FAY E T T E CO U N T Y C U LT U R A L T R U S T
SPRING 2019 | $10.00
Washington and Stewart’s Crossing
BY K A R E N H E C H L E R
Wright masterpiece Ed Cope features an incredible A look back at a career sculpture garden that spanned decades BY P H I L I P PA LU M B O A N D M A RYA N N P E R K I N S BY J O E A B R A M O W I T Z
Andrew W. Mellon
The Reverend James M. Lawson
250 years later BY FAYETTE COUNTY JUDGE STEVE LESKINEN
After 50 years, the American dream is alive and well on Furnace Hill
Banker, businessman, industrialist, politician, philanthropist and art collector
Miners who built a selfsustaining community
BY D A N I E L C O C K S
BY FAY E T T E C O U N T Y HISTORICAL SOCIETY
BY D A N I E L C O C K S
Connellsville Royalty Washington Trolley Museum Donation in New York City
Judy Swan Nardone and Virginia Miller Habina
The main purpose of historical collections is to share them
BY K A R E N H E C H L E R
BY S A R A H R E E DY
“the leading non-violence theorist in the world”
Connellsville Park Improvements Improving our parks for our residents and visitors BY D A N I E L C O C K S
On the cover: Kentuck Knob, page 8
C onnellsville Crossroads Fayette County Cultural Trust Volume 11, No. 1 • Spring 2019 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, Graphic Designer Laura Manges Bowden Connellsville Crossroads Editor S. Joy Lewis
2019 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 Downtown Connellsville initiative began its 10th year to assist in the revitalization of the community. The Soup Walk is back and will be held on Saturday, March 9th. The façade and sign program has been expanded thanks to a grant from the Allegheny Foundation. The Lunch and Learn series will continue on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 12 noon at the Canteen. Information about these initiatives is available online at www.downtownconnellsville.org. The Connellsville Canteen continues to be a hub of activity. The Ambassador Program will be held on Monday evenings (February 11 through April 22, 2019). The Chocolate Bunny Breakfast will be held on April 13th thanks to sponsorship by Colebrook Chocolate. We are grateful to Laura Bowden for her service to the Trust and thank her as she leaves us to start her own business. For more information about these and other upcoming events and initiatives, please see the website www.fayettetrust.org.
J. Michael Edwards
President Fayette County Cultural Trust
Consultant Tom Rusnack X 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 A wonderful byproduct of editing this magazine is learning about places in the county I know nothing about. Penn-Craft is such a place. Being a genealogist, I wondered who the Isaiah N. Craft was on whose farm Penn-Craft was built and for whom it was partially named. It turns out the Crafts were an old German family (originally Kraft) who immigrated before the Revolutionary War. George Kraft had a son Daniel born about 1790; Daniel was Isaiah N. Craft’s father, and the family lived in Redstone Township in 1850. Daniel, wife Sarah, Isaiah and wife Mary were living in Luzerne Township by 1860 on a large farm. Isaiah died in 1910, aged 73. He and wife Mary had two children; only one, son Ewing Craft, was still alive in 1910. Ewing never married, and the farm passed out of the family. And it is now on my list to schedule a visit to Penn-Craft and see what it was like to live there. As always, if you have an idea for an interesting story that our readers would enjoy, please let me know! Stop me when you see me out in the community, call and leave a message at 724-603-3691 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 3
George Washington, Colonel William Crawford, and Stewart’s Crossing
Peale portrait of George Washington
George Washington’s 1754 map of his journey to Fort LeBoeuf includes Christopher Gist’s plantation
George Washington and Christopher Gist crossing the Allegheny River, attributed to Daniel Huntington
Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He became a land surveyor and the commander of local militia at a young age. In 1753, what we now know as southwestern Pennsylvania was also considered part of Virginia due to conflicting descriptions in the 1681 Charter to William Penn and the older Charters of the Virginia Colony. Under the original grant to Penn, two thirds of Fayette County, part of Washington County and all of Greene County should have been part of Virginia because Penn’s grant extended only to the “beginning of the fortieth degree of north latitude.” Virginia also claimed all of the land south of the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers as far east as the Kiskimenetas Creek. Washington’s first trip west of the Appalachian Mountains was as an emissary of Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia late in 1753. At the time, the French were connecting their colonies in Canada with their colony in New Orleans by erecting a chain of forts along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The intent was to confine the English colonies east of the Appalachian mountains. The French had built Fort Niagara and Fort LeBoeuf near Erie, and they intended to build a fort at “the forks of the Ohio,” where the Allegheny and the Monongahela converge to form the Ohio (now “The Point” in Pittsburgh). The Ohio Company of Virginia had negotiated a royal grant and Dinwiddie was one of several prominent investors. He dispatched twenty-one-yearold Adjutant General Major George Washington to deliver the message to the French that they should leave the area because it was owned by Great Britain. Washington was assigned the duty on October 31, 1753. He went first to Wills Creek, present day Cumberland, Maryland, and was joined there by guide Christopher Gist. On November 8 they departed along Nemacolin’s Trail across the mountain ridges towards Fort LeBoeuf. The route first crossed the Youghiogheny River near present-day Addison at The Great Crossings, and then traveled west to the crest of the Chestnut Ridge near Washington’s Springs, then northerly along the ridge to Gist’s Plantation on Mount Braddock. There they reached an intersection with the Catawba Trail, and they again crossed the Youghiogheny River at Stewart’s Crossing in present day Connellsville. The Crossing was named for William Stewart, who lived there in 1753 and 1754. It is located just downstream from the Memorial Bridge, where the river is wide and shallow. They arrived at the southern bank of the Allegheny River on November 22, 1753. The expedition ultimately arrived at Fort LeBoeuf where they were welcomed with a dinner complete with wine. The French response was clear. The French had no intention of leaving the Valley of the Ohio because their claim was based on the 1682 exploration of the Mississippi River by the French explorer LaSalle, who claimed that River and all lands drained by it for the King of France. The lands west of the Appalachian Mountains are drained by the Mississippi River, including its tributaries, the Ohio, the Allegheny, the Monongahela, the Cheat and the Youghiogheny Rivers, collectively the Valley of the Ohio. The British King’s conflicting grant to the Colony of Virginia extended northward and westward from the Atlantic Coast to the South Seas (the Pacific Ocean). Indian tribes also claimed the land, but they allied with the French because they engaged in trade and fur trapping, while the English cleared and cultivated the land, forcing the Indians to move 4
west or fight. Washington and Gist headed home after three days. Their Indian guides abandoned them. A hostile Indian trailed them and tried to shoot them, but his gun misfired and they overpowered him. While crossing the Allegheny River, Washington fell off the raft and into the frigid waters. Gist and Washington spent the night on an island in the river. It was so cold that the river froze solid enough to walk to the southern bank, and they continued the journey back to Fayette County where they again used Stewart’s Crossing without further drama. Washington finally returned to Williamsburg on January 16, 1754. Dinwiddie wanted public support for military action to contest the French claims. Washington’s diary of the trip was published as The Journal of Major George Washington. Distributed on both sides of the Atlantic, it made young George Washington into an internationally famous military adventurer. In 1754, Dinwiddie sent 300 colonial soldiers to protect the workers and to garrison the British fort that was being built at the Forks of the Ohio—Fort Prince George. The soldiers were promised land in the Ohio Valley as payment for their military service. William Crawford, whom Washington had befriended in 1750 while surveying with him in the Shenandoah Valley, was one of the soldiers. The death of the original commander left young Washington in charge. Washington attempted to canoe down the Youghiogheny from the Great Crossings, hoping to find an easy route to the Forks, but he was stopped by the falls in Ohiopyle. The Virginia force then camped at Great Meadows near present day Farmington. By then, the French had taken Fort Prince George and renamed it Fort Du Quesne after the Governor of Canada. The Indian “Half King” (Tanacharison) told Washington that a French military force had used Stewart’s Crossing and was camped just a few miles away on the Chestnut Ridge. (The French drove William Stewart out.) Washington and forty of his men, including Crawford, set out during the night hours to intercept the French force. Washington arrived at the top of a rocky escarpment immediately above the French camp, while the Half King and his warriors approached from the downhill side. A short battle ensued. Washington’s men and the Indians quickly got the better of the battle. Ten French soldiers were killed, including the French commander, the Ensign Coulon du Jumonville. Twenty-one surrendered and were made captive. Unknown to Washington and his troops, one French soldier who escaped made his way back across Stewart’s Crossing and alerted the rest of the French force. Washington and his men advanced to Gist’s Plantation (Mt. Braddock). A group was sent to clear a road to Redstone (Brownsville) on the Monongahela for an alternative water route to the Forks. Ultimately Indian scouts advised that a superior French force was coming. Washington and his troops retreated from Gist’s Plantation to their camp at the Great Meadows, expecting reinforcements from Virginia. They erected a timber stockade and dug trenches, and called it Fort Necessity. The much larger French force commanded by Ensign du Jumonville’s angry older halfbrother came, surrounded the fort, and attacked on July
3, 1754. The French troops and their Indian allies were sheltered by the forest. A steady rain filled the trenches and rendered the defenders’ gunpowder useless. Thirty of Washington’s men were killed and 42 wounded, while the French suffered only two dead. Late that evening, Washington was forced to surrender for the only time in his military career. In doing so, he signed a document of surrender prepared by the French wherein he confessed to “l’assasinat” (the assassination) of Ensign Jumonville. Washington later claimed he did not understand the meaning of the term at the time that he signed. The defeat was a humiliation for young George Washington, but it only enhanced his fame. Washington’s youthful bravado was quoted in news reports: “I have heard the bullets whistle, and believe me, there is something charming in the sound.” The King of Great Britain himself heard of Washington’s comment, and remarked: “He would not think the sound so charming if he had heard more of them!” The events at Jumonville Glen and Fort Necessity were the first open hostilities between the British and French in America, and eventually sparked a world-wide war. The immediate aftermath of Washington’s defeat, however, was the British decision to use regular British soldiers—“Redcoats”—to force the French out of the Valley of the Ohio. At great expense—the equivalent of billions of dollars today—the British sent 2,000 soldiers with Major General Edward Braddock together with a massive amount of military equipment and artillery in a fleet of ships across the Atlantic Ocean to Virginia. Braddock contacted Washington and asked him to accompany the force, and Washington agreed. Crawford also enlisted in the effort. Because of the wagons and artillery, a new road twelve feet wide had to be carved out of the wilderness. “Braddock’s March” journeyed over the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains, forded the Youghiogheny River at the Great Crossings and thence to Dunbar’s Camp near Gist’s Plantation. At Dunbar’s Camp, the decision was made to split into two parts. The main force of soldiers was to travel light and fast to the Forks of the Ohio, while Colonel Dunbar and the others stayed behind with the heavy military stores. Washington and Crawford were both part of the “flying column” which left Dunbar’s Camp, traveling to another camp near Stewart’s Crossing. The force crossed 5
