Tube City Almanac

January 30, 2008

Three Thousand Words

Category: Mon Valley Miscellany || By

Things are a little busy right now, so I'm offering up three pictures in lieu of 3,000 words, and wow: I just had a terrible vision of a 3,000-word Bread song.

Remember? Years ago, David Gates and Bread whined, "If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can't I paint you?"

Let's quit before we start discussing Walter Egan ("Magnet and Steel"), Eric Carmen ("All By Myself"), Dan Fogelberg ("Leader of the Band") and Chicago.

Man, that's the soundtrack of my earliest years on Planet Earth. Imagine all of the tiny children, born in the mid-1970s, who grew up listening to nothing but soft rock.

No wonder my generation can't seem to muster any self-determination. We were listening to "Wild World" by Cat Stevens in the womb. If that doesn't rob you of ambition, I don't know what would.

. . .

City-based Blueroof Technologies was the subject of a feature story by Tonia Caruso on WQED-TV's "On Q" newsmagazine.

You may have seen Blueroof's "model cottage," located on Spring Street just off of Walnut Street.

It's a "smart house" designed to showcase technologies that allow senior citizens and the disabled to live in their own homes and remain productive. Many of the devices were designed at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh.

Besides showcasing "smart house" technology, Blueroof's work includes training high school and college students, health-care workers, and others to install, maintain and design devices that can help seniors remain self sufficient.

Watch the full story here.

And a tip of the Tube City hard-hat to John Bertoty, executive director of Blueroof, for sending along the link.

. . .

John Barna photo

Meanwhile, photographer/historian John Barna sends along these photos of the former St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Alpsville, South Versailles Township.

This tiny parish was established at the end of the Civil War in what was then a bustling railroad and coal mining community. Unless I miss my guess, this also was the parish that future Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr. would have attended when he was growing up in Coulter, which adjoins Alpsville.

John Barna photoWhen the mines played out, the population moved away; in 1955, St. Patrick became a "mission church" of St. Denis Parish in Versailles Borough.

By 1993, with population declining across the Mon-Yough area and only a handful of people still attending weekly Mass at St. Patrick's, the church was closed and then sold.

John remembers attending the last service, and says that the building probably seats fewer than 50 people in two rows of pews. It also has a tiny "choir loft" that's more of an elevated platform.

The first St. Patrick's Church on this property burned in 1924, and was replaced by this structure. It's now privately owned by Bigley Family Cemetery Inc., a small North Huntingdon non-profit corporation which also maintains the accompanying graveyard.

According to news reports (none of them appear to be online), the church is in danger of demolition because the cost of upkeep is outstripping the meager income generated by the cemetery.

Your Comments are Welcome!

“Magnet and Steel” has always been one of my guilty pleasures. Along with the collected works of Al Stewart.
Bob (URL) - January 31, 2008

Great, I’ve got Dan Fogelberg stuck in my head.
Now I have to kill you.
Vince - January 31, 2008

Ah, Vince, you’re a tease. You say it, but you never mean it.
Webmaster - January 31, 2008

OK, it all depends on what’s stuck in one’s head. “Leader of the Band” doesn’t do it for me … however, I have that song about New Year’s Eve (“Another Auld Lang Syne,” I think) and that line, “the snow turned into rain” as I recall my drive into work this morning … and my assignment in the midst of this mess, covering the Bishop of Pittsburgh at a West Mifflin church today (and he was still scheduled to appear, one hour before the event, even though the church’s school was on two hours delay)! (Oops, did I give away my alter ego?)
Does it matter - February 01, 2008

I think I’ve figured it out, D.I.M. You’re Marty Griffin, right?

Now, start railing about property taxes and Dan Onorato’s trip to Europe.
Webmaster - February 01, 2008

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