Second Street North Of Bridge Street

The 1876 map shows most of Second St being built out below Arch St; a bit less on the 1872 Vogt lithograph.

Address: 763 Second St – SW corner of 2nd and Chapel
Name: Daniel Milson
Year built: 1854

The line dividing Catasauqua and North Catasauqua – Lehigh and Northampton counties – passes through this lot.

This residence at the corner of 2nd and Chapel was the Milson family home. Daniel Milson was born in S. Wales in 1830, educated and trained as a boiler maker/mechanic, and employed in the Neath shipyards before coming to America. He worked for 2 years in Philadelphia for Merck and Sons and later the US Naval Yard as a boiler maker before moving to Catasauqua where he worked for 2 years at the Crane Iron Works. He became a stockholder in the Thomas Iron Works when it was formed and worked for the company during construction of the Hockendauqua furnaces. In 1863 he accompanied David Thomas, Jr. to Ohio where they constructed a furnace at which he was assistant superintendent until 1865. Returning to Catasauqua, he began his own mechanical shop, leasing the boiler shop of the Crane Iron Works and employing 50 men until his retirement in 1890.

After Milson’s death, one of his employees, Samuel McCloskey, reestablished the business as the Catasauqua Boiler Works, expanding into the property of the old rolling mill of the Catasauqua Manufacturing Co at Brick and Lumber Sts till 1907. The CMC property passed into the hands of F. W. Wint Co. in 1907 and McCloskey went back to working out of the Crane Iron Works shop until the business was abandoned in 1917.)

Milson married Elizabeth Davies of Wales in 1861 and they raised 11 children in the house at 2nd and Chapel. Many of their children “married well”; Charles Edwin Milson (M.D.) married Camilla Deily, Annie married John W. Thomas, Minnie married William R. Thomas, Jr, and Mabel married James S. Stillman. Daniel, Jr. operated a coal business along Lehigh Street in south Catasauqua. (See 533 Third St).

Daniel Milson’s grandson, Mabel’s son, James Sydney Stillman, Jr. recalls that his grandfather believed in providing all his children, boys and girls, with an education so they could support themselves. Their choices varied: medicine, engineering, textile design, merchant marine, music and teaching. Mabel went to Bloomberg Normal School and became a teacher. She only had two pupils, her son and a niece, whose health was too fragile (rheumatic heart disease) to attend public school.

Address: 764 Second St; SW Corner of Second and Chapel
Year Built: 1854

In 1930, Harry Longenhagen operated a confectionery out of his home at 764 Second St.

Address: 757 Second St
Name: John R & Jane Morrison Tait
Year Built: 1867 or earlier

In 1930, Harry Longenhagen operated a confectionery out of his home at 764 Second St.

Address: 757 Second St
Name: John R & Jane Morrison Tait
Year Built: 1867 or earlier

John R. Tait studied under Hopkin Thomas and became foreman of the Union Foundry and Machine Shop. He was born in Ireland in 1845. More importantly, he and Jane were the parents of Frank M. Tait, who became known as the “dean of the utilities industry in America”.

Other Site History:

John R. Tait purchased the property, with home, from David Thomas in 1868. Thomas purchased this and neighboring lots from the partnership of Berger & Younger in 1867, who acquired the land from Owen Swartz in 1858. Owen Swartz was the son-in-law of John Peter who owned the farm here at the time the canal and the Crane were built.

Frank M. Tait, Born in 1874, he was eight years old when Thomas Edison invented the electric light. Ten years later Tait and Edison were working together in a little lab in Catasauqua, Pa. The association was brief, but the inventor made his mark on the youth. Frank M. Tait and public utilities grew up together. Tait pumped an organ in the Catasauqua Presbyterian church before the days of electric power, graduated from high school with top honors and became a telegraph operator and assistant train dispatcher. He was bright, and at 18 he was assigned to work with Edison on a project to process iron ore for use with anthracite coal. He took a position of night engineer of the electric plant in the Catasauqua Rolling Mills. He qualified as a stenographer and became secretary to the President of The Davies & Thomas Company, and there acquired extensive experience as to the manufacture and use of structural iron and steel for tall buildings, street railways, gas works, tunnel work, general construction, etc. Tait went to work at the town power plant which was also owned and operated by the owners of the Davies & Thomas Co. He helped install facilities and became manager of the Catasauqua Electric Light and Power Company in 1894. Shortly afterwards he effected a consolidation of the local gas interests with the electric light company and directed the Catasauqua Gas and Electric Company until 1899.
He married Margaret E. Lewis, daughter of William G. & Margaret Allen Lewis (nephew of Morgan Emmanuel and partner in Emmanuel, Lewis & Co which sold explosives for mining and quarrying).

