“SUMER IS ICUMIN’ IN”
(Spring/summer is arriving, in the Wessex dialect of Middle English, as taught at Ringgold High School, Monongahela Div., by Esther Spadaro, when she had started a Madrigal Choir in the 1970s) This is a Middle English way to say, “Get ready to get your meals and eat out in the warm sun this summer, right here in beautiful Monongahela!”
Until about 6 or 7, we have gyros at the Dierkens Pharmacy parking lot, Main Street at Park Avenue, Monongahela.
Ok, now we’re near the center of Lent, and fish on Fridays is, well, a Mon Valley tradition, one where you need to get with the program. In Monongahela, the Elks Lodge at Jackson and Union Streets and the VFW Post 1409 on East Main in the City’s Black Diamond neighborhood have fish fry underway, as is also the case with St. Andrew’s Catholic Parish, except that the food is being served at the Donora worship site (St. Philip Neri, at One Manor Road on Second Street Extension). Lenzi’s advertised their fish specials with some beautiful photography today. Hills Restaurant, Angelo’s II, and Ponce’s all have fish and other non-meat dishes. If you’re hungry for something with a beef base, though, the Monongahela Valley Country Club will be serving corned beef and cabbage with potato dumplings this weekend, and tomorrow is the March date for the monthly spaghetti-and-meatballs dinner at First United Methodist Church.
Also, Marty Inserra will be out cooking on Saturday at Marty’s Barbecue between Foodland and the Fox’s Pizza/LaVie Nails/Dollar General strip mall. Or try Italian Village Pizza, Hog Father’s, Detorre’s, Fox’s Pizza, or during the day – Sambol’s or Di’s Deli, or Cox Market, or Great Wall, or Eat’N Park, or Pho Valley, or Pizza Station. And the Rib Cage in Manown, Forward Township, is another barbecue option in our area. Help to keep these places cooking! I could keep going because there are always a few more that I am missing. Just eat locally, getting take-out or eating in, or whatever, and if it’s one of these nice days, find a seat outside somewhere and enjoy our beautiful Downtown.
I GOT THE WORD TODAY
For this year’s annual conference of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (or PDC, the statewide Main Street Program coordinating agency for Pennsylvania), I had proposed giving a talk on what it has been like advocating for the Main Street Program’s 4-Point Approach for no fewer than 40 years. It’s been 40 years this year since two guys who were working for the old DCA came to visit us and said they thought our community for be a good place to try the then-new national non-profit program started by the National Trust, a model for revitalization of historic downtowns called the “Main Street Program.”
Many things that have happened here since then, which have made Downtown Monongahela the successful “little city” business district that it has now become, are parts of what Main Street Programs do. But it took about 33 years from that 1982 encounter before we organized a Main Street Board to help coordinate and focus the revitalization efforts on Downtown’s historic buildings and keep the National Main Street Center’s four points in balance. As many as 20 or 30 organizations have done components of what Main Street organizations either do, initiate, or coordinate in many other small cities.
This year is the 35th anniversary of the formation of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center. It seemed like a good time to tell our sister Main Street Programs across the state about our 40 years of our community’s developments and efforts.
MMSP IS PLANNING SOME COOL EVENTS THIS YEAR
The Monongahela Main Street Program has a great calendar of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Christmas Season events that we are almost ready to announce. We are working on an event celebrating Native American heritage, plus a repeat of last year’s World of Chocolate Tour, both to be in May, and we are working on plans for M.y. Main St’s Fourth Annual “Railroad – Street Fair,” as well as another Horse Promenade, plus our 7th annual Avenue of the Hanging Jack-O-Lanterns projects, and another “Whiskey – A Taste of History” event, and another Christmas season promotion. Wow! It’s a lot. And we are also hoping to do a direct mail flyer again this year as we did last year.
Amanda Clegg Gabeletto has begun her duties as the new Director of the Monongahela Area Library. Could you stop in and tell her hello? She started her new job this past Monday, 21 March. Amanda is from this area and was eager to move back here from Duncansville, near Altoona, with her husband. They live in the Belle Vernon area of Rostraver Township for now but are hoping to move again into our City limits before long. Her mother is Barbara Baird Clegg, the organist at Grace Lutheran Church and formerly the organist and a vestry member at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Her aunt Debbie Baird McKinney works for State Sen. Camera Bartolotta at the senator’s office on Second Street.