the Youghiogheny River on June 29 of 1754, and then crossed the Monongahela twice to avoid having to cross the steep-sided canyon where Turtle Creek empties into the Monongahela. Shortly thereafter, approximately seven miles from the Forks of the Ohio, Braddock’s force was met by a smaller force of French soldiers, Canadian militia and their Indian allies, less than 800 altogether. Several factors led to what was ultimately a devastating defeat for the British. The bright red British uniforms made the soldiers easy targets. British “battle-line” tactics were ill-suited to the terrain. The soldiers huddled so close together that a single bullet killed or wounded several. Spreading out and “taking cover” was treated as cowardice, and Braddock allegedly ran his saber through more than one of his own soldiers for doing so. Braddock was shot, and it may have been a Virginian who intentionally did it. In turn, Virginia Militiamen were shot by “friendly fire” because they moved away from the main force, and their dress made them indistinguishable from the enemy. Washington was courageous in the battle. He had several horses shot from under him and received at least two bullet holes through his coat. Of the 1,459 persons in the British force, approximately onethird were killed, one-third were wounded, and about onethird were able to flee for their lives. Washington, Crawford and Braddock retreated. Fortunately, the Indians were preoccupied taking scalps and other battlefield trophies from the dead and wounded, so they did not pursue. Captives not killed immediately were taken to the Indians’ camp near Fort Du Quesne and tortured to death. Nearly two-thirds of the British force ultimately died. The retreat went back via Stewart’s Crossing to Dunbar’s Camp. The defeat they suffered at the “Battle of the Monongahela” terrified them so badly that they chose not to regroup and renew the campaign, even though they were still the largest military force in the region. Instead they hastily burned the wagons, the remaining provisions and all the heavy equipment, spiked the remaining cannons, and started back on Braddock’s Road to return to Wills Creek. Braddock’s wounds were mortal, and he died about halfway between Jumonville Glen and the Great Meadows. Washington took charge of a brief memorial service and Braddock was buried in the road. Braddock’s burial was far from standard procedure—when someone as important as the continental Commander-in-Chief died, the body should have been placed in a large cask of brandy to preserve it for burial in England. The informal burial demonstrates the terror felt by the retreating army and the headlong nature of their flight. The original British plan was in total shambles. Military failures led to a new Prime Minister in Great Britain, the great Lord Pitt, who developed a new strategy. Major General John Forbes led the expedition against Fort Duquesne. Washington and Crawford again accompanied that army. They followed an entirely different route, from Philadelphia through Pennsylvania roughly parallel to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Forbes’s strategy included building a chain of British forts along his route, including Fort Bedford and Fort Ligonier, where Washington was stationed
for a time. After several battles, the French ultimately acknowledged the inevitability of British triumph by blowing up Fort Du Quesne and withdrawing on November 26, 1758. Forbes rebuilt the fort and renamed it Fort Pitt. That ended Washington’s fourth trip to the Ohio Valley. Washington left the military, returned to Mount Vernon, and married the wealthy widow, Martha Custis, within a year. Following the War, Great Britain placated the Indians by issuing the Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited colonial settlement beyond the Appalachian Mountains, with the specific boundary known as the “Proclamation Line.” Many Virginians, including Washington and Crawford, quietly defied the Proclamation. As noted, Washington and Crawford had worked together in 1750, when Washington was 18 and Crawford 28. Crawford served with Washington at Jumonville Glen and in Braddock’s March. He served under Washington in defending the frontier, and they also served together under Major General Forbes. While traversing the Youghiogheny with Braddock’s army, Crawford fell in love with the land around Stewart’s Crossing, and he returned there in 1765 to stake a claim to 376 acres on the west side of the river (later New Haven), where he built a cabin and cleared some land. He named it Spring Garden, and moved his family there in 1766. Washington still wanted to secure prime land, so in 1767 he secretly corresponded with his friend Colonel William Crawford and retained him to locate, survey and claim the best land. In 1768, the Treaty of Fort Stanwix opened up settlement again. Crawford visited Washington at Mount Vernon several times. In 1770, Washington came to see Crawford at Spring Garden. While in the area, he arranged for the construction of a gristmill and a distillery at Washington’s Bottom. During the same trip Crawford and he travelled to Pittsburgh by canoe, and thence down the Ohio to make large land claims on the Little Kanawha and Big Kanawha Rivers. While on that two-week-long expedition, he met with Indian Chief Guyasuta, a man he had met twice before. There is a statue on Mt. Washington depicting the two sitting at a camp fire. With Crawford’s surveying assistance, Washington ultimately secured title to more than seven parcels of western land; including 1,644 acres in present day Perryopolis (Washington’s Bottom); 2,500 acres in present day Washington County near Canonsburg; the Fort Necessity property, and significant large parcels on the Little Kanawha and Big Kanawha Rivers in present day West 6
Virginia. Returning on November 24, 1770, Washington wrote in his diary: “When we came to Stewart’s Crossing at Crawford’s, the river was too high to ford, and his canoe gone adrift. However, after waiting there two or three hours, a canoe was got in which we passed, and saw our horses. The remainder of the day I spent at Captain Crawford’s, it either raining or snowing hard all day.” From 1770 to 1784, Washington was occupied with Mt. Vernon and as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. His wartime experiences in the Ohio Valley made Washington the most qualified American-born military leader. Promoting unity for the war effort, Congress encouraged agreement on the boundary, and in August of 1779, Commissioners from each state agreed to extend the Mason-Dixon line to Pennsylvania’s present southwestern corner. The Mason-Dixon line was originally surveyed in 1767 to settle the boundary dispute between the royal proprietors of Pennsylvania and Maryland but was only completed to Dunkard Creek between Greene County and Monongalia County, West Virginia because the Iroquois Nation refused to guarantee the safety of the surveyors beyond that point. All or parts of Bedford, Westmoreland, Washington, Greene, Fayette, Somerset and Allegheny Counties were claimed by Virginia until 1779. Up to that time, Washington considered this entire area to be part of Virginia. As part of the settlement, Pennsylvania agreed to honor the claims of soldiers, including Washington’s. After Pennsylvania took over, Washington County was named for the great man himself, and two of Washington’s most favored generals, the Marquis de LaFayette and General Nathaniel Greene, became the namesakes of Fayette and Greene Counties. Crawford also served with Washington during several Revolutionary War battles. Crawford led his regiment in the
Battle of Long Island and the retreat across New Jersey. He crossed the Delaware with Washington and fought at the battles of Trenton and Princeton. From 1777 to 1781, he helped to defend the Ohio Valley frontier from British-allied Indians. In 1781 he retired to Spring Garden at Stewart’s Crossings, but he was called back to command one of the last campaigns of the war. Crawford was captured and tortured to death by British-allied Indians near Sandusky, Ohio on June 11, 1782. Dr. John Knight, who was captured with him, witnessed his death and escaped in order to avoid the same end. His account of Crawford’s demise was widely published and generated tremendous anti-Indian sentiment. Following the victory at Yorktown and the Treaty of Paris, Washington resigned his commission in December of 1783. Having neglected his western land during the war, Washington made his sixth trip to southwestern Pennsylvania in 1784. He tried to auction his gristmill and property in Perryopolis without success, then made a trip to Pittsburgh. When told that Indians wanted to kill him as they had killed Crawford, he cancelled a repeat canoe trip down the Ohio to the Kanawha Rivers. He hired lawyer Tom Smith of Uniontown to defend his title to the 2,500 acres on Miller’s Run that Crawford had claimed for him. He was particularly upset that thirteen families’ squatter’s claims had accrued against him while he was serving his country. Smith was successful in jury trials conducted in the city of Washington in Washington County. He used Crawford’s records and never had to call his client as a witness. As an important part of the 1784 trip, Washington was seeking the best land route to connect the Potomac River to the Ohio, either via the Youghiogheny River, the Cheat River, or the Monongahela River. Rivers were the best means of transport, and he wanted to find the shortest possible connecting wagon route. Washington believed that an eastwest commercial trade route was critical to the future of the nation, as well as to his own economic interest. He went to the cabin of the official surveyor near Pierpont, and Albert Gallatin was there. Washington was soliciting local opinions as to the best wagon route, and he was laboriously adding up and comparing the distances using pencil and paper— when young Gallatin, age 23, and a brilliant mathematician, piped up that one of the specific routes was “obviously” the shortest. Washington fixed an icy glare on him for the breach of protocol, but then finished his computations and tersely acknowledged that young Gallatin was correct. Washington’s ideas, together with Gallatin’s input at that time, and Gallatin’s subsequent service as the nation’s longest serving Secretary of the Treasury, led to the C&O Canal, the National Road, now Route 40, the B&O Railroad, and ultimately resulted in Interstate Routes 70 and 68. The Northwest Territories (originally part of Virginia’s royallychartered land grant) ultimately became states largely because the routes Washington pioneered became faster, cheaper, and safer than using the Mississippi River through New Orleans. Colonel Crawford and Stewart’s Crossing were part of it all.
