FAY E T T E CO U N T Y C U LT U R A L T R U S T
SPRING 2017 | $10.00
Dunbar Coke Ovens
Restoration of the coke ovens along the Sheepskin Trail
Beautiful glass pieces produced in our area
Native American Interpretive Center
Colonel William Crawford
BY D A N I E L C O C K S
BY D A N I E L C O C K S
BY D A N I E L C O C K S
BY K A R E N H E C H L E R
New Chefs in Town
A successful artist with Connellsville roots
Culinary talent shines in our downtown
BY S. J OY L E W I S
BY L AU R A B O W D E N
BY L AU R A B O W D E N
BY K A R E N H E C H L E R
Artifacts, diorama, and more in the center
World War II Museum, Model Railroad, CafĂŠ, and more.
Friend of Washington, surveyor, and pioneer
A Pittsburgh attorney with a Connellsville connection.
Where Are They Now 2017 Festivals and Judge Burnett Events About the cover: J. Michael Edwards and Matt Humes at the Dunbar Coke Oven.
Flowers, trains, music and more!
BY K A R E N H E C H L E R
BY L AU R A B O W D E N
C onnellsville Crossroads Fayette County Cultural Trust Volume 9, No. 1 • Spring 2017 X Executive Director Daniel Cocks President J. Michael Edwards Vice President Karen Hechler Treasurer Bryan Kisiel Board Members Gerry Browell John Coleman Mary Dreliszak Vicki McWilliams Lori Omatick Project Coordinator Laura Manges Bowden Connellsville Crossroads Editor S. Joy Lewis X
2017 is off to a busy start for the Fayette County Cultural Trust as many activities are underway and more are being planned for the upcoming year. The Veteran’s Memorial at North Pittsburgh Street and Route 119 is being refurbished with the addition of LED lighting. The Colonel Crawford statue at the Carnegie Library will be 100 years old this year, and is also in need of repair and that project is expected to begin in May of this year. Donations to either of these projects are welcome to help us complete them. The Downtown Connellsville initiative began its 8th year to assist in the revitalization of the community. The Soup Walk is back and will be held on Saturday, March 11th. The façade and sign program will be offered once again to enhance the look of the business district. The spring mixer will be held on April 26th and will be an opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to “Meet the Lenders.” The Lunch and Learn series will continue on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 12:00 noon at the Canteen through September. Information about these initiatives is available at www.downtownconnellsville.org. The Connellsville Canteen has become a hub of educational activity. There are over 200 World War II veterans’ pictures and stories featured in the Canteen and on the website. If you can’t make it to Connellsville, at www.connellsvillecanteen.org you can learn the stories of the men and women who served our country during World War II. The Ambassador Program will be held on Monday evenings (March 6-May 8) at the Connellsville Canteen. Dr. Tim Crain of Seton Hill University’s National Holocaust Center presented a talk on Abraham Lincoln in February and will return at the end of March to speak on the Three Religions of the Abrahamic Faith— Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In addition, a Second Saturday Wine Dinner Series kicked off in January and will continue through September. For more information about these and other upcoming events and initiatives, please see the website www.fayettetrust.org.
J. Michael Edwards Fayette County Cultural Trust
Subscription orders may be placed on-line at www.FayetteTrust.org/ Connellsville-Crossroads.html. Or in person at the Connellsville Canteen, 131 W. Crawford Ave., Connellsville, PA 15425 Or by phone, 724-603-2093. X Connellsville Crossroads magazine is published quarterly (March, June, September, December) by the Fayette County Cultural Trust, 139 W. Crawford Ave., Connellsville, PA 15425. The official registration and financial information of Fayette County Cultural Trust, Inc. (EIN 65-1283985) may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-(800)-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.
S. Joy Lewis Connellsville Crossroads Editor There are several intriguing perquisites of serving as editor for this magazine. One is that it is becoming a fixture in Connellsville, locals, expats and visitors alike praise it, and because of my association with the magazine and its wonderful writers I get to bask in the glow just a little. Another is that at least several times a month, people come up to me out of the blue and propose story ideas. Connellsville has a long and engrossing history, as these volunteers keep reminding me. Yet another is that I have the opportunity to meet interesting people. Well, this quarter you will meet one of the most interesting to date – artist Peter Alexander Bradley. I spoke to Mr. Bradley for over an hour last September, and frankly, his life experiences are so far removed from anything I ever experienced that I didn’t even know what questions to ask. But I kept working on researching him, and last month an amazing article was put on-line by Bomb Magazine where he was interviewed by three longtime friends and colleagues. What an adventure! So I emailed him again and explained that I had more questions, and we spoke for another hour. I only wish we could convince him to come back and visit, because he is a real inspiration! The QR code leads to the Bomb Magazine article, and it is fascinating. For those of you who don’t use a smart phone, the web address is http://bombmagazine.org/article/8233125/peter-bradley . Enjoy! 3
by Daniel Cocks
A joint project recently restored several of the Uniondale/ Reid Brothers coke ovens along the Sheepskin Trail in Dunbar Borough. This project was a collaboration between Dunbar Borough, Dunbar Historical Society, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Rivers of Steel, Preservation Pennsylvania and the Fayette County Cultural Trust. The project was funded by Rivers of Steel ($15,000) and the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau ($18,400), with LHVB funding passing through the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. The builder, Thomas W. Watt, was born at County Donegal, Ireland on August 12th, 1828. He came to America in June 1853 with his wife Sarah and settled in Dunbar. Thomas first worked at the Union Furnace near Dunbar for his brother John, and then built a section of the Fayette County Railroad, known as the Fairmont branch, in 1859. Later he built the Uniondale Coke works. The first 40 of the 76 beehive ovens were completed in 1869 at a time when the coke industry was in relative infancy. In 1870, for example, the number of coke works in the entire Connellsville Region numbered only around 20, and consisted of a mere 550 or so individual ovens. Prior to construction of the Uniondale works, coke operations tended to be small, consisting typically of a dozen or so ovens. The Uniondale/Reid Brothers site is historically significant as an example of an early, innovative and independent coke operation. The remaining ovens possess an integrity that helps to convey an important historic shift from small-scale, scattered coke production to larger, more concentrated commercial coke works. The site further demonstrates typical operation of a larger coke production facility in the area before Henry Clay Frick dominated the industry and became “The Coke King,” beginning around 1880. After brush was removed from in front of the beehive bank coke ovens, restoration work, which targeted three coke ovens in relatively good condition in the center of a bank of 60 ovens dating from 1869 – 1874, was completed by Matt Humes of Humes Masonry. These particular ovens were chosen because they retained their front faces and intact beehive forms (intact crowns and trunnel openings through which coal was loaded into the ovens). Trees and shrubbery were removed from the tops of the ovens and