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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pittsburgh Plumbers Encouraged to Bring Lady Friends or Lose Two-thirds of the Fun at Park

(Union Station, Pittsburgh, PA, circa 1902)

In some ways I feel as if I am continuing the journey started by Ira Sayre, a Chester native and photographer, who shared the history of Rock Springs Park with his slide show talks; featuring his own collection of photographs and postcards. While I never met Ira in person, I did have the pleasure to see a video recording of a presentation he gave in the early 90’s at Chester’s City Park. Mr. Sayre’s talk was very informal with people asking questions throughout, and the images flashing on the screen constantly dotted with flying insects playing in the projected light. Ira mentioned, as I do in my book, the historic marker on Carolina Avenue that incorrectly reads, “Rock Spring Park,” but added that the marker also doesn’t mention the fact that trains were used in addition to boats and trolleys to carry pleasure seekers to the park. In an article taken from the Domestic Engineering Journal of Mechanical Contracting, Volume 44, 1908, Plumbers from the Pittsburgh Area (spelled “Pittsburg;” see explanation below) plan a train excursion of their own from Pittsburgh’s Union Station. It also encourages all the plumbers to bring their lady friends or risk “(losing) at least two-thirds of the fun.”

Pittsburg, PA – Actual Preparations are now being started for the annual picnic of the Pittsburg Master Plumbers’ Association, which will be held again this year at Rock Springs Park, on the Pennsylvania Railroad Lines. The outing will be held on Saturday, August 8, and the Association makes an urgent request that all plumbing shops be closed for the entire day, and that all members attend the event, thus helping, if possible, to make it even more of a success than the one last year, which was the most successful in the history of the Pittsburg Master Plumbers’ Association. A special train will leave Union Station, Pittsburg, at 8:10 a.m., stopping only at Allegheny, Sewickley and Rochester, PA. This train will leave Rock Springs in the evening at 9:20, arriving at Pittsburg about 11 o’clock. All plans for the day have not been finally completed, but these details are expected to be ready to announce after the next meeting of the association, which will be held next week. There will be several base ball [sic] games, athletic contests of all kinds, boating, dancing, etc., and those attending will not be at a loss to find enough to entertain them. As dancing will be one of the real features of the day, it is the earnest request of the officers of the association and the committee in charge of the dancing floor, that the members be generous this year and afford a little pleasure to their lady friends, sisters, wives or even sweethearts. Many of the ladies who have been in the habit of attending the annual picnics were not there last year, and it developed after the affair was a matter of history that they had been only too anxious to attend, but that they had not heard the necessary “Come on.” Boys, if you leave the girls at home you lose at least two-thirds of the fun that you might easily have. The committees, as well as all final details, will be announced in “Domestic Engineering” as soon as they have finally been decided upon.

Imagine someone in the area who unexpectedly had a plumbing emergency when all plumbing shops were closed for the entire day due to this annual outing.

Historic Note: In 1890, the United States Board on Geographic Names decided that the final h was to be dropped in the names of all cities and towns ending in burgh. (Throughout the period 1890-1911 city ordinances and council minutes retained the h.) In 1911, after protest from citizens who wished to preserve the historic spelling, the United States Board on Geographic Names reversed its decision and restored the h to Pittsburgh. Today, I live in Greensburg, PA, a city which did not restore their h.

Roy C. Cashdollar shown in an article from The Evening Review about the historical marker on Carolina Avenue. It is often noted that the sign is missing the final-s in "Springs," and photographer Ira Sayre commented that the modes of transportation to the park mentioned excludes train excursions, but I appreciate Roy and his committee's efforts to bring the sign to Chester. It is one of the only reminders that the park existed.

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