Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Easton Honors Individuals, Businesses for Perseverance

By Christina Georgiou

About 125 people, all long-time Easton residents and business owners, gathered at the Sigal Museum Tuesday evening for an awards ceremony held by the city to honor those that have aided in the economic and cultural successes the urban area is currently enjoying.

Easton Mayor Sal Panto, emcee of the event, praised the efforts and drive of the award recipients, which included 56 businesses and 27 individuals, noting they persevered when the city was suffering from blight and suburban flight.

"We are ever so fortunate to celebrate the many new businesses and restaurants coming to our city, and we should celebrate their arrival.  However, tonight we are here to honor those that stayed, those businesses that have made Easton their home for more than 20 years.  Tonight we honor those businesses and individuals who have seen the best times and, unfortunately, the worst of times, for our city.

"To the individuals who stayed, and to the individuals that stopped the demolition, we wish we could give you more than a certificate, but know that we deeply appreciate what you all have done for Easton," Panto added.

Panto said the drive to save Easton from the devastating effects of the federal government's "urban renewal" projects was not universal, and many gave up, but those that didn't are responsible for the preservation of numerous city landmarks that residents and visitors enjoy so much today, such as the State Theatre and the Bachman Publick House.

"There were Hollywood companies that wanted to take (the State Theatre) apart piece by piece, because it really is beautiful," he said. "But the amazing thing is, it wasn't the most beautiful theater in Easton. There were seven others."

The others were all destroyed during the urban renewal period, but involved, concerned citizens managed to buy the State Theatre for $25,000, form a non-profit group, and eventually restore it, he said.

Antonia Mitman talks about
her efforts, with others, to
stop the demolition of the
State Theatre and other
buildings in Easton.
"No one thought we could do it," he said. "It was a time of conflict and disagreement.  It was a time when Easton was trying to react to the flight to the suburbs by trying, although unsuccessfully, to turn itself into a suburb."

Antonia Mitman, who was part of the group that worked toward that goal, said she got involved after her mother, tired of hearing her complain what was going on, told her to do something about it.

"It wasn't the most popular thing," she said, adding that Easton's success in fighting urban renewal and its effects is an anomaly. "Stories like this are uncommon. There are so many cities in America that are dying on the vine."

Timothy Hare, received special recognition Tuesday evening
for his efforts towards preserving historic buildings in Easton,
including the Quadrant.
Architect Timothy Hare, also honored last evening, who worked to save the Quadrant and other Easton buildings from the wrecking ball, said he did it because although he was a newcomer at the time, he felt the city was beautiful and unique, and didn't want to see it destroyed.

"I saw Easton the way it could be," he said.

Easton Longevity Award recipients:
(for businesses in the city for 20 years or longer)
  • Wolper Subscriptions, 20 years
  • Connexions, 23 years
  • Marie’s Dance Studio,  25 years
  • Antonio’s, 26 years
  • Panche, 26 years
  • The Strand, 28 years
  • American Printing Unlimited, 29 years
  • 42 North Second Street, 30 years
  • W-Graphics, 30 years
  • Mother’s, 30 years
  • Josie’s New York Deli, 31 years
  • Aura Ceramics, 32 years
  • Joe Parsons
  • Investment Advisors Management, 35 years
  • Quadrant Books, 35 years
  • Elliott and Elliott, 35 years
  • Wawa, 36 years
  • McDonald’s, 36 years
  • Nature’s Way, 38 years
  • Lafayette Bar and Hotel, 38 years
  • Genesis Bikes, 39 years
  • Angelo’s Restaurant, 40 years
  • EPA Title Company, 40 years
  • Lewis and Walters, 42 years
  • Utopia, 44 years
  • Industrial Communications, 47 years
  • White Singer Sewing, 50 years
  • Leo’s Barber Shop, 52 years
  • Monarch Furniture, 61 years
  • New York Tailor, 61 years
  • Joe’s Market and Deli, 62 years
  • Colonial Pizza, 65 years
  • Jack n’ Jill Studio, 66 years
  • Easton Café, 68 years
  • The London Shop, 74 years
  • Emmanuel Travel, 78 years
  • Luco’s, 78 years
    Members of the Bassil family, owners of the Carmelcorn Shop, pose for a
    photo with Easton Mayor Sal Panto, after receiving recognition for the
    shop's longevity.
  • Carmelcorn Shop, 82 years
  • Easton Upholstery, 87 years
  • Kaplan’s Awnings, 90 years
  • Kressler Wolff and Miller, 90 years
  • Lauter’s Furniture, 98 years
  • Halpin’s Garage, 99 years
  • Prudential Paul Ford Realtors, 100 years
  • Herster, Newton and Murphy, 110 years
  • The Express-Times, 158 years

