I’m Ba-ack!

jackThe fact that it has been 120 days since I last posted to my blog, has led some of you to believe that I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. To be perfectly honest, that is exactly how I feel. How you have remained loyal to this blog is nothing less than miraculous! I cannot even begin to tell you how much it has meant to me.

I feel that, like Lucy, I have some serious ‘splanin’ to do! My hiatus from posting to The Duquesne Hunky was never anything that I did as part of a bigger plan or a deliberate action. My absence just happened.

As you may recall, in November last year, I accepted a position as Chamber Administrator for a local Chamber of Commerce. What began as a “20 hour a week, part time position” turned into an all-consuming 50 to 60 hour a week job. The commitment and extra hours spent at the chamber were all self-imposed. The Board of Directors were aware of the hours I was committing to the job, but turned a blind eye and never did anything to assist me or reduce the amount of time I was spending each week. I suppose they were thrilled that some “old fool” was so grateful to be hired that he would work incessantly for a salary that was under Federal guidelines!

When I came home each day after working, I was exhausted. I have to admit, 10+ hours of non-stop administrative responsibilities took its toll on me. I was too tired to do anything except to plop myself down and veg for the remainder of the day. Wake, work, sleep. That’s been my life for the past six months.

I am happy to report that I have given up my position at the Chamber of Commerce to be able to return once again, to doing the things I love! I am so thrilled to just be able to have the time to write my blog again, to be able to dabble in real estate again, and to just be able to hit the snooze button in the morning a few times without feeling guilty! I finally realized that life is WAY too short to continue working the way I was. I’m just SO happy to be back!

Now that I have regained a certain amount of free time back, I felt my first order of business was to address some emails that I’ve received over that past few months. 

I had a very recent request for information about Duquesne High School grad, Duquesne resident, and recording artist Kenny Ambrose. I found the follow information and media:

Kenny Ambrose

I don’t know a lot about Kenny Ambrose. I do know he was from the Pittsburgh area (Duquesne), and sang at many of the local venues. He also first recorded for Hamilton records, and then for the Willett label of PA. To the right, is a newspaper ad promoting Kenny Ambrose at a local record hop at the VW Post 47, and broadcasting it on WCVI with DJ Leon Sykes. And hey, 50 cents for admission! Also pictured is the duo Jesse And James. I believe that is the same duo that recorded “G.I Rock” and “Number Please” for Epic records in 1959.









Three messages from George Bornyek – 

GeorgeWhy not have some photographic enthusiast create a photographic essay of the churches of Duquesne, what is left of them. Perhaps starting with with is left of the Jewish synagogue across from the Mayor’s office. Don’t forget to do the interiors.
Spice thing us with a little more pictures and illustrations.
The attachment is my profile picture for Twitter. Check out my home page. There is a collection of 14 pieces of art work done from Edward Snowden’s Autograph and a few others.
Jim, you are doing a magnificent job.

Apr 8

A little story that led me to doing this piece.

Kitty, the neighbor across is moving soon as her brilliant husband, an attorney, graphic artist par excellence and writer, etc. passed about a year ago. As smart as Joe was, I would cringe every time I would see him in the massive tree in front of their house, trimming the branches, dressed in his Sunday best with patent leather shoe on. As luck would have it, he did fall from the tree and smack his head. But that did not prevent him repeating his desire to climb after his hospital stay.

Kitty put out boxes of books that Joe had collected from various thrift stores. I wentBornyak through them all and settled on One. PITTSBURGH A story of an American city by Stefan Lorant. He was an artist, film director, accomplished author and Hungarian. The book has 608 pages, hard cover, over 1000 photographs, published in 1975. Magnificent.
Most astonishing of all is that, IT is signed by Stefan Lorant himself.

As Lorant only graduated from High School, and I usually send a copy of the Art work to the Alma Mater(s) of the subject, in this case sent the art work to The National Museum of Hungry.

Stefan Lorant is a historical figure and those who see his name should be curious to find and savour the book and admire the ambitions of this outstanding individual.

And please start a movement to save and restore the architecture of Duquesne that still stands especially the synagogue across from the Mayor’s office and the churches some of which are crumbling.

I still would like to find Mary Frances Reed, Joni Yurich, Lana Kabasick, Sylvia Meholivich and Jackie Wargo.

Apr 7

Went to the Duquesne Hunky site and surprise you had printed my notes along with the art work. Thank you.

In a week, I am having my first knee replacement. Both need to be done. The hopes are that the pain, agony and inability to move freely will be replace with years of pain free agility and creativity.

