NANTICOKE’S MILLIONAIRE’S ROW
If Nanticoke ever had a “Millionaire’s Row,” it would have been E. State Street in the 1920’s and 1930’s where many of the city merchants built their beautiful homes. Walk down the street today and you can still see evidence of the opulence of the era when the Susquehanna Coal Company was the main source of income and all business revolved around it like a perpetually rotating roulette wheel.
The wheel was never supposed to stop. But when the mines closed and there were few back up industries prepared to take its place, commerce slowly faded and moved out of town. Older businessmen retired and died off, but they left a fleeting glimpse of themselves in the homes they once occupied.
Kingsbury | Powell | Friedman | Caradoc Rees | Shelly
Dr. Dana W. Kingsbury, one of Nanticoke’s more prominent physicians occupied this house between 1891 and 1942, the year of his death. The left wing of the building became Dr. Kingsbury’s office; the bush obscures where the entrance door once stood.
Nanticoke contractor George Powell resided at 161 State Street in 1927. Powell was also a director of the Nanticoke National Bank, Susquehanna Lumber Company and the Nanticoke Construction Company. Powell died in 1950.
Alfred M. Friedman lived at 163 State Street. He opened Al’s Men’s Shop in 1925 and it became a fixture of the downtown business district. He was still in business in the 1970’s. Like most of the Nanticoke merchants, Friedman was a member of several social organizations and lodges, including the Masons, Knights of Pythias and Jr. Mechanics.
The Caradoc Rees house was at 320 E. State Street. Rees opened his construction business in 1909 and built many of the streets in Nanticoke, as well as local major highways, including paving a portion of the Lackawanna Trail. Rees suffered a double tragedy in 1930 when his son, Caradoc, Jr. was killed in an auto accident and shortly thereafter when his wife passed away from pneumonia
The James F. Shelly residence, demolished decades ago, stood at the intersection of State and Chestnut Streets. Shelly purchased the residence in 1899. In 1919, he was listed as a “timber inspector.” Shelly may not have been a millionaire, but he sure lived in one heck of a house. This view is from the bottom of the Chestnut Street incline, which was deemed too steep for travel and was vacated by the city.
Shelly died in 1933; the residence was eventually replaced by this ranch style house.