Oyler: Uncovering more details on Bridgeville in the 1940s
The Bridgeville Area Historical Society “Second Tuesday” series for March followed up the February project — an effort to document the businesses, institutions, and residences on Washington Avenue during the War II years.
A suggestion made last month referred the facilitator to check the 1940 U.S. census for information regarding families who lived on Washington at the time. This was done and revised copies of the map of the area between Chartiers Street and Station Street were distributed showing this information.
Pat Otrocelli reported that the residence adjacent to the L&R Bowling Alley was occupied by Bonnie Baird.
Nancy LaSota brought in the 2010 Historical Society calendar, which included a photograph of the “Danzibar” night club (misidentified a month ago as the “Zanzibar”) and reported that the “Dan” in the name of the club was Dan DeBone.
Also distributed was a map of “midtown” – the area between Station Street and the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad trestle.
More than a few tears were shed when we discussed Washington Grade School, which most of us still call “the old school,” to differentiate it from Lincoln High School (the “new school”), although both of them have been gone for decades.
The house south of Washington School was shown as the residence of the Bingham family. Larry Godwin reported that the Binghams were related to the Poellotts, and then added the information that that house was one of three identical Bridgeville houses, the other two being on Bank Street and on Elm Street — another interesting project to investigate. The final portion was “Lower End,” and a similar annotated map was passed on showing the available information on businesses and residences in the area between the trestle and the bridge over Chartiers Creek. Here, too, it is remarkable to realize how crowded some of the houses must have been, with three or four families in a single building.
The April “Second Tuesday” session will time-travel to 1901 and examine the borough of Bridgeville when it seceded from Upper St. Clair Township and became an autonomous community. There will be a special emphasis on the individuals responsible for this momentous event. That event is planned for 7 p.m. April 11 at the Bridgeville Area Historical Society, 441 Station St.