View Full Version : Charles Pirila

13-02-11, 01:54
All of my grandparents came to America from different parts of Finland. Most came thru Michigan but all ended up in North Dakota. I have done searches for all and have a good idea of our ancestors and in some cases back to the early 1700's. I have always lived where Finns can be found and blueberries grow wild and sauna is a given.

I am sure I will find much on this Forum of interest and look forward to having many posts.

Charles Pirila

Karen Norwillo
13-02-11, 02:54
Welcome, Chuck. You'll find the nicest people here.
Chuck and his father worked with my father in the zinc mine in Friedensville, PA. We have been sharing old memories today.

D J Granlund
13-02-11, 16:12
Charles and Karen,
It is truly a small world, My uncle, Walter Granlund, was an engineer in that mine and my wife and I had a tour several years ago all the way to the bottom. And now it has been abandoned, the water pumps turned off, and the shafts filled with water. David

Karen Norwillo
13-02-11, 16:27
What year was that? The site is now the headquarters for Stabler Enterprise, a huge builder and philanthropist in our area. Stabler Arena for Lehigh University is named for him. He built several major projects in our area. I remember so well when that mine was going full speed. Most of the first miners came from the UP of MI and MN. Lots of good Finn names.

14-02-11, 00:45
Hi Karen, Thanks for all the memories. Being around miners and mines all my life I had wanted to become a mining engineer. I had enrolled at Penn State when I graduated but the draft of 1950 got too close to me and I enlisted in the Navy and got into electronics and that became my career. Nice to see others have connections to the same place we found back in the late 1940's.

14-02-11, 00:46
DJ, what was the year or years your uncle was there.

D J Granlund
14-02-11, 01:33
Uncle Walter was there to close the doors. At the end he was the facility manager. As he used to joke, you know where the facilities are (out back, as in out-house). He has always had a great sense of humor and is my favorite Uncle. I had the "Honor" to be his best man when he married his second wife Lorraine. Her husband was the head geological engineer for years before Walter assumed his position. His first wife died and Lorraine's first husband died and we sort of got them together as dancing partners so we could go to Barnesville to the Bavarian Festival and dance and drink beer at 10 in the morning and be home by 5 in the afternoon. Lorraine sadly has passed. He still lives in Coopersburg. I remember visiting him for years when my wife and I lived in the DC area. I do not remember exactly when he went to PA but we visited him there in the early 80's and onward. The last time we were there was probably 2005 but we have seen Walter in Minnesota the last 2 years to celebrate his brother's 92 and 93 birthdays. Uncle Eddie died this past October. The old Finns are fading away.

14-02-11, 02:03
Coopersburg is where I went to high school. Graduated in 1950.

Your uncle seems to have been someone all the Miners would like. My history at the Fiedensville Mine was from 1948 to 1955. E.J. Longyear was still contracting the work on the shaft and I don't know how long they were there till the New Jersey Zinc Co. took over and started mining.

14-02-11, 02:10
David, A question: The zinc mine in Friedensville, Pa. has been closed for many years.
Not sure of the exact date but it was not open when I have visited that area since about 2005 or earlier. Several years ago, as you stated, is what date?

D J Granlund
14-02-11, 15:59
Walter was retired and married Lorraine after the mine closed. They were married for 25 years and then she died in 2008. I believe New Jersey Zinc hired him and he continued on through Gulf and Western et al. I do not remember when he returned to the US from Bagio where he worked in the jungles as an exploration mining engineer. His 2 children started school there and then they moved stateside. So, I guess several years in this context is more than 30.