Washington’s Gristmill in Perryopolis
by Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen 7
Stefano’s Printing The American Dream is Alive and Well on Furnace Hill One of the many projects sponsored by the Fayette County Cultural Trust is the publication of our magazine, Connellsville Crossroads, four times a year. It is beautiful, full of photos and professionally done articles with the goal of preserving the history of Fayette County and surrounding counties. We have been at this most important activity for nine years, and every single issue of our regional magazine has been printed at Stefano’s Printing, Inc. on Furnace Hill Road in Dunbar, PA. The printer is responsible for the high quality of the finished product that we present to the public. Stefano’s Printing is one of the several businesses honored by the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce for serving the local public for over 50 years. All the businesses were represented on an annual banner displayed in Connellsville. Knowing Stefano’s Printing for a long time and wanting to know more, I arranged to have an interview at the office at 266 Furnace Hill Road. I got to speak with Jim Stefano Jr. and Pat Stefano, both of whom have spent much of their lives in the printing business. The first Stefano in the Dunbar area was Carmine Santostefano who came from Italy. The last name had been changed to just Stefano, and when I was talking to Jim about the change, we concluded that this change may have occurred when Carmine came through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s. Jim said that Carmine, also called Frank, settled on Furnace Hill and built a home there. One of the jobs that Carmine had was serving as Shop Fireman at the Casparis Stone Quarry in South Connellsville. He walked from his home to Casparis daily. The job was dangerous because he set the dynamite to blast away pieces of stone used in construction. The current print shop is located where the original Stefano built his home, but the location has seen many uses over the years. Located along Furnace Hill Road in the early days of the 20th century were numerous businesses, including three stores that sold groceries, some of which later added gasoline. Carmine’s son, Jim Sr., had worked at the general store located on Furnace Hill. When talking with Stefanie Stefano, Jim Jr.’s wife, I asked her about the curve in the road where Stefano’s Printing exists today. It can be tricky pulling out into traffic. She reminded me that when businesses were active along the hill, it was still a horse and buggy unpaved road, and traffic moved more slowly. People would come off the mountains to shop on Saturday, and the general store and small groceries did a brisk business. With the emergence of more automobiles, a gas station was needed, and one was built on the family property by Jim Sr. in the late 1930’s. With his work experience, the gas station grew into a grocery store as well. At this time, Dunbar Creek was a premier fishing area, and so many people came into the region to enjoy fishing and hunting that Jim Sr. decided to enlarge the business and begin selling sports equipment like fishing equipment, firearms, and hunting and fishing licenses. He loved being involved in sporting gear. Unfortunately, drainage from the mines found its way into Dunbar Creek and killed much of the excellent fishing opportunities. So as the need for sporting goods was declining, Jim Sr. decided to go into printing. He started with hand-fed, handset equipment just to test the waters. The businesses ran together for a while, but something was going to happen to propel the family into its future, the printing business. Going into full time printing was to be a joint effort on the part of father and son. Jim Jr. was a student at Dunbar Township High School in the late 1950’s and very much into journalism. One of Jim’s teachers was Mrs. Edna Fisher, and she took her class on a tour of The Daily Courier on Apple Street. Well, it was love at first sight for Jim. He saw all the machinery and wheels and saw how the written word was transposed into print, and he just wanted to stay there. He went home and expressed his amazed interest in the printing process to his dad and as Jim 8
said, “The rest is history.” His dad bought a Kelsey Hand Press, and the two of them took advantage of the great opportunity. The business started in 1958 with Jim Sr. and his wife, Anna Bernardo Stefano, working in the print shop. Beginning with a small letterpress shop and branching out into offset printing, the company focused on short run commercial printing and supplying labels for the local fireworks industry. Son Jim Jr. assisted after school, while in college and in his spare time after becoming a teacher with the Connellsville Area School District. Jim Sr. and Anna were the first of three husband and wife teams to run Stefano Printing and they did so from the late 1950’s to the early 1980’s. The business operated for the first 20 years with family members assisting in the post press production. It was not until the mid1980’s that the first employees were hired. About 1975 the business added the first computer to the printing operations. The next husband and wife duo taking over in the early 1980’s was Jim Jr. and Stefanie Stefano. Pat, their oldest son, told me that he started in the business at the age of six when he would handset type and wedding invitations. Pat and his two brothers, Ken and Mario, all worked at the print shop including doing general maintenance. The boys had a job sheet where they were assigned chores working on Saturday and Sunday. By high school, they worked even more hours moving into machinery which had been too dangerous when they were younger. Everyone also worked one night a week. The change in technology in the mid 1980’s was a major turning point in printing. Jim stated that in many cases, they had to wait for technology to catch up with the direction in which they wanted to go. It took 15 years to really grow the business. Jim told me that Pat’s amazing technology knowledge is responsible for the excellent work that is done at Stefano’s. Pat’s skill made the reprint of The History of the First 100 Years in Woolrich so outstanding. Other printers were amazed at the quality of the pictures in this volume. Pat feels that the quality was due to having the right equipment and experience. The shop went digital in 1987. Pat had grown up with digital and understood the system so he was prepared for the next move in the printing industry. The third husband and wife team, Pat and Tina Stefano, currently manage Stefano’s Printing. With Pat’s campaigning and election to the Pennsylvania Senate, some major responsibility for the operation of the business has been assumed by daughter, Jennifer Stefano Logan, who is currently serving as Production Manager and Sales Associate. She took over the pricing, coordination, production and specialty sales and had to learn it all in six months. Jenn represents the fourth generation actively involved in managing the business. Pat comes in each morning if not needed in Harrisburg, and Jim also comes in daily to check how things are going. He said that it is an opportunity to work with your hands. By the mid 1980’s, the business grew large enough to hire employees. Today the company employs seven people. Advertising promotion is the integral part of the company and accounts for over 50% of gross sales. The client base of Stefano’s Printing consists of small to medium firms and individuals needing commercial printing and advertising promotions. The company began as a sole proprietorship in 1958 with James Stefano, Sr, as owner. By 1980, he sold the business to James Stefano, Jr. and Stefanie Stefano. For the following 18 years, the business was maintained as a sole proprietorship. In 1998, the company became a partnership between James Stefano Jr. and his son, Patrick Stefano. That partnership continued for five years. In January, 2003 the company changed from a partnership to a Sub Chapter S Corporation with Patrick Stefano as President and sole stockholder. For a small printing shop, Stefano’s has done great things. Some of their business has been with self-published authors like Buzz Storey of the Herald Standard newspaper, who had his two volumes of Fayette County history published by Stefano’s. What will the future bring for Stefano’s Printing? The business will continue to print communications and expand on social media with the managing of people’s media relations. The changes have been unbelievable in the last 60 years. You have to keep up with technology or get left behind. I was informed by the gentlemen that only two printing companies are left in this region. They are the Ink Spot in South Connellsville and Stefano’s in Dunbar. For over 60 years, this local family operated business, run by three husband and wife teams, which have grown and prospered right here in Fayette County. The children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of James Sr. and Anna Stefano have served the public well. They had faith in our area and were able to make a living and serve the community. Jim Jr. also had a career teaching mathematics in our local school system. His children and grandchildren all went to school in the Connellsville school system and have been outstanding students and participants in major school activities. Pat Stefano currently serves in the Pennsylvania State Senate representing the 32nd District. This family exemplifies the American Success Story. Hard work and taking advantage of an opportunity while producing quality results were the foundation of a business which welcomes people who want a product they will be proud to display. And they can say with confidence that the job will be excellent because, “I’m having it printed at Stefano’s.”
