Forgotten by Time

By Jake Baldini

A small town in northeast Pennsylvania, like many others has prospered and withered throughout the last century. By recognizing values of the past I question social change and hope for better development. Bangor Pennsylvania 2013- 2015. These images were shot on film and digitally processed.

Cemeteries of the Slate Belt

By Herman Ortega

While taking photographs for another project, I noticed many of the required subjects were cemeteries. Most of these photographs were taken on an overcast day with a light snow fall which lent itself to the overall atmosphere I was trying to capture. Cemeteries are an important part of our heritage. They are a lasting reminder of what has come before and paint a clear picture of the finality of life. Black and white was chosen to invoke the somber mood often associated with cemeteries.

Pen Argyl’s Cobbler, John Marcon

By Matthew Tyler Giobbi

A Life Devoted to Creatures, Great & Small

By Matthew Giobbi

At the age of five, Dr. Greg Leck became aware of his calling to the practice of veterinary medicine. During adolescence he was working at a local veterinary hospital, and he eventually graduated from the prestigious Cornell Veterinary College. Having served the animals of the Slate Belt for over two decades, in 2012 Dr. Leck founded the Leck Veterinary Hospital in the historic railroad station on Pennsylvania Avenue in Pen Argyl. Spending time with Dr. Leck, one finds a passionate and dedicated medical professional who strives to provide matchless and compassionate care to all creatures, great and small.

Wind Gap Flea Market

By Jamie Ratchford & Christopher Minnich

Each weekend, shoppers come to explore the Wind Gap Flea Market, delighting in nostalgic treasures and unique handcrafted gifts. As the holiday shopping season begins, vendors fill their booths with a wide array of items hoping to catch the attention of a passerby. Browsing through was a lovely way to spend a cold winter afternoon.

Appalachian Trail, Passing Through Wind Gap

By Matthew Giobbi

Last week the Slate Belt’s own Christopher Minnich & Jamie Ratchford presented their photoessay on thru-hiking the 2,185 mile Appalachian Trail. This week we present images of their passing though Wind Gap, Pennsylvania on July 18th of this summer. The couple is photographed here while hiking from Smith’s Gap & entering into town where they were greeted by family & friends.

Pen Argyl Green Knight Marching Band

By Matthew Giobbi

The Pen Argyl Green Knight Marching Band has completed the 2014-2015 season with their halftime performance at the Pen Argyl versus Bangor football game. Musical Director Tim Reiche and Color Guard Instructor Brittany Moloughney have cultivated a band with a strong sense of camaraderie, commitment, and school spirit. The dedicated musicians packed a powerful sound and a well polished show.


Tolino Family Vineyards

By Matthew Giobbi, Christopher Minnich, & Jamie Ratchford

The shale soils of Eastern Pennsylvania provide ideal growing conditions for vinifera wine grapes.  Tolino Vineyards of the Slate Belt grow a variety of European and European-American hybrid grapes. Family owned and operated since 2007, they are featured as a destination on both the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Wine Trails.

The Land of Oz: Bangor Elks’ Halloween Parade

By Herman Ortega

On Thursday October 17th, the Bangor Elks held their annual Halloween parade. The theme for this year’s parade was The Land of Oz, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. The cool weather and occasional sprinkle did not dampen the spirits of the spectators.

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Heritage Trades Day at Bethel Park, Bangor

By Matthew Giobbi

Traditional Slate Belt craftsman trades were demonstrated at Bethel Park in Bangor, Pennsylvania on Saturday. Trades displayed included slate splitting, blacksmithing, and decorative marbleizing of slate. Bethel Park will be the future display site of a working quarry hoist, manufactured in 1900 by the Flory Manufacturing Company & donated by the Dally Slate Company of Pen Argyl.