dirt and debris was removed from inside the ovens; the masonry arch roof structure of each oven was shored up to help prevent further deterioration, and face work restored the masonry front wall structure and openings. The work was completed before the onset of winter weather. The two-mile-long Sheepskin Trail is a work in progress which connects Dunbar with the Great Allegheny Passage trail. The GAP, a 149-mile-long cycling and hiking rail-trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, currently draws a million travelers a year through the area. The Sheepskin Trail is well surfaced with crushed stone and meanders through mixed deciduous woods and shrubs. Remnants of the original “Sheepskin Line” and other rail-line crossings are apparent along its length, and in mid-2016 a $2,000,000 grant was awarded to the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad to upgrade the still active Bowest Yard, next to the Sheepskin Trail. This is the first section of a three-phase project which will eventually create 34 miles of non-motorized trail connecting the Great Allegheny Passage to Morgantown, West Virginia, via the Mon River Trail North. For more information please see our web site: http://www.fayettetrust.org/Dunbar-Coke-Ovens.html. 4
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The Thompson Glass Company was located on South Mount Vernon Avenue in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The company was named for Jasper V. Thompson, a local millionaire coal baron. The company was formed in 1888, but the glass works were not fired until March 1, 1889. The company was started by Charles H. Zimmer, A.C. Waggoner, Julius Proeger, F.M. Stone, J.M. Shaefer, and John Q. Shaefer with an initial investment of $50,000. Stock shares were sold at $100 each. Zimmer, originally invested in the King Glass Company of Pittsburgh, was named as the president. A.C. Waggoner was the initial secretary and treasurer. A short time later, Waggoner was replaced by A.A. Moore. The other investors were named to the board of managers. Julius Proeger, who was named company secretary after an 1892 reorganization, was an experienced pattern designer and mold maker who came from Pittsburgh. The contract for the construction of the glass works was issued to Benz Brothers of the Southside in December 1888. Construction costs were given as $100,000. The glass works were built on twelve acres granted to them by the citizens of Uniontown who had purchased the property for $1,000. The site was located in South Union Township along Coal Run. The Thompson Glass Company was also promised free natural gas for three years. Some of the promises made by the citizens of Uniontown were not honored. However, the sixteen-pot glass works, measuring 80 feet square, was fully operational on May 6, 1889. An additional packing room building of 80 feet by 100 feet and a mixing house measuring 30 by 40 feet were also constructed. About two hundred men and boys were initially working at the factory. The company built their glass works in Uniontown to benefit from the abundant natural gas in the area. The first articles to be produced were pitchers. The glass works had produced 1,300 barrels of glass by the end of June. A. A. Moore left the company in June 1890, and H. L. Brunt was named to succeed him as a secretary and treasurer. Thomas Miller was named president in January 1891 due to Charles Zimmerâ€™s temporary duty as general manager of the Windsor Glass Company in Homestead. However Zimmer remained affiliated with the Thompson Glass Company. In 1892 the plant was being fueled by artificial gas. At the time it was the only works using artificial gas in Pennsylvania and one of only two others throughout the country. The Thompson Glass Company was known for manufacturing pressed-glass tableware. Their patterns were known as being unique for the period. Julius Proeger was issued a patent for his Tile pattern on March 11, 1890, and John Casper Arensberg was issued a patent for his design for salt and pepper shakers in the form of Trumpets. Most, if not all, of their wares were in clear 6
by Daniel Cocks
(flint) glass. They reportedly made bar ware, lamps, novelties and other specialties in addition to the tableware. They established an office in the Hamilton Building at 91 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh by February 1890. In the fall of that year, the glass works were idled for a period of time due to their gas being shut off. They unsuccessfully sued to have the gas service turned back on. Between 1895 and 1900, the glass works remained idled. The glass works were sold at a sheriffâ€™s sale on January 16, 1896. Thomas R. Wakefield bought the glass works for $13,100 on behalf of the stockholders. The glass works sold again in 1899 or 1900 and reopened as a glass decorating shop by the Patterson-Fry Specialty Company. The Fry was George Fry, who was the brother of famous glassman Henry C. Fry. This plant operated for about one year. In 1901, the National Glass Company acquired the glass works and operated it as their factory B. The National Glass Company began making tumblers at Factory B by August 1901. The National Glass Company only operated this plant for a very short while. In 1914 Adam Deemer, a contractor from Uniontown, got the contract to raze the old glass factory. The building was then purchased by Areford Brothers, owners of the South Uniontown plant, who wanted the eyesore to be removed to enhance the value of their property. In March of 1915, the chimney stack, 35 feet in diameter and 80 feet high, was taken down. It took 36 sticks of dynamite to take down the 100,000 bricks the chimney consisted of. The bricks were reused in construction of the main part of Adam Deemerâ€™s home. The dynamiting was filmed by the Penn Amusement Company, and used to entertain customers on the silver screen. Penn Amusement later built the State Theater in Uniontown. Pressed-glass patterns attributed to Thompson Glass Company include: Bow Tie (ca. 1889), Fisheye, Nellie Bly platter (ca. 1890), The Summit (ca. 1895), Tile (No. 19, 96 piece set, 1890); Tile, Torpedo (Pygmy, ca. 1889), and Truncated Cube (No. 77, ca. 1892). A Thompson Glass exhibit will be on display in the Connellsville Canteen through June 2017.
by Daniel Cocks
The Fayette County Cultural Trust is embarking on a new initiative
the area. Furs had to be transported to market, and rivers have always been nature’s highways. By the 1740’s, French trappers had penetrated into our region.
we’re calling “The Laurel Highlands Native American Interpretative Center.” We have committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Laurel Highlands – past, present and future, partnering with California State University on this new venture.
Nemacolin’s Path or Trail was an ancient Native American trail that crossed the great barrier of the Allegheny Mountains via the Cumberland Narrows Mountain pass, connecting the watersheds of the Potomac River and the Monongahela River. It connected what are now Cumberland, Maryland and Brownsville, Pennsylvania.
The Native American Indians are an important part of the culture of the United States. While their people have lived on this land for thousands of years, today their numbers are dwindling. Once, the Native Americans lived on this continent with little discord and disruption. They were well fed, content and established.
During 1749 and 1750, the Delaware Indian chief Nemacolin and Maryland frontiersman Thomas Cresap supervised improving the trail for the Ohio Company, at the behest of Christopher Gist. They developed the template trail and in large part the route for what became known on the eastern slopes as the eastern part of Braddock’s Road. In 1755, the eastern section of Nemacolin’s Path was used as a military route by British General Edward Braddock in his attempt to capture Fort Duquesne.