LONGER HOURS AT THE MONONGAHELA AREA LIBRARY
Beginning next week, the Monongahela Area Library will be staying open until 8 PM four nights a week, Monday through Thursday. Watch for more details on this. It also relates to having many more evening programs than we have had.
UKRAINIAN / RUSYN EGG-WRITING, OR PYSANKY
The Monongahela Area Library is holding its annual series of pysanky classes. Call the library to reserve your slot today. The spaces available for the first session are already filled.
EASTERN EUROPE STUDY GROUP, ANYONE?
I would like to start a study group at the Monongahela Area Library to discuss the geography and culture of Eastern Europe in relation to the people from that area who make up a sizable slice of our community. Who’s interested? Let me know in the comments.
SAMBOL’S DAILY SPECIALS
Have you been watching the daily specials advertised by Sambol’s Bakery & Candy Shop? Sambol’s typically has a meal each day on special, which is so popular that they sell out before their 5 PM closing time. Sambol’s meal specials were a key component in developing this very popular business, and I credit the fact that we even have a downtown bakery at this point to the popularity of the meal specials that used to sell out daily at their prior location. Watch for Sambol’s specials, especially those on Fridays in Lent this year. We have a wonderful City!
ST. NICHOLAS ORTHODOX CHURCH EASTER FUNDRAISER
Main Street Program supporter Joyce Hann handed me an order form today for the Easter Fundraiser planned for St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. They will be making Paska Bread (with or without raisins) and Horseradish Beets, and you can choose whether to pick them up by Wednesday, April 13th, or Wednesday, April 30th (which is to accommodate the Easter holiday of those celebrating it in accordance with either the Western calendar or the Orthodox one). Paska is $10 or $12 with raisins, and the beets are $5. Joyce is reachable on Facebook, but I’m attaching a scan of the order form so you can all place your orders.
In the last couple of days, I’ve had the opportunity to make new acquaintances (by telephone only) with at least three or four people from the local history community just outside Monongahela. It’s wonderful to help someone with information they were looking for (or, in two cases, information I was looking for) and making friends with like-minded people that you suddenly feel like you might have known all your life, even if you didn’t.
This was partly because I needed to check on some things for the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation’S June 2022 tour of “The Youghiogheny Valley: Where Farming Fathered Industry.” This week, a recent call was from Nicholas Sifford and his father, Taj Sifford. The Sifford family formerly lived in Ellah Hollow in Forward Township. The family was active in Second Baptist Church, a church that stood at the high point on Geary Street, from the early 1880s until the mid-1970s, and after that, they were active in First Baptist Church of Gallatin, Forward Township.
Nicholas has a scholarship that allows him to do some deep research into his family’s history. They came here in 1918 from North Carolina as part of the Great Migration. If you have any information on this family, leave a comment saying so in the comments section at the bottom of this post, and I’ll be sure to send them what you have to offer or connect you to them to exchange information.
SIGN THE PETITION
Sweets by Mrs. C has announced that the legendary Mrs. Claus, for whom this delightful shop was named, will be appearing tomorrow at her eponymous and homonymous shop. Last evening, a couple of my family members invited me to join them for ice cream, and we departed in two different automobiles forgetting, as it were, that it was a bit late and that Sweets by Mrs. C is still on the winter schedule of hours.
So, when we got there, we had to make other arrangements to deal with our “visions of sugarplums” and I-Scream cravings. But it got me thinking. While Sweets by Mrs. C will most likely respond to this greatly improved weather by switching back to the summer hours and by staying open till 9 pm as soon as it is conceivably possible, it also goes without saying that it will not be possible to do so any sooner than …when possible. But, as a sign of good faith, maybe we can petition the world’s only Christmas-themed ice cream shop to switch to summer hours just as quickly as they can. If you agree, please say so in the comments below.
A NICE VISIT THIS PAST TUESDAY
This past Tuesday, Bill Arrowood of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC), on his own initiative, made a visit to see our Downtown and to have a walk from shop to shop with me. The Monongahela Main Street Program has been your local affiliate of this fine statewide organization since 2016. Bill has recently come on the staff at the PDC as a new employee, serving in the capacity of field representative, kind of like what a Penn State Extension Agent does if you are a farmer and are looking for some ideas for better farming your family farm.
