Reminiscences by Maury Tosi

Maury Tosi
Maury Tosi

I just found a great website called Reminiscences by Maury Tosi. Maury grew up in Monongahela and graduated from Monongahela City high school in 1942. He later served in the military and became an engineer. He wrote a fascinating story about his life, much of it spent in Monongahela PA. Here is an excerpt about “Rocky Beach” in the Catsburg area of Monongahela.

One of the most popular places in the neighborhood during the middle and late ’30s was the swimming spot along the river in our neighborhood which grew into the name of “Rocky Beach.” Coal mines in the area over the years had produced a large slate pile of waste material along the river, about 800′ long, 300′ wide and 30-40′ high. It screened off the river from the Pennsylvania RR tracks and Main Street.The size of the pile over many years had produced internal heat and spontaneous combustion, leading to a smoldering of the slate and coal refuse which slowly smoldered into a clinker called “red-dog.” This was commonly used at that time for rural road bases instead of the crushed stone used today.

The beach was about 50′ wide between the slate pile and the river, and the erosion of small particles from the side of the slate pile made a beach covering that was comfortable to walk on, or to sunbathe on a towel or blanket. With the many young unemployed during this time, the beach became an escape for whole families on hot sunny days. Every one walked to the beach. Gradually improvements were made to clear up the rocky beach, and the stones were used to build various walls at the back of the beach.

The river here was a gradual slope for 10-15′ and then dropped quickly to 10-15′ deep in the river channel. A floating platform was built a little off-shore in the deeper water, and a diving board was added. It was a pleasant way to spend a summer afternoon. Old inner tubes of all sizes were commonly used as a way to float on the water.

I highly recommend reading Maury’s Reminiscences. There are plenty of pictures and other interesting stories about Monongahela and the people who lived there in the 20th century. I would like to speak with him sometime. Does anybody know Maury or how I can contact him? If so, leave a message for me in the comments section. Thanks!

16 thoughts on “Reminiscences by Maury Tosi

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  1. I just have to comment – My dad took us to a swimming hole along the river when we were very young. He called it “bare bum beach!” I think this is it – Rocky Beach! Has anyone else heard of it being called this, or was my dad just a funny guy?


  2. Yeah, that’s actually what he said, too. I just chose to use the “B word” on a public site! Thanks for your reply, Don.


  3. Just wanted to say thanks for you these comments. I’m fascinated with local stories like this – stuff you don’t find in newspaper archives etc.


  4. Maury’s my first cousin. He is brilliant guy of
    wit and information. He has dozens more of these
    stories. He deserves an e mail correspondence .
    He can be reached at [edit]
    I don’t think he’d mind and would surely enjoy
    hearing from some of you.
    Dolly ‘1956 MHS


  5. Dolly,

    Thanks for Maury’s email address. I removed it from your comment to prevent any spambots (computerized programs that gather email addresses posted on websites and then send out email spam) from sending Maury spam. I’ve saved it in my contacts though and will certainly contact him. If anybody reading this would like to get in touch with Maury I will gladly forward your message.

    Thanks again Dolly! Let me know if you have any old pictures that I could post here on the site.


  6. This has been great, Maurey’s stories are just what my Mom told me about. She was born there in 1914 Mary Mcdowell, had 2 brothers and lived on Vine St. Her best friend was Helen Cummings and they knew everyone. They took gymnastic/tumbling classes at the Turners bldg. and put on shows, think it was a hang out at the time.. Anyway.. if Maurey remembers the names I would love to hear. Thanks K.


  7. My mother grew up in B.A.B. there where they went swimming. She also told us about the “Tow House” or “Company Houses” she lived in. Her mother’s name was Anna Reischert and her father was James Roberts.


  8. Maury was the school board president of the school district I worked in. We made a lot of progress under his leadership.

    I worked directly with him and he was like a dad to me. He is very personable,intelligent and has a big heart.

    He is one person who I will always remember, and greatly appreciate his friendship.


  9. Hello
    I’d like to get in touch with Maury-I’ll be back in Mon City in October after 43 years and would like to meet anyone who knew my mother Solonge Medina Evans, father Thomas Evans and gradparents Joseph and Norena Evans
    thnak you


  10. My parents grew up in that area and was wondering if you happen to know my dad Fran Vogini. He tells such wonderful stories of his childhood and growing up in the area. I too have alot of fond memories from my early childhood


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