The men were hunters, warriors and protectors, while the women tended to the children, their homes and farms. Tribes differed when it came to artwork. In some tribes, the men would actually weave baskets and blankets. Natural foods were consumed and hunted. Deer, buffalo, fish and various birds were the game of choice. Corn, beans, squash, berries, nuts and melons were the fruits and vegetables that were consumed. Berries were also often used as a natural dye for fabrics. Here in the Laurel Highlands one constant that runs through our area’s cultural history is the Youghiogheny River. This natural resource was what first attracted animals and then Native Americans like the Delaware and the Kanawha into this region long before the Europeans arrived in North America. Our area was important for hunting and travel. Several Indian trails, such as the Nemacolin and the Catawba, crossed through the area that is now Connellsville. The heavily forested area was home to numerous species of fur bearing animals. Once Europeans began moving into this region in the early 18th century, they found the potential for great wealth in the fur trade because furs could be shipped back to Europe and sold for great profit. The French, who first settled in Canada, had been greatly attracted by the great variety of wildlife and the network of rivers that made up the Ohio River system, including the Youghiogheny River, led them into
Nemacolinâ€™s Trail was later improved as the Cumberland Road, the National Road, the National Pike, and eventually U.S. Route 40, or the National Highway. U.S. Route 40 became one of the first officially recognized highways in the United States. Nemacolinâ€™s Trail became the gateway by which settlers in Conestoga wagons or stagecoaches reached the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.
from the Laurel Highlands that were produced over 9,000 years ago. At the center you can learn about local stone tools used in this area, Native Americans that inhabited the Laurel Highlands, and their various lifestyles. Located at 139 West Crawford Avenue, the Center held their grand opening on February 2, 2017.
The other Native American trail that ran through our area was the Catawba Trail. This trail was an important northsouth route that extended from New York to Tennessee, through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina and South Carolina. Several other branches also passed through Kentucky and western Virginia. It was part of the Great Indian Warpath. The Native Americans first used the trail for trade exchanges and, at various times, raiding expeditions. The path was also used during the Revolutionary War. In the 19th century the trail became locally known as the Morgantown Road. It is now closely followed by Old U.S. Route 119.
139 W. Crawford Ave., Connellsville, PA 15425 www.FayetteTrust.org/ Native-American-Center.html 724.320.6392 | email@example.com
Open Tuesday - Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed 12-1 p.m., and holidays. To schedule a tour, please call 724.320.6392.
Our collection displays several Native American artifacts
If you spent just a little time in Connellsville, you
other frontier home in 1766. It measures about 14 x 16 feet, and as you can see has only one room plus the loft where the children slept. We lived and worked in one room like all other early pioneer families. The Colonel was so impressed by the area (when he was with the Forbes army), that he made up his mind to settle here once Indian hostilities died down. He got his wish in the fall of 1765, when he and his half-brother, Hugh Stephenson, made their way over the mountains on horseback. When William reached the second crossing of the Youghiogheny, where West Side is now located, he was pleased by the fine meadow lands in the bend of the river and decided to build his home there. The men surveyed a tract of 376 1/4 acres and proceeded to build a log cabin into which he moved his family in 1766. Oh! What a time we had coming over the mountains with four young children. My children’s names are John, Sarah, Effie and Anne. We came on pack horses over a trail not much bigger than a path. We couldn’t bring much along with us, just the basic necessities like bed clothing, cooking utensils, agricultural implements, an axe, a dog, two cows and plenty of food. The children fell into the creeks we had to ford, and at night, we slept in a hastily improvised bark hut like the Indians built. Some people say that I am an unusual woman, but that’s not true. I am courageous and full of energy just like many other women who have faced similar hardships as Americans have moved west. Even though our dwelling is quite small and plain, it has warmly welcomed some illustrious men like George Washington and Lord Dunmore, the governor of Virginia, and we have heartily welcomed many passing travelers as they traveled along the old Braddock Trail. Our land is rich and affords an abundance of food, and the forest abounds in game. My husband is known as a most hospitable gentleman. From the first of the two windows in my cabin, I can look out over the beautiful Youghiogheny River as it sparkles in the sunshine. This river affords us travel, pleasure and fishing. It was just at this spot that Major General Edward Braddock and his troops forded the river on their ill-fated march to Fort Duquesne in 1755. From my other window, I can view the hills and enjoy the splendor that nature bestows on each season. You have also noticed a small building close to the cabin. That, of course, is our spring house where we store perishables such as eggs, milk, cheese and butter. We all lead very busy lives. There is constant work to be done. The children and I stay active helping with the
would soon hear the name Crawford. A main street is called Crawford Avenue. The Connellsville Area School District Administrative Offices were once housed in the Crawford Building. A handsome statue of Colonel William Crawford stands on the Carnegie Free Library lawn. The Connellsville Area Historical Society reconstructed Crawford’s Cabin in 1976 on the banks of the Youghiogheny River. This Crawford must have been a prominent person in early Connellsville history. William Crawford was born in Virginia (now Berkeley County, West Virginia) in 1732, which happened to also be the birth year of George Washington, a lifelong friend of William Crawford. Crawford was raised by his mother and stepfather, Richard Stephenson. His own father died when he was quite young. All together eight children eventually lived in the Stephenson home where George Washington often stopped to visit and enjoy sporting activities with William and his siblings. Washington taught Crawford the art of surveying and also influenced Crawford to go into military service. Both young men made a trip westward into our area in 1758, when they came as Virginia militia officers in the army of General John Forbes. It was during this expedition that Crawford decided that he would eventually move into this part of the Ohio Country. If you visited the reconstructed Crawford’s Cabin at 7th Street and the Youghiogheny River in the past, there was a recording in which Mrs. Hannah Crawford related her travel stories from Virginia to the site on the Youghiogheny River where the family was to settle. She also talks about life on the frontier. The following is the script of her discussion: “Welcome to the home of Colonel William Crawford. This old homestead was affectionately called Spring Garden by the Colonel. Our home is quite humble, but very much like any
by Karen Hechler
farming, cooking, making and repairing clothes, preserving food, chopping wood, hauling water, studying our lessons and entertaining each other. My husband is most busy farming, but his surveying skills have really paid off in this new area. The Colonel is often engaged in surveying for new people moving into the area as well as for friends, like Washington, who want to invest in land here in the west. My husband is becoming quite an important man in this area.” In 1767, George Washington wrote to his friend, William Crawford, requesting that Crawford look for a tract of land, “...fifteen hundred, two thousand or more acres somewhere in your neighborhood...”. Washington asked for rich, level land. Crawford was able to acquire 1,600 acres of land for Washington in the present township of Perry as well as other lands in Washington County and in Ohio. Washington came out west in the fall of 1770 to see the land purchased for him by William Crawford. In the journal that Washington kept of this trip, he mentioned that on October 13th (1770), he “...set out about sunrise, breakfasted at Great Meadows, thirteen miles, and reached Captain Crawford’s about five o’clock. The land from Gist’s (Mount Braddock) to Crawford’s is very broken, though not mountainous, in spots exceedingly rich and in general free from stone; Crawford’s is very fine land, lying on the Youghiogheny, at a place commonly called ‘Stewart’s Crossing.’” On October 14th, Washington noted, “At Captain Crawford’s all day. Went to see a coal mine not far from his house on the banks of the river. The coal seemed of the very best kind, burning freely and abundance of it.” The next day, October 15th, Washington reported that he, “Went to view some land which Captain Crawford located for me near the Youghiogheny, distant about twelve miles. This tract, which contains about one thousand six hundred acres, includes some as fine land as I ever saw, and a great deal of rich meadow, it is well watered and has a valuable millseat....” Washington spent October 16th at Crawford’s Cabin and then went with several men, including Crawford, to Pittsburgh. The party then proceeded down the Ohio in a large canoe and were gone until November 24th when Washington and Crawford arrived back at Stewart’s Crossing. Washington journeyed back to Mount Vernon shortly after returning from the Ohio trip. So you can see that these two men’s lives were intertwined throughout their entirety. They were boyhood friends, military comrades and business partners. Colonel William Crawford was a confidant of the man who became “the Father of Our Country.”
