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Connellsville still has remnants of wealthy past

| Wednesday, May 9, 2007

When walking through historic Connellsville, it is easy to see how this town once held more millionaires per capita than any place in the country, and possibly the world.

In addition to offering visitors a chance to visit its small shops and sample its small-town charm, Connellsville also welcomes visitors to its annual festivals and its in-town events.

Information about its millionaires and other interesting historic facts can be found at such Web sites as www.fay-west.com.

This quiet country town once was the king of the coke and coal industry and many of its residents were wealthy, owning large houses and building beautiful churches and shops.

The roads in this cute coal-mining town are windy, not made for a lot of traffic, and railroads zigzag through city streets, inconveniencing Connellsville natives.

Janine McIntire, a Connellsville native, explained that her family has lived in the McIntire house and "the house has been in my family for generations. ... I can't imagine living somewhere else. My family is Connellsville. This is home."

Every Labor Day weekend, Connellsville celebrates its Timber Days Festival, which includes such events as a lumberjack competition, live music, and family games.

Mary Sanders, a western Pennsylvania resident, attends the Timber Days festival every year and makes sure to bring her family.

"Each year, my kids can't wait to go (to the festival). They love playing the games and watching all the events. It's just a great time," Sanders said.

Another annual event, now in its fourth year, is the community yard sale. The event, held May 5 this year in the National City Bank parking lot, allows Connellsville-area residents to turn trash into treasure.

"In this town everyone knows everyone. Having a yard sale allows people of the community to mingle and just have a great time," said Stephen Crenshaw of Uniontown. Crenshaw travels to the Connellsville yard sale to sell old furniture and trinkets that he no longer wants.

With its historic buildings and festivals, Connellsville has much to offer visitors.

Caroline Beetz, 19, of Philadelphia, is a sophomore majoring in English at California University of Pennsylvania.

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