Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I started this blog in 2009 as a place to post some pics and kill some time.It has blossomed into a full scale project which gets better every day!Danielle and Evan have injected life blood into it with their unmatched creativity,and I thank them both. We get alot of great feedback and have so much cool stuff stay tuned!Have an awesome New Year!

Climbing through the weeds with a camera,
Your pal,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

SWPARE on Facebook

So, if you haven't noticed that cool little box over to the right yet, take a look. The blog now has a home on Facebook, too. So if you have a profile, click on the box and make sure to 'Like' the new page!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My question now. Nemacolin PA mine quiz.

Ok, Chipper asked his question, now its time for 
mine.  A while ago, we headed to the Nemacolin mine and did some looking around and we ran into this.....

Cool looking, yes, but what exactly did it do and what form of engine powered this behemoth?  I have been doing my duty asking around and showing pictures to all the right people, and while everyone seems to remember this unit, no one remembers it running.  I have gone so far as contacting GE via e-mail today hoping for some answers and we will see where that gets us.  So, if you have any ideas  or better yet old pictures, let us here at the blog know!
Correct answer receives an Italian Hoagie from Stan-Lee's in downtown Crucible.

The good people of the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium
Nott Terrace Heights
Schenectady, NY, who handle all things historic GE, h
ave been looking into this machine as well for me.  They are not sure exactly what it actually did, or what type of motor powered it, but they are still seeking answers and seem genuinely interested.  The below pictures are some of their early speculation.

As always, we welcome your opinions and comments into this little mystery.

10.03.13 update....  A friend, Joe Sokol, recently posted a few shots of this machine at work, as scene below....Thanks, Joe.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So,really...where is the Crucible Ferry?

If you've been following the blog for any ammount of time or have watched any of our videos,you have heard me ponder the location of the Nekoda,the cable ferry that ran between Greene and Fayette counties near Crucible Pa.In the last few months I've been told that it was removed from the river for restoration/display in a nearby museum (which I hope is the case).I've heard it was cut up for scrap.I've been told by several folks its still resting in the Monongahela,just south of the former Crucible Mine peirs.
The problem is...the people who have shared these theories are all people I trust and would have insight,rather than just random opinion or speculation of Joe Blow.So,here is my plea...
If the ferry was removed for display,where is it now? I would imagine if someone went to the trouble to rescue it,they wouldn't mind some free publictiy! we would LOVE to see it and follow its restoration/display.
As far as the scrap theory,why would someone go to the expense of removing the sunken ferry for what would be a few hunderd dollars worth of scrap iron?I hope this is not the case but if it is..does anyone know for sure?
The two fellows who told me it is still in the river are two men who would/should know.One is Dave Waters,whose father operated the ferry for many years.Dave states he has many photos/news clippings of the ferry which we will go see soon.The other is a retired Coast Guard member,who lives on the former ferry landing on the Fayette County side.He states the ferry is marked by the red bouy just south of the mine.
The photos earlier in the blog are from 1982.It sat just of the ramp.In the flood of 1985 it was washed just north of there,near the mine.My father says that the navigation equipment on any towboat on the river would see the ferry plain as day if it still lay in the river,so mabye we should ask a riverboat pilot?
Well,the authority on the ferry should be its owner.Margaret Mitchell.Ms.Mitchell operated the ferry for many,many years.She is (I believe)living in a nursing home in Waynesburg,Pa.Evan and I plan to visit her and,if possible, get her side of the story as well as any other history we can.We'll keep you posted.But in the mean time...if you know,for sure,the location of the ferry (or whats left) PLEASE email us.The person with the right answer wins a Stan-Lees hoagie!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

SWPARE needs your input!!

Danielle,Evan and I need your help.No,we're not bummin' for money...what we need is far more valuable,to us,anyway.We need your input on the blog! The blog has been getting more hits every day and seems to be heading in the right direction.
What we need from you,the reader,is several things.First of all,feedback.If you like what we do,let us know.If you don't,let us know.If any of our information is incorrect,please tell us.We can't fix it if we don't know its wrong.
Next are photographs.Everyone has boxes or albums of them somewhere.We're interested mainly in things that are gone now like old bulidings and businesses.We'll scan your pics and return them,giving you credit for the pics and info you give.We want this to be an interactive blog.Let us know what you have tucked away...don't hide history!
Last up is (are?) ideas.Email us with anything that might be a good blog post.A cool building you remember,or drive past.A story your Mom or Dad told you,anything people may think is cool.Drop us an email at the link at the top of the page or leave us a comment.If you live away from PA and have pics,we'll pay postage both ways for something cool to scan/post! So stay tuned for more cool stuff,and let us know what you think!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Klondike Lanes Masontown PA Fire. 12.24.10

Updated 1/20/2011

Coming back from Waynesburg today I caught wind of the Klondike Bowling lanes in Masontown PA was on fire. I drove on over.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

And this is how we remember it.....

