“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward. “
– Ellen Glasgow
I came across a photo of a rather iconic sign in our hometown area. Of course, we are all familiar with Kennywood’s very familiar yellow arrow, but there is yet another yellow arrow that became very familiar to a lot of us.
Whether you lived in Duquesne or the area immediately surrounding it, I’m sure that you were all familiar with Duquesne Village Shopping Center. I realize that Duquesne Village Shopping Center was not located in Duquesne, but nonetheless it was part of my life growing up in the area.
I will be the first to admit that I thought it was kinda strange that the center was named Duquesne Village when it fact it was in West Mifflin. I couldn’t find any information that would explain the mystery. I researched The Duquesne Times and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette to no avail. Finally, in desperation, I called Dom Toretti at Dom’s TV, which I always thought moved from Duquesne as soon as the center opened. Dom set me straight and said he moved his business there in the early 60’s. He suggested that I try to contact Stanley Levine at Levine’s Hardware in Homestead. I called Mr. Levine and he was able to share a great deal of information.
I was very surprised when Mr. Levine said that Duquesne Village opened in 1956! Mr. Levine talked about how his family decided to develop the shopping center in what was then, a slag dump. I vaguely remember when the center was being build. We passed by the area when we would visit my grandfather each week. He lived on Duquesne Ave. Come to think of it, Duquesne Ave. is in West Mifflin too! (I think I’m spotting a trend here.)
He described how the first Levine Bros. Hardware opened in downtown Duquesne in 1922 and remained there until the early 60’s when it was forced to close as a result of the “Redevelopment” and eminent domain. Prior to that time, the family opened the Duquesne Village location along with a host of other merchants.
I asked Mr. Levine if he could help to recall some of the stores that were initial occupants of the center in 1956. Some of the names were familiar to me, yet others were only shadows of a memory. For instance, who remembers LOBLAWS? It was apparently a Canadian based grocery store that was in the space currently occupied by Foodland. I googled the heck out of it, and found some verification that there were some stores in the United States and specifically in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Levine and I tried to recall the various stores that were in the center when it opened in 1956. The list below is what we came up with. If you recall more, please share with us!
- Loblaw’s Supermarket
- State Store
- Kirby’s Shoes
- Woolworth’s 5 & 10
- Sun Drugs
- Beverage Carnival
- Levine Hardware
- A & P Supermarket
I asked Mr. Levine about some other businesses, but neither of us were able to recall the names or if in fact, whether they were part of the center when it opened. I hope some of you who have a ‘photographic memory’ out there will be able to recall the facts:
- There was a bank that was in the center close to Levine’s. Was it a Pittsburgh National Bank (PNB)?
- Near Isaly’s, there was a florist shop. Was it White Oak Florist?
- I believe there was a card shop in the center as well. Hallmark?
- Not sure when it opened, but who could ever forget THE VILLAGE LANES!
- Although the company was not even inexistence in 1956, sometime in the late 60’s a Fotomat became part of the Duquesne Village landscape
- Not sure when the Village Car Wash opened either. I believe it was the mid-60’s.
The three stores that I remember more than the others are; Woolworth’s, Levine Bros. and of course, Isaly’s. I remember that Woolworth’s had only a few registers at the front. One was basically all they ever used. There was a Luncheonette on the right had side of the store and I LOVED eating there. Their hot dogs and fries were the best! (Of course, Jim’s Hot Dogs beat them.) I recall that the toy department was at the upper end of the lunch counter, in the right hand corner of the store.
I remember they had a Pet Department to the left/rear of the toy department. I used to go and play with the critters that had cages that you could get your fingers through, like parakeets, hamsters and such. Of course, there were always the fish tanks that you could tap on and drive the fish crazy! To the left of pets, I think they had gardening items, followed by blinds and curtains. Their clothing areas were on the left hand side of the store and if I’m correct, they had a record department in the front middle of the store near the windows.
What I recall more than anything else about Woolworth’s was how they decked themselves out at Christmas. Just like the like from Perry Como’s “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,”
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five and ten, glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.”
The store typified the lyrics of the song. Adding to the ambiance was their large windows that always seemed to be frosted or sweating due to the warmth inside.
Levine’s, for this little hunky boy, was like a modern day Home Depot, minus the orange aprons. I recall spending lots of time there just perusing all of the items they had to offer. Aisle after aisle of the “stuff” that dreams are made of! I rarely bought anything, (sorry Mr. Levine), but it provided hours of entertainment nonetheless. I remember one sales associate in particular whom I think worked at the Duquesne Store initially. I think her name was Audrey(?). She was a diminutive young lady who was nothing short of an index of information about ANYTHING that you were looking for. What a dynamo!!
Isaly’s was laid out as they typically were. I remember that there was seating in the store on the right hand side near the back. The ice cream counter was on the right hand side as usual. The delectable cardboard tubs of ice cream were lined up in rows in the freeze in all their glory. The thick glass “window” and counter protected the ice cream from inquiring fingers, and, the glass always had little fingerprints on it from the little hands that had indicated their choice. The cones themselves were Isaly’s skyscraper ice cream cones that featured a long, tall and pointed scoop of ice cream instead of the typical scoop you’d find elsewhere. They always had the slicer running, churning out pound after pound of chipped ham, and the lunch counter offered hot ham barbeque sandwiches for their customer’s dining pleasure.
Like the majority of the area, Duquesne Village has suffered through some very difficult times. A few of the original stores remain, but for the most part, the face of the center has dramatically changed. Just as seeing some vestiges of “Old Duquesne” while driving through the downtown area will help you to recall the better days, so too will a visit to Duquesne Village. Stop by and tell Dom Toritti I said hi!
Following is an article that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2003. It relates some additional information about the Levine Bros. I thought you’d enjoy!