The attachment is The ‘Star Signature’ of Carl Sagan, designed from his autograph.
Thank you for enriching the soul with a nesting place to remember.
…and thank you for being an innovator.

George Bornyek

PS. There is a need for a site on the web (and please be my guest) that will allow citizens to comment on political issues. To somehow expose the government for what it is. For example Federal work projects i.e., crisscrossing this country to all States pipping water from the Great Lakes and or from the mouths of rivers. And along the way there could be hydro farms, water for cultivation and to help this country thrive. California is dying drought after drought. And all that is talked about is conservation. I conserve more than any one, any where and it makes no difference.
…and the fact that the government/big business/Illuminati harasses and murders creative inventors, confiscating their inventions. Individuals who are attempting to bring free energy to everyone and solve other puzzles like anti gravity technology, etc.
There is such an evil hidden control on people’s mentality, and what they should and shouldn’t know. With the internet, all is starting to be exposed.
PPS Jim, An external Hard Drive and recently my hard drive from my very expensive HP crashed. There is about 200 work of art on those two drives that went bonkers. Since the crashes, I have gotten cloud storage. If you know of a brilliant (and reasonable) contact that could recover my art work, I would appreciate the information. However, living on social security I would have to pay in kind.


From David Soboslay –

I stumbled across your page through a google search. My parents grew up in Duquesne and the edge of West Mifflin. My dad’s name is John Soboslay and my mother is Margaret Soboslay (Carr). My mother passed away back in February and it has sparked a lot of discussion of our family tree.

Looking at my dad’s side of the family I know one of his uncles owned Soboslay’s Bar. When I was talking to someone at St. Joseph’s cemetery making the arrangements for my mom the lady said the name Soboslay was a blast form the past! I was wondering if you had any pictures of Soboslay’s Bar?

My dad grew up on the corner of Pennsylvania and Crawford and my mom was over on Highland Avenue. My grandfather Patrick Carr was in the Fire Dept for a while in Duquesne.

I appreciate your response! There are certainly a lot of great memories in Duquesne . Even though I am 47 yrs old I am still too young to have seen Duquesne in its heyday!.

Take Care

David Soboslay

 From Lou Andriko –

Synagogue coming down, Harry’s little brother moving up.

(FYI- Allen Chiesi, who is mentioned in this article is the little brother of Dr. Harry Chiesi. Harry attended Holy Name School and Serra High School with me. – Jim Volk)

Duquesne seeks $200,000 in grants for demolition projects
By Eric Slagle


Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, 1:46 a.m.

Duquesne officials hope to get about $200,000 in state grants to pay for several demolition projects.

Council voted Wednesday to apply for a $150,000 Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund grant to pay for the demolition of two structures in the city’s business district.

One of the buildings is an old synagogue on South Second Street across from the municipal and public safety building, and the other is a commercial structure in the 100 block of Grant Avenue.

City officials said the structures are health hazards because of pigeon droppings and the risk of collapse.

“Both are basically shells right now,” city manager Frank Piccolino said.

Piccolino said the city is waiting to see the results of an asbestos survey to determine more accurately what the cost to tear them down will be.

Council took action to pursue a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant to fund the demolition of six dilapidated structures along Crawford Avenue.

“There is nobody in them and they are falling apart,” Mayor Phil Krivacek said.

In other business, council appointed Allan Chiesi as public works supervisor and code enforcement officer. Chiesi has been with the city for more than 20 years and is being promoted from a working foreman position in the streets department.

Chiesi is replacing Donald McCrimmon, who announced his retirement last month after 33 years of service to the city.

It was noted at the meeting that the city is partnering with Human Services Center Corp. and United Way to present a tax clinic at the municipal building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 13 and 27.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

Copyright © 2015 — Trib Total Media

My name is Sam Mastroianni, born in Duquesne but we moved out about 1960, my brother Al and several cousins graduated from DHS. I have an old Picture, my guess is 1950, maybe if it was on your site someone may know some of the men. I only know one, it is my uncle Sam Salvucci. He is wearing a #36 jersey.

Let me know if anyone knows any others.

Football Team


From Marlene Prosnik –

Found in an old book…thought some of your blog readers might get a kick out of this one!