When we were first talking about starting a Main Street Program here in 2015, we asked the PDC to send someone out to meet with us, and they did, with (now retired) PDC Executive Director Bill Fontana speaking to a group of about 55 interested persons at the Monongahela Fire hall. We represent Monongahela at the PDC meetings, including the PDC’s annual statewide conference on downtown revitalization. We’ve had perfect attendance for a couple of years, including sending our organization’s officers to the Zoom call meetings held specifically for board members. And we’ve paid thousands of dollars in dues and conference registrations in the last five years.
This is the first time a PDC staff member has come here in seven years, and Bill was very generous in making a pleasant visit, stopping in about a dozen shops and sitting down over coffee with a couple of the MMSP officers. I want to thank him in this space for doing that. Bill was once a movie location scout, and I feel his visit brought a movie scout’s eye to our rich Downtown architecture, seeing the beauty and visual drama this place offers. He stopped here after visiting Somerset and driving through Connellsville. He met with DCED Regional Director Johnna Pro in Charleroi the next day. He then visited with Shaina Brown, Main Street Manager of Washington (whose husband, Ben Brown, BTW, works at the Mon Valley Alliance at the heart of our beautiful Downtown Monongahela).
UPDATED REAL ESTATE AND NEW SHOPS INFO
I have updated the list of new businesses to take off The Potters House, which closed a month or two ago. I’m told that there are many buildings with retail spaces for sale, plus a couple that are for rent. I will try to do a more comprehensive update on “opportunity” spaces soon. If you have a business idea and are looking for a place, send me a PM through Messenger, and I’ll see if there is a match out there.
I helped a building owner show a vacant space downtown today to one more new business entrepreneur. The steady stream of small business entrepreneurs coming into our Little City shows no signs of slowing up…!
Check out our local online events calendar at https://www.monongahelatimes.com/ . Dan Tregenbo maintains this calendar as his project and as a founding board member (our first president) of the Monongahela Main Street Program. If you have events, you would like to see listed, please get in touch with him.
OUR HOMELAND IN THE CARPATHIANS
Do pray for Ukraine, the country now under invasion by Russia, which overlaps with the homeland of the Rusyn people, the latter being a Slavic ethnic group that is well-represented in our area by a couple of different kinds of Orthodox churches as well as the Byzantine Catholic denomination, as discussed in our newsletter around the beginning of January when Orthodox Christmas occurred.
In Monongahela, the Rusyns are represented by St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (of the ACRO denomination) at Marne Avenue and Sixths Streets and by the Nativity of the Virgin Mary (St. Mary’s) Orthodox Church (or the OCA denomination) on High Street, as well as by the former St. Macrina’s Byzantine Catholic Church on West Main at Sixth Street. Others are St. Nicholas Orthodox and St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic in Donora, Holy Trinity Orthodox and Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic in Charleroi, St. Nicholas Orthodox of Jacob’s Creek, and others in Monessen, Brownsville, Perryopolis, Clairton, and other nearby places.