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
By Linda Wilson Fuoco, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Levine Brothers Hardware was “going out of business” for eight weeks. Though the liquidation sale ended Saturday, the shop will continue to be a presence on Homestead’s main street.
Brothers Lawrence, left, and Stanley Levine in their Levine Brothers Hardware Store. Their going-out-of-business sale ended Saturday, closing the retail business, but Stanley will continue to operate the service center. (Tony Tye/Post-Gazette)
The business, which began in 1922, has soldiered on through the Great Depression, a devastating 1947 fire, the 1980s shutdown of Mon Valley steel mills, the closing of many neighboring storefronts in the once-prosperous Eighth Avenue business district and competition from big box and building supply stores at The Waterfront.
The family-owned business, at 337 E. Eighth Ave. since 1960, survived all of those challenges and more. Ultimately, the relentless march of time sparked the going-out-of-business sale.
Lawrence Levine, the brother who always wears a bow tie and usually sports a mustache, has decided he is ready to retire after 77 birthdays and 55 years on the job.
But is he actually retiring? And if so, when?
“My brother originally hoped to be out by July 25,” said Stanley Levine. “That’s the birthday of his wife, Claire. Now he’s telling people he’ll be around till the end of the year. I can’t tell what’s on his mind.”
Asked when he will actually retire, Lawrence Levine said, “When I get my work done. I figure at the end of the year. I had fun.”
Lawrence Levine, who lives in Oakland, plans to remain active in the Homestead Economic Revitalization Corp. and the Mon Valley Initiative. Both groups work to revitalize former mill towns.
And that’s about all Lawrence Levine would say in an interview. He turned to his younger brother, Stanley, and said, “I thought we agreed that you would handle this.”
Stanley Levine, who lives in Squirrel Hill, expects to work through the end of the year and beyond.
“I don’t want to retire,” he said. “You are as old as you feel.” He doesn’t feel old at 75, and he’s been working a mere 53 years.
The brothers are actually shutting down their retail business, for the most part, but Stanley will continue operating the service center that long has drawn customers from well beyond the Mon Valley.
They have eight employees and expect to keep most of them on the payroll. The rookie has been on the job six years and the most senior employee for 55 years.
Window screens are a big part of the draw. Levine Brothers repairs them and sells custom-made replacement screens. They will continue to reglaze old windows, cut keys, sharpen lawnmower blades and install hot water tanks. They’ll also continue with their small machine shop, which includes repairing lawn mowers and chain saws.
“I still hope to sell some plants out front,” Levine said, referring to the flats of flowers and vegetables that are a familiar Eighth Avenue sidewalk decoration each spring and early summer.
He may continue to sell bulk vegetable seeds because “people come a long way for that. We can ID little niches that there is a demand for.”
He’s looking forward to reduced hours and two-day, work-free weekends.
“My brother and I worked six days a week forever,” Levine said, which generally meant about 54 hours per week.
With the liquidation sale over, Stanley Levine expects to be open from 9:30 a.m. until 3 or 4 p.m. weekdays.
“We will be closed on Saturdays and we never opened on Sundays. Maybe we will have more hours in the spring. We are feeling our way and will fine-tune as we go along.”
Lawrence and Stanley Levine grew up in Squirrel Hill, the only children of Harry E. and Cecile G. Levine.
Stanley Levine described his father as “a real dynamo.” His parents came to the United States from Lithuania and Poland in the early 1890s.
Harry and his brother, A.W. “Chinners” Levine, had athletic talent that propelled them out of the working class and into the University of Pittsburgh. Stanley and Lawrence Levine’s father won a track scholarship and their uncle played basketball there. However, both of their college careers were cut short by World War I.
The first Levine Brothers hardware store opened in 1922 in Duquesne rather than Squirrel Hill “because they went where the need existed,” Stanley Levine said. “My father sensed that one store would not sustain two families. When Nebo Brothers in Homestead went bankrupt in 1935, my dad and brother bought it. It was at 324 East Eighth Ave. That store did well, too, until we had a disastrous fire in 1947. We had a good landlord. He rebuilt the building and it reopened in August 1948.”
Lawrence Levine studied electrical engineering at Carnegie Tech, but his college career was curtailed by World War II. Stanley graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
“I started here in 1950 as a well-grounded businessman and Lawrence always handled the mechanical end of the business.”
Their uncle’s Duquesne store did well until the late 1950s or early 1960s “when we lost the building to eminent domain in some kind of redevelopment program. The building was razed.”
Meanwhile, the family had developed a shopping center in West Mifflin, “so our uncle moved his hardware store there and was successful for many years.” The family still owns the Duquesne Village shopping center on Homeville Road.
“Business was especially good during the war” when mills in Homestead and surrounding towns were supplying steel for World War II. “After the war everyone was building houses, the steel mills were still booming and business was very good,” Levine said.
Their father was only 57 when he died of Hodgkin’s disease in 1952. The sons carried on with the business.
In 1960, the Levine Brothers store moved to the present location. “To Lawrence’s credit, he thought this would be a better location. It had been a 5 and 10 store. We had a wonderful landlady, Mrs. Herron. We didn’t buy this building until about 10 years ago, when she died.”
The long-term survival of a small family business “is a bit of the survival of the fittest,” Stanley Levine said. “Other hardware stores closed in the mid- and late 1970s and we got their customers.”
After steel mill closings and local economic downturns in the 1980s, “business was not as good as it had been but it was still profitable. We didn’t start hitting the speed bumps until the mid-’90s. Maybe if we had been younger and more ambitious we might have done better” against competition from national chain stores.
Lawrence and Claire Levine have three children and seven grandchildren. Stanley and Patricia have four children and eight grandchildren.
