Effort ignited to save landmark Wexford deli
People can thank Trudy Brooker Purvis, 80, of Pine for starting efforts to save the historic Wexford Post Office Deli.
It was her idea to donate the former trolley station, built in 1908, to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Chartiers Township, Washington County.
“I don't know when it will be moved, but I think it may be within the next year,” said Purvis, widow of the late Loyal Purvis and one of multiple heirs to the estate of German immigrant Ignatius Brooker — her great-great-great grandfather. The estate includes the trolley station and property beneath it.
More than 80 years ago, Purvis's father — the late Mark Brooker — helped move the station, with draft horses, from property owned by a Brooker relative at Brennan and Wexford Bayne roads to its current site at Church Road and Route 910.
After Mark Brooker died, Purvis drafted a document and collected signatures from her father's surviving siblings to ensure the trolley station's future.
“I'm doing it for him,” Purvis said about her plans to secure the structure's preservation.
At the nonprofit trolley museum, wheels are turning to realize Purvis' hopes for the 115-year-old trolley station.
The station served riders on the Harmony Line, an interurban streetcar system, from 1908 to 1931.
“We would like to move and preserve it, but we need funds to do it,” said Scott Becker, executive director of the trolley museum.
“Our board of directors has agreed to accept the donation, once we have the funds,” Becker said. “We have a trolley that once served that station.”
After the Harmony Line ceased operating in 1931, the late Joseph Brooker — Purvis's great uncle — acquired the station to serve as Wexford's post office, and then moved the structure to Church Road and Route 910.
In 1963, Betsy Sailor — Purvis' niece and daughter of Ann Brooker Sailor of New Castle — asked to rent the former trolley station and open a deli in the building.
Five years later, a Bradford Woods couple took over the deli and operated it until Paul Mitchell of Beaver County took over the deli business in 1993.
“We just wrote a new lease,” Purvis said. “He took over the business.”
Mitchell closed the deli last month after he thought about buying an adjacent structure to expand the business.
“It was a very large undertaking for a business this size. It was just too big a risk,” Mitchell said. “There has always been an agreement between myself and the (Brooker) estate, that if the building (trolley station) ever became non-income generating, then it would be donated to the trolley association (museum).”
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.