Residents Hall of Fame
Johnny Pasquarello has served the borough of Conshohocken for nearly four decades with his involvement as a volunteer in the Conshohocken Ambucs, Soap Box Derby, SS Cosmas & Damian Church, and as a member of the Conshohocken Library Board of Directors, and at times serving on the Mayor’s Special Events Committee.
Back in the early 1980’s the Conshohocken Little League had no money, the answer to all their problems was a permanent concession stand and announcers booth to be built behind the major league field at Sutcliffe Park. Johnny was on the front lines of making that dream a reality along with the rest of the Conshohocken Ambucs. Johnny is a Past President of the Conshohocken Chapter of Ambucs and has served on the Board of Directors for many years.
For nearly 35 years Johnny has worked and supported the Conshohocken Soap Box Derby Race held every year in Conshohocken on the Fourth of July. Johnny would put in the long hours of raising and dismantling the snow fence along Fayette Street, Johnny would support and finance the building of cars and would film all the races giving the young racers a thrill watching the race at the annual Soap Box Derby Banquet.
For many, many years Johnny has worked the SS Cosmas and Damien Feast held every year in the fall and worked as a volunteer at the church. Johnny has also been involved over the years with the annual Fellowship House Easter Egg Hunt and the annual Tri-Star Basketball Tournament.
Johnny is a dedicated member of the Conshohocken Library Board of Directors where he has also volunteered his services over the years. There is no challenge that Johnny wouldn’t accept if it is for the good of the community.
Miles Stemple is the pure essence of what makes one proud to be part of Conshohocken. Even after his death more than 90 years ago, area fireman still talk about the man who dedicated his life to the ceaseless endeavors and to the welfare and protection of this community. Life-long firefighters are truly a rare breed in America today, but the borough of Conshohocken has been blessed with men and woman who have given the better part of their lives volunteering and working for the Conshohocken Fire Companies. Allan Worth, John “Chick” McCarter, Sam Januzelli, Frank Carlin, Al McDonald, and Franklin Thomas are just a few that come to mind.
Miles was one of the founding members of the Washington Fire Company back in December 1893, and remained a loyal, active member until his death in 1921 when he died at the age of 72. With little or no funding from the borough it was Miles who went out and purchased a dray wagon and solicited hauling from businesses in town using the proceeds from this business for improvements and expenses of the company.
From the time the fire company was formed in 1873, until his death in 1921, every dollar received by Stemple for the company was accounted for, money raised by Stemple always went to the particular object for which it was intended.
While fighting a fire at the Moose Home on May 30, 1920, at the age of 70, Miles was working the fire on the third floor of the building when the flooring gave way, and he fell upon the joists beneath. An injury to his arm was taken care of but he didn’t mention anything about internal injuries, believing it wasn’t anything serious.
Stemple continued on duty and even when he fell to ill health he never missed a fire. Miles died on August 20, 1921, liver trouble set in with complications, caused by a fall at the Moose fire more than a year earlier. His viewing was held at the Firehouse in the second floor parlor.
Although Miles wasn’t killed while fighting the Moose Home fire, complications from the injuries directly led to his death more than year later, making him the only Conshohocken firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty.
Events Hall of Fame
WIBG’S FREE SUMMER ROCK & ROLL MYSTERY CONCERT
AS THE POSTER ADVERTISEMENT QUOTED
“Monday, August 9th, three Solid Hours of Guaranteed Entertainment with
LEON RUSSELL and The Shelter People
Featuring Freddy King in the “First”
FREE LEON RUSSELL CONCERT IN THE PHILADELPHIA AREA.
Keep Listening To WIBG For Clues……….And Guess The Location!”
It was the summer of 1971 the music scene was changing, and Leon Russell was an up and coming star in the business, he was considered the ultimate Rock & Roll session man. Leon worked with Jerry Lee Lewis, Phil Spector and the Rolling Stones. Leon also worked with Delaney and Bonnie, Joe Cocker and played with George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh along with B. B. King, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan.
Leon was riding the popularity of “Jumpin Jack Flash” and would later hit the charts with “Tight Rope,” and “Lady Blue.” The Conshohocken Fellowship House Director Al Donofrio was the man behind the concert, Al felt the young people in Conshohocken needed something outside of sports activities that was being offered by the Fellowship House. When Donofrio was approached by Rick Buckley, the 35 year old owner of WIBG Radio, about a rock & roll show, this kind of fit into something he was looking for.
The location of the concert was kept a secret by WIBG, never revealing the exact location of the concert, but gave out clues to the “A” Field location over the air. The station kept the location a secret because they had 500,000 listeners at the time and didn’t want too many teenagers showing up and overwhelming the borough.
Well that strategy failed as the headline from the “Evening Bulletin” declared “Rock Show by Leon Russell Attracts 30,000 to Stadium in Conshohocken.” It was really more like 20,000 teenagers and young adults from five states. Traffic was tied up, bumper to bumper on Fayette Street from 11th Avenue into West Conshohocken and beyond including all the side streets, and going up from 11th Avenue back to the Ridge, including the Ridge, and onto Germantown Pike including the pike. Cars were parked on residents lawns, double parked on the avenues and police were brought in from surrounding communities.
Al Donofrio was some-what surprised by the event, but members of Borough Council were fully surprised by the event as they knew nothing about it, a little something Donofrio forgot to inform them about. And so the council circus began, they demanded that Al Donofrio be fired, fined $100.00 for breaking the borough ordinance, or even jailed for 30 days.
The members of Borough Council floated the idea of forever banning Rock & Roll concerts in the borough of Conshohocken for all time. (A-la “Foot Loose”) Cooler heads prevailed when young people showed up at the council meeting in defense of Al Donofrio.
We here at Conshystuff.com believe that Donofrio didn’t fail to inform the council that the concert was going to be held, remember, Donofrio was one hundred percent in charge of giving permits for the use of the “A” Field, but perhaps decided not to inform the council! We also believe that Donofrio was a man who was very much in touch with our youth, and the concert was in fact Al Donofrio’s finest moment in the borough of Conshohocken.
In the end the police from Conshohocken and surrounding communities reported little to no disturbances, and actually reported that concert goers, most of them barefooted, behaved very well, although they couldn’t figure out where that funny smell in the air was coming from.
August 9, 1971 was the largest event ever held in Conshohocken, not likely to be out-done anytime soon, Al Donofrio and Leon Russell truly put on a Rock & Roll, Conshohocken Hall of Fame Event!