From Gene Bujdos

My name is Gene Bujdos. I graduated from DHS in 1957 and we lived at 304 South 4th St. My dad, John “Boots” Bujdos was a huckster ( sold produce off the back of a truck) for years until after W W II he and his brothers bought a produce business and its name ( Andolina Produce Co. in Braddock in the early 1950s) and my mother, Mary, was a cashier for Manns Brothers for many years. My younger brothers, Larry and Bill, graduated from DHS years after me. At the corner of South 5th and Viola was a grocery store called FELDMAN’S and next roor, going down the hill was a confectionary store called JAKE LABAN’S. Directly across the street was a bar called HUNT’S and next to it was a barber shop. My brothers and I remember the barber’s first name was BILL. The question is: WHAT WAS BILL THE BARBER’S LAST NAME? ( THE 3 OF US DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWER.) Thanks. Gene


From Ray Judy

My name is Ray Judy, and I just want to say how much I enjoy reading The Duquesne Hunky whenever I get the chance. I’m a Duquesne native myself; you may have even heard my dad cantor during one of your visits to Christ the Light of the World (he’s Ray Judy also).

Anyway, I know blogging can be a labor of love, and I just want to say I appreciate the time and energy you clearly put into your posts. Your latest piece on 100-year-old stories from The Duquesne Times was a joy to read. I was very happy to see you’re keeping the site updated.

Keep up the good work when you can, and I look forward to reading your next bit of unburied treasure.

-Ray Judy


From George S Semsel, Ph.D. – Professor Emeritus

It was a great pleasure to come upon your Duquesne Hunky blog as I searched for a new source of Oblatky, having emptied my aging envelope of my last rectangle. I am of the second generation Americans whose grandparents came from Slovakia (one set from Danova, the other from Banska Bystrica). The last of their 19 children passed away not too long ago, and I am now trying to bring together as much information about my past as I can find. (I regret not writing down, or at least paying more attention to my parents’ stories.). A film I made of my quest is available on vimeo. (vimeo.com/gsemsel) I called it “The Idyllic Practice of Canon Formation” and I hope you will find time to take a look. In my searching, I discovered that a cousin of mine who I had never met before was born in Duquesne (She called it Duken and it took me awhile to grasp what she meant) but grew up in Slovakia. Your blog brought up memories of many Slovak Christmas Eves, the family standing around the dining room table singing “The Lord’s Prayer” in Slovak before the Kohlbasa and Kapusta, etc.

I wish you well, and expect to follow the blog.

A Stastny Novy Rok,

ProfessorGeorge S Semsel, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
West Yarmouth, MA 02673




From Jerry Blasko

I came across your website while surfing the net looking for information on my high school West Mifflin North. You have a great website; reading the blogs brought back so many memories.

My grandparents were Michael and Susan Chorba, both from Slovakia. They raised their family in Whitaker. Their children (Michael, Tony, Joseph, James, John, Ann and Irene) all attended Saint Michael’s and graduated from Munhall High School.

My parents were Julius and Irene Blasko, and I grew up in West Mifflin.

My grandparents eventually moved to Clonmel Street, just above the DHS football field.

I have such fond memories spending time with my grandparents. Spent lots of time at Kennywood and hanging out at Palchik’s (sp?) drug store.

I’ve been living in Newport News Virginia for the past 32 years. I get lots of funny looks when I use the terms hunky, chipped ham, jumbo and pop!

Again, thanks for the great website and the memories.

Jerry Blasko


From Bernadette (Bodnar) Seeman

Are you still doing the blog? My sister and I grew up in Duquesne. I was
born in 1946 and my sister in 1942. I am Bernadette (Bodnar) Seeman and my
sisters is Joanne (Bodnar) Hecht. I recognized my dad in the 1952 Slovak
Club groundbreaking. My dad, John C. Bodnar, was the president of the club
for a number of years. He was the man holding the shovel. We had a grocery
store for a few years which was across the street from the Club on Priscilla
and 4th st.. What a wonderful thing your blog is! It was so wonderful to
see that picture. My dad also worked at Gallagher’s.

Bernadette (Bodnar) Seeman


From Tim Weaver

I have read your blog and I have an artifact that I would like to send to you via US Mail.
A VHS Tape and a DVD (transferred from Super 8 Film) of the SLOVAK CIVIC FEDERATION PICNIC 1966
I assume this is the S.C.F. of Duquesne, PA. We thought that the Super 8 Movie was a record of a Wedding of the Petrisko/Chir/Sudzina Family.
– Tim Weaver

Searching online I found this post:
The Slovak Civic Federation of Duquesne, PA was founded by Duquesne resident, George L. Vesonder of Duquesne. With the encouragement and help of two other friends, many Slovaks of Duquesne were soon contacted to meet at Mr. Vesonder’s home on Patterson Avenue on December 12, 1937. At the meeting, Mr. Vesonder presented the need to
form an identifying organization as follows:

“Since other nationalists of Duquesne had organizations functioning and what an advantage such an organization would be to the Slovak people of Duquesne in the City’s civic life, there certainly wasn’t any reason why the Duquesne Slovaks could not form an organization.”