Don’t forget to spread your dine-in or takeout business around during this “unprecedented time” in American and worldwide history. Here’s some contact information for some of the restaurants that are open at this time:
- Sambol’s Bakery & Candy Shop (daily meal specials available till 5 PM or till sold out), 230 West Main Street (724) 250-0100
- Italian Village Pizza, 169 West Main Street (724) 292-8170
- Angelo’s II, 111 Third Street (724) 292-8375
- Di’s Home Town Deli, 218 West Main Street (724) 292-1001
- Sweets by Mrs. C., Ice Cream and More, 260 West Main Street (724) 292-8392
- Little City Coffee, 418 West Main Street (724) 258-6285
- Two and a Fry, 1115 West Main Street (724) 310-3182
- Hog Fathers Olde-Fashioned Barbecue, 243 East Main Street (Catsburg) (724) 310-3757
- Lenzi’s Italian Restaurant, 228 Gee Street (just off East Main going east from the Pigeon Creek Bridge, before the first light) (724) 258-9885
- Detorre’s Pizza, 915 West Main Street (724) 258-3306
- Eat’N Park, 1250 West Main Street (724) 258-4654
- Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, 201 West Main Street (724) 258-8358
- Hills Restaurant, 107 Main Street, New Eagle (724) 258-5422
- Pizza Station, 187 Chess Street, New Eagle (724) 310-3191
- Cox Market, deli counter for take-out, 711 Rt.481 (724) 258-4900
- Ponce’s Place, 715 Rt.481 (Park Avenue Extension/Pigeon Creek Road) (724) 258-6654
- Pho Valley, 1160 Country Club Road (724) 310-3948
- Fox’s Pizza Den, 1235 West Main Street (724) 310-2080
Here’s my latest list of stores in Monongahela that have been selling clothing, especially those that have been marketing various kinds of clothing fashions:
- Uncommonly Beautiful
- Sparkles by Shell
- Mon Valley Safety Equipment
- Bella Bug Bootique (an online shop, for now, hoping to reopen in a building later)
- LuLaRoe by Amber Smittle
- Just 4 You Gifts and Cards
- Main Street Gypsy
- Di’s Home Town Deli
- The Bubblery Pittsburgh (children’s consignment in the back room)
- Alpha Outfitters Equine Supply
- Octane Martial Arts (martial Arts clothing)
- City Mission
- Dollar General
- Family Dollar
Here’s a list of the 40+ STORES that have opened or are in the process of opening in the Monongahela – New Eagle Main Street area in the last 40 months (this list does not include the ones that opened and closed in that period of which there were at least three or four):
- The Bubblery Pittsburgh – soap shop with handmade soap, hand sanitizer, lip balm, etc., since Sept. 2018, 212 West Main, (724) 258-2598
- Cedarwood Insurance Options – Anthony Bottino III, insurance broker (upstairs from Bottino Financial/Allstate Insurance), since Nov 2018, 442 West Main, (724) 310-3695
- LuLaRoe by Amber Smittle – casual clothing, open by appointment, since Nov 2018, West Main Street at Fourth Street, (724) 678-3913
- Main Street Gypsy – gifts, jewelry, clothing, and furnishings, since May 2019, 219 West Main, (724) 292-8366
- Sweets by Mrs. C, Ice Cream and More – also has baked goods and nostalgic candies, since Aug 2019, 260 West Main, (724) 292-8392
- Alpha Outfitters Equestrian Supply – Western-wear and horseback riding items for the rodeo crowd, since Sept 2019, 168 West Main, (724) 366-0642
- Julie’s Hair Haven – haircare by appointment, since Oct 2019, 202½ Fourth Street, (412) 952-5177
- Octane Martial Arts – martial arts studio, sports/athletic training, and pro-shop selling related clothing, since Oct 2019, (724) 310-2090
- Bella Bug Bootique – casual clothing and costume jewelry, since Nov 2019, 416 West Main. (The storefront locations have closed, but the business remains very active online), contact Kate Runac, owner, through the Bella Bug Bootique Facebook page, or by email at email@example.com, or drop by to visit during the day, next to Little City Coffee.
