A friendly resource of information
encompassing parts of Westmoreland,
Fayette, and Somerset Counties in
Southwestern Pennsylvania

Chestnut Ridge Historical Society Inc. 1698 State Route 711, P.O. Box 242
Stahlstown, PA 15687
- Office: 724-593-3102

Join us at Our Monthly Meeting on the third Tuesday of each month, at 7pm!
Meeting Details
Past Events

Join Us on Facebook and see lots
of Excellent Photos of the Past!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

CRHS News!
...to keep you up to date!

*See our Sponsors

November Speaker: Mike Mance of Delmont
stands for a portrait inside one of the Hester
coke ovens in Brinkerton on Wednesday,
Jan. 14, 2015.
Photo by Brian F. Henry | Trib Total Media
Click here
for Trib Article!

Attention Members!
Attend our November 15th Meeting
(click here for meeting details)

Our speaker will be Mike Mance, known to friends as
“Coke Oven Mike”.
He will share much information regarding
the many Coke Ovens of Southwestern PA!

Mance started the blog “Old Industry of Southwestern
Pennsylvania ” several years ago. It has logged more than
29,000 page views at www.coalandcoke.blogspot.com.

As Always, the Public is Welcome to Attend!

Our October Speaker was Ken Williams,
CRHS member, and retired PennDO
District 12 Structure Control Engineer!

Many Thanks to Ken for filling in at the last minute!

Regarding our October Monthly Meeting:

Our original speaker, Bruce Shirey had a family emergency and
had to cancel his appearance with us.   As luck would have it,
one of our guests had given our organization a picture of the
cast iron bridge that is on the National Highway (Route  40) in
Brownsville. He was kind enough to fill in and share his information
about the picture and the bridge. The bridge was built in the early
1800's and is still in existence and travelled over daily by tri-axles
and freight trucks. Our Member's name is Ken Williams, a
professional engineer, who recently retired from Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation as the Structure Control
Engineer of District 12, which includes Fayette, Greene, and
Westmoreland Counties.
Ken made our meeting very interesting!

Happy Holidays!

The Chestnut Ridge Historical Society
Christmas Dinner Invitation
for Members and Their Guests!
(Dinner is on your own - Order from the Menu)

Click Here to Print the Invitation!

Click Here to Print the Invitation!

We are planning a dinner trip
on the Gateway Clipper in
Pittsburgh for the Spring.

Watch for more information...!

Chestnut Ridge Historical Society
Our Next Bus trip is tentatively
scheduled for Spring!

CRHS had a Great Bus Trip!

   We had a wonderful day on the bus trip to American Music Theater in Lancaster, PA.
Everyone was in the Christmas Spirit after
the "Winter Wonderland " Show.  

We had a full bus and a good driver.


This quarter, we are featuring the village of Jones Mills in our show case and this picture
of the general store in Jones Mills is just one of our collection.
Everyone is invited to come out for Tuesday evening
(the 15th) meeting and take time to look around.

Does anyone have a FIRST EDITION
Chestnut Ridge Historical Society THROW
from many years ago?
The First Edition THROW portrayed
Brown's Store, Plank Road School,
County Line Church, Sparks Supply, etc.
Seeking Original Throw issued for sale by CRHS

CRHS is requesting that anyone who has
to please contact us. If those Original Version
CRHS Throws (now second-hand) would be
available to CRHS, it would be appreciated.
CRHS has had several requests
for second-hand throws.
Seeking Original Throw issued for sale by CRHS

James' Story Corner

...sharing Extraordinary Bits of History
of Local Families!

James G. Kunkle, Local Historian




Hello readers. No, this is not about the drag races in the 1960-1970’s down at Melcroft International. That is what we called the straight away from Saltlick Elementary to Mom’s Valley Inn. This might have been the origin of Drag Racing in Donegal after folks no longer had horse and buggy.

The time frame was mid 1960’s and the boys in Donegal conceived a sublime idea to take the soap box derby idea one giant step farther. Whether it was the cub scouts or the little rascals from Paul Shannon is beyond debate but the end result was the same,

One Summer day the boys in Donegal gathered at the playground with their childhood peddle cars, tricyles, scooters, red wagons but not bicycles. We were all too old to ride those ancient wheeled vehicles but that was the fun of it. It was the game we played with our sleds in the winter. It was silly but who cared.    

