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Community picnic plans on the right track for adventure

| Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

There was a time in this Mid-Mon Valley when traditional community picnics at Kennywood Park meant riding the train to the spacious entertainment complex. It was an adventure that set the tone for a full day of food, fun and fellowship.

We were reminded of those days of long ago by a copy of the Thursday, July 19, 1945, edition of The Charleroi Mail sent our way by a thoughtful reader in Carroll Township.

A promotional picture on the front page of that newspaper called attention to the Dipsy Doodle, “a thrilling aerial ride on the park lagoon,” as just one of the many attractions Charleroi picnickers would enjoy on Thursday, July 24, when the annual outing sponsored by the Charleroi Chamber of Commerce would be held.

The Dipsy Doodle was a flying scooter type of ride with rounded style tubs for seating.

A large advertisement on Page 6 of The Mail hailed the picnic as “Charleroi's Day To Play” at “Western Pennsylvania's Playground.”

Reduced-price tickets were being sold in advance and offered a savings of 15 cents over the regular cost of 40 cents per strip if purchased at the park. The ad also emphasized that the bargain tickets were available only at the C of C office and these businesses in Charleroi:

Book's Shoe Store, Braun's Meat Market, Charleroi Pharmacy, Easton's Pharmacy, Fogel's Drug Store, Gene & Boots, Geezer's Drug Store, Grant-Bliss Hardware, Harris Clover Farm Stores, Hersh's Drug Store, Kiefer's Pharmacy, Kirk & Clark, Kramer's Drug Store, Montgomery Ward Company, Milliken's Shoe Store, Might's Book Store, S.A. Meyer Company, Mail Publishing Company, J.C. McCrory Company, G.C. Murphy Company, Rose Protin, Tweed's (Rach), Guy Rosini (Dunlevy), Sun Drug Company, Margaret Dunkerly (Speers), Schafer's Jewelry, Wagner's Drug Store and Wolf's Clothing Store.

The ad also alerted picnickers that regular trains would leave for Duquesne at 7:28 a.m. and 12:18 p.m. and the return rides from Kennywood would be at 4:54 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

A story on the front page, however, said the Pennsylvania Railroad runs to the park would begin as early at 6:33 a.m. and continue until 5:58 p.m.

The story also offered this reminder: “It is necessary to take a streetcar to and from Duquesne for the park. There will be plenty of trolley cars meeting all trains on picnic day.”

This advice was offered to those who would be driving their own vehicles instead of riding the train: “The easiest and best route is down Route 837 to Elizabeth or Clairton, crossing the river and proceeding through Glassport and McKeesport, then back across the river to Duquesne and the park. Others who prefer to drive straight down the river road to Duquesne will find the lower end of that drive rough and uncomfortable.”

In other news on July 19, 1945:

• A United Press wire story revealed that representatives from India “have been the only parties interested in the government's unused blast furnace at Monessen, Pa., since it was put for sale last week.”

The story continued:

“Surveys of the eight-million-dollar furnace have been made by representatives of industrial interests in India, it was reported, with the possibility of dismantling it and shipping it abroad. The furnace, which was more than 95 percent completed when construction was halted last year, was built by the Defense Plant Corporation. It was to be operated by Pittsburgh Steel Company, whose property completely surrounds the plant. Pittsburgh Steel spokesmen said it had not been decided whether the company would make an offer for the surplus plant. The Apollo Steel Company also was reported interested in the furnace.”

• Sgt. Robert W. O'Lenic of Donora was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in combat with the Fifth Army during the Italian campaign. A draftsman and typist in Headquarters, 85th Custer Division, O'Lenic “displayed outstanding ability, initiative and efficiency in the performance of his duties, withou regard for personal comfort or safety,” the citation stated.

• The Ladies Auxiliary of Arden Calvert Post 167 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars celebrated its 10th anniversary with a party following its regular monthly meeting. Lavada Jenkins, president of the organization, conducted the business session, which was highlighted by a report from Catherine Moore on the state convention in Harrisburg. Others representing the Auxiliary at the convention were Jenkins and Mary Woytovich.

• Baseball and softball were the focus of attention on the sports front.

Player-manager Sherd Titler paced Lee-Norse to a 9-3 victory over Corning Glass Works in the City League. He scattered seven hits over nine innings, posted nine strikeouts and walked only three. He also helped his own cause with a triple and two singles in five trips to the plate. Frank Furiga added three singles to the Norsemen's 13-hit attack, which also had a double and a single off the bat of Jack Green. Leading the way for Corning were Dave Schaum (triple, single), Dan Paterlini (two singles) and Mike Malisky (two singles).

In the Junior League, the Sickman entry from Lock Four topped the Mac's Club 9-3. A double and single by Oler, the winning pitcher, provided the offensive punch for the winners. Sannier and Van Shura belted triples for Mac's, while Farkos had two singled.

Playing at the Roscoe field, Automatic Hot Mill outlasted Wib Waggoner's Pilger Shipping Department 12-9 in the Allenport Softball League. Captain Harry Carney and Houseman smacked home runs for the winners, who had 13 hits. Johnny Turick's roundtripper paced a 15-hit attack by the Pilgermen, who committed nine errors.

• In addition to the aforementioned alert about the community picnic, paid advertisements in The Mail heralded the following: George Gezzer's Pharmacy, Wildroot Cream Oil, 79 cents, and leg makeup, 50 cents; Sun Cut Rate Drug Stores; Thomas P. Tweed Company (F.G. Rach, owner); Melenyzer's Furniture; Ayers Piano Store in Donora; John Brown at Personal Finance Company (above the A&P); the Dog House restaurant at Allen's Crossroads (the Airdale Sandwich A Specialty); Johnston The Florist; the Menlo, Palace, State and Coyle theaters; John Partezana, accordian teacher; First National Bank; Pfleghardt Furniture Company; Doan's Pills (To Flush Our Your Kidneys); Charleroi Savings and Trust Company; Heinz Vinegar; Monarch Foods; Bindi Brothers Garage in Donora; Montgomery Ward Stores; Lichter's Furniture Store; Spencer Garage (Your Local Buick and Frigidaire Dealer); Cohen's, and Fast Teeth powder for holding dentures in place.

Ron Paglia is a freelance writer for Trib Total media. If you have memories to share or story ideas contact him at or c/o The Valley Independent, Eastgate 19, Monessen, PA 15062.

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