Posts Tagged ‘Irwin PA’

First waitress in 1938 remembers Serro's DIner

June 14, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
As the former Serro’s Diner moves closer to being back in service, the diner’s first waitress got to visit the restoration project. The Serro family opened the brand new 1938 O’Mahony-brand diner in Irwin, Pa., as a Lincoln Highway bypass was being built around the town for the coming Pennsylvania Turnpike terminus. The diner will soon be part of a museum complex being built by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor between Greensburg and Ligonier.

A story in the Tribune-Review (including the two images here by Eric Schmadel) reported how 95-year-old Jenny Baloh recently visited the diner where she began waitressing in 1938. As one of the 10 Serro siblings, she was THE first waitress:

My brothers (Louis and Joseph) bought the dining car when I was a teenager. I told them I didn’t know a thing about waitressing. They said, “You’ll learn.”

The diner was rescued from likely demolition in 1992 when I had the pleasure of arranging for its purchase and move by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, now the Heinz History Center. With no practical place to display the diner, it was given to the LHHC. After almost 2 years of work, the diner is almost ready for it’s new home, a  soon-to-be-constructed addition at the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum along Route 30 East, across from the Kingston Bridge.

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1880s hotel destroyed by fire in Irwin, PA

March 6, 2009

A 3-story hotel, built in the 1880s along Main Street in Irwin, Pennsylvania, was destroyed by fire yesterday. Only minor injuries are reported, but 16 men living there lost everything. The hotel had 35 rooms, a bar, and dining room but all that remains is a brick shell, the roof and third floor having collapsed. The town’s main street, in an uncommon arrangement, runs perpendicular to the Lincoln Highway, which passes a couple blocks south of the hotel.

pa_irwinhotelfire

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the fire was started by a grease fire from a resident cooking breakfast; throwing water on it spread the flames. (Trib photo above; the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also reported on it.) A police officer was able to go door-to-door to evacuate, and firefighters arrived minutes later, but the fire chief said it was hopeless despite more than 20 fire companies responding. The historic Lamp Theater next door appears to be safe. This follows 5 weeks after a fire destroyed a historic inn in Fort Loudon, Pennsylvania.

Scenes from the Heritage Corridor Road Rally

September 23, 2008

LHA director Mindy Crawford sent along some photos from the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor’s Road Rally. After breakfast and a look around the McDonald’s Big Mac Museum in Irwin, the group toured Rick Kriss’ Antique Auto Restoration. That’s Rick at right, and below you’ll see work underway on a vintage Lincoln and Cadillac.

Next stop was to the east at DeLallo’s Italian Market. Mindy says they have “wonderful olives, meats, cheeses, pastries, and breads. Most of the group took home a bag or two of goodies. We bought some feta-stuffed olives, biscotti, shelled pistachios, and pasta in different varieties!”

After lunch at The Summer Place, the 50-some attendees toured the restored Darlington Station, a stop on the Ligonier Valley Railroad. The rail line ran from 1877 to 1952 between Ligonier and Latrobe; its path is now used by the westbound lanes of US 30.

Another highlight was a visit to Serro’s Diner, a 1930s O’Mahony that is undergoing restoration. More than a decade ago, I helped arrange its purchase by the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, which then donated it to the Heritage Corridor. It is being restored to once again serve some light meals and a big dose of history at the group’s planned interpretive center.