Saturday, February 27, 2016

Woolworth Building at night
and George Homiak of Atlas, Pa.

This gorgeous, creased old postcard highlights New York City's Woolworth Building, framed by a moonlit night.1

The Woolworth Building was completed and opened in 1913. Here's the information from the back of this postcard, which was mailed in 1932:
"WOOLWORTH BUILDING, Cathedral of Commerce. One of the highest buildings in the world. Height 792 feet, 60 stories. Gothic architecture. 12,000 people occupy the building. There are 3,000 offices. Contains 24 high speed elevators that can travel at the rate of 750 feet per minute. The power plant generates sufficient electrical energy to supply the requirements of a city of 50,000 population."
The Woolworth Building was the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930, when it was surpassed by the Bank of Manhattan Trust building, which is now called The Trump Building.2 Getting back to the Woolworth Building, its height is currently not in the Top 100 worldwide, but it is tied for 56th-tallest in the United States.

This postcard was postmarked on February 15, 1932, and mailed to Mr. George Homiak of 351 East Saylor Street in Atlas, Pennsylvania. The message states:
Dear Family
Arrived home safely. everything was O.K. Came home 10:00 o'clock. Bye.
There's a great story to tell about George Homiak. He lived in Atlas, a neighborhood just northwest of the borough of Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. And he owned a bar in Diamondtown, a neighborhood that was a stone's throw north of Mount Carmel and a wee bit east of Atlas, to use technical terms.

There's a website,, with some history and great photos of "The (In)Famous Homiak's Bar."3 The site's author writes:
"Located in Diamondtown, PA. Homiak's was THE place to go during the 40s & 50s. George Homiak was the self-proclaimed 'Mayor of Diamondtown'. He was certainly a character. The bar had all types of contraptions rigged up to 'mess' with the clientele. From air hoses hidden in the floor that blew up girl's skirts, to the Padded Cell, it was a pretty cool place."
I also found a newspaper article indicating that George Homiak played for Mount Carmel High School's 1927 state championship football team and then went on to play football at Georgetown University. It appears that Homiak also had a short-lived career as a boxer, getting knocked out in the second round of his only fight, in 1931. He served in the Army in World War II before returning to Mount Carmel to open his bar.

In a 2001 post on an message board, someone wrote:
"Ask your relation if they remember Homiak's bar in Mt Carmel. My grandfather, John Halkowicz, used to play in a band there in the 1940s in a prision cell. The owner, George Homiak (who I think is still living in his 90s?) had a cool sense of humor and played a lot of pranks."
Homiak died in 2003 at age 93. If you haven't already done so, check out the vintage photos of his much-loved bar.

1. Other posts related to the Woolworth Building and moonlit skies:
2. I honestly had no intention of making a Donald Trump reference in this post.
3. Homiak's was also known as "The Mirth Place of the Nation."

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