A second meeting was held on December 23, 1937, in the Duquesne City Council Chambers. Twenty-six (26) Slovaks assembled to listen to Mr. Vesonder present the purposes of the assembly and lobby for located club room facilities and a membership drive.

Slovaks attending registered as follows:
George Michalo, Michael Fedor, George Sabol, John Durkaj, John Kaus, John Cvejkus, John Zahorchak, Mike Dobrancin, John Rimsky, Joseph Mihal, John Hoblack, Andrew Cmar, John Liska, Michael Kushmir, John M. Kulha, Paul Kulha, Frank Vamos, Paul Hrubej, Michael Hudak, Michael Sabol, John Lenhart, George
Benedict, Andrew P. Durik, and George L. Vesonder.

Temporary officers appointed were:
George L. Vesonder, President;
Frank Vamos, Vice-President;
Andrew P. Durik, Secretary;
Michael G. Phillips, Financial Secretary;
George Benedict, Treasurer.

A membership committee consisting of Paul Hrubej, Michael Hudak, Michael Sabol, and John Lenhart was also appointed.

In 1938, the first duly elected Officials of the Slovak Civic Federation were:
President, George L. Vesonder
Vice-President, Frank Vamos
Secretary, Andrew P. Durik
Assistant Secretary, Michael Fedor
Financial Secretary, M.J. Phillips
Treasurer, George Benedict
Sergeant-at-Arms, George Ambro

They also formed a Board of Directors (John M. Kulha, Michael Benedict, George Ruby, Michael Kushnir,
Frank Watral, Jr., Paul Hrubej, Michael Horgas, Jr., Gabriel V. Kushner, Andrew Cmar, John Adams, John Bibza, John

By-Law Committee (All Officers, George Pollock, John M. Kulha, John Bibza, Gabriel Kushner, Michael Benedict,
Michael Krucik).

House Committee (Gabriel V. Kushner, Joseph Jubak, Joseph Obsincs, Michael Chonko, Jr., Joseph Repko, George Pollock)

Membership Campaign Committee (Paul Hrubej, Michael Hudak, John Lenhart, Michael Sabol)

Federation Stewards (Joseph F. Repko and Joseph Jubak)

The group’s federation club rooms were in Green’s Building Second & Third Floors on Grant Avenue in Duquesne.
On January 11, 1939, the name of “Slovak Civic Federation of Duquesne, Pennsylvania” was registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of State Secretary and on February 21, 1939 the application for charter filed. The charter was obtained on March 6, 1939 thanks to Attorney H.M. Kowallis and subsequently recorded in Recorder Office of Deeds.

Then later that year, the clubrooms were relocated to Fey’s Building on Duquesne Avenue. In 1946 a building on the corner of Fourth and Priscilla in Duquesne was purchased with $11 in the checking account and a generous loan from
Mr. Meighen of the Duquesne City Bank. The first meeting in the new location was held on February 9, 1947. That year, a club liquor license was obtained. A few years later, a new addition building plan was started and finance committee
appointed. On August 28, 1949, the first club picnic was held at “Huba Huba Park.”

The New Building addition was completed on December 10, 1953, and the first Children’s Christmas and New Year’s Eve party were held later that month. On May 6, 1954 a Grand Opening Banquet was held in the new Dining Hall. On May 16, 1965, a Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration Banquet was held with many local businesses and other organizations offering their congratulations. With its outstanding catering facilities and full course menus, the club was “the place” for
“Hunky” (Slovak) weddings, anniversary parties, banquets and other large gatherings.

Sadly, with the closing of the Duquesne Mill, the deaths of long-time patrons and mass exodus of the younger generation of Slovaks, the club’s membership steadily declined. Still, many of the faithful (including my father) used to meet at the club on Sundays after church and occasionally during the week. In the mid-1990s after my dad had a stroke and gave up driving, I would give him a ride to the club on Sunday afternoons. Although he no longer ordered his double header special (opting for orange juice due to medical restrictions from alcohol), he still enjoyed visiting the club to socialize with his buddies. Eventually, circumstances made it so my dad could no longer visit.

