Historicial society program will open door on Bridgeville's past

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For those who have never seen a flapper hat from the 1920s or an antique foot warmer that uses hot coals, then the Bridgeville Area Historical Society Open House is the place to visit from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Kay Banks Building on Station Street.

It's the former home of the Bridgeville Public Library.

Mary Weise, historical society president, and members of the organization have been busy for the past several weeks setting up display cases, creating exhibits, and dusting off items to showcase.

Ms. Weise said the society already has archived more than 4,000 photographs, some dating back to the early 1900s.

They reveal images of families, businesses and students not just from Bridgeville, but from South Fayette, Collier and Upper St. Clair, she said.

All of the items to be featured at the open house were donated by residents who wanted to help preserve memories of Bridgeville's past.

Among the items on display is a handmade violin crafted by Charles Gastgeb in the 1930s. Mr. Gastgeb, who worked in a local mill, sold his violins to musicians all over the country. A hand-carved wooden clock and horse-drawn wagon by Peter Gualazzi also is on display.

"We had a lot of talented people who lived in Bridgeville," Ms. Weise said.

There will also be some more prosaic items featured like a Duquesne Pilsner Beer advertising plaque from the Bridgeville Italian Club, circa 1940s.

Anthony Pesavento, an officer of the club, donated it to the historical society.

New historical society volunteer Jessica Michak, a recent graduate of Appalachian State University in North Carolina, was helping get ready for the open house by putting together a display featuring art work by third- and fourth-graders from Bridgeville and South Fayette.

"The children picked the topic of endangered animals," she said.

Ms. Weise said the historical society has established regular operating hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and would like to open two to three hours on Saturday and Monday, too, but still needs volunteers.

The historical society also is looking for volunteers with railroad experience who can help with repairs to the caboose attached to the building that once served as the children's library when the building was the Bridgeville Public Library.

The Rev. Richard Yagesh from Holy Child Parish in Bridgeville will bless the building at 6:15 p.m. Friday during the open house.

neigh_west - neigh_south

Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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