In 2003, Joan returned to Pennsylvania and wrote three books on local history for Arcadia Publishing. In February, 2012, Joan and her husband, Steve, left the cold winters of PA behind and moved south to Summerville, SC.
A former English teacher and editor, Joan is a freelance proofreader, writer, and amateur family historian.
About her books:
Although the borough of Montgomery and its surrounding townships may epitomize the phrase “small town”, there is nothing small about the character of its residents. During the 1940s, while many families in the Montgomery area endured losses of property and faith, their neighbors reached out in support. The following decade saw the growth of local businesses and continued community involvement, as evidenced by the borough’s diamond jubilee celebration in 1962. After the area was hit by a devastating flood in 1972, a revitalization of the borough soon commenced to prepare for a yearlong celebration of the American bicentennial in 1976. Disaster struck again with a killer tornado in ‘85 but, once again, the spirit of this community revived to host its 100th anniversary celebration in 1987.
About the Author: Joan Wheal Blank is the author of Around Hughesville and Around Montgomery in the Postcard History Series. She is board vice-president of the Montgomery Area Historical Society and editor of its website and quarterly newsletter. She is also a board member of the Montgomery Area Public Library and writer/reporter for the weekly Muncy Luminary newspaper. The images that appear in this volume are from Montgomery library’s historical archives, private collections, and the files of local churches, schools, and businesses.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.
Incorporated in 1887, Montgomery is the youngest borough in Lycoming County, yet it possesses a deeply rich and proud history. Nestled between Black Hole and White Deer Valleys, it was once a bustling industrial community heralded as the "best small town on the Susquehanna." The images in Around Montgomery show rare scenes of Alvira, a community well established for over a century before meeting its tragic end in the 1940s, as well as glimpses of Devitt's Camp, a rural retreat for tuberculosis patients. This volume highlights the first 50 years of the borough and depicts the people and places that made up the dynamic history of Montgomery and its neighboring communities.
About the Author: Joan Wheal Blank, author of Around Hughesville, worked closely with dedicated members of the Montgomery Area Historical Society, the Montgomery Area Public Library staff, and borough residents to locate and research the more than 200 vintage photographs and postcards that are included in this volume.
From the back cover:
In 1816, Jeptha Hughes purchased a tract of land along Muncy Creek and named it Hughesburg. The town grew, and it was renamed Hughesville in 1852. Local artisans, such as millers, blacksmiths, coopers,and cobblers, flocked to the area and plied their trade. Schools and churches were established, the Williamsport and North Branch Railroad made daily stops in the area, and farm families raised livestock, field crops, and vegetable gardens. The Hughesville Fair, an agricultural exhibition begun in 1870, became an annual tradition. Around Hughesville chronicles the people and places of this rural community between the 1880s and the 1930s, when Hughesville was a town that embraced innovative industrial change as it retained its old-fashioned country charm.
About the Author: Joan Wheal Blank, editor and amateur family historian, grew up near Hughesville in a rural farmhouse built by her great-grandfather in the early 1880s. A former English teacher, she works in the Lycoming County Office of Human Resources and Veterans Affairs.
What people are saying:
"Yesterday I received in the mail my copy of Around Hughesville and I doubt if any reader will enjoy it as much as I. Most of your readers will probably be locals, while not only have I never set foot in Lycoming County, I didn't know of its existence until about four years ago. I especially enjoyed the photos of Hughesville - so, that's what it looked like when my grandfather was a boy! ...I must confess that my family ate carry-out dinner last night because I was poring over your book. You've done a wonderful job, and I can only imagine how much work you put into this book. Thank you!" ~ Margaret H., Alexandria, VA
"Thank you for sending [Around Montgomery]. We were ecstatic to receive the publication. Your wonderful book signals that stimulus to reconnect neighbor-to-neighbor (past and present!) . Congratulations, Joan!" ~ Doris Y., Waynesboro, PA
"I want to thank you so much for sending [Around Montgomery]. I felt like I was opening a treasure. I can't wait to share the book and photos with the rest of my family." ~ Sue D. (relative of author Conrad Richter)
"Recently, an old high school friend sent me a copy of the book Images of America Around Montgomery Borough 1940-1990. It is wonderful, nostalgic and so reminiscent of life there as I knew it...the people, my church, my school, the movie theatre...all of it! However, page 11 took my breath away. There was a picture of the Montgomery swimming pool where my brother drowned in 1949 when I was four years old....I had never seen a picture of the pool in my life and had only a vague recollection of it. I am still rather in shock... thank you for your wonderful investigative work and the writing of this very special piece of literature." ~ Faith A., Franklin, VA