From there, he became connected with the public utilities of Somerville, New Jersey, and rebuilt all the plants and properties at Raritan, Somerville, Finderne and Bound Brook, New Jersey, merging them into the Somerset Lighting Company, which afterwards became part of the Public Service Gas and Electric Corporation of New Jersey. New London, Connecticut, was the next scene of his labors, where he became directing head of the gas and electric companies together with the management and operation of a general machine, boiler, coppersmiths’ and boat repairing business, developing the corporation then known as the New London Gas and Electric Company, now a part of the Connecticut Company.

Tait attracted the attention of the Anthony M. Brady financial interests in New York, and he was hired to study the national utility picture. Tait was 30 when he arrived in Dayton on New Year’s day in 1905 to look over the young Dayton Electric Light Co. He liked what he saw, the power company was purchased, and Tait was put in charge. While there the property was greatly enlarged into the Dayton Power and Light Company, supplying electric light and power to upwards of 43 cities, towns and villages, and steam and hot water heating to several of the larger cities in the Dayton territory. While in Ohio he was very prominently connected with the Ohio Electric Light Association, serving as its President in 1908. In 1908, he founded the Dayton Pump and Manufacturing Co. (later the Tait Manufacturing Co.), a firm that produced the world’s first completely automatic water system, which sold more than three million systems. He was a member of The National Electric Light Association, having served the association in years past as director, Secretary and Treasurer, Vice-President and President, in 1913. He is also a member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, The American Gas Association, The Franklin Institute, Illuminating Engineering and others. He stepped up from president to chairman of the board of Dayton Power & Light in 1945. Tait also had a hand in developing and managing public utilities in New York, Tennessee, Indiana and Japan and at one time was active in the direction of 35 major corporations.

In 1955 he created the Frank M. Tait foundation for charitable, scientific, educational and religious purposes; his first donation to it was the assets of the pump company valued at $1.7 million. After Tait had retired from Dayton Power & Light Co., the company hung an oil painting of Tait directly across from one of Edison in the boardroom. Tait looked at it and smiled. “My old boss is still keeping an eye on me,” he said. (Taken from The Dayton Daily News, February 23, 1961, by Mary Ellen Lynch, Staff Writer, and EBook The story of electricity by Thomas Commerford Martin., and Electrical Reivew & Western Electrician, Vol 57, No 10, McGraw Hill, 1910.)

Address: 748 Second St
Name: Lorraine’s Beauty Nook

In 1930, this home was the residence of Edward & Elizabeth Cunningham, who operated a hot store on Front St, The Toggery Shop. Lorraine Clauser opened a beauty salon on the second floor of her home here in 1950.

Address: 740 Second St

Paul P (or E) Fink, an organist and piano teacher, boarded here c 1912. (see Leader ad)

Address: 739 Second St
Name: Frederick Residence

Coming Soon

Address: 738 Second St
Name: John McBride, Sr and Jr.

John McBride, Sr, a native of County Derry, Ireland, came here as a young man and was an employee of the Catasauqua Gas Co for 28 years. John McBride, Sr died in 1892, His wife was Jane Miller McBride, and they had a daughter, Jane, and two sons, John and William.

John Jr., born in 1873, started work at the Unicorn Silk in 1887 and worked there for 15 years, until the company closed. He then became a foreman at the D. G. Dery Silk, later being promoted to superintendent. In 1911 he and his brother formed the McBride Brothers Silk in Fullerton. It had 100 looms and made silk ribbon and employed ~60 people in 1914. John lived here with his parents; and was still here with his mother in 1929-1930 long after his father’s death.

His brother William, born in 1877, started work at age 14 as a shipping clerk, first for the Catasauqua Manufacturing Co, then the Bryden Horse Show Works. In 1909 he became a partner of Harry R. Young, manufacturing Young’s Boiler Compound, and two years later partnered with his brother in the silk business in Fullerton. He married Katie L. Kleppinger in 1902, daughter of James and Mary Gemmel Kleppinger.

Address: 736 Second St

In 1930 this was the home of Harry and Margaret Bachus. Harry was an assembler. George E. Bachus also resided here, a cabinet maker.

Address: 734 Second St
Name: Walter S. Danner

The 1953 centennial history reported Danner providing construction work including residential repairs and renovations. He moved the business here from 108 Walnut.