Easton Award recipients:

(for preservation of The Bachman Publick House)
  • Robert Butow
  • Nancy Summerill Butow
  • James J. Chester
  • Marianina Savoia
  • Bob and Karen Doerr  (and Phoenix Fire House restoration)

(for preservation of The State Theatre)
  • Richard Wolff
  • Ken Klabunde
  • Charlie Smith
  • Gail Brogan
  • Andy Daub
  • Lee Grifo
  • Nancy Sanquist
  • Pat Marhefka  (deceased)
  • Dick Cornish  (deceased
  • Antonia Mitman

Honored for their participation in the "Historic Easton Movement":
("The rebels of the 80s")
  • Dale Falcinelli
  • Mary Koch
  • Steve Glickman
  • Paul Felder
  • Jeff Gilbert
  • Oliver Andes
  • Karl Stirner
  • John Cappellano
  • Bryant Matyger
Special recognition:
  • Timothy George Hare
  • Former Mayor Phil Mitman


  1. Sadly, I must note, that Easton Is Home Publications was overlooked in the awards. When The Easton Christmas Book was first published in the early 1970's, downtown Easton was at its lowest point with boarded up buildings, dirty sidewalks and a dingy appearance. The store by store profiles listed in the Easton Christmas Book played a huge part in creating awareness of Downtown Easton as a place to shop and visit. It is still being published today with the same aim: to create awareness of downtown Easton businesses. The 1996 arrival of Easton Is Home, the monthly arts magazine, furthered the aim of the Christmas Book and has fostered awareness of downtown Easton as a place f or the arts. Jim Hicks and I wrote the montly newspaper one article at a time when no one believ4d in Downtown Easton or knew anything about an arts scene evolving. We hyped the downtown scene along with gallery owner Deborah Rabinsky, touting the "throngs" of people coming out to art happenings when only a few dedicated individuals were actually on hand. The constant positive news about Easton created a climate of belief in Downtown Easton's inherent good features. I doubt that Downtown Easton would be in the postion it is in today without those articles and the constant stream of positive information about the City of Easton. Activists Bob & Phyllis Johnson, Terrance Hand, Dennis Leib, and countless others who tirelessly have helped the City grow were similarly left out of the praise for the City's rennaissance as were the many many volunteers who show up at most events to help put on a City event and without whom there would be no events. People like Nelda Barron, Joe and Pamalee LaDuca and others should also be recognized for their quiet contributions to the successful turn around the City has made. It is gratifying to see those who have been recognized, but there are so many more to add to the "Easton Hall of Fame".
    Carole J. Heffley
    Carole J. Heffley

  2. so true. When I came to Easton, 1982, the arts scene, the Irregular and later ACE ~ The Arts Community of Easton's events fed the spirits of the believers. I agree about Pamelee LaDuca and add Kim Robertson, who worked at that time as a framer at the 3rd Street Frame Gallery; also add Pat Eibes. Nelda Barron I met later, when she worked at the Bachmann Tavern, after returning from a stint in Miami, working for a Floridian Congressman, but she also has been drum majorette for the city. No doubt kudos to other long-time Easton residents. What a great place to live and a nice way to celebrate those who stayed. thanks for the write-up.