Dedicated October 29, 1994
Joe Boyle Made A Difference
It happened again and again, for over 60 years. It happened at high school athletic games, at meetings of the Lions, V.F.W., Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Borough Council, and Y.M.C.A. For decades it happened in the Mauch Chunk Times News
and The Times News
. Members of St. Joseph's Catholic Church saw it first hand.
From his effort to unify Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk to his participation in plans to celebrate Carbon County's sesquicentennial, Joe Boyle consistently made a difference. As news editor and reporter, as town councilman, as faithful member of his church, as member and officer of civic organizations, as community organizer and visionary, Joe Boyle affected countless lives. For his enthusiasm, dedication, and love of community, he deserves the thanks of thousands.
[Photo caption] Joseph L. Boyle - legendary newsman
Joseph L. Boyle (1915-1992)
"Reverend Msgr. John Chizmar of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church said it all ... for all of us. 'Joe made a difference,' he eulogized. 'He saw a Need
and took the initiative to fill it; he gave Encouragement
his journalistic talents; he Worked
hard for what he believed in ; and he received Satisfaction
in seeing people fulfilled. The first letters of those four words (Need, Encouragement, Work and Satisfaction) spell news. This was all part of his life, and the lives of the many people he met and touched.'
Simple words about a simple uncomplicated man.
Yet, a publisher, editor, author, photographer, teacher, philosopher, philanthropist, humanitarian, historian ... and most assuredly, a kind, honorable and decent person. A friend to all mankind.
In passing our way, Joe became an important part of our world. A world which will remember him with love and warm personal affection ... always.
Because he shared his life, his love, his hopes and his dreams with us he made a difference in our lives, our love, our hopes and our dreams.
It's true Joe.
You touched our lives and made a difference.
Such a very big difference.
God bless you."
Warren E. Siegmond
A Novel Solution
After World War II, prosperity resided elsewhere. In Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk too many remained unemployed. To raise money to lure factories to town, Joe Boyle helped organize the grass roots "Nickel-a-Week"
campaign. He also hoped to merge the two towns to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Until 1953, the contributed nickels continued to add up but the industrialists stayed away and the separatists had their way.
Then Joe Boyle seized upon a novel opportunity. When the widow of Olympic champion, Jim Thorpe, came to town looking for a place to bury her husband, an agreement was reached. In return for promises of publicity, tourism, and a specialized heart and cancer hospital, the two Mauch Chunks merged, changed their name to Jim Thorpe, PA., and used the nickels to build a mausoleum for Thorpe's body.
Two towns became one and Jim Thorpe became the most famous non-resident of Carbon County.
[Photo captions read] Jim Thorpe All American - Olympic Champion
Jim Boyle visits final resting place of All-American athlete Jim Thorpe.
Readers of The Times News
came to expect it. In every April 1 edition, among the paper's serious news, editor and reporter Joe Boyle planted a well researched practical joke. Clues to the verity of the facts often rested with key players in the story, like reporter E.I. Lasti whose name spells "It's a lie" when written backwards. Boyle, of course, always admitted
the trick at the end of the article.
With appropriate irony, however, several of these seemingly far-fetched ideas have come true. Twenty-one years after Boyle's 1953 prediction of a large dam on Mauch Chunk Creek, officials dedicated the Mauch Chunk Lake Park. The major motion picture about the Molly Maguires that he reported in 1965 hit the big screen just four years later. Boyle's jokes, it seems, are no laughing matter.
[Photo caption] Jim Boyle at work
Dam Across Mauch Chunk Creek
In a story about a fictional lake formed by a dam across the Mauch Chunk Creek, Boyle wrote, "the impounded body of water might be used as a major source of consumer supply," or used "as a lake area for the recreation and enjoyment of tourists visiting the Switzerland of America." By also explaining the dam's use in flood control, Boyle accurately described the major purposes of the Mauch Chunk Creek Watershed Project begun in 1972.
Mauch Chunk Lake Park is now one of the most important recreational areas in Carbon County and hosts swimming, boating, camping, fishing, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, and cross country skiing.
[Photo caption] Sailing and swimming are only two of the many activities possible at
Mauch Chunk Lake Park.
Molly Maguire Film
In a 1965 April Fool's Day story, Boyle predicted the production of a major motion picture about the secret Irish-American society, the Molly Maguires. Making use of the county court house, jail, and local residences, the film promised to capitalize on the "community's quaint charm and its unique history."
Just four years after Boyle's story, Paramount Studios released "The Molly Maguires" with Richard Harris, Sean Connery, and Samantha Eggar in starring roles.
[Image caption] Historic Molly Maguire trial
Mine Museum Project
Citing tourism as an important tool in economic prosperity, Boyle's 1982 story announced plans to develop a mine museum in Lansford. "If this succeeds to the extent that we contemplate, it will mark the beginning of a new era of prosperity for this economically hard-hit region," said a fictional promoter in Boyle's story.
Today, visitors to the Wash Shanty Mine Museum are introduced to the difficult and dangerous occupation of the men who worked coal shaft No. 9 in Lansford and
to the vanished lifestyle of their families.
[Photo caption] The Wash Shanty Mine Museum in 1994
Train Museum Project
In 1984, Lehighton's "long and storied past as a railroad center" prompted Boyle to create an April Fool's tale that included not only a rail museum but also train excursions, a dining car restaurant, and a motel of cabooses. Destined to be a "major tourist attraction," this "mammoth Railroad Exhibition Complex" loomed "as a sure-fire economic boost" to the local community.
The Pocono Museum Unlimited fulfills the vision in miniature. "O" scale trains, running over thousands of feet of track, weave among forests of trees and hundreds of buildings, including an operating amusement park. Day turns to night. Clouds complete with thunder and rain add a touch of reality to this tiny railroad landscape.
[Photo caption] Scenic train museum in Lehighton