’s early days. Lucy Bailey Sheriff, with her husband, Dr. Wilbur Sheriff, a retired minister, and Harriet Bailey Slocum, with her husband Elmer, were still living in the family homestead in La Plume, The house, built in 1863, was, to that point, always occupied by a member of the Bailey family.

“George Bailey, the twins’ grandfather, was a prominent man in the township when it was a major dairy center for metropolitan markets,” the article reads. “He was the superintendent of the creamery and condensary plant there for 13 years, when it was still part of North Abington Township. (La Plume incorporated as a separate township in 1885.)”

“The twins’ father was Howard Bailey and they are the last of the family to occupy the old homestead. Neither has any children.”

1988 — Police from several Abington area departments acted quickly to stop a gunman from possibly harming residents of Hosfeld Street. The Clarks Summit Police Department received a report of an unidentified man standing on the borough street with a weapon, shooting at people and houses.

Although the man fled the scene before the officers arrived, police from Newton Township apprehended him on the road.