by Karen Hechler
Wright masterpiece features an incredible sculpture garden “No house should ever be on a hill or on anything,” observed Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the greatest architects of the twentieth-century. “It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.” With this philosophy central to Kentuck Knob’s organic architecture, the house integrates seamlessly, and in perfect harmony, Design, Art and Landscape. Great architecture does not begin at the drafting table. Rather, it begins with a tract of land and the desire to build something worthy on it. Throw in a striking landscape and an architect of world renown, and something special is created. Kentuck Knob is the distillation of all of these essential elements. At once dramatic and serene, the house is perched 2,050 feet above sea level and commands a stunning view of the Youghiogheny River Gorge and the Laurel Highlands. Kentuck Knob is a one story hexagonal house built in Wright’s signature Usonian style. Although Wright, with typically colourful language, quipped that he would “shake it (Kentuck Knob) out of his sleeve at will”, the house itself speaks to a higher ideal, for ‘Usonian’ described Wright’s architectural solution to the alarming absence of affordable housing in the United States. The Hagans, owners of a successful Pennsylvania dairy company, commissioned Wright in 1953 to build their home. At the tender age of 86, and busy at work on New York’s timeless Guggenheim Museum, construction of Kentuck Knob began. Having first established that the Hagan’s were ‘perchers’ rather than ‘nesters,’ Mr. Wright wedged their house into the brow of Kentuck Knob. A steep, narrow causeway winds its way up from the road and opens onto a broader courtyard. The double glass entry doors welcome guests and the massive copper roof offers the promise of shelter. The essential materials of native sandstone and tidewater red cypress ensure that the house instantly enters into a natural rapport with its surroundings. The slanting copper roof, open plan interior, cantilevered overhangs and vast expanses of glass blur the distinction between house and nature. Kentuck Knob opened to the public in 1996, but not before being bought in 1986 by Peter Palumbo, a British art and property collector, who fell in love at first sight with the house and opened it up to be enjoyed by members of the public. “Life, on occasion, becomes a matter of serendipity. When circumstances conspire to propel one in a certain direction, it is best to go with the flow, or so I have found, even if the precise destination is at the time unknown. My purchase of Kentuck Knob in 1986 falls into such a category. A visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s fabled Fallingwater in the company of my eldest daughter, Laura, who was reading history of art, ended with the casual remark from our guide that there was another house by the same architect just down the road; since time was not pressing, why did we not take the opportunity of killing two birds with one stone, as it were? I went, I saw, I was conquered – at least from the exterior. The house was unoccupied at the time, and I was unable to gain access to the magical spaces that lay, in my imagination, behind the front door. A second visit was therefore essential, and indeed was arranged a few weeks later. My ardor burned bright as ever – brighter still, in fact, when the interior of the house not only met, but exceeded, my expectations. And, thus, the purchase was made. I think that both I and the State of Pennsylvania owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. I.N. Hagan for an inspired commission from an architect of legendary renown. The site, moreover, is of a spectacular beauty that never palls whatever the season and whatever the gap between visits, whether one month or ten minutes. The combination of location and design is therefore irresistible to my wife and our children, and we feel enormously privileged to own such a masterpiece and enormously gratified that so many visitors seem to want to come to share our pleasure in the experience of a home that holds, and will always hold, a very special place in our affections.” Lord Peter Palumbo, May 6, 1998 - from “Frank Lloyd Wright’s House on Kentuck Knob”, by Donald Hoffman
Throughout 2019, the house will continue to forge its own unique path, as it has done since it was first built. The current owners have not only preserved the surrounding landscape and the natural beauty of Wright’s organic architecture, but they have also introduced over the years an interesting and eclectic collection of post-World War II sculptures. These dot the property and can be enjoyed either as part of the guided house tour or during an unguided woodland walk. The collection includes works by Sir Anthony Caro, Andy Goldsworthy and David Nash, amongst others, and remarkable additions such as a piece of the Berlin Wall and quintessentially British red telephone boxes designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. 10
The informative guided house tours, lasting approximately 40 minutes, offer a fascinating insight into the mind and creative process of Wright. The tours can be booked in advance or as walkins. The tour takes guests through the interior and exterior of the home and provides insight into one of Frank Lloyd Wrightâ€™s most unique Usonian homes. Visitors may also book an in-depth tour, which gives an extended interpretation of the house, encompassing a closer look at the houseâ€™s collection, as well as secondary spaces not glimpsed during the guided house tour. Both the guided house and in-depth tours present the opportunity to enjoy the sculpture collection and the spectacular view of the Youghiogheny River gorge. Kentuck Knob also offers wonderful opportunities for group tours. Our Greenhouse Coffee Shop is a lovely spot to relax for a few moments before or after your tour. You will love our hand-dipped Hagan Ice Cream that comes in many flavors! We also have lighter snacks, tea, coffee, chips, beverages, and delicious hot dogs. Likewise, the adjoining gift shop also has a range of Frank Lloyd Wright inspired designs and souvenirs and other attractive items to mark the occasion of visiting Kentuck Knob. The possibilities to see and enjoy the house do not conclude at the end of the day. Throughout 2019, a series of delicious summertime dinners will be held on the property, presenting a more intimate and informal look at the house and grounds. Alongside an optional after-hours tour of the house, the summertime dinners are a wonderful opportunity to meet old and new friends in an idyllic setting. Regional partners produce excellent menus of fresh and local seasonal ingredients. The dinners promise to be a memorable and entertaining series and are scheduled for Saturday, June 22; Saturday, July 20; and Saturday, August 17, 2019. Members of the public are also invited to host private small-scale events, such as cocktail receptions and buffets, on the beautiful patio of the house. The team at Kentuck Knob would be more than happy to organize and provide menus as required. The impressive view of the gorge and Laurel Highlands that leads from the terrace is the perfect backdrop. Above all else, and upon its completion back in 1956, the house achieved, and continues to embody, the very qualities that Wright constantly praised throughout his distinguished career: dignity, repose, grace, strength, delicacy, severity and rhythmic order. To book tours and to learn more about Kentuck Knob, a National Historic Landmark, please visit: https://kentuckknob.com/tours or call (724) 329-1901. by Philip Palumbo and MaryAnn Perkins
Photojournalist Ed Cope Exchanging skyrockets for flash bulbs in 1968, Ed Cope left Keystone Fireworks in Dunbar at age 22 to become a photographer for The Daily Courier in Connellsville. Now retired and residing in South Union Township, Cope’s career in photojournalism eventually carried him to the Tribune-Review in Greensburg and the Herald-Standard in Uniontown, but he has strong memories of his early days at The Courier, which, well into its second century, still produces six papers a week. “I didn’t know anything about cameras.” Cope said of his entry into photojournalism. “I was friends with Bob Broderick, and he suggested I could get a job at The Courier.” Cope described Broderick as a do-it-all journalist, a reporter and editor who directed him to Bob Lind, then The Courier’s managing editor. “I interviewed with Bob Lind, and he said Kenny Bolden would train me,” Cope recalled. Under the tutelage of Bolden, a veteran “shooter,” Cope began to learn the technical and artistic aspects of news photography. “He was like a dad to me,” Cope said of Bolden. “He took care of me.” That care was not limited to news coverage and the darkroom. “Everything was so conservative in those days that you could not use anything but a husband’s name for a woman in the paper, like Mrs. Edward Cope,” he said. Failure to follow that rule once led Cope astray of Margaret Atkinson Gutermuth, The Courier’s society editor at the time. “She was nice but strict, and she raised seven kinds of hell with me,” Cope said. “Kenny stuck up for me and said, ‘Give him a break.’” Sadly, less than a year later, Cope lost his mentor. “Kenny went on vacation, had a heart attack and died,” Cope said. “I was not fully trained.” Cope completed a short course he called “Nikon school,” but mostly the youngest guy in the newsroom learned on the job as The Courier’s one-man photography department. “For almost six months, I worked day and night,” he said. Things got better for Cope after the paper hired Charlie Rosendale, who had a little experience through a correspondence course in photography, and the two became a team for more than a decade. Learning through trial and persistence, they became crack newspaper photographers. “There was nothing that we missed,” said Cope, adding they built strong contacts who provided muchvalued help at a time police and fire scanners were in their infancy, and The Courier didn’t have one. “I made friends with Frankie and Roger Davis, barbers in Scottdale,” Cope said. “They had a scanner, and Frankie took it home with him and would call us.” Cope and Rosendale had another important source: state troopers assigned to the Uniontown barracks. State police now staff records-and-identification units that photograph and collect evidence from crime and accident scenes. Before that, state police forged agreements under which newspapers provided photographic images for use in investigations. “We would get calls from the state police, and we had a good rapport with a Fayette County deputy coroner, L. John Powell, who had a funeral home in Connellsville,” he said. Recalling one spectacular and tragic news event, Cope said he and Rosendale covered an April 1979 fire that claimed nine lives in a Connellsville boarding home occupied by senior citizens. “They set up a temporary morgue in the
