Monongahela Chess Park Greeting Cards Now Available

Chess Park greeting cards are now available!


Each card is 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ with a winter scene of Chess Park in Monongahela Pennsylvania on the front. The reverse includes a short history of Chess Park and the two churches in the background. The interior of the card is blank so it can serve year round as a thank you card, a sympathy card, a Christmas card or a general note card that you can use to show your pride in our home town.

Each package of 10 cards and envelopes costs $10 and comes attractively packaged in a clear plastic box with a decorative gold cord making it ready to go as the perfect stocking stuffer or gift! Cards are now on sale at:

Autumn Antiquities And Curiosities – 234 West Main Street, Monongahela PA. Open Wednesdays, Thursdays  and Fridays 11:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m and Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Phone 724-292-8222. Both cash and credit cards accepted.

Little City Coffee – 418 West Main Street, Monongahela PA. Phone 724-258-6285. Open Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to  7:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Closed Sunday. Both cash and credit cards accepted.

**UPDATE 12/17/2015**

Chess Park cards are now available at Joe Fida’s Auto Plate service!

We can also ship the cards to you via mail. Shipping cost is a flat $3.50 no matter how many cards you order. For more information about having your order shipped just send an email to Dan at with your name, address and phone number and the number of boxes you want.

All proceeds go to the Monongahela Main Street Program which is being formed to revitalize main street Monongahela through historic preservation.

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?

KKK Marching up 7th Street Monongahela PA 1908

KKK on 7th st. Monongahela PA 1908, New Year's Day

Here’s an interesting photo I found in the Old Homecoming Week Magazine . Click here to see the full size version because there is a good bit of detail you can’t see in the image above. You can see what 7th street looks like today here.

Here’s a detail of a drawing of Monongahela done in 1902:

7th street map detail

You can see that there is an empty lot across from Chess Park in the both the photo and the map. I believe this area was farmland at one time. I wonder if the Chess family felt disappointed about all the development going on and left their property somewhat undeveloped. They must have wanted to preserve some green space for future residents because they donated Chess Park to the city of Monongahela. It would be interesting to do a blog post about the history of the park. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Anyways… THE KKK MARCHING IN THE NEW YEARS DAY PARADE? How bizarre! The weird thing about this is that whites and blacks seem to have co-existed peacefully in Monongahela and were well regarded from what I’ve read in the Old Homecoming Week magazine. The local AME church is even famous for being a stop on the underground railroad during the civil war and had the support of several white people in town. I think the KKK activity in Monongahela was instead due to the huge influx of immigrants to the area around the turn of the century .  I recall reading derogatory remarks being made in local newspaper stories toward immigrants while researching coal mining accident articles quoted in the Old Home Week magazine of 1908. Here’s a few quotes I found over at Wikipedia:

A significant characteristic of the second Klan was that it was an organization based in urban areas, reflecting the major shifts of population to cities in both the North and the South. In Michigan, for instance, 40,000 members lived in Detroit, where they made up more than half of the state’s membership. Most Klansmen were lower to middle-class whites who were trying to protect their jobs and housing from the waves of newcomers to the industrial cities: immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, who tended to be Catholic and Jewish in numbers higher than earlier groups of immigrants; and black and white migrants from the South. As new populations poured into cities, rapidly changing neighborhoods created social tensions.

In reaction to social changes, the Klan adopted anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic, anti-Communist and anti-immigrant slants. The social unrest of the postwar period included labor strikes over low wages and working conditions in many industrial cities, often led by immigrants, who also organized unions. Klan members worried about labor organizers and socialist leanings of some of the immigrants, which added to the tensions. They also resented upwardly mobile ethnic Catholics.[62] At the same time, in cities Klan members were themselves working in industrial environments and often struggled with working conditions.

I came across another picture which showed the KKK marching down main street. I’ll post it later when I get a chance.