Lower End

Comprising:

  • St. Clair Street
  • Hill Street
  • Ewing Street
  • As well as portions of Prestley Road
  • And portions of Washington Avenue

The 30’s, 40’s, 50’s – Lower End Bridgeville

--Based on information provided by Chuck Degrosky

First of all, the location of Lower End starts at the Railroad trestle, then goes each on Washington Avenue (Rt 50) to the bridge over Chartiers Creek. It includes St. Clair Street and the lower part of Prestley Road.

In the 40’s, most of the families in Lower End were of child-rearing age. Therefore, we had lots of playmates and our playing centered around the “woods”, Chartiers Creek, sports and a lot of “made-up” types of activities.

Chartiers Creek was extremely polluted at that time, we were therefore warned not to enter it any manner—although this rule was broken on occasion. We used to float small boats form the bridge, using a ball of string to control the boat. We also made make-shift rafts and boats, or as they say at the Three Rivers Regatta, “anything that floats”. Ice skating on Chartiers Creek was rather rare, since the weather had to be very cold in order to freeze the polluted stream.

The woods provided trees for climbing, vines for swinging and a haven from the eyes of adults.

Swimming was popular at what we called “Little C.P.’s”. It was near “Big C.P.’s” which was forbidden due to its unknown depth. Old timers will remember the occasional drowning there, usually as a result of a “midnight swim”. A few cars were also known to plummet from the “full moon”, which overlooked the pond. The “half moon” was a lower ledge from which to dive. Again, even though it was off-limits, people—primarily males—were known to beat the head in “Big C.P.’s”.

Also available for swimming was Elsie’s, South Park and Raquen Lakes (Cabana Beach), now a religious community. Walking, biking or hitch-hiking were the modes of transportation to these places.

Money being scarce at the time meant attempting to earn some spending money. One way was to collect pop bottles for the 2 cent deposit. That would then be spent at Lani’s for penny candy or Carrozza’s for an ice cream cone (that took three bottles).

Other sources of income were running errands, setting bowling pins, caddying at St. Clair Country Club, being a Soda Jerk, Paper Boy, Stock Boy, etc.

Other adventures were the swinging bridge below Mayers’ Airport (now Great Southern Shopping Center) and the old brick yard, with its nearby clay. We were fledgling potters one year, using our coal furnaces as kilns. Also, the slate dump would be scaled—but always avoiding the areas of rising steam/smoke.

Religion was also important to us at that time. Sundays were spent attending the Church of our choice, and then spending a relatively quiet day. Two of our peers ended up in the religious life: Dorothy Hanley became Sister Anne Frances and Joseph Crichlow became Brother Dominic C.P. Sister is still an active nun in the Pittsburgh area; Brother Dominic has since retired and lives in the Southwest.

Most of the “kids” from that era became successful adults, and most remember the “good old days” in the Lower End.

Bridgeville Firsts...

  • 1903 – Paved sidewalks
  • 1904 – Sanitary sewers and street arc lighting
  • 1908-9 – Paved streets were installed
  • 1917 – House numbering plans were introduced
  • 1926 – Electric and hand controlled stop/go signals were installed at the corner of Washington Avenue and Station Street
  • 1927 – First fire truck was purchased
  • 1928 – Organization of a dedicated fire department
  • 1935 – Showing of Sunday movies was approved at the November general election
This template downloaded form free website templates