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Citizens' Voice from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania • 72

Citizens' Voicei
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
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ISeniorVoice o- The 'Flat Iron Hotel' was one of the finest hotels and restaurants in Wilkes-Barre 3 10 JUNE 1997 a. i i i a. In 1907, one year after it was built, the Flat Iron Hotel had already captured the attention and imagination of the public when a New York City reporter, visiting Wilkes-Barre, wrote, "this is truly a center of grand living." And grand it was. Built by Hugh Lawson at the site of what had been the immensely popular "Little Delmonico" restaurant (operated from 1869 to 1885 by Leonard Keiper and until 1898 by Henry German), the Flat Iron Hotel spared no expense in catering to its fashionable guests. Lawson's reputation as a restaurateur attracted a clientele from as far away as New York City and Philadelphia.

His four story Flat Iron Hotel, fashionably detailed in white pressed brick, boasted of an impressive wine cellar, a lovely tiled bar on the first floor, along with card room and lobby. The second level housed an immense kitchen, a room sized refrigerator cooled by an ice machine located in the cellar, and one of the largest coin-operated organs ever built by Wurlitzer. The two upper levels contained hotel rooms lavishly furnished in the decor of the day. The Flat Iron Hotel's crowning glory was a glass-enclosed roof garden, where guests dined in grand style on a floor of imported red tile amid palm trees and exotic plants while a string orchestra supplied background dining music. The Flat Iron's heyday lasted from 1906 to 1914.

After World War it was sold, and by the 1960s, before it was razed, its kitchen was being used only to serve sandwiches, pizza and snacks. The photograph at right is a reproduction of a photograph of the "Flat Iron Hotel" in Wilkes-Barre, which appeared in a local newspaper in 1965 and was sent to "Your Senior Voice" by Louise Sir-ak of 133 Holland Wilkes-Barre. Louise asked that the photograph and the article which accompanied it be published in "Your Senior Voice," reasoning that many long time residents of Luzerne County would recognize the distinctive architectural design of the "Flat Iron Hotel" and enjoy reminiscing a bit about the good old days in Wilkes-Barre. Sirak wrote, "My husband and I enjoy seeing the old familiar scenes in The Citizens' Voice. The Flat Iron Hotel was only five minutes from our home by car.

We passed it often on our walking home from town as a child." The Flat Iron Hotel, according to a newspaper clipping from 1965 which Sirak provided, was once one of the most fashionable addresses and restaurants in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Facing South Main Street, with side entrances on Hazle Avenue and East Ross Street, the hotel was razed in the mid 1960s by the Wilkes-Barre City Redevelopment Authority to make way for the Wilkes-Barre Post Office as part of the Hazle Street Urban Renewal Development project. The Flat Iron Hotel was a distinctly unique structure, copied after a much larger building in New York City which bore the same name. It measured 100 feet on each of three sides, but the entrance was just 10 feet in width. 1 "The Flat Iron Hotel's crowning glory was a glass enclosed roof garden, where guests dined in grand style amid palm trees and exotic plants, while a string orchestra provided music.

Area seniors return to their field of dreams in senior softball teams June 2 1 NYC Boat Tour (Statue Of Liberty) $35.00 pp June 28 NYC Boat Tour (Statue Of Liberty) $35.00 pp July 5-Juty 6 Washington. D.C $159.00 Jury 10-Jury 13 MontrealQuebec $489.00 down from Scranton for the last three years in order to participate on the Metzger Cleaning Service team. He said he became part of the team when he answered an ad for players. "There aren't any senior teams at all up in the Scranton area that I know of," Burns said, adding that he, too, has been a serious softball player most of his life. "I absolutely love it," he said.

"I don't think there's much for guys our age to do, and a lot of guys are in the kind of shape you have to be in to play softball." Burns, who catches and plays right field, said he intends to keep playing as long as he's physically able to compete. "Most of us have From page F-3 Hurley also organized last year's Senior Softball Tournament to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, held in Kirby Park. Four teams from Harrisburg, with players from the 50 plus to 65 plus leagues, also took part in the event. He's currently planning this year's tournament, tentatively scheduled for the first week in August, and hopes to include Harrisburg teams and some from New Jersey. Hurley said the fields for the annual tournament are donated by Wilkes-Barre City, the umpires donate their time, and trophies are awarded to winning teams.

