WHISKEY, A TASTE OF HISTORY and 2nd ANNUAL HORSE PROMENADE – The Monongahela Main Street Program’s “Whiskey – A Taste of History” shopping tour will be one week from tomorrow. We will kick off with our 2nd Annual Horse Promenade at 11 AM. The horses will start at the Aquatorium, promenade to First Street and West Main Street, and from there to Fifth Street on West Main, going back to the Aquatorium by way of Railroad Street. Third Street will be closed from West Main to Chess Street between 11 AM and 4 PM for old-time music, square dancing, food booths, antiques displays, and photo ops. 

Some of the horses may be brought up to the upper half of the block of Third Street where we’ll be for the “Whiskey – A Taste of History” event, to allow the participants to get to see them a little better. Anyone shopping in any of the participating shops (Downtown and some that are nearby Monongahela Area attractions) will receive a ticket when they make purchases. The ticket, which will have a serial number, can be filled out and taken to Third Street to enter drawings for grand prizes.

CHESS PARK CENTENNIAL – The Monongahela Main Street Program will serve cake at Chess Park during the September 30th Farmers’ Market to recognize the 100th anniversary of Chess Park, which became a publicly owned city park in 1922. We will be looking for ways to gather images and memories about Chess Park’s role in the community over the years as well as ideas for its future.

THANK YOU! – Yesterday was the Washington County Community Foundation’s Day of Giving, AKA WCCF Gives. Contributors to the Monongahela Main Street Program made donations totaling $1,687 (the donations made directly online totaled $562, but we also mailed in 22 checks totaling $1,125, which haven’t been counted into the total yet). The best part was that almost everyone we spoke to in the days leading up to WCCF Gives day was more than happy to contribute. In fact, one donor dropped his donation off at 5:30 PM while on his way out of state to meet someone, and he sent us a note at 4:35 AM, after reaching his destination, thanking us for asking him. The point is that MMSP is Your program, to help Your Downtown, and it’s great to see so many people becoming eagerly interested in being on the team.

The Monongahela Area Library, as usual, was near the top of the list of Washington County non-profit organizations participating in yesterday’s WCCF Gives campaign. The Day of Giving requires registration, and 117 non-profit groups were registered. The organizations are ranked during the Day of Giving based on how many dollars are coming in and how many donors sent the donations. Washington City Mission is usually at the top of the list, this year garnering $235,565 in donations. About nine others raised between $50,000 and $100,000 on the Day of Giving, and ten others raised over $20,000. Our county has 14 public libraries, all of which were on the list, and our library, in comparison to the other libraries on the list, came in 4th in total dollars donated based on yesterday’s results (some mailed-in checks may not be counted yet). (Three of the 14 Washington County libraries have considerably larger budgets and larger service areas than ours, but our library is easily the third or fourth busiest, despite its smaller budget.) Apart from the Mon Valley YMCA, which came in third on the list with contributions totaling $83,290, the others at the top of the two lists were generally either county-wide or at least Washington-based. 

The Monongahela Area Library came in 51st yesterday, out of all 117 organizations, with $5,769 in donations (but this number and ranking will probably rise as other checks are counted that were mailed in). However, the exciting thing to me is that the Monongahela Area Library is consistently in the top ten percent on the list when ranked by number of donors. Our library had 95 online donors by the end of the day yesterday (and is likely to have more when the mailed-in checks are counted). (Our library is consistently, from year to year, the first or second highest in number of donors among the 14 Washington County public libraries on this list, and in the top 15% of all the non-profit organizations that participate.) That means we have many people giving a modest amount each, which is super-super-good in a democratic society such as ours. Many other Monongahela area, or Mon Valley area organizations participated, including the Monongahela Area Historical Society (where 34 donors donated $1,659), as well as MARC, the Mon Valley Academy for the Arts, and several others.

LES AT CITY HALL – I had a nice conversation today with Les Pemberton at City Hall, who was back at work in the code enforcement office after being out for a while a week ago.

THEY ARE STILL BUILDING THIS LITTLE CITY – Work is still underway on the utilities along Chess Street. The 800-900 block was closed today. I may have reported before that the first step of the façade project at the Markell Apartments Building (CJ’s Furniture) – the awning cleaning project – had gotten underway. Most of the biological growth causing green stains on the dark red awnings was removed a couple of weeks ago. The pile of bricks has been removed from the vacant lot next to the Markell Apartments Building where the Hotel Beatty (Marble Hotel) stood until about ten years ago.

