Old Beakleyville Baptist Church

Founded in early 1800s, the congregation of the Beakleyville Baptist Church first attended worship services in a barn. When land was donated, it became possible to build a church – a small white structure along today’s Route 447 in East Stroudsburg.

Beakleyville Baptist Church building is shown in this undated photo a number of years before it was razed. (Pocono Record file photo)

Hannah Barry Van Vliet, of East Stroudsburg pioneer stock, was just one the folks who helped form the history of the Beakleyville Baptist Church.

Her life and contributions to the community and church – she was the church’s janitoress for 27 years, missing only three services – were remembered in a 1975 article published in The Pocono Record:

“Today’s women are not the only ones who have had to assume the role of bread-winner for their families, see their sons off to an unpopular war and their daughters follow their mates to what was, in their day, the ends of the earth. Hannah Barry Van Vliet could probably give NOW members a few pointers. …”

Also known as Grandma Hanna, Van Vliet died in 1897.

Although the church's building is gone, the graves of those buried at the site, shown in 2011, remain. (Pocono Record file photo)

In 1925, the Rev. William H. Playfoot, who had been pastor of the church from 1891 to ’92, made everlasting history when he was kicked by his horse as he prepared to leave for church in Elmira, New York.

He died a month later from his injuries at the age of 73.  The circumstances of his death were published in the local newspaper.

One recorded highlight in the church’s history reveals the story about 100 plus people attending the seventh annual Easter sunrise service on April 21, 1946.

During the service a walnut cross was presented to the church by Mr. and Mrs. E.L. Stright in memory of their son, Edward Stright Jr., who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.

The church’s past was remembered again on Oct. 11, 1953, when Beakleyville Baptist Church congregation began a week-long celebration of its 110th year of service.

The original church building, built in the 1840s, is shown in this undated photo. (Courtesy of Monroe County Historical Association)

About 10 years later, on Nov. 1, 1964, a new schoolroom, which was an addition equal in size to the original church building, was dedicated during a special service.

According to the church’s pastor at the time, the Rev. Wiley S. Young, the church had come a long way since it was founded more than 120 years earlier by a handful of settlers who worshiped in the barn.

The Rev. Young died Feb. 25, 1969, at the age 72. He had served in the ministry for 51 years, the last seven years as pastor of the Beakleyville church.

The congregation vacated the old church building during the 1990s, moving to a nearby location, 1 Fawn Road.

Halterman’s Auto Ranch now occupies on the church’s former site.  Although the building has been razed, the church’s graveyard remains.

• • •

Find out who’s buried in Beakleyville cemetery.

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From mansion to office building

From majestic Kitson House to modern Kitson building

The old Victorian home that once stood at 745 Main St. in downtown Stroudsburg had had its share of identities — the mansion of a wealthy family, a diner, Mexican restaurant and a nightclub — before being demolished. Although the exact date of construction of the building is not documented, it is known that the house was built during 1800s, according to a 2006 Pocono Record article.

Referred to as the Kitson House, it was the home of manufacturer and financier Thomas K. Kitson and his family. Kistson died in 1920.

Colonial Diner on Main Street, Stroudsburg, shown in 1985, when the restaurant was listed for sale. (Pocono Record file photo)

In 1938, the facade changed drastically with the installation of an addition – a diner – to the front of the house. Known as the Colonial Diner, the restaurant flourished for years as a downtown attraction and meeting place.

The Colonial was sold in the mid-1980s, and reopened as Charlie’s ’50s in March 1986. Soon after, Marita’s Cantina, a Mexican restaurant, opened in the old section of the majestic house/diner building which once housed Athens By Night.

Charlie's with the old Kitson House towering behind. (Pocono Record file photo)




By mid-1988, the diner had become a nightclub-style business. In September of that year, the club and cantina were put up for sale.

New owners took over the business in the late 1980s, keeping the ’50s nightclub idea intact.

Just a few years later, plans were announced to abandon the ’50s-style nightclub. The new venture was called Hoola-Hoop, featuring a dance-club theme. The Hoola-Hoop eventually phased into The Hoop, closing in 2005.

Hoola-Hoop was an adult nostalgia nightclub on Main Street. (Pocono Record file photo)

In 2006, the odd combination of Victorian House and diner was demolished, making way for a new three-story brick “Kitson” building.

