The good and bad in Connellsville during the 1970s
• In 1971, Amtrak replaces the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Capitol Limited passenger trains, which had provided service between Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The B&O now provides only freight service.
• The same year, Connellsville State General Hospital relaxes its nurse uniform rules; nurses now can wear white slacks instead of skirts, if desired.
• People line up in 1972 to bet a buck or two on the brand new Pennsylvania State Lottery.
• Connellsville's Riverview Apartment highrise along Peach Street is dedicated in 1972 — the same year that city Police Chief Anthony Cataldi's office at city hall is firebombed.
• Also in 1972, ground is broken for Greenlick Dam in Bullskin. Project costs $500,000.
• 1973 is a big year for Connellsville Falcon sports. For the first time in 20 years, the basketball team beats the Uniontown Red Raiders, 71-61. The high school baseball team nails Shaler High School, 3-2, to take the WPIAL title.
• The big news at The Daily Courier building in 1973 is the changeover of its press, from “hot metal type” to “cold type,” also called photo-comp printing.
• In August 1975, five Connellsville policemen and five civilians are indicted after a three-year span of burglaries and robberies in town. Trials follow, with convictions; several men serve time in prison for the crimes.
• In positive 1975 news, Connellsville Area Historical Society announces that a replica of Col. William Crawford's log cabin will be built along the Youghiogheny River on the West Side — close to the location where the Connellsville pioneer built it in the 1700s.
• In 1976, Volkswagen signs an agreement to construct a factory new New Stanton, in East Huntingdon Township, where VW trucks and VW Rabbits will be built. The first auto rolls off the line in 1978; by 1979, a second shift of workers is added.
• Also in 1976, Anchor Hocking's Closure Division in South Connellsville expands. That same year, Immaculate Conception RC Church is heavily damaged by fire, and so are five greenhouses at Oglevee Floral in Dunbar Township. 1936 Olympic gold medalist John Woodruff of Connellsville donates the prize he won in the 800-meter run to his alma mater, Connellsville High School.
• Connellsville Little League goes on a winning streak, carrying away the state championship three years straight: 1976, 1977 and 1978!
• In good 1979 news, the Southmoreland Scotties football team wins its first Keystone Conference championship, defeating the Mount Pleasant Vikings, 20-15.
Fire kills nine
• Tragedy strikes Connellsville on April Fool's Day 1979 when nine residents of the Foster Home for the Aged die in a fire — the city's worst fire ever, in terms of life. Faulty wiring is believed to have caused the inferno.
• The same year, local independent truckers strike and violence breaks out at the former Blue Ridge Truck Stop on Route 119 North (today there is a Sunoco gas station there). Three truckers are charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct and jailed.
• Speaking of gas stations, 1979 is a year of gas shortages – and long lines. Members of the Pennsylvania Service Station Dealers Association – including those in the Fay-West area – shut down temporarily in protest.
Compiled by contributing writer Laura Szepesi.
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.
- Brooklyn man’s cross-state taxi ride leads straight to jail in Uniontown
- Masontown woman charged with leaving infant in hot vehicle
- Masontown woman seeks probationary program in theft case
- Henry: Family fun, fireworks this weekend in Connellsville
- Uniontown natives’ charity honors friend wounded in Afghanistan
- Librarian chronicles history of Fayette County executions
- Weather batters Connellsville-area bike trail
- Scott C’s July 4 Car Show planned in Connellsville
- Author, novel showcased at Connellsville event
- Connellsville veteran’s WWII diary in print at last
- Injuries show Uniontown’s Forsythe her career path