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Showing posts from November, 2014

The Strange Connection Between Bucknell University and the RMS Titanic

Bucknell University sits on a verdant rural hill in the historic river town of Lewisburg, and has a rich tradition dating back to 1846, when a school known as the University at Lewisburg was founded by a group of Baptists from nearby White Deer Valley. It was the alma mater of many notable persons, such as CBS president Les Moonves, novelist Philip Roth and Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson, whose name adorns the university's stadium.

Highly regarded for its academic excellence, Bucknell now has an endowment in excess of $720 million; however, the school's future seemed very dim in 1881. That year, teetering on the brink of financial disaster, the University at Lewisburg turned to a charter member of its board of trustees for support. That man was William Bucknell, wealthy real estate broker and builder of gas and water works. Bucknell's donation of $50,000 allowed the university to survive and the institution was renamed in his honor.

For the eerie connection between …

A Cat's Funeral and a Philadelphia Mystery

In April of 1882, a crowd of mourners gathered in Philadelphia to pay their last respects to one of the city's most beloved citizens. However, the dearly departed was neither a man, woman, nor child-- but a cat. Tom, the furry feline celebrity, was laid out in a handsome coffin and buried in the dirt cellar of the Howland & Co. department store on Market Street.

Today, the spot where Howland & Co. once stood is remembered by Philly residents as the site of the historic Bond Hotel, which was demolished in 1990. It was first called the Vendig Hotel at the time of its completion in 1893, and served as the depot hotel for the Reading Terminal, with its main entrance facing Filbert St.

Unfortunately, records of the era do not mention whatever became of Tom's remains when the Howland & Co. store was torn down to make way for the new hotel. Surely, construction workers would've been surprised to discover a coffin while digging the foundation for the hotel. Whatever hap…

The Ghost of Adam Volkovitch

In the early hours of the 14th of August, 1887, a gruesome crime was committed just outside the city of Wilkes-Barre. It was a crime so cold-blooded and heartless in nature that, for several weeks, it became the hot topic of conversation for much of the eastern United States.

On a Friday afternoon, a well-dressed stranger, sporting a gold pocket watch and chain, appeared in the village of Miner's Mills, about three miles from Wilkes-Barre (a neighborhood that is presently Scott Street in Plains Township). The wealthy stranger entered a tavern owned by a man named Fenton and asked for directions to the house of Adam Volkovitch, explaining that he was an old acquaintance. Volkovitch received his friend with open arms and for the rest of the weekend the two men were seen palling around the city of Wilkes-Barre, drinking at taverns all over town and having a good time. The stranger was introduced by Volkovitch as an old childhood friend named Stanislaus Bioski.

Late Saturday night, Vo…