- The Outfit (barber supplies/hair care supplies locally made by Nicolo Rigano, at Main Street Barber), since October 2019, 105 West Main Street, (412) 420-7341
- Di’s Home Town Deli – deli meats, chicken salad, egg salad, lunch specials, etc., since Dec 2019, 218 West Main, (724) 292-1001
- Busta Suds Laundromat – laundromat (behind Two-and-a-Fry Hotdog place), since Dec 2019, c/o Two-and-a-Fry Hotdogs, 1115 West Main, (724) 310-3182
- The Compound Steel City – youth center for training in sports like wrestling, weight lifting, cheerleading, etc., since Jan 2020, 121 Railroad Street, (724) 426-6768
- Sambol’s Bakery – baked goods, cookies, lunch specials, since May 2020, 230 West Main, (724) 250-0100
- Candelore’s Barking Beauties – dog grooming salon, since July 2020, 111 West Main, (724) 292-8360
- CPC Chiropractic – Dr. Christa Peifer, Chiropractor, since October 2020, 314 West Main, (412) 953-3103
- Santa’s Secret Shoppe – Christmas decorations, other holiday season items, and plenty of small gifts, since October 2020 (open seasonally), 211 Second Street, (724) 554-3514
- Chloe and Me Candles – handcrafted candles and similar items, since November 2020, 205 West Main, (724) 298-8696
- Rocky Top Photo Op – settings for photography shoots at the Gottselig farm at the top of Ridge Avenue in the First Ward, the only farm located within our City Limits, a family farm where you can come and take your own photos – they have a very wide variety of unique props for all seasons, since December 2020, Contact them (Judy Lovell) through Facebook
- The Dog Emporium/Sit-Up Doggie Treats – gift shop for dogs, locally baked treats, and dog biscuits baked by the shop owner at his other facility, since Feb 2020, 310 West Main Street (“downtown”), as of 26 January 2021 (previously was 118 Main Street, New Eagle), (724) 258-7297
- Dusty’s Discounts – household items and gadgets, Kitchen-Aid mixers, umbrellas, etc., since March 2021, 406 West Main Street (next to Tattoo Savior), contact Dusty Bradshaw Aldous via Facebook / Messenger or at (724) 787-1516
- Red Boot Home – decorative household items, from throw pillows to sine bottle stoppers, since March 2021, located within Red Boot Antiques, Jessica Homa, contact Marcia Homa or Jessica Homa at Red Boot Antiques, 905 West Main Street, (724) 884-7509
- Noel’s Primitives and Gifts – Antiques, primitives, and décor items, 202 West Main Street, (724) 825-9525
- Anarchy Ink – tattoos, since April 2021, 202 West Main Street Suite B, (724) 610-8460.
- MICRO Mushroom Market, since April 2021, 1235 West Main Street (the warehouse behind Fox’s Pizza and LaVie Nails), (412) 667-2874.
- Fox’s Pizza Den, since May 2021, 1235 West Main Street. (724) 310-2080
- City Mission Thrift Store – since July 2021, 211 West Main Street. (724) 292-8377
- Dubtown Vapes – since July 2021, 1235 West Main Street
- The Orangery (salon, by Felicity Frace) since September 2020, 105 West Main Street (lower level of Main Street Barber), (724) 255-3180.
- Mon Valley Alliance offices and Business Resource Center, since November 2021, 235 West Main Street, (Ben Brown, CEO) (724) 565-5636
- Polished Aesthetics (Jamie Varley, CRNP, aesthetician), since December 2020, 105 West Main Street (lower level of Main Street Barber), (724) 518-4843.
- Dead Head Wine Bar, 300 Second Street (former Bebout and Yohe Funeral Home building, corner of Second Street and Chess Street) (Dead Head Winery should be fully open in early 2022; it opened partially in the fall of 2021 only as an event venue for weekend music shows), contact Mike Kisling at (724) 292-8260 EAST MAIN STREET
- Hog Fathers Olde Fashioned Barbecue – restaurant and bar, since 20 Jan 2020, 243 East Main Street (Catsburg), (724) 310-3757
- DW Auto (formerly Sal’s Quality Auto Care) – auto detailing and repairs, since May 2020, 130 East Main Street, (724) 310-2038 – Reopened recently under a new name and with more emphasis on mechanical repairs. MAIN STREET/CHESS STREET, NEW EAGLE
- Industrial Farmhouse Living – home décor, repurposed found objects, since Jan 2019, 144 Main Street, New Eagle, (724) 565-4447
- Full Circle Glass & Door Service – glass installer, since Aug 2019, 102 Main Street, New Eagle, (724) 998-7437
- JMS Photography, in business since 2017, began moving into this location around December 2020, owner Jenna (Quattrone) Sluk, 139 Chess Street, New Eagle, (724) 263-1323
- M&R Chocolates, to open soon on Park Avenue at Peno’s Plaza since January 2022.
- Dis-OR-Dat, to be in with Bartman Plumbing next to DeVore Hardware, 443 West Main Street, (724) 350-2092, since January 2022.
- UPCOMING A couple of other possible surprises are still brewing. (A new sandwich shop, maybe, in New Eagle??)
WE HAVE A WONDERFUL CITY!
Terry A. Necciai, RA, Exec.Dir., MMSP