EXETER, LUZERNE COUNTY(WBRE/WYOU)— What’s been a mystery for decades is finally solved, an unidentified church photographed in the early 1900s by a renowned New York state photographer.
It turned out an Eyewitness News report helped reveal it’s a church in northeastern Pennsylvania.
As a church community prepared for the dedication of a new steeple at Slocum Chapel, a snapshot proved to be a nod to its past.
History researcher Julie Manwarren figured the old black and white photo was taken in the early 1900s by Floyd Ingram, a man known for taking photographs of New York’s Finger Lakes region, but she said, “I researched and researched and could not find the location.”
That changed last November when she found out Ingram had traveled to the Pittston Area in the early 1900s.
“So, I typed into Google ‘historic churches of Luzerne County’ and up came your news program,” Manwarren told Eyewitness News.
“Slocum Chapel is surrounded by a number of trees and the minute I saw the picture in that image of the video shot you had, I knew it was the same church,” Manwarren explained.
Even though so much has changed at the chapel site, Manwarren spotted all the clues she needed in that photo.
Eyewitness News reporter Mark Hiller said, “These railroad tracks along Route 92 proved to be a key piece of the puzzle to solving the mystery of the chapel. So was the hill behind me as well as the shape of the windows of the very chapel itself.”
The pastor of the 132-year-old Slocum Chapel had never seen a photo of the chapel with its original steeple, until now.
“I knew it was a God thing. I knew there was no way that that could have happened at the same time we were struggling trying to find a photo,” said Pastor Guy Giordano.
“That’s why we keep saying look what the Lord has done from the inception of her getting the photo to her bringing it to the chapel,” said Barbara Giordano, Pastor Giordano’s wife.
Manwarren says she, too, believes there’s a higher power at play.
“This was all meant to be. I was meant to meet Pastor Guy and Barb. I was meant to find, you know, this church and to be able to finally identify the little chapel in the picture.”
Slocum chapel will hold its new steeple dedication Saturday morning at 11 o’clock where Manwarren will be a guest speaker at the event.