Thank you sooo much for your blog “Duquesne Hunky”. Have really been enjoying reading the archives and reminiscing.
As I said in my post on the blog today, we lived on Orchard Court off of Center St until I was 14 and my brother Tom was 10. I was born in ’49 and my brother in ’53. Do you know of any info about the Crawford Estate, which was demolished to build the homes on Orchard Court. The wall at the bottom of the hill on Center St. is still standing and was part of the Estate. My dad, at one time, had a newspaper article from the McKeesport Daily News showing a picture of the Estate and I would love to see it or get a copy of it. I’ve tried going on Google, to no avail. My brother and I used to swing on the gate to the left of the entrance of the street which was also part of the estate. I’m not sure if its still there.
One of my fondest memories of Duquesne were the dances at St Mary’s in the summer. This would have been the summers of ’63 and ’64, I think. Doing all the dances of the times – The Pony, the Peppermint Twist, Mashed Potatoes, the Bristol Stomp, etc. What a great time!
Thank you again,
My name is Frank Fiori, but don’t let my name fool you – I am half Duquesne Hunky! (the other half Leechburg Italian)
My GrandPap who we just lost this winter (almost 98 and who I miss dearly every day) was, I believe, on one of the first ZEMPs teams. He graduated from Duquesne High School in 1933 and went on to work for the CCC in central PA and later – sometime around 1938 started his 40+ year career at the Duquesne works.
Anyway, it has always been part of our family lore that before he began officially being a grownup he was quite the baseball player. In fact, for as long as I can remember I have been hearing how he pitched a no-hitter which won the game for the team but put his arm out of commission (at least for baseball) for good. Part of the lore is that there was an article in “The Paper” detailing the events of the game and his feat at pitching.
A few years ago I spent an afternoon at Renzie going through the archives of the McKeesport paper looking for the article to no avail. Later I realized that perhaps I looked at the wrong paper, and after looking through your recent post about the ZEMPs I saw that there was a Duquesne paper then as well. It just never dawned on me that there was such a publication, but I’m not surprised reflecting on what a vibrant town it was back then.
So my question is – are there any archives for the Duquesne Times? Did it even exist in 1933? If so I would be very interested in searching again. I’m not sure exactly when this game would have occurred, but would have to be between 1933 and 1938. Actually the only reason that he came home from the CCC is because the mill was starting up again so I’m thinking that the game must have taken place closer to ’33 when there was more “idle time” from the Depression.
I included my home email because I am not sure how much longer this (Heinz) account will be open.
Thanks Jim – Any info is greatly appreciated!
It was great hearing from you. I will be happy to check through the archives in pursuit of “the article.” If you could just clarify the specific name I am looking for, it would be great. Is it Fiori?
His name was Steve Turlik – The oldest of 8 kids – (Steve, Marge, William, Thelma, Mildred, John, Evelyn, MaryAnne). They lived at 1020 West Grant Avenue – Polish Hill was pretty much in their back yard. I know that there was a ball field behind the house. Unfortunately the house was torn down in the late 70’s and remains a vacant/parking lot.
His Uncle (spelled Turlick for some reason) had a store almost right across the street from St. Joseph’s .
My Great-Grandfather was Steve Turlik as well – he followed his brother immigrated somewhere around 1910(?) and married Anna Frenna (1914?) who was born in Ohio but had moved to Duquesne.
I am from McKeesport, now living in NJ, but hung out a lot in Duquesne in 65. I remember walking up the big hill which was the first left after the bridge. Can’t remember the names of those streets, but I never worried about getting jumped or anything. That last section of the avenue before entering the bridge back had row houses with really nice friendly people. Now, I’m trying to reconnect with Sharon Nestor. We worked together at Balsono’s, dated on and off and saw her last at her wedding reception at the Duke. She graduated in 65. Also Sandy Cherpak, Marliss Reuigg and Sue Valco. I’m sure I’m missing a few. Pass on my email address to anyone who’s interested. Thanks.
My husband John Yarosik was looking on your website and found the name Barbara Wirth who was in the 5th grade picture of Holy Name. I have/had a sister whose name was Barbara Wirth. In the blog you said that her brother was Ross. Was he older than Barbara? This probably is not the same person but I was just curious. She would have been the same age as my sister.
My husband really enjoyed looking at the website and he graduated with Frank in 1962 from Duquesne High School.
They did remove the brass plaque with names of WWI veterans KIA and there is now a much smaller memorial with with plaques remembering vets from WWII, Korea and Viet Nam located in a park next to the Municipal Bldg. between 2nd and 3rd Sts.
So, regarding Alan’s post about the ball, we may never know that story. But since it was erected as a WW I memorial, I doubt any of us were there for the dedication…
Dad never passed a chance to relate this amusing story about the MUNICIPAL BUILDING: I don’t remember the names of the people involved and that’s probably a good thing.