None is involved in the family business “because Lawrence could not assure them there would be a viable future for them.”
For the past 25 years the brothers have done their part to help another small, family-owned business.
Every working day they eat lunch at Michael’s diner, directly across the street from their own business.
“But they never eat together,” said Kouhla Manolakis Goughnour, who with her mother operates the diner that her late father opened 25 years ago. “Ask them how two brothers get along so well for so long.”
Stanley Levine had the answer: “Our mother, Cecile, was a very astute, sharp lady. Early on she explained that the way two brothers get along is to have two wives who get along. And that’s what happened. Our wives are best friends to this day.”
Though Cecile never worked in the family business, she had a financial interest as well as a natural interest in how her sons were faring.
“My mother and I were almost joined at the hip. Until she died in 1992, I would talk to her daily on the phone. She called at 10 after 11 each morning. On several occasions she would say, ‘I don’t like the way you and Lawrence get along. We are going to talk.’ And we would and it would be settled,” Stanley Levine said.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s winding down. I have heard a lot of nice comments, including things I was not expecting. We really cherish what we have had here all these years.”
I was in the Army Security Agency (in Germany) serving as a German linguist from 1958 thru April of 1960. I had worked at Levine’s downtown Duquesne store before entering the military and when I left the ASA in ’60 I worked at Duquesne Village setting up the New Levine Hardware. The old store was still open on First St. in downtown Duquesne. I helped setting up the new store (assembling new shelving, preparing to move merchandise from the old downtown store to the new location) I did that while attending Duquesne U Monday, Wednesday, Friday for my degree in German (I had spent my Army time as a German Linguist but even tho I had spent my time in Germany for the ASA , I had not received my DEGREE from the University. I finished that work at Duquesne U, was enticed by a True Value Rep from the Chicago Home Office to interview with True Value, had opened a new store for Levine’s in Carrick, but accepted the position with True Value first in Cleveland, then as National Traffic Manager in Chicago. After ten years, left Chicago to buy a hardware store in a small Ohio town, Retail business was at the onset of tremendous change with the advent of Lowes and Home Depot. They eventually caused the closing of many small hardware stores like mine. So I changed careers and became a mortgage banker. Retired after a ten year stint with a subsidiary of Dollar Bank.Became a minister with the United Church of Christ and ministered to a gay community congregation. Made many friends. Got personally involved with a small black church/congregation. That volunteer work began with service to soup kitchens in the area and I made, lotsa friends in that ministry. In fact, I got so close to the black community that I helped re-organize their soup kitchen. Became close friends with the congregation and have breakfast every Wednesday morning with their pastor (who is now my best friend). As far as the GAY community is involved, my wife’s and my best friend is a gay woman, Laurie. Laurie’s partner is afraid of flying. So is my wife. So Laurie and I take two five day trips every year…flying south to Florida/ Texas and north to new England. I’m now eighty years young, have Parkinsons (where my only problem is I have some difficulty walking normal but otherwise is simply an on convenience). My wife and I don’t have any problem going wherever and whenever we want and I’m enjoying life to the fullest. Wish you well and hope you’re doing as well as I am!
Hello Jim, Was Allan Hirshberg involved in this store?
I dated his daughter Sally.
Alan Hirshberg was Mr & Mrs Levine’s son-in-law, married to their daughter Dean. They had three beautiful kids (as I recall) and were a marvelous couple. Alan ran Levine Hdwe while it was still in Duquesne AND after they moved the store into the shopping plaza (Duquesne Village) which Mr Levine created by having US Steel dump their war-time slag into what had been a huge vacant useless valley.
Allan was Sally’s dad and ran Levine Hardware (which was owned by Mr. Levine, Allan’s father-in-law
My grandfather’s store was in Duquesne Village–Grant Avenue Radio and TV. Local advertising shows it was there for sure in 1964.
It’s so strange, I had moved to Florida in 1979 and am moving back to the Pittsburgh area and googled Duquesne Village never dreaming I would find this website. My dad used to bowl at the Village Lanes and my cousin worked at that Fotomat (I worked at the one in Duquesne) . Im so glad it’s still there and will make a trip to check it out.
The grocery store that bookended the A&P was called “Del Farms”, before Foodland took over the space
My grandfather Ralph Brown opened Duquesne Village Lanes, which ran beneath the entire length and width of the shopping center in the early ’60s. Above was Buddy Belan, the magistrate. To the left of the entrance to our bowling alley was the Bar & Lounge, which we eventually purchased in the late ’70s… It was named for the owner, a man… We renamed it Shaky’s, my father’s childhood nickname. Levine was deeply concerned when my grandfather sold the Lanes in ’82, but my family saw the righting on the wall with the steel mills shutting down — and steel workers made up the majority of our leagues and customers. The new owners could not make a go of the Lanes, and in time, it failed — to my knowledge the space remains vacant to this day. A Remnant World-type carpet store was directly across the atrium from the street level entrance to the Lanes, but at one point it was also a mattress store, featuring mainly Serta mattresses (with the famous Joey Heatherton ads/posters in the windows)… Dolores’ Beauty Salon was also in the atrium area of the shopping center, and Kadars and Shupinks have already been mentioned. Sun Drug was located up and around the corner from the lanes, on the right, and I haunted that place because of its children’s coloring book and small toy section. Isaly’s was just nearby. Further up, the A & P Supermarket, matched like a bookend all the way toward the other end of the strip by a Thoroughfare. There was a small record store near Woolworth’s but the name escapes me for the moment. I was raised, literally, in our bowling alley and in the shopping center. The Lanes had a massive amount of space, large storage rooms and corridors that wound around the entire shopping center, with two double-metal doors that led out to the center itself — it was our ‘secret passageway’ when playing, or making the morning run for donuts and coffee at Isaly’s for my grandfather, father and employees. We felt so grown up. Simply put, I had a great, great childhood.