Bangor High School Band at Easton Festival

By Herman Ortega

On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, Bangor Slater Marching Band participated in Easton’s annual First Flag Over the United Colonies Band Festival. Under the direction of Mr. Eric Hahn, the band took home Superior ratings in marching, music and general effect along with awards for Best Music and Best Percussion. This year’s field show, “Shades of Latin”, includes Malaguena, Santana’s “Novus”, and Chuck Mangione’s “Land of Make Believe”. The band has traveled and performed in venues around the globe, including Wales, and most recently at Disney World in April of 2014.

Inside the Butcher Shop: The DeFranco Family Tradition

By Matthew Giobbi

A Slate Belt treasure, J. DeFranco & Daughters Catering & butcher shop has been serving the Slate Belt communities since 1926. Joe & wife Joelene prepare custom and traditional Italian cuisine. Spending time inside the DeFranco butcher shop is like spending time with family. While Joe cooks, the air is filled with herbs, olive oil, meats, and stories of growing up in the shop. A collection of Joe’s tales has been published in a book Growing Up in the Butcher Shop.

The “Homefront” Heritage Mural Dedication, Pen Argyl

By Herman Ortega

The Heritage Mural Program honored local World War II veterans today. The latest mural in the program, “Homefront”, depicts the troop trains that once ran through Pen Argyl Pennsylvania shuttling military personnel. Mentioned by one of the veterans, 46 Pen Argyl boys went to war and all 46 returned home. Of the veterans depicted in the mural, Donald Jones, Morris Metz, and Berdell Hontz were present to speak and receive citations from Pen Argyl Mayor Mikal Sabatine. Members of the Warriors’ Watch Riders were on hand to escort the veterans to the dedication and also to give them each a commemorative coin as a thank you for their service to our country.

The Bangor Park “Bintz” Swimming Pool

By Matthew Giobbi

The public swimming pool in Bangor, Pennsylvania was constructed in 1937 by Wesley Bintz designers. The design is in the Art Moderne Style. The pool was demolished in 1996. The images of the Bintz swimming pool, made by an unknown photographer, are part of the Library of Congress’s Prints & Photographs Division. The last 3 images of the current Bangor Park Pool were taken by Matthew Giobbi.

A Café at The Heart of a Renaissance

By Matthew Giobbi

Located in the center of Pen Argyl, Pies To Die For Cafe has quickly become the meeting spot of choice for old friends, artists, community and business leaders. The cafe has a horror cinema theme and is home to the Heritage “Homefront” mural. On our visit, owners Anthony & Jennifer Brocato were hosting a film night.

Young Farmers at the 69th Blue Valley Farm Show

By Matthew Giobbi

The 69th Blue Valley Farm Show featured some young, award-winning farmers. These youngsters raise pigs, cows, sheep, poultry, and even rabbits. Extremely knowledgable about their livestock, they are equally as willing to share their enthusiasm with visitors to the show. These images were taken on Thursday evening.

The Farm Stand at LaBar’s Farm

By Matthew Giobbi, Ph.D.

Produce stands are one of the defining agricultural features of our Slate Belt. The Farm Stand at LaBar’s Farm in Bangor is a labor of love for owner Jamie LaBar, her friends, and her family. We spent an enchanted morning with Jamie on her farm on LaBarre Drive.

Minsi Lake Zen

By Matthew Giobbi, Ph.D.

These photographs were inspired by the paintings of the 18th century Japanese artist Itō Jakuchū, and the 16th century painter Hasegawa Tōhaku. The monochrome painting style of the Zen monks is replicated through shooting in black & white format. The images were taken over the course of two years from within a canoe.

Monday Night Muse at Totts Gap Arts

By Mary Monson-Ortega

Drive down a country lane through fields of twinkling fireflies. As you get closer, the strains of cool jazz temper the sultry summer nights. Through the windows, you can see visual artists practice their craft, capturing the movements of the dancers and musicians beyond. Although each discipline is very different, minds, bodies and spirits blend with beautiful results. The arts are alive in this off-the-beaten-path studio in the Slate Belt!

Monday Night Muse is open to all, artists and onlookers, at Totts Gap Arts Institute, from 6 -9 PM. Visit for more information.

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