Trolley Tracks in the North Hills

Submitted by CTHS on Thu, 09/07/2017 - 22:56

One of the most popular subjects for our talks has been the Harmony Line, the electric trolley that ran from Pittsburgh through Cranberry Township, then to Evans City and beyond. The car barn was located in Harmony. For our next talk, we are getting two Trolley lines for one trolley price. Our speaker is trolley expert Bill Fronczek, and he will talk about the Harmony Line (also known as the Harmony Route), which had the official name of the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway, and he will also talk about the Butler Short Line, which had the official name of the Pittsburgh and Butler Street Railway. Both cars lines ran from overhead electrified wires through the North Hills. The Harmony Line ran from Pittsburgh through what is now the McKnight Road corridor, along Evergreen Road, through Ingomar, Warrendale, then through Cranberry Township. Cranberry had six trolley stops: Duthil, Criders, Rowan, Franklin Road, Plains Church and the West stop. The Criders stop was at Meeders Store (now Burger King) and was a popular local stop. These two trolley lines were a Godsend to the locals in 1908 as it would take over a day to ride by horse to Pittsburgh. People riding the trolley could shop in Pittsburgh and be home in the evening. Farmers could now use the freight cars to move crops and milk. Saw mills moved lumber on it and laborers such as oilmen traveled to the wells. No longer would wagons get stuck in the mud on Perrysville Road (Rt. 19). School children also had a reliable way to school. After leaving Cranberry Township, the Harmony Line continued on to Evans City then to Butler or New Castle and it's spur to Beaver Falls...

H. J. Heinz: Recipe for Success

Submitted by CTHS on Mon, 05/08/2017 - 12:34

The old saying was “Same Time, Same Channel” but for this speaker’s program we are changing Both. To accommodate our speaker, we will gather on a Thursday, May 11th at 7:00 pm, to hear about the history of the H. J. Heinz Company. The origins of H.J Heinz began when eight-year-old Henry John Heinz began selling extra produce from his family’s garden plot to nearby neighbors. He would shave the horseradish root in his basement to make horseradish sauce based on his mom’s recipe. By the time he was 16, Heinz had several employees and was making three deliveries a week to Pittsburgh grocers. Born in 1844 to German immigrant parents, Heinz grew up in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh. In 1869, Heinz and friend L.C. Noble formed a partnership called Heinz, Noble & Company in Sharpsburg to sell bottled horseradish. Their product line soon expanded to include sauerkraut, vinegar, and pickles.

Canals, Railroads, and Repudiation in Pennsylvania

Submitted by CTHS on Sat, 03/04/2017 - 17:46

This speaker program is about transportation, it’s financing and the problems that go with it.  But to start, it goes back to the first major State transportation project – canals, then its replacement - railroads.  In the 1820’s both the citizens of Pennsylvania and the government wanted to expand settlement and commerce west of the Susquehanna River and Allegheny mountains. At that time, there were only turnpike roads or the National Highway to take westward. In those days, it took a horse drawn freight wagon twenty-three days to cross the State. Thus the Pennsylvania Assembly of 1824 proposed Right of ways mainly for the building of canals of the Main Line of Public Works to be built across the southern part of Pennsylvania. The period was before commercial railroads existed, while the focus of the act was to create through building a canal system, the capability to ship heavy or bulk goods (and soon after passengers) and connect Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. More importantly the new canal system would amplify the new and growing markets in the developing territories reached by the Ohio River now called the mid-west. This new canal transportation would reduce the same cross-state trip to just four and one half (4½) days depending on the weather. However, such an undertaking, which cost $25,000,000, had to be financed entirely by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as did the current concrete highways (shared with State and Federal money).  Constructed between 1826 and 1834, the hybrid canal system was 395 miles long and the state took on a lot of debt.

Pittsburgh's Ghost Bomber and other PA Mysteries

Submitted by CTHS on Mon, 10/24/2016 - 22:37

In partnership with the Cranberry Township Public Library, we welcome Dr. Andrew Masich, President and CEO of the Senator John Heinz History Center as our November guest speaker.

Dr. Masich will present on Pennsylvania mysteries including the B-25 Ghost Bomber that landed in the Monongahela River in 1956. Please join us on November 6, 2016 from 1:30 - 3:30 in the Cranberry Library Franklin Station North meeting room at the Municipal Center - 2525 Rochester Road - Cranberry Township, PA. Registration is required for this event. CLICK HERE to register on the library website. The event is now booked to capacity and online registration is closed. Walk-in's by CTHS paid members only while seats last.

Images of America: Cranberry Township

Submitted by CTHS on Fri, 09/16/2016 - 22:26

Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, however Kate Guerriero Benz did as close as one can with her publishing of her book, Images of America: Cranberry Township, through Arcadia Publishing. The book contains 128 pages of photographs and text supporting the photos. Kate was raised in Cranberry Township on Franklin Road in an historic, classic house in the area, which at one time was called the village of Hendersonville or also known as Trail, as the house and region sat on the Venango Trail. Kate grew up here during a time when one went to Viola’s for groceries. Her maternal grandfather, Dr. Samuel M. Rice, maintained a private practice here for 50 years just off of Dutilh Road near Hartner’s restaurant. Kate’s mother, Veronica Rice Guerriero, was a founding member of the Cranberry Township Historical Society. Kate and her mother wrote and put on a play for the members of the historical society in the late 1980’s [1] about what it would have been like to grow up in Hendersonville. She, along with her mother spent many hours planting and weeding the Cranberry bog that the Society had in the original Cranberry Park...

Community Days 2016

Submitted by CTHS on Thu, 04/28/2016 - 01:01

Community Days is July 7-8-9. We will be attending this year for all 3 days. Our booth is located on Park Road in booth space E14-E15, the same location as last year. This is about half way between the basketball courts and the Jaycees Shelter at Community Park. We have a 10 x 20 canopy / booth space where we will set up the traveling museum again. There will be several tables, 6 or more chairs, a collection of old maps, a slide show, some antique artifacts, a NEW Arcadia book available for sale written by member Kate Benz, showcasing many photos from the CTHS collection.

The Fate of Four of Pennsylvania’s Founding Fathers

Submitted by CTHS on Sat, 04/23/2016 - 22:19

Pennsylvania in its early history had many prominent founding fathers including namesake William Penn, Dr. Benjamin Rush and of course statesman, printer and scientist Benjamin Franklin.

These individuals were entrepreneurs and leaders in government and set the path to where we are today. Their resumes were impressive. Four other Pennsylvania founders also had outstanding resumes as we see below.

Thomas Mifflin – Successful merchant, Quartermaster General of the Continental Army, graduated from College of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania), President of the Continental Congress, last President of Pennsylvania and first Pennsylvania Governor and Signer of the US Constitution for Pennsylvania and finally and most importantly, West Mifflin is named after him...