But today, even if he were physically able, there is no longer a Slovak Club to visit. Sadly, like many other familiar venues in Duquesne and surrounding areas, the Slovak Civic Federation has closed its doors. The building on the corner of Fourth and Priscilla sits boarded up and still and the small parking area where you once could not get a space is empty.
While inside, the echoes of polka music, the laughter of children waiting to see Santa, and the celebratory cheers for the 70s Steelers’ Super Bowl Dynasty team haunt the once crowded bar area and banquet hall.

These are the voices of the past and the Duquesne that used to be.


From Jerry Dittman

Just finished reading your 275th post and thought that I would add to your comments regarding the Rosenweig and Gross furniture store, as it was was related to the Dittman family as far as an uncle having married one of the Gross daughters.

From my memory I knew that the store at the corner of Grant and Prune Alley was Rosenweig and Gross, as I was there numerous times with my father as he talked to the Gross member. To verify my memory , it is 87 years of age, I did a web search using the terms “rosenweig and gross duquesne pa”. I’m listing that search string as I think that you might want to go there and read all the information listed as it covers the happenings of the year 1936 in Duquesne by months, on the returns page scroll down to the Wilkinson Topley title and click on it. Incidentally using the search terms “wilkinson topley” will probably turn up a lot of abstracts from the Duquesne Times as she has abstracted articles from the Times of genealogical interest; I haven’t searched her sites for some time. 1936 was the year when the Mon flooded out the area below the tracks.

This article lists that in June 1936 Rosenweig and Gross opened a new furniture store in the Williams block of North First Street.

On another subject, earlier this year I sent you a photo of the St. Joseph 8th grade class of 1941 in the hope that you would post it. I’ve been wondering whether you had received it, or not, as I haven’t seen it posted. If, you haven’t received it let me know and i’ll resend it. I’m hoping that someone, still living, in the photo will read your post and contact me, or, perhaps others whose parents, or grandparents are shown would like a copy. I haven’t been back to Duquesne, other than weekend visits, since 1945 and lost contact with all but my best friend, William Hamilton, and he is now deceased. Duquesne Hunky is now my main connection to the town.


From The Mifflin Township Historical Society

Thought you might be interested in reading the latest newsletter issues of the Mifflin Township Historical Society which Serving the communities of West Mifflin, Homestead, West Homestead, Munhall, Duquesne, Clairton, West Elizabeth, Whitaker, Dravosburg, Pleasant Hills, Jefferson, Hays, Lincoln Place and parts of Baldwin.


tribMifflin Township Historical Society Moves to a New Location
By Patrick Cloonan


Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, 12:46 a.m.

we're back



A historic West Mifflin building is the new home for a society that celebrates the history of West Mifflin and 13 other communities that were carved out of old Mifflin Township.

A ribbon-cutting is slated for 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mifflin Township Historical Society, 4733 Greensprings Ave., formerly West Mifflin’s municipal building.

Mayors from 12 of the 13 communities are expected. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s office said “thank you but his schedule is full,” society president Daniel Burns said.

“We literally moved 100 bankers’ boxes here,” Burns said Friday as he and treasurer Frank Schoderbek readied the facility residents can see during an open house from noon to 4 p.m.

There are hard-copy files and software files.

“We have over 12,000 data files of the Homestead Messenger, the Clairton Progress and other papers,” Burns said.

A $25 annual membership in the society will allow access to ancestry.com.

On Oct. 21, borough council approved leasing 1,115 square feet of the Greensprings Avenue building to the historical society for six months for $1.

“We’ll see how it works on their part and on our part,” borough manager Brian Kamauf said Friday.

The society moved from a room in the borough’s more recent municipal building at 3000 Lebanon Church Road, from which borough and West Mifflin Area School District offices moved to their present location at 1020 Lebanon Road.

Borough Solicitor Phil DiLucente said last month that he expected an offer to buy the 3000 Lebanon Church Road location — and got it, though likely not in time for council to vote on it Tuesday.

“We did get a formal offer and we are negotiating that,” Kamauf said.

Most West Mifflin police operations moved to Lebanon Road, but a substation still exists at the Greensprings location — complete with two holding cells.

That portion of the building won’t be open to those visiting during Saturday’s open house, but police do have access to the society’s part of the building.

“We fixed up the kitchen so they can use it,” Burns said.

The society will limit public gatherings, including monthly meetings, to the first floor because it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but it hopes eventually to make use of the second floor.

Burns succeeded longtime society president Jim Hartman this year. Burns retired seven years ago as a Duquesne police sergeant — he served there for 15 years — but always has had an interest in history.

“I teach from time to time at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon about Pittsburgh history,” Burns said.