Cope at the typewriter, c. 1970s
municipal building,” Cope said. “We got a call from Jim Devers from the United Press International wire service (UPI), who told us to take whatever we had in print and put them on the Greyhound bus and send them to Pittsburgh. Those pictures were sent all over the world.” In Cope’s early days, The Courier received regional, state, national and international news from the UPI. Over time, the paper switched to the Associated Press. Cope’s and Rosendale’s work included some lighthearted creativity as the they carried on an April Fools’ Day front-page tradition Bolden established. One year they created a photograph featuring a submarine sailing up the Youghiogheny River in downtown Connellsville. “One of the biggest was a wrecking crane putting a ball into the community center,” he said. “They raised hell up there, but it was all in fun. You couldn’t do that now; you’d be run out of town.” Such “trick” photography required great printing skill to produce superimposed images that now would be easy to generate through computer programs like Photoshop, he said. Cope looks back fondly of his time at the Connellsville paper, working with “old-time news people,” and always referring to former co-workers as “The Courier family.” “I had a good time with them. They took me under their wing,” he said. “If not for The Courier, I would never have learned how to write.” That part of his career began one day because the paper had no one to cover a Southmoreland School Board meeting. “They told me to go, but I didn’t know a thing about what to do,” he said. “Frank Myers was covering it for the Trib, and he helped me out. That’s how it became my beat.” A newspaper beat is an ongoing assignment to cover a geographic or topical area. Mentorship remains in the news industry, even though most journalists come to the business with college degrees. That was not always the case in decades past. The late Lee Elby, a former Courier managing editor, came to Connellsville from the Democrat-Messenger newspaper in Waynesburg. Prior to that, he was a bank teller. Rose Snyder was hired as a clerk by The Courier following her 1974 graduation from Connellsville Area High School. Learning quickly on the job, she served as a reporter, society editor, copy editor and city editor over a career that spanned more than 40 years. Former printer Joe Alesantrino, 88, of Connellsville, arrived 12
at The Courier fresh off a two-year hitch in the U.S. Army, then remained on the job for 44 years. He went to The Courier for a job, but ended up with a trade in the everevolving news industry. “I learned mine on the job and left the same way,” he said. “I didn’t go to college. Hell, young kids now go to college. ... We had a trade and learned stuff and picked it all up from working. We did it right or did it wrong, then we learned it.” When Cope and Alesantrino began at The Courier, the printing process - preparing pages designed to run on the press - involved “hot metal,” the formation of letters and words from molten lead. Alesantrino said printers then worked on Linotype machines, so named because the devices produced single lines of metal type the width of newspaper columns. Headlines using letters larger than the Linotype machine could produce required hand work, Alesantrino said. At its peak, The Courier employed 15 printers in the back shop, where George Pilla was boss, Alesantrino said. Alesantrino’s decades on the job were marked by change. Hot metal was replaced by “cold type,” through which edited stories were sent to a computerized machine that printed news columns on paper. Under that system, printers - much fewer of them - waxed the backs of the news columns and affixed them to paper page forms based on hand-drawn designs by editors. Alesantrino became skilled at that process, often cutting the printed columns into numerous pieces, sometimes just a single line of type, to wrap around photos and other graphic images. The pages were photographed to generate fullpage-size negatives used to “burn” the images onto metal plates that were placed on the press. Pages now are designed and generated on computer screens by editors, not traditional printers. “When it got to computers, I was lost,” said Alesantrino, who liked the old days better. “I’m glad I worked when I did; I raised four kids and have a house. I didn’t make (much) money, but I never lost a day’s pay.” Cope, who began in the hot lead era, experienced many changes in the photo end of the deadline-oriented newspaper business. During much of his career, photographers used chemicals to develop film and generate prints on light-sensitive paper, all of which took place in total darkness. In Cope’s early hot-metal days, newspaper photographs were transferred via a Scanagraver machine onto thick plastic plates with grooves similar to vinyl records. “Sometimes the machine would catch fire,” Cope joked. In the newspaper industry, time was always a key factor. “We could only shoot the first quarter of football games,” Cope said. Then it was a mad rush back to The Courier to process film and print the images. Starting out, he used cameras that required large 4-inch by 5-inch film. Over time, photojournalists switched to 35 mm film that preceded the digital cameras now used. “It’s different today,” Cope said of instantaneous transmission of photo images from camera to editor. “You just push a button and it’s there.” Cope came to The Courier when it was owned by the Driscoll family, which purchased the paper in 1922, and he speaks highly of its leaders during his tenure. “James M. treated me with respect,” he said of late Courier president and general manager James M. Driscoll. “He was a good guy, very much into the community. James G., who was in charge of advertising, was a gentleman to me. The whole Driscoll
family treated me well. Moneywise was different. We all had to go elsewhere for money.” Cope chuckled again upon hearing a story frequently told by the late Pearl Gaudiano, a former Courier typist. In her later years at the paper in the late 1980s, she told of times when Courier employees, unhappy over salaries, talked of unionization. Gaudiano said that in such instances, James M. routinely asked for her take on the situation, and in the ensuing days workers received envelopes containing a “few dollars to calm things down.” “Yeah,” Cope said. “It was pretty much like that.” The Courier has frequently served as a feeder system for larger papers in the region. After leaving The Courier for the Tribune-Review in 1981, Cope caught up with Myers, who rose to city editor, and Broderick, who served as Sunday editor, both at the Tribune-Review. Cope went to the HeraldStandard in Uniontown, where Rosendale moved in 1980 and served for many years as chief photographer until his death in 2009. The Courier has employed many great - and interesting - news professionals over the years, many of them now deceased. He ran off a long list that included legendary sports writer Jim Kriek, who believed bands and cheerleaders cluttered high school football games, reporter Henry Gordon, who didn’t let failing sight limit him, Laura Szepesi, known as Miss Connellsville when she covered the city, and Minna Jacobs, a proofreader who in retirement penned homespun columns for $10 apiece far into old age. In 1977, the Driscolls sold The Courier to Thomson Newspapers, then a global publisher based in Canada. Cope called the end of family ownership and local control the “worst thing that ever happened” to the paper. Thomson sold the paper to late Tribune-Review publisher Richard M. Scaife in 1997. Trib Total Media announced in October 2015 that it had reached an agreement to sell The Courier to West Penn Media, an affiliate of Huntingdon, PA-based Sample Media Group, owner of many community-based papers. Courier publisher Joseph A. Beegle did not respond to a request for comment for this report. According to Connellsville Pictorial History, published by The Courier in 1995, a group of local businessmen and a law clerk established the Keystone Courier in 1879. It became The Daily Courier in 1902. Despite ownership changes, challenges facing the industry and widespread newspaper closures across the nation, The Courier endures, and Cope is happy for it. “Connellsville is so fortunate to have a newspaper,” he said. Mayor Greg Lincoln agrees, especially considering Connellsville’s large senior population. “That generation still loves reading the newspaper,” Lincoln said. “I don’t know what they would do if the newspaper ceased to exist.” Still, with fewer people purchasing printed papers, Lincoln understands efforts by publishers to adapt by offering online editions. As mayor, Lincoln depends heavily on social media to communicate and inform residents about matters involving the city, but he doesn’t discount the value of a daily paper and the printed word. He said the city uses the paper to provide information to residents, including available services and taxes. The mayor said he is hopeful The Courier can hang on moving ahead. “It’s important for the community to support the paper by purchasing the paper and for business to do so by buying advertising space,” he said. “Kids love to see their pictures in the paper when they do something good. I know it was big when I was in high school.” by Joe Abramowitz 13
Andrew W. Mellon An American banker, businessman, industrialist, philanthropist, art collector, and politician. From the wealthy Mellon family of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he established a vast business empire before transitioning into politics Andrew William Mellon was born on March 24, 1855 in Pittsburgh, the son of Mr. Thomas Mellon, a Pittsburgh banker and attorney. After completing his studies at Western University (now the University of Pittsburgh), Mellon entered his father’s banking house in 1874 and proved so efficient that in 1882 his father transferred the bank’s ownership to him. In the next three decades Mellon built up a financialindustrial empire by supplying capital for Pittsburgh-based corporations to expand in such fields as aluminum, steel, oil, coal, coke, and synthetic abrasives. Mellon’s keen judgment of new technologies and potentially successful firms and entrepreneurs enabled him to help found the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) and the Gulf Oil Corporation. In alliance with Henry Clay Frick, he helped found the Union Steel Company, which later merged with United States Steel Corporation. He and Frick were also the principal organizers (in 1889) of the Union Trust Company, which became Mellon’s principal financial instrument and acquired his family’s bank. By the early 1920s Mellon had become one of the richest men in the United States. In 1887, H.C. Frick, Andrew Mellon and Richard Mellon, his brother, jointly purchased Old Overholt, a whiskey distillery located in West Overton, Pennsylvania. At the time, Old Overholt was one of the largest and most respected whiskey producers in the country. In 1907, as prohibition became more popular across the country, Frick and Mellon removed their names from the distilling license, but retained ownership in the company. It is believed that Mellon’s connections in the Treasury Department allowed the company to secure a medicinal permit during Prohibition, which allowed Overholt to sell existing whiskey stocks to druggists for medicinal use. When Frick died in December