On the statue of Colonel William Crawford on the lawn of the Carnegie Free Library are these words engraved on a bronze plaque: In Memory of Colonel William Crawford, Born in Berkeley County, Virginia in 1732, Friend of Washington-PioneerPatriot. This monument is situated 1260 yards S.690 E. 76’ of the spot where he built his log cabin in 1765 on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River at the historic Stewart’s Crossings. He first visited the region west of the mountains in 1758, as an officer in the expedition of General Forbes against Fort Duquesne, as Colonel of the Seventh Virginia Regiment, he crossed the Delaware with Washington in 1777, and shared in the victory at Trenton. Fighting in defense of the frontier as commander of the Sandusky Expedition, he was captured by Indians and burned at the stake near Crawfordsville, Ohio, June 11, 1782. Erected by The Pennsylvania Historical Commission, The city of Connellsville, and Grateful Citizens, 1917 It is this wonderful statue which is need of restoration as it approaches its 100th anniversary in 2017. So don’t forget to contribute by sending a tax deductible contribution to the Fayette County Cultural Trust, 139 West Crawford Avenue, Connellsville, PA 15425. Colonel William Crawford is such an important part of our historical heritage.
by S. Joy Lewis
Artist Peter Alexander Bradley, born here in Connellsville
in 1940, is famous in certain circles. He has his own article on Wikipedia. Yet it is safe to say that very few Connellsvillians remember Peter, and only a very few of those not old enough to have personally known him are aware of the Connellsville connection. There are three primary reasons for this: First, Peter left here in the 1950’s and last returned to visit over 30 years ago; second, Connellsville has never been known as a great mecca for the fine arts; and third, Peter is black. We, for the most part, don’t know who he is. But we should. Peter’s wife Debra sent this recent biography, from the magazine, Black Renaissance Noir, Volume 6, 2016, published by Margaret and Quincy Troupe. It gives you a good idea of Peter’s extensive accomplishments, but because I didn’t understand the significance of all of these items, I will provide further detail on some. Over the years, Peter kept in touch with a few friends here. Audrey (Capper) DeMarco is one; Galen Wagner was another. Peter remembers Connellsville fondly and says he had a great time growing up here. His mother Edith (Ramsey) Strange Bradley ran a 27-room foster home at 127 Witter Avenue, and over the course of many years she fostered 64 children of all races – black, white and Hispanic. Their large home, originally built by the B&O Railroad as a layover house for the railroaders, was later sold and housed a business, Bradley House Antiques; it was torn down some years ago. Peter was one of only two foster children Edith ever adopted, so although he doesn’t know who his biological father and mother were, he does have a real sense of his own exceptionalism. The other adopted child was daughter Eunice Strange, who became a nurse. The only one of Peter’s many foster sisters to go to college and get an education, she was the first black nurse at Connellsville Hospital. As mother Edith said, “It isn’t who makes them, it is who takes them;” she explained that she chose to adopt him because of his obvious potential. After having raised so many children, she recognized his possibilities, and helped him get the foundation to achieve them. Peter, as the last of Edith’s foster children, was the baby of the
large family, and he thrived on the extra attention. Edith was an unusual woman. Born 1887 in Virginia, she married Charles Strange in 1906. By 1910 they were in Connellsville. Edith never had children of her own, and she always worked. Seamstress, cook and maid are some of the occupations given in her census entries, while Charles was a hotel porter and janitor. In 1926 they ran a restaurant at 205 West Crawford Avenue, but the city directories indicate this was a short-lived venture. Peter says she was more than this, though. She was a successful, well-respected businesswoman, she and Mrs. Betters (mother of Harold Betters) being the only two black women of this type in Connellsville. Charles Strange died at age 52 in 1936. His enterprising widow Edith, in 1940, had a house full of foster children. Peter’s young life was filled with music, art and culture. His mother regularly read the New York Times and The New Yorker, and she encouraged Peter to draw. He drew every day, and eventually began to do figurative or representational paintings. Jazz musicians stopped in Connellsville on their way from Chicago to Philadelphia to visit Edith, who had invested in several jazz clubs in Detroit and Pittsburgh. Between 1946 and 1948 Edith married again, to a younger B&O railroad porter William Alexander Bradley. Peter was formally adopted and given the legal name
Hemming, 1971, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy the artist. 12
two older, went to Rutgers on a football scholarship. The black population in Connellsville was very small, had little influence, and even talented people could not get good jobs. After Peter’s graduation from Connellsville High School in 1959, he moved to Detroit because there was so little opportunity for advancement in Connellsville. Peter’s foster sister Ellen and her husband lived there, and he stayed for a time with them. They were in a nice neighborhood, in what had once been a Jewish area of town, but which had gradually shifted during a natural neighborhood transition. Peter met many exceptional blacks, mostly musical, like Aretha Franklin, whose father had moved into a house in their neighborhood. It was an awakening meeting these talented and driven young people. They helped A Simple Border Crossing, 2014, acrylic on canvas. inspire Peter to work hard and realize his full potential. Photo by Ediomi Utuk. Courtesy the artist. Peter attended the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit on a scholarship, a private, fully-accredited college offering William Alexander Bradley IV, but he was never close to his education in art and design. He was introduced to abstract adoptive father. He says he never actually had a conversation art. To Peter, this is just another way of looking at things. with him. Because of William’s job, his family members were allowed free train passes, and Edith and Peter took advantage of After several years of study, in 1962, he moved to New York this opportunity, visiting Chicago and Detroit. Peter even took a City. trip by train to California, all by himself, when he was about 14. Peter began working as a painter for Rambusch Decorators in New York, a full service company of designers, artisans and In high school, Peter was an honor student, engineers known for high end interior design and restoration since 1898. In his time with Rambusch he painted in Trinity played football, was Church, the Federal