I was a student @ Music World, which was a record store/music lesson studio, in the very late 60s/early 70s. I recall shopping @ Woolworths with my mum to purchase candies to send to my cousins deployed in Vietnam. I also recall purchasing my high school semi-formal blazer @ Kadars. As I approach my 58th b-day, I can hardly believe that this much time has passed by. It is wonderful to see these posts so many years later. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over a decade, and many other places since the mid-80s, but I am still drawn back to those early memories. Wishing everyone the best…
DGBrown, I worked for your grandfather,Ralph; your uncle Larry and your father Doug. Id like to here from you ,your sister and your brother.i looked up to your father as he taught me to bowl and repair the machines. thanks for reading!
Great article. The card store was owned by a woman named Penny. I know her name was in the business name. There was also a video store and a laundromat at one point. Bellisario’s pizza has been there since 76 and is still going strong. I own a grooming shop that is located there now and I am opening an ice cream/coffee shop that was inspired by my time spent at Italy’s.
Alan B and Bob C, good to hear from you both. Wow, everyone is bringing back so many memories. We lived on 24 Overland Ave just across the Duquesne bridge with a view of the steel mills and 23 railroad tracks. All day and night long the trains would bang into each other making it very loud, especially at night, and the steel mills would light up the sky at night making it look like daytime. What a booming place in those days. Kennywood was just a few blocks away and we walked everywhere back in those days (1960s). Before I got a car, I would walk home at midnight from a girlfriends house at the top of Center Street (almost to the West Mifflin border), and always feel safe. Do that today? Back then, it seemed like all our teachers and parents knew each other. Does anybody remember Air Raid Drills on Mondays at 11:00am where we would go down to the basement of Duquesne Place Elementary School and crouch down and put our heads between our knees until the all clear sounded? The Russians has us so scared back then with the threat of a nuclear war and the Cuban Missle Crisis made things worse when JFK squared off with Russia and Cuba. We were playing sandlot baseball one day and saw a dozen military planes flying overhead. We thought it was the Russians and we all ran into the woods. Crazy Huh? Another short story. I was in 5th grade and a Safety Crossing guard at our school and helping the little ones cross the street at the end of the day. I had a small transistor radio held to my ear when I heard the announcer of the baseball game say that Bill Mazeroski just hit a home run in the 9th inning of game seven to win the World Series for The Pittsburgh Pirates. That day, time, weather, street, kids, cars and everything else in my surroundings stands out so clearly in my mind to this day, that its like the Twilight Zone. Has anyone else experienced anything so vivid that you can’t forget a thing about Duquesne. Gotta run. Sorry I get so long winded, but I just loved growing up in the Pittsburgh area. I married a girl (43 years now) that lived in Indiana, PA. and went to IUP. That’s a cool place as well, but she is still amazed at my stories of Duquesne as I ride her around the streets and surrounding area, especially every time we visit Kennywood. I’m sitting here in West Chester, PA (Philadelphia) on a chilly Saturday morning wishing I had a Jim’s hot Dog and an Isaly’s Klondike Bar. Take Care.
I’m a bit earlier than you (class of 54) but I too know exactly what I was doing when Maz hit the game winner in the series.
I brought the radio outside to where I was washing my car and when “the hit” came, I threw the left over soapy water into the air and got wet in the process but didn’t care. The Pirates were the world series champs.
I lived in South Bend, In. as I do now but the Bucs and Steelers were always on if I could find the game.
As Rosie Rosewell used to say,”open the windows Aunt Minnie, here it comes!”
Who can every forget Isaly’s chipped ham and Klondike bars. I played on the Moose Pirates Little League Team at Polish Hill when I was 10 (1960). Our Coach was named Red and lived on Grant Street. If we won a game, we all marched down Grant Avenue to 3rd Street Isaly’s and Red would buy us all a Klondike bar for a dime each. I think they were more but the owner gave Red a break because we won the game. We carried all those wooden heavy bats along with us. Duquesne was an amazing place to grow up. You all spoke of Christmas, but do you remember each and every social club (Eagles, Moose, VFW, Russian, Knights of Columbus, Slovak Club, GBU, etc.. to name just a few) had a Christmas party for the kids and our dad took me and my sister Linda to every one. Popcorn balls in different color clear wraps, and candy, toys, and Santa at every club. But one thing I’ll never forget and is still there today is Jim’s Hot Dog in West Mifflin, across from the olfdPaulie’s Lookout Restaurant. The Duke Diner in Duquesne Place and the Dairy Queen were great places as well, French fries and gravy. I sat at the Duke diner one night in July 1969 when Neal Armstrong landed on the moon and said those immortal words. That was just before I was going to Vietnam. I love Duquesne and all of you are so wonderful in sharing your memories, Does anyone remember Mary’s Confectionary candy store in Duquesne Place? One quarter got you a coke for a dime, a pack of baseball cards for a nickel, a popsicle for a nickel, 4 pieces of penny candy for four cents, and two stick pretzels for a penny. Oh yes, we saved the Mallo Cup cents cards to send away for free Mallo Cups. How about a frozen Milky Way for a nickel. I can go on forever, but thank you so much for your own memories. I live in West Chester, PA now but go back often with kids and grandkids to Kennywood Park and Jim’s Hot Dogs. We used to grab some hot dogs and go to the Woodlawn Drive In with our favorite girlfriend that week. I was lead singer and keyboard player in a rock group called “The Lonely Ones”. Won every battle of the bands we entered and went strong for 5 years in the tri-state area. The only group to ever beat us one time was the Jaggerz. We played on the TV Show “Come Alive” and DJ’s like Terry Lee, Chuck Brinkman, Pork the “Tork”, and played with the Happenings, Sly and the Family Stone, The Dells, the Vogues, and Jr. Walker and the All Stars at the White Elephant in MeKeesport. Sorry I got carried away, but once the memories get stirred up its hard to stop. I’ll stop boring you now. Thanks again. Kathy H (band), Nancy N (West Mifflin cheerleader), Debby R, and Cindy, I miss those times. Just to mention, there was a picture in the website of a football team and the one player was Sam Salvucci. He was the high school history teacher and man was he a fun guy.