Seems one of the Mayors managed to get a relative a position on the police force who was well known and having less that average intelligence. One day a stranger approached him and asked if he knew where the Municipal Building was located. The officer thought an few minutes and replied, “Duquesne’s a small town and we might not have one of those. You better ask them over there at City Hall…”
Hello Jim . . . You have created a Time Machine with your website ! When I get onto your site (and spend hours viewing it) it transports me to another place and time in my existence.
I grew up on Polish Hill – the West Mifflin side (Sylvan Ave – close to the playground). My Dad was Andy Cheke and his family mostly lived on Polish Hill (Edgewood Ave). I have a cousin Robert (Bobby) Cheke that may be about your age – I am 57 years old and he was older than me but I am not sure how much older.
My mother (Audrey) had a lot of relatives in Duquesne – her Dad was a Kosko and her Mother was a Kapolka , and she had 3 brothers – Richard (Koke) , Ronald (Dewey) , and Regis (there were a few pictures of him on your website – sports). I now live in Bedford County PA and I am a retired school teacher (Science) . . . I was mis-placed when the steel mills went under in the early 80’s . . . long story but good ending (by the way I enjoyed your article on “The Ship Hotel” . . . I live about 10 miles from where it used to be.
As a kid , I do remember Butler’s and Gallagher’s Stores , but I also remember Balchunos’s Store (I’m sure that is spelled incorrectly – we referred to the store as “Baldies”) – great for penny candy selection – located on Grant Avenue (upper) near “The Dip Cafe”. On Polish Hill we had a little store called “Gazella’s” – she was a Burtus and she made and sold homemade fudge in the store – good stuff. Also , I remember Sydney’s Store because we went to St. Hedwig’s Church , and Sydney’s was across the street from it AND he was the only store open on Sunday (to get candy , of course) since he was Jewish – at least that is what I was told as a kid.
I have a sister who still lives on Polish Hill – Lori Lippai , retired Postal Worker , her father-in-law was Charlie Lippai (deceased) , and so I do go back and visit “The Emerald City” (HA ! HA !) now and again . . . BUT I prefer to be transported by your Time Machine back to the Duquesne that I remember during those earlier years of my life ! Keep Up The Good Work AND Thanks A Bunch !
Andrew F. Cheke (Drew)
My name is Melody Hamel. I am a Pittsburgh native currently on assignment for Bayer in Germany.
I am planning a memorabilia book for my mother’s 80th birthday next year. My grandfather, Jim “Ham” DeBasi and his brothers George “Babe” and John, played sandlot football in the 1920s. They played under the name “Kelly” because the team was supposed to be all Irish. They may have played for teams such as Paul Muzzio’s West View, Duquesne Apprentices, McKeesport Olympics, and Lou Conley’s Valley Strip of Lawrenceville.
I am trying to find photos of my grandfather and his brothers from those times. I recall an article about Bill Gallagher’s former pharmacy that closed in 2011, and it had sandlot photos back to 1914. Are you still in contact with him? Do you have any other ideas? Thanks.
Melody A. Hamel
Does anyone have any information or photos to share with Melody?
A few more tidbits of information from The Duquesne Hunky – – – – – – – –
I recall dreading the treatment I would sometimes get from my mom when I would get a cut, scrape or bruise that was a bit worse than a simple “boo-boo!” Whenever such an injury would occur, Mom would gently was the area and then would use that modern day torture device known as mercurochrome. Of course, compared to iodine, I remember it as being less painful. However, as a child, it was FAR from comforting!!
I recently came across a picture of an old bottle of mercurochrome and realized that I had not seen it or heard about it for years. When I researched the web about, I found the following information on Wikipedia:
Mercurochrome is a trade name of merbromin. The name is also commonly used for over-the-counter antiseptic solutions consisting of merbromin (typically at 2% concentration) dissolved in either ethyl alcohol (tincture) or water (aqueous).
Its antiseptic qualities were discovered by Johns Hopkins Hospital physician Hugh H. Young in 1918. The chemical soon became popular among parents and physicians for everyday antiseptic uses, and it was commonly used for minor injuries in the schoolyard.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed it from the “generally recognized as safe” and into the “untested” classification to effectively halt its distribution in the United States on October 19, 1998 over fears of potential mercury poisoning. Sales were halted in Germany in 2003, and in France in 2006. It is readily available in most other countries.
There is a new movie that will be hitting the theatres soon that has several scenes that were shot around the Pittsburgh area showcasing the steel mills. I watched the trailer for “Out of the Furnace” and immediately felt at home. As children of “The Rust Belt,” I’m sure we all remember some of the sights, sounds and smoke that this film captures. The movie stars Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson and Forest Whitaker and begins in theatres on October 4, 2013.
To watch a short preview, just click below:
Overlooking several cemeteries, Holy Name, St. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox, Holy Trinity and St. Hedwig, young Patti Salopek grew up. It appears that Patti and I share a common love for our hometown and our heritage.
Patti has launched a blog/website that I know you’ll enjoy. I have provided a link to the website in the BLOGROLL section in the right hand column of this page. Be sure to check it out. Great news, great posts and yet another great friend awaits. Just click on the link titled Patti!!!!