Courthouse in New York City and the on the track team, Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan. He also worked for and learned how to develop his own photos with the Camera Club. He was briefly on the Guggenheim Museum in the installation department. the swim team but quit when it was explained that Mt. Lebanon From 1965 – 1966, Peter attended Yale University, studying and some other schools Connellsville competed against that art and design, at the invitation of Jack Tworkov, a noted didn’t allow blacks in their pools, so he was not permitted to abstract painter, printmaker and, at the time, Chairman of the compete. Prejudice, in the 1950’s, was a fact of life – but it was Art Department at Yale. worse in some places than others. Edith Bradley was the reason In 1968 Peter left New York and briefly went back to Detroit. that Burn’s Drug Store allowed black customers to patronize He returned to New York City later in 1968 when Klaus and their lunch counter for two hours a day on Sundays. Peter took Dolly Perls asked him to work for the Perls Gallery as an art classes in High School, but his teacher, Roger Speidel, hated installer. This didn’t last long. When the Perls found he had him and attacked his efforts. Although these comments would the skills to intelligently discuss art with their clients and have crushed a less confident person, Peter never took Mr. Speidel’s words to heart. Edith apparently believed that “clothes convince them to invest in their paintings, he was promoted make the man” because she allowed Peter to get his clothing at to Associate Director, and he worked for Perls as a dealer for seven years, until 1975, selling art all over Europe and Gigliotti’s, and Peter tells me that being well dressed, perhaps America. Clothes again made the man, and one of the perks even better dressed than his teachers, allowed him to discount of this job, at Peter’s insistence, was handmade, custom some of the unfairness and prejudice he experienced. tailored, Italian cut suits from Meledandri, and handmade Life changed when Peter’s best friend Bobby Harrison, a year or shoes and shirts. During his tenure at Perls, John de Menil 13
acrylic gel paint, whose innovative texture allowed for new methods of use, a great deal of innovative work was done using the new paint by a movement abstract artists who began calling themselves the “NewNew Painters.” Although not a member of the group, Peter’s work was influential to these artists, and he still uses Golden acrylics.
of the Menil Foundation in Houston asked Peter to curate a show of modern abstract works. He initially turned down the job, but John insisted, and Peter put together The De Luxe Show, an extremely significant exhibition. Peter chose the best abstract artists he knew doing color field painting and hard abstraction, and it was a first class multicultural exhibition presented in the renovated De Luxe movie theater in a Houston ghetto.
In 1981 Peter’s work was the subject of a solo expedition at Hedgeepeth & DeStayker at Bruxelles, Belgium.
As Peter gained more contacts in the art world, his own work attracted more notice. In 1968, some of Peter’s work was included in the exhibition 30 Contemporary Black Artists, a traveling show done by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. He also in the exhibit In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Dyansen Gallery, New York, held a solo exhibition for Peter in 1982, and at the end of 1982, Peter’s work was featured in an exhibition called On Trial: Yale School of Art, at 22 Wooster Gallery, New York.
Contemporary Black Artists, a 1969 group exhibit at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, included Peter among the 34 artists displayed. Ralph L. Harley’s book, Checklist of Afro-American Art and Artists, 1970, includes information on Peter. Peter’s work was featured in an article by Willis Domingo in Arts Magazine 45, No. 3 (Dec 1970); Color Abstractionism: A Survey of Recent American Painting. The book, Afro-American Art and Craft, 1971, by Judith Wragg Chase, included Peter’s work among her examples of contemporary African American art. In 1972 André Emmerich’s Gallery in New York did a solo exhibition of Peter’s color field paintings. Peter was also exhibited in Art for McGovern at Sidney Janis Gallery and Pace Gallery, New York. In 1973 he exhibited in the Whitney Biennial Exhibition, on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. This exhibit serves to introduce young and lesser known artists and is known as one of the world’s leading art shows, often introducing or leading trends in contemporary art. This show, which helped bring Georgia O’Keefe and Jackson Pollock to prominence, covers all types of artistic media including the performing arts. Peter was discovered early in his career by Clement Greenberg (1909 – 1994), an influential art critic who promoted the work of abstract expressionists. Clement also discovered Jackson Pollock.
In 1982 Triangle Artists’ Workshop in Pine Plains, NY was founded, a rigorous two week program with the goal of bringing abstract artists from the US, Canada, and Britain, and later all around the world, together to paint and exchange ideas. Peter attended their open houses, and in 1983 met David Koloane, a South African artist. They discussed starting a similar program in South Africa, and the idea for the 1985 Thupelo Workshop was born. Bill Ainsley, Director of the Johannesburg Art Foundation (JAF), secured funding from the United States – South Africa Leadership Exchange Program (USSALEP), Johannesburg, South Africa, and Peter was invited to lead workshops. Peter did a number of metal sculptures while in Africa. In 1985 Desmond Tutu dedicated one of Peter’s steel sculptures, Silver Dawn, to the people of Johannesburg. Peter was never able to actually meet with Tutu; they spoke on the phone instead because Peter was recovering from knee surgery to repair old football injuries. Gallery Hirondelle, New York, had a solo exhibition of Peter’s abstract paintings in 1985.
In 1973 and 1974 André Emmerich’s Gallery in New York had two more solo exhibitions of Peter’s work. In 1974 Peter had a solo exhibition at the Cusack Gallery, Houston, TX. Peter taught abstract painting at Franconia College, New Hampshire from 1974 until the college closed in 1976. Peter’s work was exhibited in 1976 at the show, Selected Works by Black Artists from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Brooklyn. In 1978, after paint chemist Sam Golden invented and developed
Peter’s last visit to South Africa was when he directed a workshop at the Alexandra Arts Center in 1990. Overall, the time he spent in South Africa was life changing, a real eye opener. Keep in mind, this was before apartheid ended in 1994, and South Africa was a very dangerous place for a black man to be. After returning from Johannesburg, Peter taught at Emma Lake Artist’s Workshops in Canada, a program affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan.