1919, he left his share to Mellon. In 1925, under pressure from prohibitionists, Mellon sold his share of the company to a New York grocer. Andrew Mellon was appointed to head the U.S. Treasury by President Warren G. Harding in 1921. In discussions concerning reduction of the national debt, which totaled about $26 billion in 1920 as a result of World War I expenditures, Mellon held that continuance of the high wartime tax rates would discourage business expansion and hence reduce revenue. He also advocated reduction of the surtax rates on incomes. Largely through his efforts Congress repealed the excess-profits tax and gradually lowered the income tax rate until in 1926 the maximum surtax was reduced from 50 to 20 percent. Further reductions in tax rates were later made; by June 30, 1928, the national debt had fallen to $17,604,000,000. As chairman ex officio of the World War I foreign debt commission, Mellon also played a prominent part in formulating U.S. policy concerning the funding of war debts owed to the United States by foreign governments. Mellon’s policies helped stimulate the American economic boom of the 1920s, and he continued to head the Treasury under presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. His popularity declined, however, after the Great Depression began in 1929, and in 1932 he resigned to serve as U.S. ambassador to England for a year. Emulating his father, Mellon eschewed philanthropy for much of his life. In 1913, he and his brother, Richard, established the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research as a department of the University of Pittsburgh. In 1965, the institute merged with the Carnegie Institute of Technology to form Carnegie Mellon University. Mellon also served as an alumni president and trustee of the University of Pittsburgh, and made several major donations to the school including the land on which the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Chapel were constructed. In total it is estimated that 14
Mellon donated over $43 million to the University of Pittsburgh. One of the nation’s foremost art collectors, Mellon gave a collection valued at $25 million to the U.S. government in 1937. Among other paintings, it contained Raphael’s Alba Madonna, 23 Rembrandts, and six Vermeers. Mellon then donated $15 million to build the National Gallery of Art, opened in 1941, to house the collection. Andrew was diagnosed with cancer in November 1936, and his health steadily declined afterwards. He died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. David Bruce, in Southampton, New York on August 26, 1937 at the age of 82. The funeral services were held at the Pittsburgh East Liberty Presbyterian Church with Dr. John Hutchinson, the pastor, in charge. He was buried at Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery in Upperville, Fauquier County, Virginia. Andrew Mellon’s achievements were stunning. As a financier, he was second only to J.P. Morgan. As an industrialist he ranks with Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller. He gave birth to not one, but five Fortune 500 companies, plus a score of enterprises, each of which could be the basis for an enduring family fortune. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is one of the nation’s largest, with assets exceeding $4 billion. Andrew W. Mellon has several memorials that were created over the years. The Andrew W. Mellon Memorial Fountain in Washington D.C. was created by Sidney Waugh and was dedicated in May 1952 by Harry S. Truman. On December 20, 1955 the US Postal Service issued a 3 cent stamp to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Andrew W. Mellon. Washington D.C. also hosts the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium and the Andrew Mellon Building. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the product of the merger of the Avalon Foundation and the Old Dominion Foundation (set up separately by his children), is named in his honor, as is the 378-foot US Coast Guard Cutter Mellon (WHEC-717). by Daniel Cocks
Eleanor Roosevelt and tobacco heiress Doris Duke visiting Penn Craft
Penn Craft As you descend the gentle rise on Legislative Route 26004 in Luzerne Township, you notice a number of homes, all made of the same color of stone, resting on meticulously maintained lots. This is Penn-Craft. In the 1930’s the country and much of the world were mired in a severe economic depression. Like the federal government under FDR, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was one of many groups working to relieve the social and economic problems in areas of the country whose economies were particularly devastated because they had been reliant on one industry or resource that was no longer viable. Unemployment in Fayette County was about 30% including those working in the WPA. 96 of 152 coal mines were worked out or closed down. Penn-Craft, named to honor William Penn, founder of the Commonwealth, and Isaiah N. Craft, on whose farm it is located, was the Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) model to develop a self-help subsistence community as a solution to addressing both social and economic problems. Since colonial days, the Friends had a presence in Washington County at Westland and Fayette County at Redstone and were thus engaged with this part of Fayette County. Penn-Craft differed from earlier and similar programs such as Norvelt in Westmoreland County and Arthurdale in Preston County, West Virginia in that it was privately funded. The Friends, U.S. Steel, Andrew Mellon and other foundations and corporations donated significant monies toward the estimated $200,000 the project would cost. The AFSC managed and oversaw the project. Families who would reside in the community were chosen from a pool of applicants in the surrounding area. Each was given a parcel of land from 1 1/2 to 3 acres on which to build a home and raise enough food to be self-sustaining. Each was given a loan of $2,000 for a 20-year term, payable in $10 monthly installments, to build their homes. Similar to today’s Habitat for Humanity Program, the remainder of the cost of the home was to be earned by the homesteader’s labor in building the community. Homesteaders had to be partially or totally unemployed and between the ages of 35 and 45. There were Croatians, Slovaks, Welsh, Poles, Romanians, English, Russians, Syrians, Italians, Germans, African Americans and Native Americans among the first fifty families who would settle phase one of the plan. The community was designed to be selfsupporting. Roads, water and electric lines all had to be installed before the homes could be built. Hours spent working on this infrastructure counted toward the funding for each individual’s home. The original farmhouse was used as the headquarters for the AFS staff and as a community center, library, health center, canning kitchen, well baby clinic and Mother’s Club. Building stone was obtained from abandoned coal mines and coke yards, quarried on site. Sand used in cement was crushed at the community’s stone crusher. A carpenter foreman and a mason foreman were the only outside paid positions. 16
Because most of the homesteaders were not professional masons or carpenters, construction of the first houses took an unacceptable length of time. David Day, manager of the project, devised a system using movable wooden forms into which the stones were placed then mortared rather than the traditional construction method. This allowed the exteriors to be built more quickly, the interiors to be finished later. In addition to being invested in building the community, the homesteaders had a voice in making decisions about the project. One interesting idea which reduced the length of time spent in building was to enable the families to live on site during the process. Most homesteaders lived in the surrounding communities and few had transportation so much time was spent traveling from their homes to the site. The homesteaders suggested that they build a building twenty feet by thirty feet on each lot in which they and their families would live until the permanent home was ready. The building would then become a chicken coop and contribute to food resources for the family. In addition to homesteaders living on site and using stone and sand from abandoned mines and coke yards, they employed other money saving strategies. All wanted built-in bathtubs in their baths, but tubs with legs were less expensive than the set-in type. The homesteaders purchased the tubs with legs and removed the legs before installing. Wood for flooring and window frames was expensive, so the homesteaders took advantage of an elm blight in the mountains and cut down elms of all sizes to make planks for flooring and window frames. In 1937 the residents established a cooperative store when five families invested five dollars each to start a buyers’ club. This evolved into the community store and the first frozen food locker plant in Fayette County. In addition to agriculture, other industries were attempted to help build the income of the residents. A small non-profit corporation started a knitting mill. Each family would donate 100 hours of work to build the factory and management would contribute the capital. Mostly women residents worked at the knitting mill which was eventually sold to Louis Gallet. Gallet later relocated his plant to Uniontown. The factory site in Penn-Craft is now the Community Center. Phase 1 of Penn-Craft was completed in June 1942. After WWII a second project was started on the adjacent 165-acre Krepps farm. This phase was developed with large plots, 10 acres each, to encourage commercial agriculture rather than subsistence farming as in Phase 1. Penn-Craft was visited by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, who followed its progress, on November 29, 1937. She was interested in it because it was privately funded. In Mrs. Roosevelt’s words, quoted in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, November 30, 1937, “Government housing projects are never going to be sufficient. All government can do is point the way.” Mrs. Roosevelt spent the afternoon reviewing the progress which included several temporary homes, foundations for several permanent ones and then visited with Penn-Craft residents. She was accompanied by Doris Duke Cromwell, reportedly the wealthiest girl in the world, and who organizers hoped would make contributions to the project. Mrs. Cromwell did not engage with the residents, tour the site, nor did she contribute to the funding. Although culturally diverse and offering many opportunities to supply the economic, physical and social needs of its residents, Penn-Craft did not address the spiritual aspects of their lives. The founders felt that religion could be divisive to community life and so there was no church in Penn-Craft. Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox and Jewish homesteaders worked and lived together. The residents could travel to the many churches in the communities nearby to practice as they chose. Penn-Craft is still a thriving and close-knit community. The knitting mill is now the Community Center and available for rental throughout the year for meetings and events. The store, Penncraft Market, is privately owned and well known for its pepperoni rolls and event catering. Tours of the community are available through Lou Orslene - email@example.com. by Jo Lofstead, Fayette County Historical Society 17
