Former American Legion Building Saved

Many people in town have been concerned about the deterioration of the former American Legion, Frank Downer Post building at 248 West Main Street. The first three photos below were taken in 2015 showing a huge gash in the roof resulting in water flooding the interior of the building every time it rained. Thankfully the owner saw fit to replace the wood deck and roof it with new asphalt shingles. The last three photographs show the new roof being installed.

The front facade is gorgeous and is still in good shape. It is the centerpiece of interesting architecture on the 200 block of West Main Street. The building is certainly worth saving. (click the the photos below to enlarge)

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Check back tomorrow for part 2!

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A Monongahela Valley Church In Ruins – Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Duquesne PA

One of the people I follow on Flickr recently posted a photo (click here to view it) of the interior of the former Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church of Duquesne PA in its ruined state. It’s hard to believe that anybody would abandon such a grand building and let it deteriorate.  This is the story of what happened.

Holy Trinity didn’t always look this way of course. The buff brick church building was built on South First Street in 1907 by Continue reading

Transfiguration Church Through The Years

Anybody living in the Monongahela area is familiar with the beautiful Transfiguration church (now named St. Damien of Molokai) located on West Main Street.  I knew that an earlier church building once stood on this site but I never had seen any pictures of it so I was thrilled to discover this photo of the original structure.

(The black and white photographs in this post and the quotes below were found in the Transfiguration Church Diamond Jubilee booklet of 1940. Click the images to zoom and view a larger version of each photograph.)

The construction of the ‘Old Church” began with the laying of the cornerstone on a rainy Friday, August 10, 1865: Continue reading

Lincoln School Ephemera

Lincoln School Pin Tray showing steps with a dangerous rightward tilt. (click images for larger view)

I found this pin tray on eBay depicting Lincoln School the other day.  Funny but I couldn’t find any photos of Lincoln School online. (Let me know if you have any you would like me to post.) Lincoln School built in 1908 was a handsome building located between Lincoln and Thomas Streets in Monongahela. Many still remember it since it wasn’t torn down until the late 1970’s I believe. In 2009 Chris Buckley of the Valley Independent interviewed architect and architectural historian Terry Necciai; here is what Terry had to say about Lincoln School:

I went to school there and was saddened by the demolition of it,” Necciai said of the Lincoln facility.
Lincoln School comprised 12 rooms and the walls were three bricks thick, Necciai recalled. A set of nearly 30 steps wound from Thomas Street to the school. The steps were a popular place for class photographs. On a porch at the top of the stairs – above the door – was the Lincoln quote, “Let us have faith that right makes might.” Inside the door, students climbed three more steps. Those familiar with the school might remember the shades of green it was painted. There was a picture of Lincoln inside.

Ironically, the school did not face Lincoln Street. Like the president, Lincoln Street is surrounded by some of the most prominent names of the Civil war era. Streets in that neighborhood were named for Gen. U.S. Grant, Secretary of State Edwin Stanton, Gen. George Henry Thomas, Gen. Oliver Howard, and Gen. Phillip Sheridan. Designed in the colonial revival style that was used in that neighborhood during the period, it was built in the Lockhart Plan, sometimes referred to as the Civil War section.

Development of the plan began in 1869, just four years after the Civil War ended. The booming city was home to many returning Civil War veterans, and the developers honored the war’s heroes by naming streets for them, Necciai said. “And they put Lincoln in the middle because he was central to the effort,” Necciai added.

Lincoln School site as it appears today from Thomas Street.
Front steps of the former Lincoln School mentioned in the article.
The view from Lincoln Street.
Aerial view showing the foundation of Lincoln School.

I wonder why the neighbors here never pressed the school district to remove the asphalt, plant grass and a few trees. I imagine it would improve property values if the lot looked somewhat like a park. Right now you see piles of gravel and asphalt with a dump truck and bobcat parked there. It would be a shame if the old high school area ends up looking like this.

Speaking of Lincolns:

1961 Lincoln

Chess Park Then and Now

I came across this old post card featuring Chess Park. This image was taken from the northeast corner looking west:

Chess Park looking west circa 1900.

The postcard wasn’t dated but my guess is that the picture was taken around 1900. I thought it would be fun to compare that image with what the park looks like today from the same vantage point:

Chess Park as it appears today looking west.

Here is the same picture only in color:

Chess Park as it appears today looking west - in color.
Chess Park as it appears today looking west – in color.
Chess Park aerial view
Chess Park aerial view – courtesy GoogleMaps

The park is still well maintained but wouldn’t it be great to bring this section of the park closer to its original appearance? You would just need to plant a few bushes then get some mulch and plant flowers inside the triangle. Probably isn’t a good idea to add bring a cannon back (don’t want kids playing on it). Maybe leave out the bushes to keep the open feeling with lower maintainance?  I bet the whole project could be done for around $100. What do you think?

1911 PRR TRAIN DEPOT MONONGAHELA PA

Prr 1911 Train Depot

This postcard recently sold on Ebay and the seller described it as “1911 PRR Train Depot Monongahela PA”. The 1911 date is most likely a postmark date. I assume that the photograph is earlier than that. Here you have a great view of both the second and third bridges that crossed the Monongahela River. The older bridge seen in the background crossed the river right behind where Lenzi Service station is located today (in fact, an original stone bridge abutment still stands there). The third bridge is the one many people still remember. The entrance to this bridge was located right where the former Right Aid building is.

The image above shows the area as it currently appears. There is only one railroad building remaining on the right.

Notice how there are no trees along the riverbank in the old picture. They used to build barges in this area so I assume that the trees would have gotten in the way. One thing I’ve noticed when taking these before and after pictures is how much worse the area or building usually appears today. See how sterile the current railroad building looks? You can blame plastic siding for that. Even commercial buildings were built with pride and style back in the day.