The 1890 directory shows this as the home of John & Mary Morrison (634 in pre-1896 numbering). A native of Mauch Chunk, Morrison came to Catasauqua in 1860 as a locomotive engineer for the Crane, later becoming yard master for the company. He fought in the Civil War as a private with Company D of the 9th PA Volunteers and later commissioned as a Second Lieutenant with the Emergency Militia prior to the fall of Lee at Gettysburg. He served several terms on borough Council. He died in 1914.

The picture to the right is of 729, 731 733 Second, circa 1898.

733 Second St:

Home of Mrs. Ellen Caroline Gilbert, widow of Edwin Gilbert who died in 1894. Ellen Gilbert was the daughter of David Tombler, who settled here in 1821, ran the old mill at Lehigh and Race and for 23 years, collected tolls on the Biery’s Port Bridge. David Tombler died in 1841 while reconstructing the Biery Bridge which had washed out during a flood that year. Tombler also owned land in East Catty, on the north side of Race which passed on to his son – the development lot plan is in the Lehigh County courthouse. Ellen attended school in the old Biery-Deily schoolhouse that was next to the creek on the Deily/George Taylor lands. She also attended the early Presbyterian Church on Church Street. She died just before the 1914 Old Home Week celebration, at which time, she was the oldest resident in town.

731 Second St was the home of Joseph Breisch, master mason at the Crane and later the Bryden. The family moved here from 213 Church St in 1909. The Breisch family was one of the original farming families here at the time the Crane was built. Born in 1852, he was the son of Charles Breisch and Christine Wimmer and was married to Jane Oldt, who died in 1938. They had a daughter Minnie (Mrs. Leo Schaffer) and sons, Edwin and Harry. 731 Second was a Schneller property.

The Breisch farmstead was located at what is now the intersection of Third and Bridge and the farm was purchased by David Thomas. Purchasing the Breisch farm was followed laying out the lots east of the Crane and eliminating a road that ran diagonally through the town. At that time, he also laid out Bridge St and a lot on the SE corner of what is now Bridge and Crane for an early Scots Irish Presbyterian Church – at that time Crane St was named Church Alley. The church lasted less than 10 years – shortly afterward, the Bridge St Presbyterian Church was built further up Bridge near Howertown Rd.

Address: 730 Second St
Name: Hudsco Cleaners

Andrew and Louise Hudsco established the business first in Fullerton in 1923, then moved the business to Front & Walnut Sts in 1927. In 1933, the business moved to the 730 Second St, expanding to 7500 sqft of cleaning plant. It specialized in unusually constructed garments that did not respond to ordinary cleaning methods. They also did tailoring and offered cold storage and remodeling for furs.

Hudsco had a fleet of trucks and a staff of 20-25 employees in the 1950s.

Andrew Hudsco learned the business as an apprentice at shops in Allentown making $ .35 an hour. After 52 years , Andrew Hudsco retired from the business in 1985 and died in 1986.

Andrew Hudsco was injured as a child by a train while picking up coal from along the tracks. He was carried home and his family bandaged his leg (it was runover by the train) as best as they could, then contemplated whether they would allow him to die or not, as the family had eight children and didn’t know if they could afford to care for him. Luckily his mother argued to keep him.

Incidentally, the coal did not fall off the rail cars by itself. Trains on the Lehigh and New England line traveled slowly through Catasauqua, and town folk would crawl up on the trains with shovels and push coal off for those on the ground to pick-up. Though there were many rich in Catasauqua, most were still very poor and had no money to buy coal to heat their homes or to cook.

Early Site History:

The 1890 directory lists Margaret, widow of Thomas, and Bella Wilson living at 630 (now 730) Second St. Prior to that it was the home of Sallie Wilson Davis and her husband Henry, who was Secretary/Treasurer of the Catasauqua Manufacturing Co.

A following history of the Wilsons of Catasauqua was shared by a descendent, Dan Wilson of Arizona State.