Great hearing from you! I definitely remember the Lonely Ones with Lance and Bob and Denny and the Feldman brother (was it Joel?). There was that one time you won a Battle of the Bands against “The Children of Stone”. Was that at Gimbels or Kaufmann’s? I’m sorry that we lost Shirley, but I hope Jim, Carol, Joe and Linda are doing fine. I remember how much work on cars people did in your driveway. That was back in the days you could look at an engine, figure out what was wrong and actually fix it. Remember Palchak’s Drug Store? Remember playing Whiffle Ball with Jack White and my brother, Gary, who now lives in Phoenix and Raymond Pacacha? Be well.. and once again THANKS JIM for the Duquesne Hunky!
Alan. Great to hear from you. Yes, that was at Kaufmans downtown Pittsburgh. We never played in Duquesne because we never had any venue there. Mostly all the colleges in the area, Moon Twp, Peters Twp, McKeesport, Pittsburgh, Robinson Twp, and any and most places at Pitt, West Virginia, Robert Morris, and more towards the Airport. How about those chemistry sets and playing football in your yard. I want to thank Jim (Duquesne Hunky) for this website as well. Anybody else out there that remembers the 50s and 60s in Duquesne and Duquesne Place. The Fall Fantasy Parades at Kennywood were the best. The bands and using all your tickets from the entire year. I recently went back to Duquesne to take our grandkids to Kennywood and Jim’s Hot Dog. Duquesne is in terrible shape without jobs all the mills down. Braddock, Duquesne, McKeesport, Clariton and all the other towns along the river with mills were booming back then. Jobs for everyone, stores full of shoppers, churches in Duquesne also full, bars to the hilt, and Isaly’s chipped ham and ice cream. Friday nights after football games hanging out at Latina’s Pizza on Grant Avenue. The Dairy Queen and Duke Diner along Kennywood Blvd. When we were very young, our mom would take us to Eastland Shopping Center to get a new outfit for going back to school. Buster Brown shoes and Gimbels. Jim, I heard you moved to West Chester, PA. Would you want to meet for a coffee downtown West Chester sometime to talk about old times. Alan, hope everything is OK with you.
Alan, Are you related to Judie Belancik. Not sure if I spelled his name correctly. His name may have been George, nicknamed “Judie”
Georgenne, YES, George Belancik and I are first cousins. Not only are our fathers brothers, Judgie’s dad is my Godfather. I’m not surprised that we have trouble spelling “Judgie” because I think of it as a Slovak name and we’re trying to use the English alphabet. I’ll bet everyone can spell it in Bratislava!! By the way, my cousin “Georgene” is visiting us. (close spelling). She’s originally from Duquesne Place. So tell me some “Judgie” stories. Thanks!
Alan, you mentioned a Georgene. I wonder if she worked at HL Greens in the early 1960’s
How about the dairy store on top of Kennedy across from Peter street a lot of things happened there.
We used to by our slingshots and BBs, with money collecting Dad’s gallon root beer bottles from the dump, at that store.
Some comments about Levine Hardware at Duquesne Village Mall. I left the seminary in 1957 and joined Levine Hardware in downtown Duquesne. Mr A. (Abraham) Levine was so disconnected from his nephews in Homestead that his phone book listing was “A. Levine Hardware” (instead of just ‘Levine Hardware’) so he could be listed in the phone book ahead of his nephews’ store in Homestead. I sensed tremendous competition there. I worked at Levine Hardware in downtown Duquesne until 1959 when I joined the Army and went to the Language School in California…then over 2 years in Germany. I returned to Levine Hardware in April 1962 WHEN THEIR NEW BUILDING WAS BEING ERECTED AT DUQUESNE VILLAGE. It was my understanding that Mr. Levine had opened up the parcel (where Duquesne Village Strip was later built) to Duquesne Works US Steel to dump their slag from war-related steel production, thus turning a vacant “hole” into an area suited for a shopping plaza. To my knowledge, Mr. Levine never referred to his store as “Levine Brothers Hardware.”
Mr. Gessner, At onetime in the early to middle 60s was Allen Hirshberg an owner of Levine Hardware? His father in law may have been a Levine.
Reading about Duquesne Village makes me think about a few random thoughts…all good memories. I remember the A&P became THE place to shop for people in Duquesne Place once the downtown Duquesne stores, like Alexander’s closed. We’d drive up Commonwealth Ave….point to the football field as we went past….turn left at West Mifflin “North” high school. Drive across the bridge above “The Ranch” (no details, please) and then Duquesne Village.
Woolworths: I remember the cafe-grill on the right side of the store. I’m pretty sure that’s where I learned you could butter the outside of the hot-dog bun and then grill it, too. Bought a few turtles there. Wasn’t there a Kadar’s Men’s clothing store there? I worked at Isaly’s in 1968 for Russ Carolus and made $1.00 an hour. Loved the Village Lanes downstairs, but I have to add that my uncle, Al Cook, owned the bar that was right above the lanes. In the years after I moved away, Duquesne Village was where I always knew there was a State Store. One day in 1972 I had to pull off the road into the Duquesne Village parking lot because the car radio was going nuts during a Steelers game….it was the IMMACULATE RECEPTION.
