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Throwback Thursday: That Good Gulf Gasoline

October 17, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History, White Oak News

(* — CORRECTION, NOT PERFECTION: This story was corrected after publication.)

This 90-year-old photo shows Allen Evans' Gulf gasoline station at the corner of Long Run Road and what was then known as "White Oak Level Road" — now Lincoln Way.

Although almost everything around the intersection has changed, the same curve is still present in Lincoln Way (below, in an image from Google Maps).

Scanned from the Allegheny County archives by the University of Pittsburgh Libraries for its "Historic Pittsburgh" archive, the image touches on a lot of the history of the McKeesport and White Oak areas.

The Evans family — for whom Evans Avenue is named — was prominent in the history of the McKeesport area.

 
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How Mayor Lysle Became McKeesport’s Nine-Million-Dollar Man

August 19, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

© Tube City Community Media Inc., except where noted.

McKeesport Mayor George H. Lysle (left) in the Pittsburgh Bulletin-Index, Jerome Boulevard sign in 1949 (right) in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


What’s in a name?

For McKeesport, 80 years ago this week, it was nine million Depression-era dollars.

In August 1939, the federal government gave Allegheny County and McKeesport officials an ultimatum — either remove the name of Mayor George H. Lysle from Lysle Boulevard, or repay $9 million in infrastructure loans and grants.

Not surprisingly, the money won out, and McKeesport City Council voted on Aug. 16, 1939, to rename “Lysle Boulevard” as “Jerome Boulevard.”

It remained that way until Lysle died in 1947 — though it was a few years before the “Lysle Boulevard” signs went back up.

 
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'Moon Day' in McKeesport, 1969

July 20, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

(This article originally appeared at Tube City Almanac on June 21, 2009.)

(Click to see the full page)


From the tattered, dusty archives of Tube City Almanac, here's what the front page of the Daily News looked like 40 years ago this afternoon.

According to the News, a ceremony was held the previous night at Kennedy Memorial Park on Lysle Boulevard to mark the moon landing.

Speakers included the Rev. David Blattner of McKeesport Assembly of God Church, Mayor Albert Elko, Msgr. Michael Dravecky of Holy Trinity Church, Rev. Stephen Wood of Central Presbyterian Church, Rabbi Milton Turner of Tree of Life Synagogue and Rev. Frank Waters of Christ A.M.E. Church, who delivered the invocation.

 
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#TBT: 10 Years Ago in Tube City Almanac

May 03, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: History

This week in 2008, from our files:

McKeesport Mayor Jim Brewster declared his intention to "fire Blue Cross-Blue Shield" as the city's health insurance carrier. The pledge came after Highmark, the Pittsburgh region's Blue Cross licensee and its dominant health care provider, raised the rate on one city plan by $620,000 --- nearly 84 percent.

Brewster scheduled a meeting with another health insurance carrier, saying: "We'll give them a little taste of McKeesport competitiveness."

The new executive director of McKeesport's YMCA said that "failure is not an option," but admitted the 120-year-old institution was struggling with an aging building, a declining number of members and serious debts. The McKeesport Y was considering a merger with the larger YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh and the possibility of selling its building on Sinclair Street.

The American Lung Association named Pittsburgh the "sootiest city" in the United States, surpassing Southern California. The dubious distinction was mainly due to high levels of particulates in the air near U.S. Steel's Clairton Works. The facility produces coke, a fuel created by superheating coal in ovens.

An Almanac editorial noted that many chemicals and medicines are made from the byproducts of coke, and that the Mon Valley needs "the high-paying, blue-collar jobs that Clairton Works and coal-mining provide, (but) we also need clean air."

 


Throwback Thursday: 'Resistance to Change'? Never!

February 08, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

I recently stumbled across an October 1949 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story about McKeesport, which includes this photo of two women standing at the intersection of Locust Street and Lysle Boulevard.
 
Except the street signs still bore the name "Jerome Boulevard," years after the street was renamed for Mayor George H. Lysle, who died in 1947.

"Street signs show a resistance to change," the caption says. What? Say it ain't so!
 


10 Years Ago in Tube City Almanac

January 25, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

The week of Jan. 21, 2008, from our archives:


State and federal environmental officials were investigating complaints about the Elizabeth Twp. Sanitary Authority. According to published reports, the township's sewage treatment plant had dumped raw, untreated wastewater into the Youghiogheny River on more than 70 occasions in 2006 and 2007.

During the most recent documented incident, state officials said, 6.3 million gallons were dumped into the river on Dec. 16, 2007. The township had contracted operation of the plant to Veolia Water, a French-owned conglomerate. The authority was closed in 2013 and wastewater is now treated at a plant in McKeesport.


McKeesport-based Blueroof Technologies was the subject of a feature story by Tonia Caruso on WQED-TV's "On Q" newsmagazine. The story spotlighted Blueroof's "model cottage," located on Spring Street just off of Walnut Street. The cottage was a "smart house" designed to showcase technologies that allow senior citizens and the disabled to live in their own homes and remain productive. Many of the devices were designed at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh.

 
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#TBT: Daily News Building, Circa 1953

November 30, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

With the Daily News Building making some news of its own this month, we thought we'd reach into the Tube City Online archives to show you what the building originally looked like.

As constructed in the 1930s, the Daily News building was about half of its present size. Visible in this photo is the original three-story portion of the building constructed at the corner of Lysle Boulevard (originally called Jerome Avenue) and Walnut Street.

Based on the cars, this photo was probably taken about 1953 or 1954.

 
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National Works Remembered: Bill Copper

November 03, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

This year, the 30th anniversary of the closing of U.S. Steel's National Works, I'm continuing to look through items that we collected in 1997 at the McKeesport Daily News on the 10th anniversary --- but for, whatever reason, were never published.

William J. Copper was born in 1914 in McKeesport and was a third-generation National Tube employee --- both his grandfather and father came to McKeesport from West Bromwich, England, to work in the mill.

 
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National Works Remembered: Ed Brush's Poem

November 02, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

In 1997, while working at the McKeesport Daily News, I realized that it had been exactly 10 years since U.S. Steel's National Works had closed --- actually, I think I noticed an item under "This Day in History."

Business editor Sue Simkovic, photographer John Barna and I decided to do something we called "The National Works Project," and we asked readers to send us their memories of working in the mill.

For a variety of reasons, none of which I remember (probably lack of space), we didn't use everything we collected. One item I particularly regretted not using was a poem that came to us from a retiree named Ed Brush.

 
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National Works Closed 30 Years Ago This Year

November 01, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

This year marked the 30th anniversary of an event that most people in the McKeesport area would probably rather not remember.

On Aug. 29, 1987, the final workers at U.S. Steel's National Plant --- 21 in all --- left work for the last time.

The plant, built by the National Tube Company, beginning in 1872, had once employed 9,000 people, and operated the largest pipe-making mill in the world.

But by 1981, National Plant was reeling. The Texas and Louisiana oil and gas drilling boom of the 1970s had collapsed. Foreign steel mills were exporting products to the United States --- often below the cost to produce them, a practice called "dumping."

Then, in the summer of 1981, the U.S. economy went into recession.

 
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