The question was asked at City Council this past Monday as to why Fourth Street was so uneven, especially above Lawrence Street. Fourth Street is a state highway (it has been since the 1780s) and is maintained by PennDOT. The project to repave it proceeded in phases with the contractors that PennDOT had retained. After milling the surface, the contractors first put down a skim coat of asphalt and then a final coat. For a week or so, the section from Lawrence Street up had only the skim coat, causing a bump between Lawrence and Otis Streets (where the thick-coated area met the thin-coated area) and causing the manholes to protrude from the surface until the second coat was installed in this past week. I believe it is finished now along Fourth Street Extension out to Valley Inn/Baidland. 

Not related to downtown, but similar to our purposes – the Washington County Fair Board was considering demolishing and replacing two show barns used for displaying dairy cattle and dairy goats over the last 100 years, but they voted this past Monday not to replace them after realizing how much character (and structural integrity) the old wood truss work has and also considering that the proposed metal replacement barns would not have had as much natural ventilation as is needed and as is provided by the current barns (plus some of the older families who show there each year didn’t want to see them replaced). 

The Longwell House looks lovely lit at night as it is these days, especially with the new copper roof on the bay window. The historic Anawalt House (home of draper Judy Soccio and her husband Juan Rodriguez, an expert stained glass craftsman working on the Longwell House project) received a new roof this week.

L.M. FRYE FUNERAL HOME THROUGH THE AGES – In visiting Pam DeRose at Frye Funeral Home this week, I had a chance to capture a few different historical images of the Frye Funeral Home building (originally the Dr. C.B. Wood residence) with my digital camera. By the way, for those of you who haven’t been here “forever,” the funeral home building started as a historic house that is still there. It was very similar in style to the Monongahela Municipal Authority building, and there used to be another just like it right next to it (which was a restaurant in the 1960s called Giovanni’s, and before that called Lory’s). See the attached images of the Frye Funeral Home building as it evolved over the years.)

FRIDAY IS FARMERS’ MARKET DAY – The Monongahela Farmers’ Market was on until 6 PM today, as it is every Friday till the end of September. But the season will be ending soon. Your household should have fresh produce! Visit, patronize, thank everyone, and encourage them to keep this great institution going. The last Farmers’ Market of the season will occur on the last Friday in September (September 30th), just two short weeks from now (some people, faced with cooler weather, were already panicking a bit and asked if it is still on this week). 

There will also be one extra “special” Farmers’ Market session in mid-October to put out some of the “pumpkin season” stuff. Our Farmers’ Market is a well-established institution and is a very popular late afternoon gathering place on Fridays, especially with the expansion of the last two years. We want it to stay that way, which means it needs all the support you can give it. And may you eat well in the week to follow! (And stop at the MARC booth and thank the Farmers’ Market committee while you’re at it.)

DINE DOWNTOWN, TOO – If you don’t get overwhelmed with Farmers’ Market purchases and feel a strong need to go home and cook, then find a place to eat indoors, right Downtown, or get some takeout. And patronize our Downtown eateries anytime you can this weekend, including the ice cream and coffee and baked goods places and the deli.

MARTY’S – (Marty’s Barbecue has not yet announced if they will be cooking tomorrow, but if they are, it will be on the old Rite Aid lot, between Foodland and Dollar General, 11 AM to sell out, as always. – And Dollar General is in the same building with LaVie Nails, Fox’s Pizza, and Dub Town Vape Shop – so I could also say it is right next to LaVie Nails, or very close to Fox’s Pizza, if you have reason to visit and patronize those places. A copy of an ad card they use with their phone numbers is attached.)

OH, THE INTERESTING THINGS YOU LEARN – This week’s news was filled with critical information about real people. Harry cried at his grandmother’s funeral. Charles made his servants move his papers on the desk in front of him. William didn’t hold the door for Kate as he should have, as a true gentleman would, even though his brother made a good model for him by holding the door for Meghan. Etc., Etc.

MONONGAHELA TIMES – 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 contact him.

WE HAVE A WONDERFUL CITY! Terry A. Necciai, RA, Exec.Dir., MMSP

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