Did you know that the man who has the immaculate reception had an insurance office across the street from Duquesne Village? You can google “immaculate remembrance” for the story.
I loved the ranch but seem to remember I lost something there.
I am relatively new to Duquesne village moving in my dental office in 2004. by then the center had been face lifted looking pretty good and fairly up to date. sadly I learned recently that the Levine brothers have sold it to a NY based company. I don’t know what the future holds but i hold enormous respect for Larry Levine and wish his family well in their next chapter
all these comments and 1 person metioned Bellisario pizza which has been in business there for 35yrs and has one of the best pizzas in the burgh…smh..show some respect!! even the person who wrote the article didnt mention Bellisarios and there one of the longest tennants the village has ever had!! so im posting it dont forget about Bellisario pizza in the village there still there and whoever wrote this should be ashamed for not mentioning that family pizzeria!! UNREAL!!!!
Tony, thanks for the information. Consider me duly verbally “spanked” about not mentioning Bellisario’s. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with the establishment and was writing only from my recollections. Thanks for the insight and I can’t wait to check them out the next time I’m in PA!! – Jim
No problem Jim…didnt mean to be rude but was shocked when they were not mentioned cause they been there goin on 4decades but i enjoyed the article i grew up there and im at the village all the time to this day.
Tony, didn’t think you were rude at all! I am amazed at how much I continue to learn about the very area I grew up in. Perhaps we may even bump into one another when I finally get my first slice of Bellisario’s Pizza!!
Also, Dor-Syl’s Dress Shoppe, I hired most of the women for Grant City when Dor-Syl’s went out of business. That was in the early 70’s. Was the height of high fashion in the area, and one of the few to offer personal charge accounts pre- credit card.
Thanks so much for the article. I waiting on Mr. Levine and Mr. Levine for 6 years at Michael’s Restaurant. I started when I was 15 and grew up there. I also waited on several of their employees. I had great respect for them
My wedding ring was purchased at Shupink jewelers in Duquesne Village I am not sure when that moved in. I worked at an insurance agency and then at Ruffolo Realty in the back. For lunch I would get a turkey sandwich from Isalys. On a treat day I would get a chocolate marshmallow single cone.
Great article and discussions! Brought back a lot of memories for me. I used to take my car to the $.25 car wash all the time in the 60’s and 70’s. Even worked at a couple of the stores there in the 80’s.
Grew up at 140 Zewe Way from 1946 to 1969. Loved all the good times. A block away from the famous Hilltop Dairy. Went to school from 46 to 60. Walked up and down the hill 4 times a day to school. Down to school then up the hill for lunch, then back to school. After school was outside, walking all over town. Had to be home for supper or suffer the rath of Dad. He was a butcher at A&P on 1st Street downtown. So very much to remember. My best friend Dick and me were always on the go. With all the running and walking I did up and down the hills, I was still fat. Think of all the things you did growing up. If I tried it now I’d be dead. Was good to be young.
Remember you quite well living on Friendship. Say Hi to Mike and Veronica..
Joe talk about old times we had a few last time I saw you was in the alley I was renting longs place right across from your place I had a Lincoln and you asked me who cut my fender off the passenger side I told you Rich did I live up at lake where you took me long ago in your corvette have been since 04 hope things are well with you talked to Rich a while back I told him to tell you hi cause we were talking about you.
Thanks for the memories. My very first crush was on a boy who worked in the A&P who didn’t give me the time of the day. (I was 13 & he was 17) His name was Ronnie Herbst and he lived in West Mifflin. Good friends that went to St Agnes School & lived in the homes that were right across from the shopping center (actually the back of the homes faced the road).
There was a dress shop, Dorsel’s? next to Woolworths, and they did have the best hotdogs and cokes, (not like Jims) but it was great sitting there and the cook/waitress was so nice, and above DuquesneVllage was Bill’s with great penny candy
I remember my aunt used the shop for a fashion show at Holy Name. I think it might have been called Dorsyles?!?
I remember a Trainor girl who was in Real Estate and a Mary Lou who was the prettiest girl in Duquesne High School in 1960. my first year teaching..
I was an original ‘hire ‘ for the Loblaws at Duquesne Village. They were just building it in about 1962. I ended up being hired about 6 months before it opened and was assigned to be trained at the Loblaws in McKeesport near the Penn State Campus. ( The manager there – had no budget for me )but I learned. to scrape saving stamps ( Plaid Stamps) logos off the windows, mop up. Finally got to Loblaws after the opening and worked for about 4 months doing stocking. ( I was going to McKeesport campus) – and finally made it ( back to) the Main campus and had to leave my Loblaws career.
As a separate topic…. Jim’s Hot Dogs… they were great —but his jokes were even better.
my mother worked as the manager of Nill’s Bakery – delicious sunshine cake – my first boyfrienf bought me the record “my girl” and gave it to me at the bowling alley – lots of memories, fun, safe times to hang out
I can remember myself and friend Jim Kopolovich spending all night at the car wash detailing our cars…Also I remember Bucky Wrights Mom working at Isalys….great milk shakes and chipped ham..Could not wait to come back to Duquesne every summer….storing up my Leave in the service to vacation in Duquesne….Fond Memories……
Jim: Glad you could meet Bill Gallagher & “Talk Story” with him about old Duquesne. That Blog was GREAT!
Not many people remember this, but there was another hardware store where the laundromat and the thrift store are now, it was called Claber’s. I remember buying fishing tackle there when I was a kid. Later it became an automotive parts store (who’s name eludes me now). I worked at Duquesne Village from 84-90 at Village Video. I spent much of my childhood at Duquesne Village and have a lot of video from the 80’s of the stores and the people that ran them.
