WPXI Story About Monongahela African American Soldiers Who Served In The Civil War

Capt. William Catlin
Capt. William Catlin

Several folks asked how can view the story WPXI produced about the Ravioli sale sponsored by the Monongahela Main Street Program and Bethel AME church. Proceeds will pay for a historical marker to honor African American soldiers from Monongahela who fought for the United States in the civil war. What makes story unique is that this may be the first time in US history that African American soldiers went into battle under African American officers. Click here to read the story watch the video.

Help Identify 1912 Monongahela Football Players

1912 Monongahela High School Football Team
1912 Monongahela High School Football Team. Four of the boys pictured died and one was injured within 8 years of this photo because of WW1 (click to enlarge)

A follower posted this picture on the Lost Monongahela Facebook page however she didn’t know the names of anybody in the picture.

I found the following article published in the October 5, 1912 edition of the Monongahela Republican that gives the last names of eleven of them: Continue reading

Monongahela Haze

I stumbled upon a wonderful blog by Monongahela native Devin Bartolotta. Following is an excerpt from a recent post titled “Monongahela Haze”

Monongahela summer evenings have a certain haze to them, or at least they do at my house. But the Monongahela summer haze isn’t just tangible. It’s a feeling, too. It’s when the air is an undetectable temperature, perfectly between warm and cool, and the sky seems bigger than normal. The day turns from blue light to blue dark and if you’re out there just long enough, the stars are bright enough to make you want to lay down and watch. Where no matter what you’re doing, everything seems clearer and calmer and your heart feels it’s where it needs to be.

It’s the kind of hazy evening that makes you want to drive with the windows down, even if you have nowhere to go. It makes you want to throw your hair up in a ponytail, forget what’s on TV or where you have to be tomorrow morning and just simply be.

Devin lives in Ohio now so why not leave a comment on her blog, I’m sure she would appreciate hearing from friends back home.


Monongahela Documentary Video To Help Monongahela Library

From Youtube description:

Sales from One Extraordinary Street are helping to “Raise the Roof” and get the LIbrary a new roof. Please read ending credits and this description.

One Extraordinary Street is a documentary about a small street in the Western PA river town of Monongahela, PA. The documentary tells how a community was built by immigrants on Park Avenue and shows the extraordinary successes that were achieved. Some featured individuals include: Hall of Fame Quarterback Joe Montana; 31st US Army Chief of Staff General Carl Vuono; Nerf Football Inventor Dr. Fred Cox; American Biographer Dr. Deirdre Bair, Ph.D.; Disney Channel Founder Jim Jimirro; Top US trial attorney Vincent Bartolotta and many others.

This YouTube video is a ten-minute sample of the full-length, 90-minute documentary. The full length documentary can be obtained by sending a donation of at least $25 to the Monongahela Area Library, 813 West Main Street, Monongahela, PA 15063. Please make checks payable to the Monongahela Area Library.

The Library needs a new roof and the contractor is quoting $48,000 as the price. Consider this to be a virtual fundraiser! 100% of monies sent will be allocated to the Library Roof Fund. We are counting on the generosity of those who love Monongahela and libraries to help!

One Extraordinary Street was directed and produced by Monongahela native, Laura M. Magone, laura@lauramagone.com . Laura is available to speak on the documentary.

Also, for anyone from the Park Avenue neighborhood, the City of Monongahela is dedicating an area on Main Street to commemorate those from the Park Avenue neighborhood. Contact Laura to get details about purchasing an engraved brick for yourself or a loved one. Brick proceeds benefit MARC, the Monongahela Area Revitalization Committee.

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!