Book 1 Volume 17
This is a previous issue that has been re-worked using NVU
Our Butternut Fred
By SUZANNA MAHLER
4:17 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, Palmerton citizens knew from the blaring
sirens and emergency vehicles rushing to Delaware Avenue that this was
a serious event.
Stemler's Hardware, a Palmerton landmark, was in flames.
After the last embers died out, the building rich with history was scarred, but not dead.
The oldest family-held business in Palmerton will probably be rebuilt, according to Milton Stemler.
Though the fire that started on the third floor changed everything, Donald and Milton Stemler know much of the building's strong history during the 82 years it stood on the main street.
"I've been here almost 53 years," said Donald. "My brother Milton and I have been working at Stemler's since the 1940's."
When Donald was in high school, he helped his father on Saturdays for 25 cents an hour.
"On Christmas Eve myself and another fellow, Raymond Stein, would play Santa Claus and deliver gifts to people at 11 p.m.," Donald said. "Sometimes we wouldn't get home until well after midnight."
Although Milton worked steady in 1949 after graduating Penn State University with a business degree and spending three years in the service, he remembers assisting his father as a boy.
"My brother and I used to help deliver circulars when we were kids," he said.
Their father, the late Leon Stemler, bought the business in 1919 from J. H. Browell, when it was located in the building that now occupies Costenbader's Hardware. Leon renamed it L. A. Stemler.
When Browell owned the store, Arthur Smith managed it. After Browell sold it, Smith worked for Stemler and eventually became a partner when the store relocated to its current location at 348 Delaware Avenue, on Jan. 1, 1924.
Stemler also changed the name to the Stemler Hardware Company after the move.
The building was shared with the Palmerton Post Office, until it moved in 1934.
Appliances, toys, sporting goods and guns were a major part of the business years ago, along with many other things.
"Hardware merchandise has always been big in the store," Milton said. "Of course we also sold all necessities for our heating, plumbing and air conditioning side."
Stemler's Hardware was the first store between Allentown and Hazleton to sell Kelvinator electric refrigerators. This appliance was one of the many that led to the setting up the heating and plumbing department in 1925. That area of the business became an asset to the company and a huge service to the community.
"My father thought it was important to give our customers complete service," Donald said. "He was always very determined to meet all the needs of his customers."
After Smith moved away in the 1950's, Donald and Milton became partners. Leon began to step back from his duties and responsibilities at the store.
"As my father got older he still gave a hand at the store," Donald said. "He also became active in other types of business activities."
Leon passed away in 1964, when he was 72.
"I was more or less in charge of the plumbing and heating and my brother took over the retail store," Milton said. "Don't get me wrong, we didn't restrict ourselves to those specific responsibilities."
The upstairs was remodeled for living and some professionals had their practices there. Years back, before Leon bought the building, Dr. Frank Rosenberry not only lived there, but it was also where he had his office.
The most recent residents were Dr. and Mrs. Robert Mendsen. He, like most, had his office there, as well.
After they left, an addition was put onto the back of the building and the second and third floors were converted into eight apartments.
Three years ago Donald and Milton sold the business to Roger Miller of Kunkletown and Lewis Romanishin of Danielsville.
Although Milton says he has been there so long he doesn't miss it, his wife Jeanne feels differently.
"I miss it," she said. "I used to work in the gift shop and it was a lot of fun."
Some of the employees, such as Albina Engle of Bowmanstown and Clair Seltzer of Parryville, have been working at the store since they graduated from high school.
Seltzer has been an employee about 50 years and is currently retired, but Engle, in her sixties, is still working.
Miller and Romanishin are continuing to provide service, despite the fire. They can be reached at (610) 826-2322.
"As far as we know, the fire started with a candle," Milton said.
"A small mistake like letting a candle burn caused a huge mess for everyone concerned.
Since this disaster, the building was sold and the new tenants where the store was located are now the “Ironworks,” better know as the Palmerton Hospital fitness center which is where Queen and I workout.
Sunday, March 14, 2004 7:17 AM 19 deg at LVIA and 21.2 in the bus stop
This morning we want
to go to K-Mart. I don’t know if she wants to go anyplace else or
not We shall see.
<Later>we are down and back with a side trip to Redner’s in Northampton. We got some salmon, a small beef roast, and a package of low fat ground turkey. All the stuff was on sale.
At K-Mart, I helped to pay for Martha’s legal bills by buying another architect’s spring-loaded lamp for the opposite side of my work area here. I bought about 4 of the $6 cheapies and since the were all plastic and I broke them all. This new one is like the other and is of all stainless steel construction.
Tonight for supper, Queen made the small roast of beef we got this morning. She also had a pair of small red potatoes nuked in the microwave with broccoli for her and Brussels sprouts for me. We are invited to Bernice Kleintop’s house for a dessert this evening.
Golly, but that was nice. She served a glass of wine and pieces of angel food cake that she made with some fresh strawberries as a garnish. She was celebrating three birthdays. They were Queen’s, Jeans, coming up on St Patrick’s Day, and hers, that was on February 29. We all sat around and had a good time talking.
