Posts Tagged ‘Irwin’

US 30 bridge named for PA veterans

March 19, 2008

Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell signed six bills into law on March 17, one of which renames the bridge carrying US 30 over Main Street in North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, as the Veterans Bridge. See the actual House Bill 363 here.

According to the bill, the “designation honors the commitment, service and sacrifice of this country’s veterans and will serve as a tangible reminder of the courage and patriotism of the veterans who served this Commonwealth and this nation.” It will take effect in 60 days.

PA_IrwinBridgePC.jpg

US 30 here is a bypass of the original Lincoln Highway that runs perpendicular to the Irwin business district. The above postcard copy shows the bridge under construction ca. 1939, with the business district behind it. The LH was being realigned in anticipation of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s western terminus opening in 1940 about a mile to the east.

1915 article leads to LH routing mystery

March 7, 2008

Jim Steeley, of the Westmoreland County Historical Society and a LH researcher, came across a Lincoln Highway item in the September 30, 1915, Greensburg Daily Tribune, about rerouting the LH away from Madison, Pennsylvania. Problem is, the LH never went through Madison!

PA_HerminieArticle.jpg

The article “Failure To Comply With Request May Lose Lincoln Highway” appeared on the front page of the paper describing Madison Borough’s refusal to improve its streets, therefore endangering the borough “to be side-tracked, and the Lincoln Highway removed from it.” It cited an engineer and a superintendent of county roads who “decided to change the route of the Lincoln Highway from Darragh through Herminie, leaving old Madison Borough to the left of the highway.” It would “not lengthen the road more than a fraction of a mile.”

PA_HerminieMap.jpg

But the Lincoln Highway is not known to have gone anywhere near Madison, let alone through it. To follow this route, Jim explains, the Lincoln Highway would have run through Greensburg to West Pittsburgh Street where it intersects with West Newton Street and hence to the West Newton Road (Rt 136) through Darragh, o to Madison (until it was bypassed) and Herminie, then north on Clay Pike through Rillton to Circleville at the top of Jacktown Hill, where it would join present-day US 30 west of Irwin. The map above shows the commonly known LH in red, the implied route in blue, and the topic of the article (routing through Madison) in green.

The first official LH road guide, published spring 1915, lists Greensburg followed (heading west) by Grapeville, Adamsburg, and Irwin—all along the red-marked route, similar to today’s US 30. Why, a half-year after the 1915 guide was published, was it believed that these towns were on the Lincoln Highway?

Roadhouse-turned-restaurant closes in W PA

November 20, 2007

Chesterfields Restaurant, a popular dining choice in North Huntingdon Twp., Pennsylvania, closed recently to make way for a Walgreens drug store and a Starbucks. The Lincoln Highway landmark just west of Irwin (now across from Norwin Shopping Center) opened as the El Dorado in 1934, then for years was the Ben Gross Supper Club, famed for its dinner theater. It had been Chesterfields since 1986, and was one of the last of the region’s legendary dinner spots. According to The Daily News [McKeesport, Oct. 23], with the current owner’s husband passed on and their two sons not interested in a labor-intensive business, they sold to Walnut Capital brokerage firm for $1.5 million. The restaurant was host to many local banquets, celebrations, and Rotary meetings, and until recently had 87 employees. Also likely to be demolished is the adjacent Kirk Haight Auto Sales, best known in years past for having a car atop a pole. See a short video of Chesterfields final day at WPXI.

PA_El Dorado
1934: Signs advertised spaghetti, steak, chicken, beer, and dancing to an orchestra.

PA_Chesterfields
2007: You can still see the roadhouse and to its left, a one-story building with gable windows.

According to a Tribune-Review article, the 3.6 acre plan needed a variance or it would not have been allowed under the shopping center code, so 58 parking spaces will serve where 87 would otherwise be required for that size development. Also, the township asked for an electronic community bulletin board along the Lincoln Highway across from the intersection with Lincoln Way (a road deceptively named in the 1920s to divert LH traffic through the Mon Valley). An Eckerd Pharmacy already sits across the road at that intersection.

According to Walnut Capital’s site, the developer also bought and is demolishing the 1964 Colonial Revival headquarters of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County on the Lincoln Highway to the east in Hempfield (west of Greensburg) for a Walgreens and other retail. (That 16.1 acre site went for $6 million.) In a nod to the road, it will be known as Lincoln Place. Click here for images of that development.