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Nazis Target Wellsboro?

by John Vogt - October 30, 2014

Nazis and the Empire of Japan target Wellsboro, Pennsylvania – Really?

Tioga County has so many stories to tell. It is an area rich in history and nostalgia. People come from all over the world to visit Tioga County, known for it’s beauty and outdoor adventure.

But did you know that during World War II, there were people from distant lands interested in our area? And it wasn’t because of the beauty of our Grand Canyon. According to local sources, the Axis powers were interested in the Wellsboro area because of the Corning Glass Factory and the components that were made here at the time. Emporium, Pennsylvania – a town just 68 miles southwest of Wellsboro was also said to be on German bombing target maps because of the Sylvania plant that operated there. In response, our Civil Defense built a look-out on top of the famous Penn Wells Hotel.

Today on Wellsboro Home Page we look back to remember that time in our history and visit with local attorney Lowell Coolidge and former look-out Erma Hotchkiss.

On the morning of December 7, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the United States of America by bombing Pearl Harbor. This attack led the United States into World War II. The attack on Pearl Harbor was intended to neutralize the United States from being able to stop Axis military plans in Southeast Asia against the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The Japanese also had plans against territories held by the United States. By this time, Germany had already conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and had formed this Axis alliance with Italy and Japan.

There was concern that places like Wellsboro and Emporium could be in danger because of the industrial plants that operated in these regions. As a result of this concern Civil Defense constructed a look-out on top of the Penn Wells Hotel to keep an eye on the skies above us. Citizens were trained on how to spot and identify planes and then call in their observations to defense authorities. Some of those look-out people were just teens. But, it was a different time back then. For the most part our country was united and everyone did something to contribute to the war effort.

After the war ended in 1945 the look-out structure on top of the Penn Wells was torn down. The only thing left are the memories of the few still among us from the world’s greatest generation.

Credits:

Produced by Vogt Media

 
 
 
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