Rev. James M. Lawson Uniontown native and renowned civil rights activist The Reverend James Lawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania on September 22, 1928 to the Reverend James Morris Lawson Sr. and Philane May (Cover) Lawson. James’s father was the pastor at the John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church in Uniontown. He was raised in a household of 10 children. When James was young, the family moved to Massillon, Ohio where he attended school. In the fourth grade, after slapping a white boy in the face for disparaging remarks made about Lawson’s race, James told his mother what he had done. Mrs. Lawson did not answer with words but with a simple, profound gesture. She turned her back on young Jimmy. “Well Jimmy, what good did that do?” were her first words. For the next few, heavy minutes, his mother gave him a soliloquy on his family, his faith, and his values. “Jimmy, there must be a better way,” she ended. In that moment, Lawson decided to practice nonviolence. After high school, Lawson entered Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, in 1947. During his years at Baldwin-Wallace, he became a member of the local chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), both of which encouraged direct nonviolent resistance to racism. Consistent with his beliefs towards nonviolence, Lawson became a conscientious objector during the Korean War. In April 1951, Lawson was found guilty of violating the draft laws of the United States, and sentenced to three years in a federal prison, serving three months. Upon his release, Lawson returned to BaldwinWallace and earned his bachelor’s degree. Afterward, Lawson traveled to India to work with the Methodist Board of Missionaries. While in India, he studied the Gandhian principles of Satyagraha, or the strategy of nonviolence. Lawson would later use these principles to combat and end racial segregation in the US.
training workshops for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. There Lawson trained many of the future significant leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, including James Bevel, Diane Nash, John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, C.T. Vivian and Marion Barry. In 1959 and 1960, they and other Lawson-trained activists launched the Nashville sit-ins to challenge segregation in downtown stores. In February 1960, following the lunch sit-ins by students at the Woolworth’s stores in Greensboro, North Carolina, Lawson and several others were arrested. Their actions led to desegregation of some lunch counters.
After his return to the US in 1956, Lawson entered Oberlin College’s Graduate School of Theology. In 1957, one of Lawson’s professors introduced him to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who urged him to move south and aid in the Civil Rights Movement. Heeding King’s advice, Lawson moved to Nashville, Tennessee and enrolled at the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University, where he served as the southern director for FOR and began hosting nonviolence
In 1960, Lawson was expelled from Vanderbilt for organizing the Nashville student sit-ins. James Geddes Stahlman, the publisher of the Nashville Banner, who served on the university’s board of trust, published misleading stories that led to his expulsion. Another trustee, John Sloan, the president of Cain-Sloan, supported Stahlman’s suggestion to expel him. Chancellor Harvie Branscomb enforced the decision, and remained unapologetic as late as 1980. During the 2006 graduation ceremony, Vanderbilt apologized for its treatment of Lawson. Lawson taught at Vanderbilt from 2006 to 2009, and donated his papers to the University in 2013. “Martin Luther King, Jr., once called Rev. Lawson ‘the leading non-violence theorist in the world.” In 1961, Lawson helped develop a strategy for Freedom Riders. Lawson encouraged the students to plan a second wave of Freedom Riders from Alabama to continue the work and Lawson joined the group. They arrived in Jackson 18
safe, but when they filed into a “whites only” waiting room they were arrested. The NAACP offered to pay for bail, but Lawson and others refused bail and awaited the trial. The judge found all 27 guilty and they remained in jail. Lawson and the Freedom Riders met with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and, in September 1961, President John F. Kennedy ordered that passengers be allowed to sit wherever they liked. Lawson moved to Memphis in June 1962, where he became pastor of Centenary Methodist Church, one of the largest churches in the city. He also continued his organizing activity. Throughout the decade, he led various community movements for racial justice in Memphis. In 1968, while involved in the Sanitation Workers strike, he invited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis to speak where 15,000 people heard his famous speech, I’ve Been to the Mountaintop. King was assassinated in Memphis the following day, April 4, 1968. Martin Luther King, Jr., once called Rev. Lawson “the leading non-violence theorist in the world.” He was at the forefront of the civil rights struggles of the 1960’s as the mentor and leader of students who conducted the sit-ins that integrated the lunch counters, libraries and voting booths of the South, as well as the Freedom Riders who helped end forced segregation on buses and trains. In 1974, Rev. Lawson moved to Los Angeles, California, becoming pastor of Holman United Methodist Church. Continuing his social activism, he focused on Palestinian and immigrant rights, gay and lesbian issues, the Iraq wars and poverty. Rev. Lawson retired from Holman United Methodist Church in 1999 but continued his civil rights work. While in Los Angeles, he was active in the labor movement and the American Civil Liberties Union. Lawson was portrayed in the 2013 motion picture The Butler by actor Jesse Williams. The film chronicles Lawson’s training sessions during the civil rights protests of the 1950s and 1960s. Lawson was the subject of the film, Love and Solidarity: Rev. James Lawson and Nonviolence in the Search for Workers’ Rights, by Michael K. Honey. The film is an introduction to Lawson’s contributions to labor rights struggles and the civil rights movement. Today Rev. Lawson still lives in Los Angeles and continues to speak out on civil liberties and human rights. by Daniel Cocks 19
Connellsville Royalty Celebrates in New York City Judy Swan Nardone, Mayor Abe Daniels and Virginia (Ginny) Miller Habina Do young girls still dream of being a princess and riding on a float in a big parade? I know that is an old stereotype, and girls today can become anything they want; an astronaut, a computer expert, a senator in the U. S. Senate, a justice on the Supreme Court, and so on. But the dream to be a princess must be alive and well considering the number of princess outfits sold by Disney. Well, in Connellsville in 1956, young women were given the opportunity to experience being royalty for a short while. The Connellsville Sesquicentennial Committee decided to crown two young ladies; the winner, Sesquicentennial Queen of Connellsville and the runner-up, Miss Connellsville. They would both sit high up on a throne on their own float and drift majestically through Connellsville in one of the city’s biggest parades ever, and be seen by all their temporary subjects. The girls who worked hard for these positions were Judy Swan Nardone, the Sesquicentennial Queen and Virginia (Ginny) Miller Habina, Miss Connellsville. Any girl, of a certain age, could register to sell tickets at $1.00 each for their coronation as the Sesquicentennial Queen. Judy Swan went all out to win this honor. She got up early and sold tickets to people going to work at Anchor Hocking, and she went later when workers were leaving work. She even sold tickets in Pittsburgh when her father, William Swan, was attending a convention. Ginny told me that the ladies of the Connellsville Presbyterian Church, especially Mrs. Arthur Freed, sold lots of tickets for her because they wanted to see her have the honor of representing Connellsville. By her own effort, and with the assistance of those ladies, she eventually became Miss Connellsville. Both women participated in our city’s Bicentennial Parade in 2006, fifty years after their original triumph. Unfortunately, Judy Nardone is no longer with us, but Ginny Habina is, and upon the suggestion of Dr. David Geary, Ph.D., a Crossroads Magazine contributor, I talked with her about this youthful escapade that she enjoyed 63 years ago. One of the fringe benefits of winning the title of queen was an all-expense trip to California. The cash value of the trip was $500.00. Miss Connellsville was awarded a trip to New York City. Once Judy became aware how much Ginny wanted to go to New York City, she decided to cash in her trip and combine the two prizes, and the two young ladies, escorted by their fathers, Mr. Swan and Richard Miller, would take an extended trip to New York City over Labor Day weekend, 1956. Ginny feels that with Judy’s father also going to New York, her father was more comfortable making the trip to the “Big Apple,” and Ginny was glad to have someone along who was close to her own age. William Swan provided the transportation, and the four motored to New York. Before they left Connellsville, Mayor
