The borough of Olyphant maintains four (4) recreation parks including Joe Wargo Park at Fern Hill, Borgna Memorial Park at Gravity Street, Consburg Park at East Line Street, and Condella Park at Susquehanna Avenue on the west side and North Valley Avenue on the east side, featuring the newly constructed regulation Little League Baseball Field.
Olyphant may be considered a small town by some, but it is not without its famous residents as well as famed visitors through the years.
National Baseball Hall of Fame Umpire
As mentioned in the street name section, one of Olyphant’s proudest sons is Nester Chylak. Born May 11, 1922, Chylak was of Ukrainian heritage. After attending the University of Scranton, he joined the Army. During the Battle of the Bulge in Europe, shrapnel from an exploding bullet shell seriously wounded him. The injury almost cost Nestor his vision. For his time and heroism in the service he was awarded both the Purple Heart and Silver Star. Around the time the war ended, he pursued a career in baseball as an umpire and also went back to college. His first games in the minor leagues were in 1947; it would not be until 1954 that he got to the American League.
Broadway actress Judy McLane (played Tania in Mama Mia!) was born in Olyphant, PA, though she proudly states in interviews that she was “raised near Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Mike Gazella was a utility infielder for the 1926-28 New York Yankees. He brought Babe Ruth for a visit to Olyphant during the Babe’s prime.
Nestor Chylak, American League umpire, and only the eighth umpire in Baseball Hall of Fame.
Michael J. Metrinko, taken hostage in Tehran, Iran in 1979, held 444 days. Metrinko also was the hero (and dedicatee) of the book Razi Crossing, by Tom Burchill, when he saved a number of weterners’ lives during a revolutionary uprising in Tabriz, Iran in 1978.
Legend of Olyphant
According to certain occult theorists, a hidden treasure, or alternately, some form of occult mystery, is hidden within Olyphant. Hints are said to be encoded in the location of the town’s many downtown churches, the positions of which, if plotted on a map, form roughly the same pattern as the stars in the constellation Orion. Others have made speculative hay of the town’s elevation, which is supposedly twice the height of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Additional information is available here.