I belive the name of the auto store was “Whitlock”
Claber’s had a hardware store in North Versailles too. My son worked at Foodland in the same small shopping center.
Before Clabers it was A & P.
Back in the early 80s, I walked to Claber’s from my parents home on Bowes Avenue, I think I was 11 or 12. It was December, dark from overcast skies, snow flurries were falling. All that way to buy a model firehouse for under the Christmas tree. When I got home later, I recall watching wrestling. Bruno Sammartino was wrestling against Larry Szybysko. It was the match where Szybysko ended up smashing Bruno in the head with a fold-up chair. At that age I was really shaken by this, seeing Bruno attacked unrelentlessly. I think my younger brother was crying profusely. My poor mom really had her work cut out for her. Thanks WWF, 🙂
I grew up in the area. I think it was called Duquesne Village because the area was called Duquesne Annex. Sort of upper Duquesne. The road behind the shopping center is called Homestead-Duquesne Rd. the only road that took you to Homestead from Duquesne, before Homeville Rd, was opened. When they build Homeville Rd. that was when they build the shopping center at Duquesne Village. I remember riding down that road when it was first opened and seeing the farm on the left, and the smoking mines where the high school now sits.
One of the stores that you forgot to mention was Shupink’s Jewelers. My husband bought my engagement ring at that store.
Mary Jane, Hi, Dave Weber.
Dave: I remember you lived between 6th & 7th ST on Kennedy Av. To finish a model airplane I had to solder the landing gear wheel hubs to the gear & nobody had a soldering Iron that i knew. Finally someone told me Dave Weber could finish my plane. Your Dad helped us out & I was forever grateful. I remember you had a younger brother who was up to my level of mischief & we had a lot of fun together. I lived on 6th St; at the time. (late 1940s)
I hope you are the same Dave Weber that Barry mentioned below.
I remember vividly sitting on your living room floor and listening to Harry Truman give his “give ’em hell Harry” speech on your radio
It’s odd what the mind retains!.
I remember there was a little music store next to the State Store (that slot was later offices of Dr. Baird, who then ended up moving to that shopping center next to North High School – it also had a music store, higher priced & not nearly as nice as I recall). The reason the place sticks in my mind was that I purchased a red wood, hollow bodied, dual pickup Harmony Rocket VII electric guitar with a reverb bar, & a small amp to go with it, when I was 18. I still have the guitar, although the amp died & I had to get a new one when our son decided to try learning guitar. I don’t play anymore, multiple reasons. I will always remember how, at least once a week, I’d stop in that store to see if that guitar was still there. Once I saved up enough, I went in & bought it. It’s traveled around parts of the US, to Puerto Rico, & to Scotland. I’ve used it to do church solos, entertain little kids, & just while hanging with friends. It’s why that little music store, & the really nice guy who owned it, will always stick in my mind.
I remember the music store. In 1969 for Halloween there was a window decorating contest and my friend and I decorated the music store with “Casper the friendly Ghost”. I thought nothing of walking to Duquesne Village – we walked everywhere.
Funny how life turns and twists over the years. I am retired and live in a tiny farming town named Stanton in West TX. We walk everywhere, the duplex I live in has a front porch and a back porch, and the most exciting thing to do is watch the grass grow!
It was called Melody Music. I can’t remember the woman’s name that owned the place, but we used to drive her home after my drum lessons. She always had a great record selection:)
Shawn, before Melody Music moved to Duquesne Village, it was located at the Mifflin Manor Shopping Center near North Hign in West Mifflin and where the current Rite-Aid now stands.
So it was originally in Duquesne Village, then it moved to that Shopping center near North (Greens shopping center I think), then back to Duquesne Village with a new owner? I’m reading off of Nerdse’s top post. I remember it at the North High location, but not before that.
Wow Shawn, now I’m really mixed-up. Maybe Melody Mart started in Duquesne Village THEN moved to Mifflin Manor. I’m not sure. Maybe someone can help clarify.
Not sure if Melody Music was related to Melody Shop that was located in Mifflin Manor. I remember the owner name was a nice older lady, Mrs. Zawilla. I don’t recall her first name. I still remember riding my 10 speed bike to the West Mifflin location for guitar lessons, 45s, football cards, etc. Those were some great times as a kid growing up. Also, it’s amazing how one memory fires off several more.
Maybe I can help with the whole “Duquesne Village” name. As you are probably aware, the whole area, Duquesne City included, was once Mifflin Township. As areas began to break away from the township, and the City of Duquesne was born, the area of the Village was a part of Duquesne. Later, the area was “annexed” by the Borough of West Mifflin, hence the Duquesne Annex neighborhood, which the shopping center is a part of.
As an employee at the park, I was told Duquesne could have incorporated the land Kennywood occupies as well but chose not to; not sure why. Anybody know?
Once upon a time Duquesne could have annexed most of what became West Mifflin but my understanding was the city felt they could not have cost effectively provided all the city services to a then sparsely populated but wide spread area. So they passed on the annexation and eventually became the land locked area they are – no place to expand and grow. Probably very sound economics at the time but poor decision in hindsight.
…..”Once upon a time Duquesne” WAS GIVEN THE CARNEGIE LIBRARY FOR A DOLLAR, BUT THEY DECIDED…..”they could not have cost effectively provided” THE FUNDS TO MAINTAIN IT…. “So they passed on” IT AND TORE IT DOWN….”Probably very sound economics at the time but poor decision in hindsight.”
Do you remember working with either Tom Henchir or Franny? They may not have been there. May have been gone before you started. My sister graduated in “69”.
Wow, a lot of memories, I worked at Islay’s in high school (67-69), I remember the GRAND opening of the A&P and the free food. My dad, worked part time a Levines in the evenings, there was a Alan Levine that ran the store at Village Green in those days. I heard a rumor that all the books from the Duquesne Library were stored in the basement area under the shopping center. There was a autoparts store there for a while. Bought a lot of clothes at Kadars.
