Article #153  - December 1, 2002


by Glenn Tunney 


Brownsville Time Capsule looks back over the years
through the archives of the Brownsville Telegraph


25 Years Ago - December 1977

* Layoffs are looming at Brownsville General Hospital.  As many as 48 hospital employees may be furloughed at the end of the month unless there is a dramatic increase in patients, according to Casimer Wieczorek, hospital administrator.  There were only 42 patients in the hospital at last count, leaving 79 empty beds.  Wieczorek said the current UMWA strike is a factor in the sharp downturn in the number of patients, because miners’ health benefits have been suspended during the strike.
         An event which could avert some of the layoffs would be a strike of service employees at Lafayette Manor, Inc., a nursing facility in Uniontown.  During a meeting Thursday evening, the hospital’s board of trustees agreed to accept approximately 60 patients from the nursing home in the event that a strike becomes a reality.  Negotiations between representatives of Lafayette Manor, Inc. and the AFL-CIO Service Employees International Union are continuing.  Their contract is set to expire at the end of December.

* Stop by The Floor Store at 201 Brashear Street, Brownsville, where you can choose from over 3,000 samples of carpeting with prices starting at only $8.95 installed.  If you stop in soon, your home can be carpeted in time for you to receive Christmas Eve visitors on warm new flooring!

45 Years Ago - December 1957

* Sheehan’s Grocery is observing its tenth anniversary.  What started out as a shoestring operation a decade ago will formally be opened this week as one of the most beautiful grocery stores in the tri-state area.
         Joseph Sheehan opened a small grocery store in 1947 while he was employed at the Park and Tilford distillery in Brownsville.  He worked in the grocery store after performing his duties as foreman of the yeast room.  During the day his wife and children operated the store.
         Several store managers before Mr. Sheehan had tried to establish a grocery store at the site on Market Street, but they met with only limited success.  However, Mr. Sheehan’s friendly manner and efficient business operation soon won him many friends and customers.  After five years of working at the distillery, Mr. Sheehan took over the local store as a full time operation.
         The father of ten children has five of them assisting him in operating the establishment.  The Brownsville Construction Company has completely renovated the entire store, transforming what was once three rooms into one huge room.  The front of the building is of modern design with Roman brick work and aluminum doors and windows.

* The West Brownsville borough council has instructed solicitor Austin J. Murphy to contact the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and protest the government’s proposed lock plan, which council claims would raise the water level in the Monongahela River six feet.  The council is concerned that the rise in water level would increase the flooding hazard.
         The council’s move is in response to an announcement by federal officials that plans have been approved to build a $28,244,000 lock at Maxwell.  The present Lock No. 5 at Brownsville would be eliminated under the new construction plans.

* The Pennsylvania Railroad has leased its California, Pennsylvania passenger station building for use as a town library.  Rental fee for the building will be $10 per month.  Use of the building was obtained through the efforts of the California Public Library Club, whose president is Mrs. Walter Ansill.
         Mrs. Ansill said the club will take over the building immediately.  Many major repairs to the interior of the building are planned.  The station building was closed last spring.  In leasing the building, the club also acquires use of surrounding grounds near the station.

60 Years Ago - December 1942

* Park and Tilford distillery in south Brownsville is making mechanical expansions that will double the facility’s production but will not require personnel changes at the plant, which produces industrial alcohol for war work.  The new equipment will change the product from 185 proof alcohol to 190 proof alcohol, which can be shipped directly to war plants and will require none of the re-working which has been necessary with the 185 proof product made at the plant.
         Present production is 10,000 gallons per day, and with new equipment, the daily output will be at least 20,000 gallons per day.  The machinery is being installed under the direction of the Defense Plant corporation, a governmental agency, although Park and Tilford will continue to run the plant.

* The 59th anniversary of the Brownsville Reading Circle was observed this week at the South Brownsville Methodist Church, where sixty-two members and guests enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner served by the women of the church.  The Circle was first organized in December 1883 by seven women of Brownsville and is the fifth oldest women’s organization in Pennsylvania.
         After the dinner, the president, Mrs. Fred Chalfant, welcomed members and guests and introduced the chairman of the entertainment committee, Mrs. R. S. Brosius.  Miss Olga Toth, accompanied by Mrs. Carolyn Keck, rendered two violin solos, and Miss Toth later closed the festivities with the violin solo, “Ave Maria.”  The next meeting will be held at the home of O. M. Patterson, with Mrs. Smith Coldren as hostess.

* The Blue and White basketeers of Brownsville High School, under the capable guidance of Coach Johnny Lessner, will make their 1942-43 cage debut this week when they travel to Bentleyville to encounter the Bears in one of the first scholastic basketball contests in the district.
         With the team built around Phillip (Woogie) Johns, Coach Lessner has been drilling a squad of approximately 25 boys for three weeks in anticipation of the opener.  The starting lineup for the Brownies will include Johns and sophomore Charles (Chuck) Sargent holding down the two forward positions, veteran Tony Mammarella at center, and Andy Negra and Bill Rodgers at guard.  The first two players off the bench will be Frank Dankovich and Rudy Daley.

* Max Kielbasa, former Brownsville High School grid star, was selected this week as one of the 17 players to participate for the Eastern team against the West in the annual Shrine football game in San Francisco on New Year’s Day.  “Moxie” stood out this year as a right halfback for Buff Donelli’s Duquesne Dukes.


These articles appear weekly in the Sunday Uniontown HERALD-STANDARD.  If you enjoy reading them, please let the editors know.  You may e-mail your comments to Pete Skirchak (Editor - Brownsville edition) at [email protected]  

Readers may contact Glenn Tunney at 724-785-3201, [email protected] or 6068 National Pike East, Grindstone, PA   15442.  

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