He’s an author of four Arcadia “Images of America” books about Duquesne, Pittsburgh’s Rivers, Bedford and Homestead and the Steel Valley and has done articles for the Senator John Heinz History Center magazine edited by West Mifflin’s Brian Butko.

“Brian is working on a new book about Kennywood,” Burns noted.

Burns showed visitors a document lent to the society by West Mifflin Mayor Chris Kelly and his wife Denise.

It details a land grant “eight to nine miles east of Fort Pitt on the south side of the Monongahela River,” the approximate location of modern Homestead, where Chris Kelly once was chief and his wife a borough official.

The grant was issued by Bedford County, from which Westmoreland County was formed in 1773.

The area around Fort Pitt was disputed between Virginia and Pennsylvania into the 1780s. All of what became Mifflin Township was part of Virginia’s Yohogania County (with its courthouse near modern-day West Elizabeth) from 1776 to 1781, when Washington County was formed out of Westmoreland.

Allegheny County was formed in 1788 from both. Mifflin was one of its seven original townships, along with Elizabeth, Moon, Pitt, Plum, St. Clair and Versailles.

Pitt evolved into the city of Pittsburgh. From Mifflin, Elizabeth, Versailles and Westmoreland’s Huntingdon Township came the municipalities of the Mon-Yough area.

From Mifflin came Jefferson Township in 1828 (from which evolved West Elizabeth in 1848, Clairton as a borough in 1903 and a city in 1922, Pleasant Hills in 1946, Jefferson Hills as Jefferson Borough in 1950 and with its present name in 1998).

Baldwin Township was established in 1844 (from which the borough of Baldwin was formed in 1950), Homestead in 1880, Duquesne as a borough in 1891 and a city in 1918, West Homestead and Munhall in 1901, Dravosburg in 1903, Whitaker in 1904 as well as Hays (which with Lincoln Place was annexed to Pittsburgh in 1929) and West Mifflin in 1944.

Regular hours at the Greensprings location are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m.

“We’ll expand our hours in the new year, perhaps to Saturday,” Burns said.

Society members usually will meet to hear guest speakers but the Dec. 10 gathering will be a Christmas party at 7 p.m.

“We’re going, after the first of the year, to partner with Barnes & Noble in the Waterfront,” Burns said, for a revival of “What’s Your History?” nights.

“Come spring, we will be reaching out to all school districts to bring kids in for field trips, to do history classes,” Burns said.

The society expects to use the outside of the former borough buildingfor spring and summer farmers’ markets.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.


From Colleen Travis –

Your last blog was GREAT. Talking about the doctors etc. And, there were so many responses. It would be cute to do one comparing today’s pharmacies with our Duquesne Mom and Pop drug stores. Gallaghers, Penn Taft — Woody’s –Butlers it could be fun — just a thought. a ;to of those stores. They had their own concoctions like “Woodies Healing and Drawing Salve — SALVE!!!! When have we heard that word in 25 years???? Could be fun!!


And with that my friends, I close out this post and promise to be more diligent in writing and recall all of the wonderful memories of our beloved Duquesne!

Jim Volk – The Duquesne Hunky

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33 Responses to I’m Ba-ack!

  1. Jerome Dittman says:

    Sam Mastroiani: Re the football team photo. I graduated with Sam Salvucci back in 1945. Got my ’45 Echo out to try and match some of the faces. Eyes not that good. I can scan the photo and send to you should you wish to try and match some of them; if they were on the Duke ’45 football team.

    I would also like to hear from Joanne Graham Wazny, should she read this.

    • samuel salvucci says:

      I also have a copy of the 1945 ECHO. It was my dads- Sam Salvucci.
      I still remember many of the stories he used to tell

  2. Maureen Long Taylor says:

    Maureen Long Taylor Lived at 1010 Kennedy Ave. Played with Judy and Deanie Harris and the Cologgi kids.Lived next to the Poljacks and Milslegels.Mom and Dad were Bud and Salome Skelly Long. Had lots of great cousins in the Long family. Love the blog so many of the names are familiar to me even though I grew up in Pleasant Hills.I guess we really are from where we were born.Look forward to reading more and appreciate all Your work.Love the ethnic recipes!