There was one particular hill on Fayette Street that started above Water Street near Tom Bulebush’s place. Someone would be the road guard on 711 to warn us if cars were coming. In those days not many cars passed through town. They made the turn and headed up past Mt. Zion. We would line up all those vehicles and barely could sit on them. All you really had to do was to steer. We put are legs up on the hood of the peddle cars and the ones with tricycles had to stick their legs out. Folks on wagons and scooters had a better time. The idea was to race down the hill and winner got bragging rights.

Someone would yell on your mark, get ready, set, and go. There was always someone who went early. There we were, 10 or 12 wild riders yelling and screaming and desperately trying to steer and hold on. Folks went in the ditch, up set in the Tar and only a few made it to the bottom. If a car did come on 711, the emergency escape was into the OK used car lot at Shaffer’s Garage. You did not want to smack into any of those cars or the sign posts. Someone got the brilliant idea (or one of the adults kindly told us to)  to move the race over one alley and ride down the from the Grange Hall. This proved to be more of a challenge since it was all grass. However it gave us all the opportunity to play bull dog and run the opposition into the weeds and bushes that filled the lot behind the Baptist Church. We didn’t have many of those races. Once all the kids got home with their husky blue jeans all grass stained and jaggers stuck in our shirts, we were lucky if we could walk down that hill sore butt or not. The hardest thing was getting that Tar off our bare feet and other extremities. I truly believe that the adults invented Summer Camp whether it was a Church Camp or Scout Camp, to fill the void between the end of school, bible school and the fair to end the races. I still remember that powder blue 1954 Ford peddle car that I knew, if given a chance, could beat  Blackie Watt and that ‘55 Chevy at Jennerstown. He had an 8 ball painted on his black car. I used a crayon and drew a J on my car. Had I known then, I could have invented racing decals.   

Join Us on Facebook and see lots
of Excellent Photos of the Past!


New Members are always welcome! 
Sign up today so you don’t miss out on what is happening next at CRHS.

Click Here for a Membership Application to print, fill out, and send in with your membership dues.
Our Application is an "All-in-One Form" with instructions for Individuals, Couples or Businesses



Open Saturday: 10am to 2pm
Wednesday: 11:00am to 3:00pm

CRHS Cook Book
Only $10.00!

Our CRHS Cook Book
is now available
for only $10.00!

It is plum full of great recipes
from our members.
Pick up your copy at the center
on Wednesdays or Saturdays
at a cost of only $10.

These CookBooks make great gifts too.

Great Gift!
Give this Great Cookbook!

Thank all of you for your great response
regarding this great CRHS project!

CRHS Throw with
Historical Throw Companion Booklet

(Reg. $27.50) NOW Only $25.00
(Limited choice of colors)

Click to see enlarged image!

CRHS Throw with Historical Throw Companion Booklet: Softcover 31 page booklet containing
a brief history of the illustrations depicted
on the throw.

This beautiful heirloom throw was designed and commissioned by the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society. Woven with pride in the United States by Mill Creek Design from We Love Country Inc., the two-layered, 100 percent cotton Jacquard is color-fast and preshrunk. Measuring approximately 50 inches by 70 inches, the throw is fringed on all four sides and is machine washable.

The 14 illustrations provide but a brief glimpse of the historical richness of the area that we of the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society are dedicated to preserve.

Many Thanks to Our CRHS Business Members
who support our Chestnut Ridge Historical Society!

We appreciate your memberships and your offered resources.

Brady's Restaurant

Champion Lumber Company Inc.

Charles Z. Keslar Agency Inc.

Connie Dennison, Tax Preparer

David W. Sadler  Erie Insurance Agency

Donegal Auto Body

Donegal Dairy Queen

Foggy Mountain Lodge & Restaurant

Gearhart Electrical Contractors

Harbor Inn Restaurant

Highlands Heating Inc.

Jerry Temple Tire & Auto Services

King & Guiddy Law Office

Laurel Highland Total Communciation Inc.

Laurel Valley Hardware Inc.

Loyalhanna Veterinary Clinic Inc.

Main Street Wine Bar

Old General Store

S&S Communications Service Inc.

Sarnelli's Corner Market

Shari Bukovac Bookeeping

Somerset Trust Bank

The Country Pie Shoppe

Whispering Pines Antiques


Of the 67 Counties of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
we maintain historical data for
part of the Southwestern Region

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Our CRHS Newsletter,
"Down Memory Lane", is now available!
Newsletters are available at the Office, or if you
become a Member, then a Newsletter is mailed!

Our Mission
The Chestnut Ridge Historical Society is dedicated to
collecting and preserving the oral and written history and
artifacts of a portion of the Laurel Mountains that is
known as the Chestnut Ridge!

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