Marita’s and Starbucks opened in the new building in 2007.


• • •

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1990: Prom night, a moment captured

For at least one night there was magic in the air. (Pocono Record file photo)


Seniors Eileen Wackley and Tory Van Why of Stroudsburg High School share a moment at the beginning of prom night on June 2, 1990.

On this special night, all four Monroe County public high schools held proms.

• • •

View a photo gallery of the county-wide prom night.

Purchase reprints of this photo.


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1979: Season’s first snowfall

Looking back: East Stroudsburg Train Station

Snow-laden power lines gave out under the stress of heavy snow as the season’s first snowfall hit the Poconos on Oct. 10, 1979, leaving parts of the Slate Belt, Delaware Water Gap and Shawnee-on-Delaware without electricity for several hours.

The station, built in 1864, eventually was remodeled and became known as the Dansbury Depot restaurant, opening for business in the 1980s.

The half-inch snowfall mirrored the Oct. 19, 1925, snowfall as the earliest measurable snow in Stroudsburg, to date, during the 20th century.

Shown in the photo to the right is East Stroudsburg Train Station as falling snow from the storm blurs the view.

• • •

An early morning fire on Oct. 26, 2009, damaged the train station, then known as Dansbury Depot. In the aftermath of the fire, the historic structure was still standing but the inside was gutted.

Follow the history of the depot’s comeback, search the poconorecord.com, using the subject: Dansbury Depot.

More photos at “Dansbury Depot remembered.”

Purchase reprints of this photo.


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1979: Summer madness

Mike Rath, riding a large inner tube, shoots over a Stroudsburg waterfall.


Searching for kicks on a free Friday afternoon, Aug. 31, 1979,  Mike Rath of Stroudsburg – surrounded by an appropriately sized inner tube – took a plunge, falling five feet over a waterfall at the Stroudsburg Municipal Water Authority plant.

Splash down


Purchase reprints of these photos and other Pocono Record photos


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1988: Stroudsburg High renovation continues

Although the ongoing renovation of Stroudsburg High School was continuing at a good pace in December 1988, reopening of school looked bleak.

In 1988, as construction at the Stroudsburg High School continued, the school's auditorium started to take recognizable shape after long resembling a heap of rubble.

Doubts circulated whether the next semester would begin on time as construction crews dominated the site.

However, the fears were unfounded; temporary classroom space was set up in alternate parts of the building, allowing student and crew to coexist.

Stroudsburg High School's new - at least new in 1988 - auditorium. (Pocono Record file photos)





While the exterior of the school remained a testimony of the extensive project, the interior – although still under construction – had taken shape.

Areas that had been completed included a new wing that housed administrative offices, new business classrooms, new industrial art shops, improvements allowing handicapped access to the building and a new main entrance.

• • •

Learn more about the most recent remodeling of Stroudsburg High, which began in June 2010 and ended four years later.

2013: “Stroudsburg School Construction” photo gallery

2013: Renovation photo gallery

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Wanna buy a photo?

Looking for an everlasting keepsake for that special person or unique present for a friend? The Pocono Record may have the perfect gift. Photos, taken by our professional staff or freelancers, can be transferred to T-shirts, puzzles, key chains, mugs, playing cards. And the list goes on.

Have the image of this early bird, waiting for spring, transferred to greeting cards.

To order, click on the “shopping cart/Purchase this photo” located at the bottom-right of the image on our website: poconorecord.com.

If you can’t find the photo of your choice or have issues with ordering, let us know and we’ll find the photo and assist with the ordering.

Also available are full-page reprints. Check out our gallery of pages

• • •

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Did you dine at Jerry’s Diner?

Jerry’s Diner, gone from Stroudsburg for more than 15 years, was a community landmark at 207 N. Ninth St. Once known as the Lackawanna Trail Diner, Jerry’s listing faded from the local phone books in 1996-’97.

In March 1999, Jerry's Diner was moved for restoration. The diner is now Towanda.


The name most associated with the diner is George Metropoulos.

Metropoulos operated the diner until the early 1950s, returning to his hometown in Greece in 1958.

The well-known businessman traveled back to Stroudsburg during July 1965, and the local newspaper – The Pocono Record – published an article about the former owner’s visit.

