Eugene A. Spall owned and operated a fashionable men's clothing store in downtown Hawley, Pa. for 25 years. His store was located at 329 Main Avenue, on the first floor of Teeters' Furniture building.
HAWLEY - Eugene A. Spall owned and operated a fashionable men’s clothing store in downtown Hawley, Pa. for 25 years. His store was located at 329 Main Avenue, on the first floor of Teeters’ Furniture building.
A news item in The Citizen, a Honesdale paper, dated August 25,1911, announced Spall’s plans. He was preparing to move into the space that had been used as the Hawley post office, on the corner with Church Street.
Spall was the grandfather of attorney John Spall, who is presently chairman of the board of the Wallenpaupack Area School District. He said that his grandfather was active in the community, and served on the board of the 1st National Bank of Hawley.
E.A. Spall (as he was known) carried the clothing of Hart Schaffer & Marx, manufacturer of luxury men’s suits. Dating to 1887, the American clothier is still in operation. Attorney Spall said that his grandfather also carried Stetson hats. This old company (1865) is well known for its fedoras and western style ”cowboy” hats.
An advertisement for E. A. Spall from 1927 listed,”Clothing and Gents’ Furnishings… International and Kirschbaum Clothing.”
Returned from Montana
Eugene Alfonso Spall was born in Hawley on August 16, 1877. His parents were from Germany. His father’s name was Julius Spall.
The 1900 census lists him as single, 22; no occupation was given. He stayed with his sister Emma and her husband, Charles G. Warthling, a locomotive engineer. Their home was on 18th Street (Main Avenue).
At some point by 1910, E. A. Spall was married to Delia (Gibbons) and together, made their home in Montana. The 1910 census listed him as a farmer in Carbon County, Montana. He was 33; Delia was 35. Three of their five children were born in Montana: Eugenia, Rose and William. They resided with P. M. Gibbons, who also farmed; Flynn Gibbons and Mary Gibbons.
Spall and his family moved back to Hawley, where, as was mentioned, he made plans to open the clothing store in 1911.
Encounter with robber
The post office had been located in the Teeters building from 1897 to 1906. Spall became a witness to an attempted burglary at the post office, October 25,1898. The story was related in the Hawley column in The Scranton Republican (explanatory comments are added in brackets):
“An attempt was made Tuesday night to burglarize the post office at this place. Shortly after 11 o'clock Eugene Spall and C. S. Teeter were coming up Sixteenth street [Church Street] and when near the office saw a man emerging from the yard in the rear of the office.
“The quick eye of Mr. Teeter perceiving something wrong, he stepped into his house nearby for a gun while Mr. Spall remained outside. Spall was held at bay with a revolver until the burglar saw an opportunity to run, when his pal was seen and the two took refuge in the rear of the new buildings on the opposite side of the street.
[The brick buildings across the street, next to the Hotel Belvidere were constructed following an inferno in 1898.]
“Some neighbors were aroused and well armed began a search but the desperadoes had made good their escape. A pane of glass had been removed when the operators were frightened away. It would have been a fruitless job had they succeeded in entering the building as no stamps or money are kept in the office over night.”
In the same column was a report that burgers had entered Guinn Bros. hardware store the night of October 23. Five revolvers and a quantity of cartridges were taken.
The columnist added, “Robberies are becoming altogether too frequent in Hawley, and it is high time detectives were put to work to bring the depredators to a speedy retribution.”
Spall’s store was the scene of a burglary in 1915.
The Scranton Republican reported that on April 9 that two men from Dunmore had confessed to the crime. The burglars were charged with stealing nine suits and three traveling bags valued at $200. Judge Alonzo Searle presided in Wayne County Court, where the one of the two men were sentenced to five to 10 years in the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The other man was sent to the Huntingdon reformatory.
The man that was sent to state prison had made an unsuccessful attempt to force his way out of the Wayne County Jail a few nights before his sentence was handed down.
We learn from a news item in The Citizen, July 11, 1913, that E.A. Spall must have been a good cook.
A group of journeymen glass blowers from Hawley had what was known as Red Onion Camp at Fairview Lake, a popular summer destination in Pike County for many people from the Hawley and the surrounding area. The news item said that the glass blowers had installed Eugene A. Spall as their chef. It appears their main fare was fish; the Red Opinion campers were known for their fishing abilities.
They vacationed at Fairview Lake during the time the local glass companies were shut down for the hot summer season.
The 1920 census lists their address as 409 Main Avenue. Eugene and Delia had five children at home, Eugenia, 12; Rosemary,10; William, 9; Gerald, 6 and Leo, 4.
He continued to operate the clothing store until 1936. No occupation was listed for him in the 1940 census. In the 1941 street directory, his store address was being utilized by Joseph J. Spall, for a barbershop.
The Spalls had a vacation home at Lake Teedyuskung, just a few miles out of Hawley.
Spall was a member of St. Philomenia’s Roman Catholic Church and a charter member of the Knights of Columbus.
Eugene A. Spall died July 13, 1957 at Wayne Memorial Hospital. He had been admitted the day before, with heart trouble. He was 79.
His daughter Eugenia was a school teacher in Hawley for 47 years.
Her sister Rosemary was a beautician in Hawley and had her shop in the old homestead.
Paula Kuzmiak, of Hawley, recalled that neither ever married. She said that Eugenia was her first grade teacher, and also taught Paula’s two children. Paula had also worked in a beauty parlor, and after the two Spall sisters retired, she would go in their home a couple times of year to give them permanents. She said they were both sweet ladies. She would enjoy talking with them about old times in Hawley.
Attorney Spall recalled that his Uncle Bill became a credit manager for General Motors. His Uncle Jerry was a manager for Hershey Ice Cream in Atlantic City.
Leo Spall, the attorney’s father, was a metal fabricator at Tobyhanna Army Depot.
Leo was also a World War II veteran and an avid musician.
Vintage newspapers at Fultonhistory.com
U.S. census, etc., at Ancestry.com (Hawley Public Library)