Gallery Hirondelle, New York, had a solo exhibition of Peter’s painted-steel sculptures in 1986, and another solo exhibit of Peter’s found-metal sculptures in 1987. In 1991 Peter’s work was included in the exhibit The Search for Freedom: African American Abstract Painting 1945 – 1975, Kenkeleba House, New York; and mentioned in the 1991 book, The Black Artist in America: An Index to Reproductions, by Dennis Thomison. Peter then had a solo exhibition at Kenkeleba House, New York, in 1993, and his work was included in Melvin Edwards Sculpture: a Thirty-Year Retrospective 1933 - 1993 at the Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY, Purchase NY. Halima Taha’s 1998 book, Collecting African American Art: Works on Paper and Canvas, mentions Peter. In 2001 Peter was one of three artists featured in the exhibit, Cross-Cultural Gems, Tribes Gallery, New York. Daniel J. Frye’s 2001 book, African American Visual Artists: an annotated bibliography of educational resource materials, included Peter among significant artists. Piri Halasz’s article, Another Sensibility: Louis & Bradley, in Arts (Feb 2002) reviews Bradley’s work in Cross-Cultural Gems. Peter Bradley and John Hersey’s two-person exhibit took place at Cross Path Culture in New York, 2002. And he was featured in another 2002 exhibit there called Paper for Paper. Another 2002 group exhibit, No Greater Love: Abstraction, took place in 2002 at the Jack Tilton/Anna Kustera Gallery. The 2010 book, Art and Activism: Projects of John and Dominique DeMenil by Josef Helfenstein and Laureen Schipsi covers Peter’s curation of The DeLuxe Show. The De Luxe Show and Contemporary Black Artists in America, at the Whitney Museum of American Art are discussed in the book, 1971: A Year in the Life of Color, by Darby English, University of Chicago Press, 2016. Peter’s photo is on the cover. Today, Peter Bradley has been married for a number of years to fashion designer Debra Roskowski, a fashion designer, and has children and grandchildren. They live in a beautiful old stone home in Saugerties in the Hudson Valley of New York known as the Osterhoudt Stone House, which he purchased about 1990. He had the home listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 and early in 2017 the home was designated a Local Landmark by the Town of Saugerties Historic Preservation Commission. Built about 1818, Peter stated it is the oldest home in the United States owned by an African American. Peter graciously took the time to speak with me at length on the telephone. At different times in his life, he has ridden on the Concorde, owned a couple of Ferarris, a Lamborghini, or a Jaguar, and lived in a Manhattan loft. Peter is proud of his children and grandchildren, daughter Lisa Bradley, an accomplished artist; Miles Bradley, a chef; daughter
Garrett Bradley, a gifted filmmaker whose films have premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and who won the juried nonfiction short film award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival; grandson Yannick Lowery, Lisa’s son; and great-grandson Calvin Lowery. To quote Debra on Yannick and Calvin, “Lisa is so proud of this young man . . . such a good young man if I do say so myself . . . and a bright, innately curious and thoughtful boy. . . well mannered and super smart like all the Bradleys.” Hearing this description, I think Calvin must be very much like the little boy Edith (Ramsey) Bradley felt compelled to adopt. Peter told me that being an artist isn’t just doing works of art when he gets an idea or the mood strikes him, he gets up and works every day. In return for his dedication to art, his real love of what he does, and his excellent work ethic, Peter says he has never had to worry about money as there are not many people who can paint. The color in Peter’s work makes a statement, and it is his primary tool; “Color supersedes subject matter.” Peter feels that abstract art began hundreds, if not thousands of years ago in Africa, but it was popularized by Picasso and others. The art world is highly political, but when Peter immerses himself in doing his art, he chooses to step outside politics. He is a gifted artist who happens to be black. Some people would categorize Peter as a Color Field painter, a term coined by Clement Greenberg to describe a tendency within Abstract Expressionism that began in the 1940’s to abandon all suggestions of figuration and employ color in large fields that tend to envelop the view at close quarters, attempting to produce a modern, mythic art and expressing a yearning for transcendence and the infinite. Peter himself is not so sure that is an accurate description; he belongs to a master school of painting, some of the most vivid work around, perhaps he could be considered second generation of this movement. But he is down-to-earth enough to admit he didn’t take my call the first time I phoned because he was outside mowing the grass. He feels fortunate to have achieved great things in his life. This March, Peter travels to Santa Barbara, California to be the artist in residence at The Squire Foundation, teaching a workshop in abstract painting techniques. So if you have a desire to learn from a master how to improve your skills and learn something new, visit their website at http://www. thesquirefoundation.org/ news/ and sign up for his class. 15
by Laura Bowden
There has been a culinary explosion in our downtown, and the variety of new restaurants is both palate pleasing and a testament to the revitalization of our city. Be sure to stop in and enjoy a bite to eat with our new neighbors.
Ruvo’s Italian Restaurant Anthony Ruvo opened his restaurant at 510 W. Crawford Avenue. Ruvo’s offers authentic homemade Italian dishes, prepared fresh daily with the best ingredients available. Specializing in meatballs, the new eatery features the recipes of Saint Rita parishioner, Esther Ruvo, as prepared and interpreted by her grandson Anthony. Start your meal with authentic Italian favorites like the Caprese Salad or Wedding Soup, then dive into a generous helping of Chicken Alfredo or Four Cheese Ravioli. But be sure to save room for dessert! All meals are served family style. For more information, please call the restaurant at 724.320.5059.
Lid’l Licious Catering Having a passion for cooking is what inspired two best friends, Mikki McMullen and Leighann Henry, to create Lid’l Licious Catering. Specializing in, but not limited to, comfort food, they are dedicated to providing quality, home cooked foods. The menu features a variety of soups, salads, appetizers, entrées and desserts. Lunch and dinner specials are also offered for take-out throughout the week. Visit Mikki and Leighann at 806 West Crawford Avenue. For more information, please call the restaurant at 724.322.0584.