“At the outbreak of the Civil War, Robert Wilson had been in charge of running his father’s shoemaker shop in Catasauqua. His father had never quite recovered from a severe case of typhus that struck the family in 1859, killing Robert’s brother Joseph Wilson. The call went out for volunteers, and on August 17, 1861, he joined a group of men from Catasauqua who were to become Company C of the 46th Pennsylvania volunteers. The first captain of the company was Arnold Colt Lewis, editor of the Catasauqua Herald newspaper and descendant of the Colt revolver people. Robert Wilson enlisted and was appointed first sergeant of the company. The group assembled at Camp Curtin near Harrisburg, PA where it was formally organized as Company C of the 46th PA Vols on Sept. 1, 1861. Lewis was promoted to Major, Owen Luckenbach of Bethlehem, PA was promoted to Captain of Company C. Lewis was shot and killed by one of his own men in late September 1861 while trying to instill discipline. The 46th saw action in numerous battles including the Battle of Winchester, VA in March of 1862. Robert Wilson was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on March 4, 1862 prior to the Battle of Winchester. The 46th PA Vols were decimated in the Battle of Cedar Mountain, VA on August 9, 1862 while fighting the forces of CSA General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson. Lt. Robert Wilson was killed in action here, and presumably buried as an unknown soldier after his uniform had been stripped by battlefield scavengers, leaving him unidentified. After the War, a monument was erected in Fairview Cemetery, White Hall, PA in remembrance of the members of the 46th and 47th PA Vols from Catasauqua, and on the list of names is that of Lt. Robert Wilson.” (with some limited editing from Rootsweb)

The shoe shop was a Front & Bridge. Robert’s parents were John (died 1866) and Elizabeth (died 1879).

Robert had a sister Martha. When the first Presbyterian Church was formed in 1856, Martha Wilson was a member, and one of the few still alive in 1914. She was a teacher from 1869-1888. Her cemetery records list her as the daughter of John and Elizabeth and she was buried on the same lot as her parents, and her brother Joseph. In 1890, Martha Wilson boarded at 436 Bridge with Eliza Torrance (widow of James and sister of Martha) who was also one of the early members of the 1856 Presbyterian Church.

John likely had a brother James as per the Fairview Cemetery records. His first wife was Rachael, who died in 1852 at the age of 36. His second wife, Elizabeth, died in 1872. James died in 1879.

There was also a Frank H. Wilson from Catasauqua who served in the 47th Regiment PA Volunteer. He was a charter member of George W. Fuller Post G.A.R and was a member of the Catasauqua Knights of the Golden Eagle in 1888.

Wilson was a common name in the area. Hugh Wilson was a member of the original Craig Settlement, the first settlers in this area dating back to the late 1720s, predating the Germans. The first mill in the area was built on Catasauqua Creek in 1735 by Thomas Wilson, Hugh’s sibling.

The 1850 census lists the following family for John A. Wilson: Elizabeth (wife) and son Robert, and daughters Eliza and Martha. The 1860 census lists James (vs John) and Margaret (vs Martha). It also lists possibly his mother Elizabeth (age 75) and three borders living there, shoemakers.

Wilsons buried at Fairview Cemetery are listed below:
Wilson, Robert, d. Aug 9 1862, Lt Co C, 46th PA Volunteers, killed in action,�Cedar Mountain, VA, buried as� unknown in the field., [DW]
Wilson, Elizabeth, d. Jan 15, 1879, age: 72yr, w/o John A. Wilson, Sec 8 Lot 75, [DW]
Wilson, John A., b. 1818 Ireland, d. 1866, Sec 8 Lot 75, [DW]
Wilson, Joseph, b. Jul 7th 1836, d. Jan 7, 1860, age: 23yr 5mo 20da, s/o John A and Elizabeth Wilson, Sec 8 Lot 75, [DW]
Wilson, Martha, b. 1845, d. 1927, d/o John A. and Elizabeth Wilson, Sec 8 Lot 75, [DW]
Wilson, James, b. County Derry, Ire, d. Nov 21, 1879, age: 59yr, Sec 8 Lot 76, [DW]
Wilson, Rachel W., b. Mar 29, 1817, d. Oct 25, 1852, age: 35yr, 6mo 26da, w/o James Wilson, Sec 8 Lot 76, [DW]
Wilson, Elizabeth, d. Jul 25 1872, age: 40yr, w/o James Wilson, Sec 8 Lot 76, [DW]

Address: 728 Second St
Name: Beildelman Residence

1898 directory lists this as the residence of Dr. A. J. Becker and his wife Ella.

Address 726:

Corner of Chestnut and Second. In the late 1870s to 1887, this was the home of Jason L Miller, telegraph operator for the Jersey Central Railroad. He married Esther Baer, a school teacher and daughter of Thos Baer, the one-armed bridgeman who shot himself after making an error at the railyard resulting in a train accident and the death of a fireman and engineer. The Millers moved to Bethlehem and later to Wilkes Barre, where he was the agent for the LVRR Sayre office. In 1895, he disappeared on Easter Day, reappearing Oct 1896 with a tale of being sandbagged, losing his memory, and ending up on board an English merchant ship.

Address: 727-729 Second
Name: Greenhalgh Grocery and Residence

Address 718:

Henry Buck, Wheelwright (see 1914 history) and son Abner, teacher and principal.

