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All aboard for an 'Allegheny Valley Trolleys' lesson

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 1:33 a.m.
“Miss Brackenridge” is a recently restored trolley that was unveiled at the Trolley Musuem in Washington, Pa. in June. It’s history is included in the book “Allegheny Valley Trolleys,” which covers the history of trolleys in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
PENNSYLVANIA TROLLEY MUSEUM, MILLER LIBRARY
“Miss Brackenridge” is a recently restored trolley that was unveiled at the Trolley Musuem in Washington, Pa. in June. It’s history is included in the book “Allegheny Valley Trolleys,” which covers the history of trolleys in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
“Miss Brackenridge” is a recently restored trolley that was unveiled at the Trolley Musuem in Washington, Pa. in June. It’s history is included in the book “Allegheny Valley Trolleys” that covers the history of trolleys in the Alle-Kiski Valley. The Alle-Kiski Valley Heritage Musuem in Tarentum is hosting an event to discuss the book on July 22.
PENNSYLVANIA TROLLEY MUSEUM, MILLER LIBRARY
“Miss Brackenridge” is a recently restored trolley that was unveiled at the Trolley Musuem in Washington, Pa. in June. It’s history is included in the book “Allegheny Valley Trolleys” that covers the history of trolleys in the Alle-Kiski Valley. The Alle-Kiski Valley Heritage Musuem in Tarentum is hosting an event to discuss the book on July 22.

The Alle-Kiski Valley Heritage Museum is hosting an event “Allegheny Valley Trolleys” about a book which captures the history behind this means of transportation at 2 p.m. July 22.

There will be a Powerpoint presentation and a question-and-answer session as well as refreshments. The event has been in the works for a few years, says Jim Thomas, president of the Alle-Kiski Valley Historical Society board.

“There is so much history with these trolleys in the Alle-Kiski Valley,” Thomas says. “The people from the area who I have talked to are excited about this event because it’s about local history.”

About the book

“Allegheny Valley Trolleys” (Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, $21.95) was written by Edward H. Lybarger and Dennis F. Cramer and features maps and layout by Bruce P. Wells. Lybarger and Cramer will be part of the event.

The book covers this story of West Penn Railway Company’s Allegheny Valley Street Railway from Aspinwall to Natrona, the Tarentum, Brackenridge, & Butler Street Railway and Pittsburgh Railway’s Route 78, Verona and Oakmont.

It was released in June to celebrate the completion of the restoration of car 832 from Allegheny Valley Street Railway, part of the West Penn Railways family. The car was the second one acquired by the trolley museum, coming from West Penn’s Connellsville facility where it had served until 1952, following the abandonment of the Allegheny Valley operation.

Lybarger conducted the bulk of the research into the corporate history and authored approximately two-thirds of the narrative. Cramer read the microfilm at the Valley News Dispatch, copying appropriate editions for further interpretations as well as authoring the remainder of the text. Wells created the maps and designed all of the pages

The routes will be covered with numerous then and now images to provide the audience with a sense of the history and the location of the lines, that with the book they can explore themselves. They will also learn of the restoration of West Penn 832 that ran in the Valley until 1937 and then in the Coke Region for 15 more years.

This trolley tale is important history to the Alle-Kiski valley, Thomas says.

“Trolley lines connected community to community, home to work, home to shopping and home to leisure at a time when the automobile and roads were in their infancy and shopping centers were non-existent,” says Lybarger.“ It was no different in the Allegheny Valley. The Tarentum Brackenridge and Butler Street Railway was directly responsible for the development of the area now know as the ‘Heights.’

The extensive photographic coverage of both then and now images along with the maps gives a picture of what life was like, says Cramer.

“There has never before been a detailed history of these lines,” Cramer says. “The reasons for the lines coming into existence, the trials and tribulations of labor strife and the ongoing battle with the ‘Highway of Death’ are just a few of the highlights. The cars’ continued use into 1952 and subsequent acquisition and restoration of car 832 by the Trolley Museum complete the history.”

Books will be available for purchase.

JoAnne Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 or jharrop@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

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