Connellsville Canteen Visitors and locals are familiar with the Connellsville Canteen, home to the World War II Museum, Harry Clark’s Indian Creek Valley Railroad Display, Stage Door Canteen and Café. The Canteen is now offering breakfast and lunch service, grab ‘n go options and fresh brewed coffee, among other items. The breakfast and lunch menus have been kept simple, to keep in the tradition of the original Connellsville Canteen, but diners will find a few modern offerings as well. In charge of the culinary offerings is Chef Neil Smith, who honed his skills at Latrobe Country Club, Champion Lakes Golf Resort, and most recently at Chef Dato’s Table in Latrobe. He was also an Adjunct Instructor at Westmoreland County Community College. In addition to his chef responsibilities at the Canteen, Chef Neil will also be facilitating hands-on culinary instruction at the Canteen for the Connellsville Area Career and Technical School. “It’s exciting to be on the ground floor of a start-up restaurant,” said Chef Neil. “I love cooking, and am looking forward to establishing our café as a community staple. A place where you can go for good food and good coffee, and feel like you’re among friends.” For more information call the Canteen at 724.603.2093 or visit ConnellsvilleCanteen.org. 16
by Laura Bowden
During WWII, when the trains pulled in the station at Connellsville, the troops were greeted by the Canteen ladies with a hot cup of coffee and a soup and sandwich lunch. Today, that soup and sandwich tradition continues with the lunch menu at the Connellsville Canteen Café & Museum. “We wanted to give our diners the traditional soup and sandwich lunch, but also added international dishes,” said Chef Neil Smith. The international dishes represent the countries that were involved in the war, including England, France, Germany, Poland and more. “The breakfast and lunch service is a nice addition to the museum and café.” The Canteen, which opened three years ago, houses a World War II museum, Harry Clark’s Indian Creek Valley Train Display, and the Café. “Our museum is in honor of the Fayette County natives that fought in World War II, and most of the photos and memorabilia have been donated by their families,” said Daniel Cocks, executive director of the Trust and museum curator. The museum collection includes a Japanese flag captured at Iwo Jima, a Nazi flag captured in Hitler’s bunker, and one of only 500 gold star burial flags ever produced. Harry Clark’s Indian Creek Valley Railroad display, which measures 25’ x 50’, is the country’s largest scratch-built model railroad. The HO Gauge masterpiece was a 40 year labor of love for the Normalville native, and was donated to the Trust by Tuffy Shallenberger. “It’s amazing to see. The detail on the buildings, the portrayal of everyday life in the displays, is just incredible,” said Cocks. Volunteers, led by Bill Sechler, run the train on Saturdays for visitors to the Canteen. The Canteen also features rotating displays relating to Connellsville, as well as Fayette County, history. Currently, visitors can enjoy the Thompson Glass pieces showcased in the café area. Past exhibitions include John Woodruff’s Olympic Collection, 1936 TWA Crash, The Holocaust, North Korea, and War Propaganda. The Canteen is available for event rentals. “The Stage Door room is perfect for business meetings, seminars, bridal and baby showers, birthday parties and more. Our catering menu offers a diverse selection, and we can always customize a menu to suit your needs,” said Cocks.
VISIT THE CANTEEN The Connellsville Canteen Café & Museum is located at 131 W. Crawford Ave., and is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast is offered 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; lunch is offered 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monthly events include the Second Saturday Wine Dinner Series, Steak Night, and more. For details, visit ConnellsvilleCanteen.org or call 724.603.2093. The Canteen also hosts many seminars and workshops for Downtown Connellsville and the Fayette County Cultural Trust, including the Lunch and Learn series, every third Tuesday through September. Visit our Facebook pages for details on all of the events. To reserved the Canteen for your private event, please call Laura at 724.320.6392 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Harry Clark’s Indian Creek Valley Railroad train display is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for viewing. You can see the trains running Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. There is a minimal fee to view the display. 17
Probably one of the most recognizable faces and voices on television in our local area belongs to Edgar Snyder, a Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer. There are other attorneys who offer similar services, but they lack that dynamic presentation when Attorney Snyder points his finger at the camera and says his iconic line, “There’s no fee unless we get money for you.” I even found a demonstration on YouTube where Edgar Snyder is instructing another person on the perfect manner to deliver the line and point the finger. For years I have heard people say that Edgar Snyder was from Connellsville or at least had Connellsville connections. As we have been searching and writing articles for Crossroads Magazine about people who were born or raised in Connellsville, I thought that I would like to find out more about this rumored connection of Connellsville and Edgar Snyder. And, yes, it is true. Edgar Snyder was born in Connellsville Hospital September 6, 1941. The son of Meyer and Selma Snyder, Edgar is a descendant of Jewish Russian immigrants on his father’s side; his mother is a Pittsburgh native. Edgar informed me that his father came into the Connellsville area in the late 1920’s. He opened a store in 1929 which was located on West Crawford Avenue and specialized in men’s clothing. Harry Davidson told me that the store, known as Snyder and Cohen’s Men’s Store, was across the street from where Burns’ Drug Store was located. Edgar told me that his father sold lots of coveralls, work clothing, to the men who worked in the mines. Edgar was the youngest in the family of three children. His sister, Sorley, and brother, Alan, attended school in Connellsville. I found a picture of his sister as a sophomore in the 1947 Connellsville Coker. When Edgar was six, his family moved to Pittsburgh, so he only attended kindergarten in Connellsville, and that would have been at the South Side School. While in Connellsville the Meyer Snyder family lived at 1212 Race Street and 1015 Isabella Road. His father decided to sell the business in 1947 and move the family to Pittsburgh where many of his mother’s family lived. Tom Rusnack was able to find a classified ad concerning the sale of the house on Isabella Road in the local Daily Courier. Edgar and his family returned for visits to Connellsville because his father still owned real estate here, and there was family here as well. Because Edgar was only six years old when the family moved, he had to verify some of his information so he called Harry Davidson, owner of Davidson’s Store in Connellsville, who happens to be Edgar’s first cousin. Harry’s mother and Edgar’s mother were sisters. So visits to Connellsville were part of his young life. Edgar’s parents stressed the importance of hard work and a good education. His parents seemed to place great emphasis on being a doctor or being a lawyer. Since Edgar was excellent at winning arguments, and he was a successful debater at Penn State (1959-1963), he chose to become a lawyer. He continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (1963-1966). After graduation, he set up 18
by Karen Hechler
a practice in Duquesne, PA across from the steel mill where he had contact with the laborers. He also served as an Allegheny County assistant public defender. In this capacity, he represented several well known clients including the notorious Stanley Hoss, the subject of a book entitled Born to Lose, which tells of Hossâ€™s life of crime and murder. But Edgarâ€™s main interest in the law was to help injury victims and people with disabilities. In 1982 Attorney Snyder discovered the importance of advertising. At that time, television was the predominant medium. His commercials made him a household name and his legal practice grew. Eventually five offices, Altoona, Ebensburg, Erie, Johnstown and Pittsburgh, were established under the title Edgar Snyder and Associates. From these offices over 40,000 people who were accident victims, workers hurt on the job, disabled people and those needing Social Security disability benefits have been served. In 2009, Attorney Snyder began the process of stepping back and operating his practice from outside of the courtroom. Now, he spends most of his time volunteering and traveling for various organizations. Mr. Snyder is proud to acknowledge his Connellsville roots. Even though he lived here for a very limited time, his family ties kept him in contact with Connellsville over the years. We had a pleasant conversation discussing places like the Orpheum, the Soisson, Burnsâ€™ Drug Store, and other Connellsville landmarks, places that he remembers from his youth. Edgar Snyder, one more successful professional man with a Connellsville connection.
