New book 'Trafford' puts spotlight on borough's history
Two Trafford area history buffs put together a book on the borough, a labor of love prompted by a desire to preserve the community's history.
“We wanted to find a way to preserve the history” of Trafford, said Andrew Capets of Trafford, who, along with Don Cole of nearby Level Green in Penn Township, are the authors of the 128-page book “Trafford.”
“We're trying to get a lot of the photographs before they are gone forever,” Cole said.
Capets, a member of the Trafford Historical Society, and Cole published the book under the auspices of the Trafford Historical Society. While their names are not on the cover, the co-authors are given credit for their work in the foreword of the book, which is filled with 220 photos.
“I thought of it more as these belonging to Trafford than to us. The photos really aren't ours,” Capets said.
They will not be compensated from the sale of the book, to be released Monday for a cost of $21.99, Capets said. Any profits will go to the Trafford Historical Society, which is a committee of the Trafford Public Library.
“We want to use the money to preserve the history we have,” said Capets, an insurance agent.
The Trafford Historical Society is sponsoring a book launch at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the borough's council chambers and the adjoining library, both on Brinton Avenue. The book launch will feature a slideshow presentation, “Odd, Mysterious and Fascinating History of Trafford's Yesteryear,” Capets said.
The Trafford history book is part of Arcadia's extensive “Image of America” series. Arcadia, based in South Carolina, calls itself the largest publisher of local history and regional content. As part of the arrangement with the publishers, the authors guarantee the purchase of 300 books, with a first run totaling about 900 books.
Cole, a Penn State student studying telecommunications and also majoring in entrepreneurship, said the project has its roots in 2015. He had compiled photos for the Trafford Historical Society's website, and they considered a book featuring a series of old photos, contrasted with ones taken of the same sites today.
Arcadia, however, steered them toward their history series format of chronicling the community's schools, government, business and industry, churches and sports with a short introductory text for each chapter, supplemented by several photographs. Some of the photos were owned by the historical society, and others were loaned for publication, Cole said. Some boxes of photos and documents were found in the borough building.
“We had a ton of photos,” said Cole, who has preserved more than 1,000 images for the historical society.
Many of the photos were collected by Donald Lloyd, an unofficial Trafford historian who spearheaded the borough's 75th anniversary celebration in 1979. The photos were donated by his son, Lynn, Capets said.
The book has some interesting facts about Trafford, but because of a limit on the size of Arcadia's community history series, some of the backstory was not included, Capets said. The authors said they relied on a publication from the 75th anniversary of the community's founding for some of the history.
The borough, which has about 3,100 people, was carved out of a section of North Huntingdon. The first settlers in the area were John Cavitt and his family, who came to the future town of Trafford after buying land in 1769. Cavitt operated a “fulling mill,” which was used to press wool, Capets said.
Inventor George Westinghouse named the town for Trafford Park in Manchester, England. Westinghouse wanted to build a foundry in his Trafford City, and thousands of prospective property owners came to buy lots when the land sale was advertised. Westinghouse's plant in Trafford thrived for much of the 20th century and was a key to the borough's growth, according to the historical society.
With the launch of the book, Capets and Cole also want to set up in the library a display case of items from Trafford's history. They also want to make their historical research available to library patrons.
“We want to be able to let them do their own research,” Capets said.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.