Caboose houses artifacts, miniature trains in Bridgeville

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The Bridgeville Area Historical Society is celebrating the holidays with a miniature train and village display featuring the borough in the 1950s on exhibit inside the restored railroad caboose that serves as the society's new home on Station Street.

"This is the first year we have done this. Next year we would like to make it the entire length of the caboose," said Mary Weise, president of the historical society.

The organization has spent the summer and fall settling into its new home, which is the former location of the Bridgeville Public Library. Most of the time has been spent organizing its collection of photographs, artifacts and mementos from Bridgeville's past while building new display cases and exhibits.

One of the new exhibits being planned are mannequins dressed in historical costumes. A current display features a mannequin dressed in an army uniform from the Korean War era.

Almost all of the materials on display have been donated by residents of Bridgeville, South Fayette and Upper St. Clair.

Former Bridgeville resident Dana Spriggs, who now lives in Texas, loaned the 60-year-old American Flyer Train set.

Lou Delach of Upper St. Clair, Rich Pensak of South Fayette and Troy Martin, a freshman at South Fayette High School, then pitched in by donating miniature buildings and assembling the display.

The display features Calabro Tire, Colussy Chevrolet and Sarasnick Hardware, all still in business today, as well as former businesses. Other landmarks in the display are the Bridgeville Post Office, the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department and the entrance to the National Mine No. 2 in Cuddy, a village in neighboring South Fayette.

"They had a ball creating the exhibit," Ms. Weise said.

Before the display could be constructed though, the caboose required some repairs. Floor boards needed to be replaced and parts of the metal frame were rusted, she said.

For his Eagle Scout project, A.J. Rothenberger of Bridgeville Troop 2 came to the rescue. He replaced rotted floorboards, painted the metal frame and gave the outside of the caboose a new coat of bright red paint.

Visitors can view the exhibit during the historical society's business hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 1 to 4 p.m. on the weekends.

The building will be open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday for tours during Bridgeville's Winter Blast Light Up Night.

Also planned is a storytelling hour for children sponsored by the Bridgeville Public Library.

"We are working together with the library to make it a fun event," Ms. Weise said.

neigh_west - holidays

Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer:


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