The last of the items inside Jerry's are packed as the 1920s diner is prepared for its move. The diner would be restored and moved to Towanda.

The last of the items inside Jerry's are packed as the 1920s diner is prepared for its move.


A few tidbits about Jerry’s Diner:

Edith M. Werkheiser for many years, helped manage the Lackawanna Trail Diner, retiring in 1958. Werkheiser died in 1998 at the 91.

• In the 1940s and ’50s, the Lackawanna Trail Diner was the hangout for “Old Ninth Street Gang.” 

• In 1999, the Jerry’s Diner was moved to Towanda and now houses the Red Rose Diner.

The Old Ninth Street Gang chows down at Besecker's Diner, Stroud Township, in 2006.







• • •

Jerry’s Diner is not forgotten. Check out the following letter, which the Pocono Record received in January 2015:

Dear Pocono Record:

In Bradford County there is only one sure way to know if it is Wednesday. No, it’s not Prince Spaghetti day. Neither is it the one-day-of-the-week where the famous 1927 prices on the antique menu – posted over the grill – are honored nor is the day the diner offers lamb tongues at 30 cents or apple pie at 10 cents. Wednesday is the day Betty Roof bakes doughnuts. 

An advertisement published in The Pocono Record during the mid-1970s.

The 1927 menu shows them at two for 5 cents, but Betty offers them free as a way of saying thanks for being her loyal customer at the 1927-built Red Rose Tierney diner. The Red Rose was known as Jerry’s in Stroudsburg.

It’s first come first serve, and no one seems to pig out as not to ruin a good thing. Betty has run diners most of her adult life, and at more than 70 she shows no signs of slowing down. We may not be able to go back in time, but on Wednesdays at the Red Rose Diner at 526 Main St., Towanda, Pennsylvania, it’s the next best thing.

Joseph DuPont, Towanda

 • • •

      View a photo gallery of Jerry’s Diner.

• • •

When Maria Kopas read the blog entry about Jerry’s Diner, she was surprised to find that a major part of the restaurant’s history had been excluded. Missing from the entry was the story of the diligent, hardworking woman – her mother – for whom the diner was named.

Geraldine “Jerry” Dragusha, a widow and single mother of two daughters, moved from New York to the Poconos in 1982. That was the year she opened Jerry’s Diner.

Working five days a week, about 14 hours a day for 14 years, Jerry ran the diner, doing it all from waitressing to cooking to washing dishes. She gave herself a break on Saturdays, working only eight hours.

Although Jerry's Diner closed in 1996, it was still sporting a sign three years later, advertising coffee at 25 cents per cup.

Jerry served only homemade meals made from groceries bought daily. Since Jerry’s didn’t drive, she relied on friends and her daughters – when they started to drive – to chauffeur her to and from the diner and to the local grocery store.

“We would always tell my mom that she should just have deliveries made and to buy from food companies but she never did as she wanted to make sure everything was fresh.” Maria wrote. The only things delivered were coffee, milk, cheese, eggs and bread.  

During the first year of operation, Jerry ran the diner with cousins 24/7. But when the cousins left the business, the hours had be cut.

Nevertheless, the restaurant was packed daily with local workers from construction and gas company workers to car dealers and courthouse employees.

“Breakfast and lunch time was crazy busy, and I still have no idea how she did it on her own,” Maria wrote.

Jerry’s daughters helped out when they could, but it was such a small place that more than two people behind the counter became a hazard. “Besides, no one did it like my Mom.”

She never wrote anything down, handling up to 50 orders at once. “She was and is the hardest worker I know,” her daughter added.

Jerry held onto the tradition of the diner from the décor to the prices. She didn’t make a lot of money, evening losing money on tabs kept for her regular customers.

“We would try to convince her to raise the prices but it wasn’t about that for my mom, it was about the people that came there and the friendships that formed at that little diner on 9th Street,” Maria wrote.

When the sisters were married many of the customers were at their weddings, one even walked Maria down the aisle. They’re still in touch with the many of restaurant’s customers, who are like family. The friendships made at the diner will last a lifetime, Maria added.  

After years of renting, Jerry, uncertain of the diner’s future, decided to close the business. The building’s owner was looking for a collector to buy the classic modular diner.