March 16, 2004 7:30 AM 34 deg at LVIA and 32.3 in the bus stop
It looks like snow this morning. Anywhere from 4 to 6 inches of the stuff is expected.<Grrr>
Well, at least the medical readings are not too bad. The weight is 199 and the blood sugar
I printed out my diabetic information, in case the doctor wants any further information since this morning.We will both be going to the cardiologist. More about that later.
Now at 07:36, I am headed outside with my coffee.
<Later> It is raw and chilly outside this morning. I hope the foul weather holds off until we get our traveling done. No luck it is snowing like Hell now Geez!!
<Later> 11:08 we are back. We waited in the waiting room with Lee Bollinger, who was in for a doctor’s appointment.
It went very well. He is very pleased with Queen and her condition. He simply wants her to keep doing what she has been doing. He sees no reason to change a thing. He thinks she is remarkable. Well, so do I.
In my case, he said my EKG was “interesting” what ever that means. He said my condition was reminiscent of a particular syndrome. It is Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.
He said it was like having an extra wire connecting to my ticker that may or may not cause beating, and or rhythm problems. He said that may not the case at this stage of my life, particularly if I have had no overt symptoms. Certainly, they have been at a minimum to my recollection. However, there is no really earlier EKG with which to compare it. We went all over my history and he indicated that I need not take any extra precautions or restrictions but he wants me to have a stress test here at the hospital. After this, he will know better what is going on. The nurse set it up for me and the hospital will call me with the exact time. It will be an early morning thing on an empty stomach. That is no big deal.
We both discussed extensively our exercise programs at the “Ironworks”. He told us what out maximum heart rate is, 200 minus our age, but that it is not at all necessary to get it to the maximum and we should do what feels good to us but don’t overdo.. He does like our going and doing something.
He approved of my concept of Fritz’s premise of more reputations but a lower stress level. He said leave the hard stuff to the kids.
In the course of our conversation I took along a list of all the medications I am taking.
I ask him if he had a home computer and when he said yes, I ask him if he would do me a favor by entering that URL and viewing my web page. No, not out of vanity, but last week I described very well our family’s relationships with one another, as well as my family’s health history. I think it was far better than trying to describe it to him there. I write better than I speak. In addition, my hearing is nothing to jump for joy about [In one ear, deaf as a post. Geez!!] That is why Queen and I both go together to any important doctors appointment to be sure we got all of the pertinent information correctly.
You know, I find this web page concept very handy for other things. If I want to send a complex letter to someone with graphics in it, I create it in Word and then enter it as a web page and give it a special name. I send the URL to the recipient and only that URL will open it when the web page is pasted in the browser. After I get their reply, I simply remove it from the web. It sure saves a whole lot of trouble and is so easy to do. Well, now it is. Ha!!
This afternoon, this is what we have now, Sheez!
Hey, this stuff gets old damn fast.
March 17, 2004 7:07 AM 30 deg at LVIA and 27.9 kin the bus stop
This snowy morning my blood glucose is 128 and the weight 202.Sheez!. It is still snowing lightly. After breakfast, I plan to get our snow blower out and finish the cleaning job. Now at 8:34 AM the sun is coming out. The stuff will melt darn fast in this kind of weather. I finished the job. Then I took the garbage to the alley for tomorrow’s pickup.
We went to Jean and Mike’s house to deliver her birthday presents. They served coffee and a chocolate cake that Mike got his Mom for her birthday. Queen also baked her a “Connie cake”.
Golly but Mike sure looks so much better since he lost all that weight. He was to the Doctors the other day and the doctor was very pleased with his results. Right now Mike is on vacation, but has bronchitis and is feeling lousy. That is no fun coughing ones guts out at night. However, he can be very proud of his accomplishment in the weight department. He said his doctor said, perhaps he, the doctor, should go on it as well. Gee, whiz!!
This is a poor day on the news front. We didn’t go anywhere today. We stayed here on the patch all day except for our trip to Jean and Mike’s house.
Tonight for supper we finished the last half of that turkey breast we had the other evening. Queen had fresh spinach,a small baked red potato each, cauliflower, and homemade applesauce. She cooked onion and mushroom and put it on top of the turkey. It was a wonderful meal. Then we had coffee and I had a last bite of her ice cream bar for dessert. It was a first class meal. Hey, I could kiss both the cook as well as the waitress!
I got an e-mail from George Ashman who said the Miller Bloodmobile was canceled yesterday because of fears for the staff’s safety getting back home. It is postponed until this Saturday, March 20, from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM.
Thursday, March 18, 2004 7:55 AM 28 deg at
LVIA and 27.2 in the bus stop
This morning the blood glucose was143 and the weight 195. This morning we plan to do our weekly food shopping. We have a winter storm watch for tonight for 3 to 5 inches of the damn stuff. Oh well, it doesn’t last long these days. Saturday is the first day of spring. Ha!!
Here is our new mantle of snow on this Thursday morning.
We did our shopping. The stores were not at all crowded. The selections were quite good. After Aldis, it was on to Wal-Mart, Giant, and then home to Country Harvest. We made it back before noon.
Friday, March 19, 2004 7:23 AM 34 deg at LVIA and 32.7 in the bus stop