George Burns has been driving July 20-Jury 26 Myrtle Beach $609.00 Aug. 1-Aug. 3 Niagara Falls $289.00 state, national and international level in age groups from 50 plus to 75 plus age groups. "It's never too late in the season to start a team in the over 50 league, or even if an individual wants to play," Rhodes said. "If there are enough guys to form a team, they're more than welcome to play." Rhodes, Barbose and Burns all said they'd like to see more senior teams sprout up in the area, which would add to the level of competition in the sport.

"I thought we'd have a better response, but we hit the wall at 50," Rhodes said. "If we could get more folks to take part in an over 50 league, it would be great." For more information on joining or forming a local team, call Mike at 822-2955, or Joe at 824-7133. For information on the national senior softball leagues, call Senior Softball USA at (916) 393-8566. been out there long enough to know. We know we can do it and we'll know when it's time to stop," he said.

Chet Rhodes of Wilkes-Barre has been playing softball for close to 20 years, spending the last few years in the over 50 league. Rhodes said he, too, still enjoys the game. "We have a lot of fun," he said. "We keep it competitive, but fun." Rhodes appreciates the unique rules governing the senior leagues' games, which are adjusted according to the various age groups. "We go at a slightly slower pace, avoiding injuries if possible, and have some fun along the way," he said.

Barbose agreed, saying, "The good thing about it is that it's hard to get hurt." Senior softball has become such a national pastime that there are softball publications dedicated to the sport, and tournaments and championships are held on the Aug. 2-Aug. 3 Washington, D.C $159.00 Aug. 4-Aug. 8 Cape Cod (Whale Watch) $479.00 Aug.

9-Aug. 16 Mackinac Island $859.00 Aug. 22-Aug. 24. Baltimore Annapolis $259.00 Aug.

30-Sept. 6 Branson, Missouri $769.00 Sept. 9-Sept. 14 Nashville $535.00 Sept. 18-Sept.

21 MontrealQuebec $489.00 Sept. 21-Sept. 26 Gatlinburg, Tenn $539.00 Sept. 28-Oct. 4 Myrtle Beach $549.00 Oct.

25-Nov. 2 GEORGE R. COAR, M.D. Orlando, Florida $379.00 Nov. 1-Nov.

8 New Orleans $689.00 RULES from page F-3 Using pitching mounds is forbidden pitchers use instead a designated pitching area. The pitching area is located 50 feet from home plate instead of 46 feet to allow for more reaction time. Runners are allowed to run past the second and third bases instead of holding the bag as in regulation play. Although home plate is a regulation size 12x22 inches, a rug or mat is used to enlarge it to 34x22 inches. If a ball hits any part of home plate or the rug, it's a strike.

Players wearing metal cleats will be ejected from the game. One courtesy runner is allowed for each inning, but each player on the roster can be used only once per game. SCHEDULE from page F-3 Mike's Team: No games during the week of July 4: July 7 Comfort Design vs. Mike's Team; Metzger's Cleaning Service vs. Barbose Masonry: July 14 Metzger's Cleaning Service vs.

Mike's Team; Comfort Design vs. Barbose Masonry: July 21 Comfort Design vs. Metzger's Cleaning Service; Mike's Team vs. Barbose Masonry: July 28 Mike's Team vs. Comfort Design; Barbose Masonry vs.

Metzger's Cleaning Service: Aug. 11 -Play-offs: Aug. 25 Championships. BOARD CERTIFIED EYE PHYSICIAN and SURGEON Small Incision Cataract Surgery Nov. 7-Nov.

9 Wheeling, W. Virginia I -0 (Festival Of $259.00 CALL FOR TOUR DETAILS Charter Service We make all the arrangements For appointments call 779-7737.

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