by Karen Hechler
We are told that personality and character are
established in the first few years of our lives. So the memories and events of our early days have a profound influence on what kind of person we become as adults. Growing up in a small town where you are free to roam with friends in a safe environment is probably an ideal setting. “Summers were spent picking berries, playing baseball, swimming, building forts and bike riding. Winters were devoted to sledding and ice skating on the river.” This is a quote from Judge Burdette. Robert Burdette was born in Connellsville Hospital in 1942, and he grew up in Vanderbilt and Dawson. His father owned Burdette Appliance Store in Dawson. He actually attended a small school in Dawson which had only three classrooms and 90 students. Graduation from 8th grade was a big event in young lives at that time. Bill and Bob Baer were close friends from Dawson, where the Baer brothers’ family owned a dairy bar. Bill Baer told me that Bert Means was the principal of the Dawson School and also taught grades 6, 7 and 8. Mr. Means was a big fan of baseball, and the boys also spent a great deal of time playing touch football in the lot next to the Methodist Church. “Robby” as Robert Burdette was known as in those days, was a real enthusiastic track man and excellent at the hurdles. Joe Mancuso remembers the Dawson boys when playing Booster Football. Joe played for North End and the Baer boys and Robby played for Dawson. Joe also recalls that Bob Burdette was a good student, a good person and good at track running the hurdles under the leadership of Coach Bill Brown. Checking with another friend, Bill Swan, Bill told me that he and
Burdette both had fathers who owned appliance stores. Another common factor was that both Bill and Bob were on the Connellsville High School track team. Sometimes situations change, and your life goes another direction. Bob’s family moved from Dawson to Dallas, Texas after his junior year in high school. His track coach at Connellsville, Bill Brown, had become a coach at Pitt and offered Bob a scholarship which he was glad to accept so he could get back to Pennsylvania. But after his freshman year, he transferred to Baylor University in Texas. He surprised himself when he decided to take pre-law rather than become a teacher and coach. The law’s logic, simplicity and precision completely captivated and fascinated him. That was to be his career. Bob graduated from Baylor Law School in 1967, the same year that he married and entered the service. In 1969, he accepted a position as an Assistant District Attorney in Waco, Texas and the following year, he was offered a position as an Assistant District Attorney in Houston. In this position, he would have more responsibility and opportunity. 20
Bob served as Chief Felony Prosecutor for eight years, and
afterwards was appointed judge of a Texas Criminal District Court. Bob stated that, “As both a prosecutor and judge, I was involved in many high-profile murder and capital murder cases.” This was followed by an appointment to serve as a United States Administrative Law Judge, which position he still holds. This job involves resolving appeals for people who disagree with decisions made by federal agencies. He says that it is very different from his 35 years of criminal experience, but it is a job that is challenging and interesting. Life has been good to Judge Robert Burdette. He has friendships that have lasted a lifetime. He has two wonderful daughters and four grandchildren. He gets back to Connellsville now and then. Joe Mancuso said that he returned for the 50th class reunion, and Bill Baer said they get together every time “Robby” comes home. Bob says that he likes to revisit several favorite haunts. They may have changed over the years, but the memories remain. To conclude, in the words of Judge Bob Burdette, “One of the greatest gifts I have been given was to grow up where I did, when I did, and with those that I did.” 21
by Laura Bowden
Our downtown will be jumping with
all of the family-friendly festivals and events planned for this year! If you’re visiting from out-of-town, be sure to make your lodging reservations early.
In March, get out and explore our downtown with the Soup Walk. Sample a wide variety of soups from participating restaurants, and don’t forget to take some home for later! Visit the Connellsville Canteen on May 13 for National Train Days. Learn all about the history of the HO gauge railroad display and explore Harry Clark’s Indian Creek Valley Railroad. Admission is free for the event. Welcome spring at the annual Geranium Festival, May 27 in our downtown. Shop the craft fair, enjoy a variety of food, and enjoy the live musical performances. And don’t forget to purchase your geraniums! The Fayette Heritage and Arts Festival returns June 24-25 to Yough River Park. Local artisans will be on display throughout the park, with their works available for purchase at Art on the Yough. Visit Colonel Crawford’s Cabin, see history come alive as portrayed by Native American, French, British, and Colonial reenactors and commemorate Braddock’s Crossing of the Yough on Saturday and Sunday by participating. Enjoy the performances by local musicians and theatre troops, a variety of food, and more. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a free outdoor concert at the Summer Concert Series in Lions Square. The free concerts are scheduled every Sunday from 7-9 p.m., beginning June 11 and running through August 27. Enjoy different musicians every week! The Farmers Market is the new community hub—a place to meet up with your friends, bring your kids, or just get a taste of small-town life in the midst of our wonderful city. From savoring produce at the peak of freshness to meeting the people who grow your food, there are countless reasons to support farmers’ markets. Wouldn’t you rather stroll amidst outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a sunny day than roll your cart around a grocery store with artificial lights and piped in music? Offered every Saturday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m., July 1 through September 30, in the PNC Parking Lot on Crawford Avenue. Crafts, food, music - and mums! Bring the whole family and join us for the annual Mum Festival, September 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., downtown. Shop the craft vendors, enjoy great food and a variety of musical performances. November 4th is the perfect day for chili. Get out and explore our downtown with the Chili Fest. Each participating location will have a different style of chili for you to sample, and you can even take some home for later! Get in the holiday spirit! The first weekend in December brings our annual community-wide open house with It’s A Connellsville Christmas. Enjoy Breakfast with Santa, a holiday parade, concerts, cookie and church tours, ice skating, a variety of vendors for shopping, children’s crafts and activities, model railroad and more! Park and ride - FREE shuttle service is provided to attractions around the city. For more information on all of our festivals and events, please visit our website at www.DowntownConnellsville.org. 22
2017 Festivals & Events For details on the events below, please visit www.DowntownConnellsville.org.
MARCH 11, 2017 Soup Walk
Sample soups from a variety of restaurants while you explore our downtown. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $10 per person
MAY 13, 2017 National Train Days
Free admission to the train display at the Connellsville Canteen.
May 27, 2017 Geranium Festival
Crafts, food and music Downtown, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
June 24-25, 2017 Fayette Heritage & Arts Festival Art on the Yough, Braddock’s Crossing At Yough River Park
June 11 - August 27, 2017 Summer Concert Series Sundays, 7 - 9 p.m. At Lions Square
July 1 - September 30, 2017 Farmer ’s Market Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. PNC Parking Lot, Crawford Ave.
September 9, 2017 Mum Festival
Crafts, food and music Downtown, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
NOVEMBER 4, 2017 Chili Fest
Sample chili from a variety of restaurants while you explore our downtown. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., $10 per person
December 2-3, 2017 It ’s a Connellsville Christmas
Community-wide open house with crafts, activities, food and more
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