Lantern Walk Flooded With Customers

October 23, 2012 at 10:08 PM

             A crisp fall evening made for perfect conditions for a near record crowd at the 5th Annual DuBois Area Historical Society Spirit of DuBois Lantern Walk, held on Oct. 13. They were treated to a remembrance of DuBois’ worst natural disaster, the flood of 1972.

            “One hundred and sixty-four people took the Lantern Walk, including people from Pittsburgh and Lancaster,” said Tom Schott, chair of the walk. “This was our second best attended Lantern Walk, trailing only the first walk in 2008. The DuBois Area Historical Society would like to thank the YMCA for providing the starting point for the walk and all the people who chose to attend and learn about the community’s history.”

            The 1972 Hurricane Agnes Flood caused a great deal of damage in DuBois and was a factor in releasing state funding to complete the current flood control project. The tour went through a portion of the City Park, which was under four feet of water in 1972, and the adjoining “flats” neighborhood area prone to bad flooding and one that it is quite interesting because of its ethnic mixture.

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Mike Gressler (left), Tara and Shawn Deemer (right)

            Guided by a DuBois Area Historical Society leader with a lantern, the tours encountered nine “Spirits,” who spoke about the flood or the “flats” neighborhood. Performing as “Spirits” were:  Mike Gressler as Mayor “Gamey” Showers; Shawn and Tara Deemer as Arthur and Lillian Lachovsky, two visitors from Michigan who had to spend the night at the Methodist Church during the flood; Tom Shade as a hobo living in the City Park area once known as “Bum’s Jungle”; Dave Clark as the Carnival Employee; Carolyn Rhoades as Susie the sucker fish, who became lost during the flood while on a field trip with her “school”; Ben Hayes and Noah Orner, who recalled their ancestors, who worked in the Miles & Company building, now the Parkview Professional Center; Pam August as Janet, an employee at PT/Riverside during the flood; Sarah Whitaker as a young girl going to buy a pan of spaghetti from Ann Suplizio in the “flats”; Mel Amrhein as a “flats” resident at the statue marking the high water mark of the flood; and Beecher Klingensmith as the Y-Guy, recalling the history of the DuBois YMCA.

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Dave Clark (left) and Tom Shade (right)

            Adding to the event was a stop at the Suplizio family home where family members, led by DuBois City Manager Herm Suplizio, distributed hot apple cider and popcorn. He also presented each participant with a commemorative bag from the City of DuBois, which featured the theme and date of the Lantern Walk. Returning to the YMCA, the participants could have their fill of donated food including bread from Calliari’s Bakery, butter from Beaver Meadow Creamery, donuts from Scotty’s Donuts, and cookies made by historical society members.

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Carolyn Rhoades (left) and Noah Orner and Ben Hayes (right)

            Leading the tours were Todd Thompson, Galen Kilmer, Paul Bojalad, and Todd Shindledecker. Accompanying the tours were Jeanne Hayes, Jerry Watson, Susie Shaffer, and Gene Aravich.

            The script for the 2012 Spirit of DuBois Lantern Walk was researched and written by members of the events planning committee:  Gene Aravich, Jean Hayes, Galen Kilmer, Beecher Klingensmith, Ginny Schott, Tom Schott, and Todd Thompson. Also serving on the committee was historical society President Ruth Gregori.

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Pam August (left) and Sarah Whitaker (right)

            Helping at the YMCA were:  Dave Beer, Nellie Beer, Pinky Kalinowski, Linda Riccadonna, Cherie Shannon, and DuBois Area High School student Veronica Alicea.

            The winners of the Chinese auction held in conjunction with the Lantern Walk were Leah Green, Patrick Pomeroy, Ruth Pearce, Bridget Rubritz, Cindy Siverling, Gail Zuffall, and Susan Thompson.

            “The DuBois Area Historical Society is excited by the support this annual event has received from the community,” said Tom Schott. “We plan to have the walk again in 2013 with the theme to be 125 Years:  The Great Fire of 1888. The date for the walk will be announced next year.”

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Mel Amrhein (left) and Beecher Klingensmith (right) 

           The DuBois Area Historical Society will conclude its 30th anniversary year activities on Tuesday, November 13, when Scott Shaffer will speak about “Archeological Findings in the DuBois Area.” The presention at 7 p.m. in the E. D. Reitz Museum, 28 W. Long Ave., DuBois, is free and open to the public.

Category: News