Address: 715 Second St
Name: Corner Grocery
Year built: 1850
Built by: Preston Lindaman

After Lindaman, next owner was Lottie and Matthew Webber. Matthew was a horseshoe worker and his wife Lottie ran the grocery. , then William Dougherty who operated the store for 34 years. Philip Grischott bought the business in 1951, running the store as Grischott’s Grocery.

Address 714:

William J. and Elizabeth R. Matchette, and their children Paul (clerk), Helen (salesman), Edgar (student) circa 1929/1930. William was a horseshoe worker. This may have been the home of John and Adeline E. Machette in 1890, who ran a restaurant in West Catty above the depot.

Address: 712 Second St
Year built: 1850
Name: Wilson/McKeever

There were several McKeever families in Catasauqua, and unfortunately there were many with the same name making it difficult to identify who was related to who. The earliest record for a McKeever in Catasauqua was Neil, who was one of the original members of the fire department established by the Crane in 1854. The 1890 directory lists McKeevers living here on Second, on Mulberry north of Howertown, at 17, 21, 23, and 114 Wood St, and at 25 Front St.

The 1890 directory places this as the home of John & Lizzie McKeever, John being an engineer. The 1929-1930 directory lists this as the residence of Robert E. McKeever, a bookkeeper; John R., a music teacher; Estella, a teacher here in Catty and secretary of the school board in 1914; and Elizabeth, widow of John. The 1940 census lists Estella, Robert and Mary A. as being siblings sharing a residence.

Other Site History
The property was originally part of the Faust farm. The 1876 map shows this residence as being owned by J. Wilson. This was likely James and Elizabeth Wilson. James Wilson was elected as one of the boroughs first school directors upon incorporation in 1851.

Fairview cemetery records:
Wilson, Elizabeth, d. Jul 25 1872, age: 40yr, w/o James Wilson, Sec 8 Lot 76, [DW]
Wilson, James, b. County Derry, Ire, d. Nov 21, 1879, age: 59yr, Sec 8 Lot 76, [DW]

Address 711 Second:

Home of the Bachman family, Ammon and Clara, and daughters Helen and Marie in 1930. Ammon Bachman ran Star Electric Co, first at Front and Cheery, then here at 709 Second. He was the son of Edwin and Priscilla Bachman who moved to Catasauqua in 1882 from Lehigh Township and had 11 children.

Address: 701 Second – NE corner of Walnut and Second
Name: Immanuel Evangelical Church/Bethany Bible Fellowship
Year built: 1868
Built by: Congregation building committee: Owen Swartz, Charles G. Schneller, William Michael, Aron Glick, David Tombler

Before constructing this church, Evangelicals worshipped for 20 years in a small brick meeting house on a triangular lot on Howertown Rd below Mulberry, with a small adjoining cemetery. Funds to build the earlier church were donated by members of the community outside the congregation; but by 1868, the congregation had grown and was able to acquire the land and build the structure which stands here today.

By 1891, the church had grown to a congregation of 800, when factional elements caused a split in the congregation, and many members joined St John’s United Evangelical Church at Walnut and Limestone. The church never recovered completely, though in 1904 they built a new parsonage (next door) and added a Sunday School.

In 1962, the building was purchased by the Bethany Bible Fellowship (which in 1959 had also purchased St John’s) and renovated the building to include a gym and areas for classrooms and social gatherings.(Currently a private residence)

Address: 618 Second @ Walnut
Name: Second Street School
Year built: 1868 or 1859?

Currently Candy Cane Playground, this was the location of the original Catasauqua ‘High School’ before the high school was moved to Howertown Road in 1912. It was also the first public secondary school in Lehigh County. Though referred to as a high school, the course work offered was not graded above grammar school level until 1911 when the curriculum was overhauled to provide a four year course of study including courses other than the 3Rs. By that time a high school was built on Howertown Road, and the Upper Second St School became an elementary school. From 1912 until 1961, the school building was used as an elementary school.

There were also residences below & beside the school on Walnut that no longer exist and the school apparently rented rooms above the main floor, as the 1890 directory lists 618 Second as the home address of many boarders, including a few teachers.

The school building and property was transferred in 1963 to the borough of Catasauqua, who razed it and paved the lot for recreational use. In 1990 a playground was completed and the park named Candy Cane Playground. The playground facilities were refreshed in 2010.
Note the Philip Storm residence (626 Second St) in the background across Walnut St from the playground on the right side of the picture and the Presbyterian Church and Manse on the left, catty corner to the park.

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