  3. Mike Bilcsik says:

    When I was 16 in 1957, we heard a very loud explosion coming from the section of the mill where my father worked. We prayed for his safety. I had his car and. drove to the mill gate close to Center St. to pick him up from work at 11pm. I didn’t know what to expect. I was never so happy to see him as I was that night. He was unharmed because there was a building between him and the pig machine explosion. A pig machine made iron bars which were stored for further use. The machine poured molten iron onto molds which traveled on a belt. Under the ladle which was pouring the liquid iron, was a water puddle. Liquid Iron on top of water is as explosive as a large bomb.
    My dad told me three of his friends died. Later, two foremen were fired for allowing the pig machine to operate in unsafe conditions.
    I started in the blast furnace maintenance department in 1963 along with Jimmy Foster. Two months later on a night turn, Jimmy went to work on #6 furnace mud gun, along with Pinky Penkosky? I was at the lunch table when a foremen came in and said a tuyere fell off on #6 and killed both of them. How could a tuyere just fall off a furnace? It was an engineering error.

  4. ernie ferency says:

    What I remember was it was Bill Boytko or Boitko. I don’t know the actual spelling. I used to get haircuts from him for $.25. Across the street was Betty Ann’s Confectionary store. She used to run numbers every day. There was a grocery store right on the corner of 5th and Viola. Plus, there was another grocery store just down the street on 5th and Priscilla along with a shoe repair place and another bar. In later years the Hungarian Club was there kitty corner from the shoe repair place.

    The football picture was the CIO team. They were the forerunners of the Duquesne Ironmen.

  5. Roger Beal says:

    Welcome back — I wondered if you had been lured away by your CofC employer! Regarding the old synagogue building that’s slated for demolition: Has anyone in Duquesne contacted the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF)? I’ve known (and supported) this organization for nearly 30 years, because they are very skilled at raising both private and government monies for the preservation, restoration, and re-purposing of valuable old buildings, Check their website: http://www.phlf.org

  6. John aka Jack Berta DHS '62 says:

    Welcome back Jim! Their loss is our gain. I’d like to pass along two sites to anyone interested: http://www.riversofsteel.com about the history of Southwestern PA, and http://www.valleyofsteel.blogspot.com about Homestead, PA and genealogy.

    For Professor George S Semsel’s query about ”Oplatky”/ Christmas wafers try Religious Supply Stores or Slovak/Polish Churches (before Christmas) in your area or contact the Christmas Wafers Bakery:
    Christmas Waffer Bakery
    PO Box 99
    Lewiston, NY 14092

    Thanks to Tim Weaver for the blog post about the Slovak Civic Federation of Duquesne, PA. The picture (posted earlier) of the Slovak Club ground breaking was for the banquet hall addition. My dad, John Berta, is on the far right in the jacket and hat.

  7. Lou Andriko, RPh says:

    Welcome back, Jim. I’m not tech savvy as you, so try this. Enter “4th at Priscilla, Duquesne, PA” in Google Maps. Go to Street View; you will see a panorama of green space where everything has been torn down and grass planted. If you hit the directional arrow towards 4th ST, you are taken to the “BEFORE” view – and the Slovak Club miraculously reappears! God Bless the internet.
    Regarding my February post about Synagogue – Still shows up on 2015 Google Map; I’m going home next weekend, will try to drive by and see for myself, will let you know. By the way, when was the last time you heard from Harry Chiesi or Greg Vesonder?
    Almost forgot – going to be a Granddad in September! You’ll have to give me a few pointers.

  8. Paula Goldman Smith says:

    Welcome back Jim and sorry the job didn’t work out. As it goes with many small towns ( and businesses), they don’t have a clue how much work it takes to run something efficiently. But I will be glad to read your postings. Love to you, Judy and family.

  9. Harold West says:

    The Slovak club unfortunately is now an empty lot.

  10. Jennifer Onaitis Legler says:

    For readers who are investigating their geneology, I want to suggest they look at Facebook as a resource. There are many specific pages devoted to different nationalities’ geneology. Some are open pages, others are closed but you merely have to ask to join and read their posted rules. I use the Lithuanian Global Geneology Society’s page, but there are pages devoted to Polish, Hungarian, Italian and many others that you can locate using the search tool. The members of the Lithuanian page are very helpful in locating information for you or in helping you learn to look for information in other resources, both online and in print.

  11. Tracey Prisalac Dunn says:

    Welcome back!

  12. Irene Stang says:

    Thanks for coming ba-ack.
    Can you please send The Duquesne Hunky to my home computer irenestang@aol.com since I will be retiring from istang@selarioagency.com
    Irene Stang

    • Jim says:

      Unfortunately, I have no way of deleting or changing an email address on my end. I checked, and you will need to unsubscribe or unfollow when you receive an email from my blog. In the meantime, you will need to subscribe or follow by signing up again with your preferred email address. I know it sounds like a lot of work, so good luck. – Jim

    • Barry Long says:

      Enjoy your trip you & Frank are beginning. Have a safe one & I look forward to the book your going to send me written by Al Underwood. I intend to send it to him to sign.