On the day the diner was taken out of Stroudsburg, Jerry’s family, friends and former customers were there to say good-bye. “It was and will always be my Mom’s diner and we are so blessed to have been part of Stroudsburg’s history.”

• • •

Another reader, Russ Irwin of Maine, formerly of the Poconos, also shared his memories of Jerry’s:

The 1980s phone book listing for Bob's E Place at 207 N. Ninth St., in Stroudsburg

Manning's 1980s directory listing for Bob's E Place.

“The diner had twelve counter stools and four tables with two chairs each,” he wrote. “One cigar box on either end of the back of the counter area to make change and a cash register in the middle.”

Owners over the years included George Metropolous and Nick Russopolous, Floyd Koehler, Clint Besecker and Bob Besecker, he added.

Taking a tip from Russ, it was learned that during the late 1970s and early ’80s, the diner sported other names – Bob’s or Bob E’s Place and Besecker’s.

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1979: Nine cars and 18 trucks crash on I-80

Nine people, two seriously, were injured on Jan. 24, 1979, when 27 vehicles — nine cars and 18 trucks — piled up on the fog-shrouded, icy westbound lane of Interstate 80 near Long Pond, about 3 miles west of the junction with Interstate 380.

Workers clear the aftermath of 27-vehicle crash on Interstate 80.

Police said that it was the third in a five-hour series of crashes that had occurred in the same general area.

Although no one was killed, an investigating officer died in a separate incident while on his way home from the scene.

No one died in the Jan. 24, 1979, chain-reaction crash.

There were concerns about a truck, marked as to indicate a cargo of toxic butyl acetate, was leaking.

But the fears were unfounded. No punctures or cracks were located in the truck’s empty tank.

Thirty-one hours later, a team of 30 workmen with the help of almost a dozen of wreckers had cleared the twisted wreckage from the highway and the westbound land was reopened.

View a photo gallery of the crash  –  Source: Write to Know

• • •

Check out photos from other Pocono events during 1979.

And there’s still more 1979 photos to view.


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1914: NCOs of Company G


Non-commissioned officers from Company G, 13th Reg. N.G.P. in full-dress uniform.

Company G, 13th Reg. N.G.P.

On Feb. 1, 1914, the non-commissioned officers of Company G, 13th Reg. N.G.P., East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, posed for a photographer, whose name was given only as Knox.

Five days later, the photo appeared on the front page of The Morning Press, the local newspaper of the time. The soldiers were not identified.

• • •


A glimpse at some of the historical events involving Company G:

• May 22, 1914: More than 200 guests attend the “very pretty dance” at the military opening of the new armory in East Stroudsburg. Members of Company G, who attended the event, wore full-dress uniforms, and the women were dressed in “very elaborate gowns,” The Morning Press reported.

Aug. 14, 1916: For the first time in its short history of three years, troops from Company G left town under a different commander other than Capt. George A. Dunning, its founder and head. Dunning’s commission had expired at midnight. He had been disqualified by “the stern regular army surgeons because of his light weight in proportion to his height,” according to the daily newspaper.

July 9, 1925: The “boys” of Company G, 109th Infantry, were busy at the armory on Washington Street in East Stroudsburg, preparing for their annual training at Mount Gretna in Lebanon County.

May 1, 1928: The final drill for Company G in the “Old Armory” was held when roll was called and the troops went to work moving equipment to storage.  A contractor would soon start tearing down the old building to make the site ready for the construction of a new building. By fall, the new armory would be ready for “the company to march into their fine new home,” The Morning Press reported.

March 7,  1940: Pvt. Nelson Berger of Company G, 109th Infantry, was presented with an award during the regular drill session at the East Stroudsburg Armory for his fine representation of the company at the first 109th indoor field meeting held in Scranton.

April 6, 1940: Monroe County’s own Company G, 109th Infantry displayed its well-ordered fighting force at the East Stroudsburg Armory during an impressive Army Day celebration, which coincided with a nationwide display of armed forces.

May 5, 1946: During a meeting of the Society of the 28th Division at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Cmdr. Howard Mount went on record in favor of the formation of a new Company G.  Members were also anxious about some kitchen equipment that was missing from the armory.

• • •

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