Abe Daniels gave the city “Ambassadors” a fine send-off. The group from Connellsville enjoyed staying at the New Yorker Hotel. The daughters roomed together and the dads shared a room. Ginny said there was a welcome basket in their room with fruit and hardtack candy. There happened to be a Firemen’s Convention at the hotel, and Judy and Ginny threw candy out of the window to the firemen in the street outside the hotel. Activities were planned for the royal visitors from Connellsville. They had reserved seats at the Columbia Broadcasting System for a quiz show. It may have been High Finance starring Dennis James. They attended a premier showing of the movie The Ambassador’s Daughter starring Olivia de Havilland at the New York City Music Hall (remember that Mayor Daniels had called them Ambassadors when they left home). Everyone enjoyed a taxi tour of the city. Ginny exclaimed that the trip was a “dream of a lifetime.” She remembers Central Park, the Empire State Building, and going to visit the Statue of Liberty and reading the poem by Emma Lazarus. And of course, being young girls, they had to do some shopping. Here we come, Macy’s! One of the absolutely most important high spots of the weekend was celebrating Ginny’s 16th birthday at Momma Leone’s. A very special surprise was that Ginny’s Uncle Sam Weihe (an article about him, Solar Sam, appeared in a recent copy of Crossroads) and her cousins, Judy and Jane, came to help celebrate that very important birthday. Ginny said that she was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” at the restaurant. It was an emotional event for her. Ginny is grateful that Judy changed her trip from California and joined her for this memorable experience in New York City. Fathers and daughters had a great time. The Swans were very generous, and the two families had memories to store away and enjoy always. Ginny went through tons of papers and memorabilia to help me with this human-interest story about our Sesquicentennial. She said that I jarred memories that she hasn’t thought about for years. Her dining room table is full of pictures, newspaper clippings, programs and mementos and nothing is being put away until she goes through everything and gets it organized. I thank my friend, Ginny, for her co-operation and David Geary for suggesting this story. Life is full of many memories and some are delightful experiences like the two princesses, Judy Swan Nardone and Ginny Miller Habina, shared when they were Connellsville’s teenage royalty off on a long-ago weekend in glittering New York City. by Karen Hechler 20
Washington Trolley Museum Donation The Main Purpose of Historical Collections is to Share Them The purpose of archives is clearly defined. An archive is meant to collect, protect and share its collections. Without sharing, collections sit in rooms gathering dust. Yes, they are protected, but they do not achieve their potential. Bill Balsleyâ€™s Papers achieved their potential in 2017 when the Connellsville Area Historical Society was approached by Edward Lybarger, the archivist and curator from the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. Lybarger and his team were interested in the documents and materials from West Penn Railways, which operated from 1904 to 1952. One of the greatest delights of an archivist is to hear little gasps of joy from researchers. In 2017, our archivist had that pleasure when the researchers from the Trolley Museum came to research. Balsley had worked for West Penn and had kept reference materials, administrative documents and schematics for West Penn trolleys from his time with West Penn. On the outside these documents do not have the jazz of newspapers or diaries, which have all the juicy pieces of history. However, these documents have proved to be an invaluable wealth of knowledge for the researchers from the PA Trolley Museum. Many of these documents were new to Lybarger and his fellow researchers. The greatest find of the research trip was a letter discussing a new trolley which was being constructed. The discovery of this letter overjoyed the researchers. Our archivist was called in to the research room. Lybarger said that they knew the location of that trolley. The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum had just acquired and begun conservation on a West Penn Trolley which ran in Connellsville, PA; the number on the trolley was #832. They are the same trolley! As of the writing of this article the trolley is still under conservation with hopes of getting it operational in 2019. Since that discovery the relationship between the Connellsville Area Historical Society and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum has continued to grow. On July 18, 2018, members of the Connellsville Historical Society went on a field trip to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. Members were able to tour the Trolley Museum and ride on refurbished trolleys. It was a wonderful experience. Edward Lybarger and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum have been extremely generous with their time and resources. During their many visits to the CAHS Archive, located in the historic Gibson House, the researchers from the PA Trolley Museum have brought donations. Each donation has added a new layer to the history of the West Penn Railways. These donations have included trolley signs, which hung on trolleys indicating their stops; reference material, strategic planning reports, yearend analysis, employee newsletters, operational manuals, administrative documents, postcards and photographs. So use of both collections and collaboration between archives increases the depth of available information for all parties. by Sarah Reedy
East Park Falls and Pavilion
Connellsville Park Improvements We all like to spend time in parks, but are they just a perk of a great neighborhood? Or is it crucial for people to be able to interact with nature in spaces like parks? Many of our childhood memories happened in parks. To some extent, you’re probably aware that parks in the neighborhood where you grew up had an impact on who you are today. Upgrading community parks has a lot of benefits. They add to community revitalization efforts, enhance property values, create safer neighborhoods and green spaces, provide a gathering spot for community engagement, help children learn and engage with other children, and promote public health.
fundraising and volunteers. This park is located at 201 Ball Park Road, South 12th Street, on West Side Hill. This park consists of a ball field, basketball court and playground equipment. Austin Field Park – Upgraded using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and privately raised funds provided by Jamie McPoyle, this park, located at the intersection of Race Street and Austin Avenue, consists of a ball field, pavilion and playground equipment.
Connellsville currently has revamped and upgraded ten of its parks throughout the city. These upgrades would not have been possible without funding and assistance from its citizens, the government and non-profit organizations. Over the past several years, the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority has worked hard in partnering the needs of each park with organizations that supplied funding and volunteer help.
East Park – Upgraded using funding from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP), Richard King Mellon Foundation, Allegheny Foundation and the Connellsville Recreation Board, this park is located in a narrow gorge on Run Avenue. Connell Run flows through the park. East Park was built between 1936 and 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and consists of pavilions, restrooms, basketball courts, tennis courts, a softball field, playground equipment and a stone outdoor stage. Security cameras were provided by the NPP program.
2nd Ward Park – Upgraded using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. Located at the intersection of West Murphy and Highland Avenue, it was created in the 1960’s after the razing of the former Second Ward School. This park consists of a pavilion, basketball court, deck hockey and accessible playground equipment. 12th Street Park – Upgraded using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, Connellsville Recreation Board 22
Cameron Court Park – Upgraded using funding from Local Share Account (LSA), Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, private donations and the Connellsville Area Garden Club, this park was created after the former Cameron Building Junior High was torn down in the 1970’s. It is located at the intersection of South Pittsburgh Street and Fairview Avenue. Still in transition, it consists of a basketball court and outdoor seating area. Mountz Creek Park – Upgraded using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funding, Richard K. Mellon Foundation Funding, Private Donations and Williams Foundation Funding/Volunteer work. Located along Cummings Avenue, the park consists of pavilions, tennis court, baseball field, pickleball and shuffleboard court and playground equipment. Pinnacle Park Playground
Pinnacle Park – Upgraded using Williams Company Funding and volunteers. Located at the intersection of North Jefferson and East Fayette Streets, this playground is a wellknown Connellsville park as it was used by the nearby Third Ward School, now a apartment building, until the school’s closure in 1967 when the state banned schools with coalfired furnaces. It consists of playground equipment and basketball court. South Side Park – Upgraded using funding from the Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP) and Connellsville Recreation Board, this park is located at the intersection of Vine and Washington Streets. It includes a pavilion and playground equipment and basketball court. Woodruff Park – Upgraded using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funding, this park is located along Connell Avenue, and consists of a pavilion, basketball court and playground equipment. This park will also include a dog park with funds being raised by the Connellsville Recreation Board through events such as Tangled up in Brew.
Yough River Park Playground
Yough River Park – Upgraded by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funding, Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP) Funding, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Funding (DCNR), McKenna Foundation Funding, Yough River Trail Council (YRTC) Funding and private donations, this park is located along the Youghiogheny River at 3rd Street. The park includes pavilions, playground equipment, restroom facilities and an outdoor stage and is protected by cameras. Woodruff Park
Yough River Park Playground
by Daniel Cocks 23
to our Neighborhood Partnership Program sponsors!
Connellsville Crossroads Magazine is published quarterly (March, June, September, December) by the Fayette County Cultural Trust, 139 West C...
Published on Mar 11, 2019
Connellsville Crossroads Magazine is published quarterly (March, June, September, December) by the Fayette County Cultural Trust, 139 West C...