View Larger Map

And now some pics from the demolition, which began 1-18-2011....


Visiting Fayette county, PA, the Fredericktown Ferry and eating a hoagie at Stan-Lee's in Crucible, PA.

Today, Chip and I left out early and headed to Fayette County. Our original plan was to take the Fredericktown Ferry,

but that was quickly snuffed as it was closed for some reason, so we headed on down 88 to go the long way over the Mon at Brownsville. Brownsville, a once thriving river community, predicted to be at one time larger then Pittsburgh, has fallen into tough times.
The good old days......

.....and now.  Same view, different century.

Two of the now closed banks in Brownsville bookend the middle building, I believe a former hotel.

In the truck on the way to Brownsville, Chip and I talked of how this would just be a day of exploration or scouting future places to visit. Either Chip or I had really spent anytime walking around Brownsville so we decided that theres no better time then a snowy, 12 degree winter day, so we parked and looked.

As it was cold, we stopped in the local landmark Fiddles Confectionery for some coffee and conversation.

The ladies behind the counter talked and talked about the "old" Brownsville and the "new" much less improved Brownsville. They spoke of how they have just finished filming a movie in Brownsville, and used Fiddles for a lot of location work. One of my favorites filmed locally was Maria's Lovers, a small film most are unaware of, staring Natassja Kinski (she is beautiful in this movie), John Savage and Robert Mitchum. Brownsville was dressed up nicey for this film.

"Maria's House"

Another cool place they used for this movies filming was High Point bar, just up the hill overlooking California PA.  In the film, the bar had a certain old charm to it, sort of like Fiddles place, but right after they made the movie, they extensively remodeled it....I guess a dump truck load of cash for movie making makes you forget your history.  Its still an OK place, made even better by the spectacular view of the Mons horse shoe bend at Newell
But I have digressed.

Back into the truck we went and set off on a mission to take a photograph of Rices Landing PA from the Fayette side for Chips dad. There was a house across the river, and not much else. We would find it. Oh, along the way and during the day we filmed a few videos, now mind you, they are mostly rambling efforts, but there is some good scenery included in them. Pardon the sometimes shaky nature of the camera as it was quite cold and I need to find a rig w/ image stabilization.  The video below begins w/ The Fredericktown Ferry, the last operating ferry on the Monongahela river, and quite possibly further.  I have recently secured a vast quantity of pictures of the ferries past, and soon as I get more, there will be a  entire post devoted to this subject.

.....So, I could just type forever about the long, good day, but I won't seeing as it's Christmas eve day, but to sum it up, we found the house, met the owner Dave Watters who merits a trip back in non 12 degree weather where he stood outside and talked history w/ he and his wife for 40 minutes (he worked w/ Chips grandad, small world) took the picture from Daves gas well..........
(Chip here.I spent my entire life looking across the river at this one house on top of the hill and swore one day I would visit it.We found it! Evan and I discovered its not only the places you visit but the people you meet that make this project fun.The best history lessons are from the folks that live there everyday!)

We got directions to the old Crucible ferry, Fayette side, and after a few wrong turns, landed on its ramp.
A short time later, we were rolling back to Greene, hungry and cold, but chip needed to make a special request stop....

Chipper at one time fancied himself a "skater" and he showed me the "full pipe" he and his "crew" used to skate on in the mid 80's. Its a big concrete tube that just sits (and has sat) behind the Shop-N-Save in Masontown Pa. Graffiti he and his buds did 25 years ago still shows thru. Back into the truck, over to the former Crucible mine site.

Crucible shut down operations in I believe 1961 and there it stood deserted and abandoned up until 2006.

And now.

You can see its current state in the video here.....

Hungry, we decided to wrap it up for the day and get a hoagie, so we headed up the steep hill to Crucible to the former Crucible company store.....Stan-Lee's

For a better look inside Stan-Lee's check out this video....again, we ramble a bit, but its all so clever...

Thats my friend, Holly in the video, the new owner of Stan-Lee's.  We rode bus 4 together, Mrs. Kings bus.  She makes one heck of an italian hoagie as well.  Stop by, grab one.

Even if we really didn't do any heavy duty exploring, we had fun, met some good people and it was a  great day altogether, and we found a lot of "return to" spots....
Have a Merry Christmas and see you soon.....