ShareThis Page

Uncovered ad extols 'greatest opportunity' in Trafford

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Chris Foreman Penn-Trafford Star Lynn Lloyd of Mesquite, Texas, found a worn poster from the Real Estate Trust Co. advertising the sale of lots in 'Trafford City' in his stepmother's Herd Road home after she died in April. Lloyd's father, Don, who died in 1994, worked for Westinghouse and collected mementos of Trafford's history.

The tattered handbill, hidden away for years, proclaims the promise of a new Westinghouse industrial community: “Trafford City.”

Featuring an artist's rendering of the town's “monster new foundry interests” and a street plan of properties for sale, the poster invites investment into “this grand new city.”

In what is described as “this unquestionably greatest opportunity in the annals of real estate,” business lots are available for $850; residential lots go for $250, $300 or $400.

Until this spring — more than a century after industrialist George Westinghouse bought the land that became Trafford — the 38-inch-by-24-inch flier was stashed in a box labeled as Christmas decorations in the back of Mary Jane Lloyd's Herd Street home.

When her stepson, Lynn Lloyd, found it after her death in April, he said, he knew he had to give it to the borough.

Trafford officials now are considering how to preserve it.

“When I came across that, I thought, ‘Oh jeez, well, that's the start of the town,” said Lloyd, who now lives in Mesquite, Texas.

Lloyd isn't sure how the family acquired the poster, but he included it in a couple of boxes of community mementos and photos he sent to Trafford Mayor Rey Peduzzi.

Peduzzi — who noted that Mary Jane Lloyd's husband, Don, was a curator of Trafford artifacts — said he frequently encourages families that are sorting through estates to pass on borough-related keepsakes to him.

Before his death in 1994, Don Lloyd was an avid collector of historical items who enjoyed going to flea markets and helped a nephew with his auction business, Lynn Lloyd said.

Don Lloyd, who collaborated on a book about Trafford's 75th anniversary, worked in the electric motor division for Westinghouse. Mary Jane Lloyd retired as an office worker from the Pennsylvania Railroad, which the poster states was offering a “grand free excursion,” or train ride, to potential investors.

Though the Lloyds' circular doesn't mention the year, it refers to the same June 7 sale date that the Pittsburgh-based Real Estate Trust Co. advertised in Pittsburgh newspapers in 1902 for buying lots in “Trafford City.”

In the days leading up to the sale, large newspaper ads — some spanning an entire page — trumpeted the development of Trafford two years before its incorporation as a borough.

In one, a drawing shows foundry workers dumping a cauldron of coins over the blocks between Brinton and Duquesne avenues.

Others show some of the purported 1,600 workers who were building the town by installing the sewage pipes or a woman holding up a light bulb in a pose similar to the Statue of Liberty.

In buying the property that became Trafford in 1902, George Westinghouse was repeating a pattern of developing towns around his company's plants in Wilmerding and Turtle Creek, said Mike Funyak, a 2011 Penn-Trafford graduate who is doing an internship for Wilmerding Renewed Inc., the preservation group that owns the former Westinghouse Castle in Wilmerding.

Westinghouse's companies made sure that 25 homes and a hotel were built in time for Trafford's grand opening, Funyak said.

“By that time, the Westinghouse companies were a place everyone wanted to work,” he said.

For Peduzzi, who frequently plugs the Westinghouse influence on Trafford, the poster is an opportunity to preserve an historical document about the borough's early days.

Last year, the mayor was chairman of a committee that recommended naming the public safety building's new banquet hall in tribute to Manchester, England, where Westinghouse established the British Westinghouse Electrical and Manufacturing Co.

Peduzzi has contacted a local business, Digital Trafford, about the possibility of creating a copy of the Lloyds' poster to put on display at the borough building.

“This is really something,” he said. “In Westinghouse's eyes, Trafford was going to be the industrial center of the United States.”

Peduzzi still is sifting through the Lloyds' relics, which include black-and-white photos of early Westinghouse workers, World War II soldiers, the borough's World War I memorial, a Polish band, drum-and-bugle corps and the 1934 First Holy Communion recipients at St. Regis Catholic Church.

Back in Texas, Lynn Lloyd is delving into another trove of his father's souvenirs, including a series of letters that appear to be from the Stewart family from as far back as 1812.

Stewart Station was the predecessor of Trafford Borough.

“My dad didn't throw out anything. His house was like a museum, except he didn't have stuff out on display.”

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.