  13. Joe Haver says:

    To David Soboslay,
    My name is Joe Haver and Ted Soboslay, the owner of Soboslay’s Bar was my uncle. He was married to Clara Snyder, my moms sister. The bar was located at the bottom of Center St. He had 2 sons . The oldest son Ted passed away this Spring. He was a physician in the Warren, Ohio area. The other son, Jerry lives on the North Huntingdon, Monroeville area. I have not seen or made contact with him for many years.
    Soboslay’s Bar was a very busy place along Duquesne Ave when the mills were busy. Ted was known for his turtle soup and crab cakes. My aunt Clara was the cook. It was a favorite family location on Friday evenings for the crab cakes. Sorry , but I have no pics of the bar.
    I remember your dad and mom. If I remember correctly , your dad worked with the Pgh School District.
    Great to see your name, it certainly brings up some great memories.
    Joe Haver

    • Ken Denne (55) says:

      To Dave Soboslay….I watched your dad, Jack, play baseball with the Legion. ,a left handed first baseman.. Your mom, lived on Peter Street, and I drank beer with your grandpap, Patty, at Danny;s Bar

  14. Jack Schalk says:

    A very positive “welcome back”.
    I for one have missed your insight and comments and look forward to the future.

    I’m also happy for you that you realized the Chamber job was not all it was cracked up to be and was not worth the effort that you were putting in to it. I’m certain that you were doing them your normal fantastic job and they were not able to see it.

  15. Liz Heaps Shiner says:

    So very happy to see you back, I’ve missed your writtings. Keep up the good work.

  16. Lynn N. Kostelnik says:

    To Jerry Blasko. I grew up on Clonmel St. I remember your grandparents. We lived on the opposite end. 801 Clonmel. My maiden name was Ivaska. My Dad passed 6 years ago and it took 5 years to sell the house! I remember your grandparents garden. Loved going to look at all the stuff they grew.

  17. Mary Petrozza Cortazzo says:

    Glad you’re back!!

  18. Coleen Travis,
    My Dad used to get an ulcer pill concocted by Woody’s. It was bigger in diameter than a nickel but not as big as a quarter, & about twice as thick. I don’t know what they were called

  19. Barry Long says:

    Jim: Glad your back. Take a break.Am I getting all your blogs?

  20. BilGal107@aol.com says:

    Football Picture: Teeshirt-Newmwyer 24-Albert Turocy 23-Frank Fraikor 21-Bill Gibbons 20-Lefty Dunlap 33-Westerland ? 13 Jack Gallagher 30-Dewayne Wabrick #35 Jack Valquette 36-Sam Salvucci

    • Ken Denne (55) says:

      Right,Salvucci, Turocy, Gallagher, Valquette, Wabrick;;Probably the the Dukes about 1944..I believe John Donelli was in the service..

    • Dave Forgash says:

      Regarding the football picture. Maybe the CIO is an indication these players were part of the Duquesne Steel Workers Semi-Pro. football team. These guy are big and some in need of a shave. Reminds me of DHS playing in Johnstown where all their players shaved and looked like they had just finished the 7-3 shift in the coal mine.
      Matt, Bill, Doc, Aggie, Bill Hensler. What a great team at Gallaghers. Lots of memories
      for all of the blog followers. Hensler always had to remind me the magazine rack was not a library.
      Matt and Bill always had a remedy for our colds, aches and pains etc.
      I admired Bill and one time asked want it took to become a pharmacist? He took time to patiently explain what it took and said (back then) I would have to take Latin, I knew I would never learn no “stinking Latin” Hell! I could hardly speak English.
      But I always kept Bill’s career lesson in mind and with the additional advice of my anatomy and physiology professor my fist job out of college was as a pharmaceutical salesman, 5 years.
      I then got into industrial gases by capitalizing on the pharmaceutical experience and spent a lifetime in that business. So thank you Bill..
      And thanks to you and Matt for that pint of ice cream you provided to both trams after each DHS home football game.

      Dave Forgash

  21. BilGal107@aol.com says:

    BILL BOISKO BARBERSHOP Was next to Hunt’s Bar on S 5th St

  22. Sam Cowell says:

    Welcome back. Pittsburgh is not close enough to the edge you’d fall We weren’t worried! Glad you’re OK!

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