Hey, Dave! – Never did find out what finally happened to your MG?. I remember you/us having to ‘Push-Start” it, or let it drift down Maryland and catch it in 2nd gear before the stop sign at Wool St…. Sold my lil’ old stick shift Ford Ranger a few yrs. ago: every time I’d drift start it, I’d think of your MG. Yeah, memories.
I remember walking to the “shopping center” all the time and spending allot of time with friends at the bowling alley and Isaly’s. Tom and Fran worked at Isaly’s . Later, my mother worked at Isaly’s. Right next to Isaly’s was a bakery. .Does anyone remember the womens clothing store that was there for a while? I believe it was called Dorcills? For a while I worked at Fotomat and later the drug store. I also remember all the cool guys hung out on the wall Great article. Good memories. ty
I think that Mr. Levine is mistaking about when Duquesne Village Shopping Center opened.
I explicitlly remember my father pulling his best friends car out of a huge knee deep puddle in the slag dump there when his car stalled out. That car was a 1958 Ford convertible
It was in 1958. I was two years old. We were getting ready to go to the grand opening and I fell down our cellar stairs and fractured my skull. I think I took years off of my mother’s life that day. I was fine and am still good! My Gram lived in Campbell Circle.
The bakery was Neal’s Bakery, my mother worked there. My mother also worked at Isaly’s. When I was in high school (Ithink that is when it was.), there was also a dress shop where Dom’s is now. My mother worked there too! The bank was Pittsburgh National Bank, later became PNC.. If my memory is correct, the shoe store was where the State Store is now. Kadars was on thr right side as you went into the arcade, beside that was Levines. The card store was Penney’s. Penny still works at Giant Eagle. ( Her husband has the barber shop on Mifflin by Koprivers Florist) I spent a lot of time at the Village as we called it. Bowling on Saturday afternoons, sky scraper ice cream cones at Isaly’s. Those were great days. A&P was at the end where the laundromat is now, and there was another grocery store at the other end. I can’t remember it’s name.
Was the other supermarket, the one near the old age apartments named something like Farm Lane? or something similar?
I remember living in Duquesne and riding my bike to the Duquesne Village bakery to buy my Mom a Mother’s Day cake… Anyone remember the bakery?
Paulette, My aunt Rosemary Davis worked there. I rcall it very well as she would slip me an extra cookie when I came in with my Mom. I believe, but I may well be mistaken, that it was named “Niel’s”.
I remember living in Duquesne and riding my bike to the Duquesne Village bakery to buy my Mom a Mother’s Day cake.
Anyone remember the bakery? I believe it was or near the florist shop.
I vaguely remember it Paulette. Wasn’t there a dry cleaners next to it?
Kadars was the place to buy new school colthes they always had the best. Do you remember Shupink’s Jewelery store there’s where we always bought my mom’s Christmas presents and the bowling alley? We as kids always walked from the top of Kennedy Ave. where We lived to the Village as we called it, the best of childhood memories.
Bill talked to Steve not to long ago he mentioned you lived in New Mexico I Think. My hearings not to good so that might not be right for some reason I thought about our trip to Florida and remembered you and your mom at the train station you were in tears I hope every thing is okay for you that was a long time ago but it seems like yesterday.
Does anyone remember Homeville Road, home of Duquesne Village, being built? I do…because Tarry’s Gas Station, on the “corner of Duq. Homestead Rd. & Homeville Rd.”, was owned by my uncle, Adam Tarantino of Lowery Ave. in Duquesne. After a tornado, in the early 50’s, ripped the roof off the station along with other damage, he was unable to rebuild. He missed the boom days of the Village.
Yes there was a Hallmark store @ DVSC.
Are the bowling alley’s still there?
It’s still there but it’s closed
JIM: Great Human Interest Story. Now let’s have one on a social Icon; namely GALLAGHER’S Drug Store. “Talk Story” with Bill, he no doubt knows your genealogical tree & then some. The “them some” is much more interesting.
My girlfriend’s father was in a league at the bowling alley in that plaza. We would go and hang out while he bowled. That’s what I remember most about Duquesne Village.
The bank was a Pittsburgh National. The florist is now Bettis Floral. I don’t remember it ever being White Oak Florist. Bellasario’s pizza was there also.
The bank started out as WPNB- Western Pennsylvania National Bank. The Bakery was NILL’S. Gosh I worked for Mr. Brown at the Bowling Alley! My first job. Ah sweet youth.
I recall as a little girl Shupinls and the Duquesne Village Bowling Lanes but not sure what year they went in there.
i meant to say Shupinks which was a Jewelry store
Vicki, I remember Schupinks! It was on the right as you entered in the arcade that led to the bowling alleys. Thanks!!
Jim, Thanks for a wonderful written piece. It was as if it were personally told to me by the Levine brothers themselves. Please keep up the great work. George DeVirgilio
Thanks George, I appreciate it!
I remember that for a while there was a Sear’s
Mr. Levine mentioned that, but I thought it was an error! Thanks for the validation!
Jim, this is a wonderful, informative article. It brought back so many memories. I and others used to walk there a couple times a week it seemed. I remember a small meat store or something toward the end on the left. My Uncle, Martin Krupinsky, was a butcher there. Once again, thanks so much. Tina
Thanks Tina! I tried and tried to find some record of exactly what stores were there. Maybe our friend Jim Hartman will be able to shed some light on the situation! Thanks for reading!!!
I remember the card shop! Penny was always there! my moms friend Joanne, her mom was always there too (not sure if she worked there) once the card shop closed Penny worked at Giant Eagle.