Thursday, August 18, 2011

Presston (Stowe Township)

Historic Presston, Stowe Township & McKees RocksPresston is a small residential community in an industrial setting. It was originally the company town of Schoenville, constructed in 1899 as worker housing for employees of the Pressed Steel Car Company. Many of the residents of this community were immigrants, who were kept in constant debt by the company, which resulted in the famous 1909 McKees Rocks Strike. Eleven people died in the strike. Presston has a dramatic and fascinating history. The neighborhood is still mostly intact.













The Presston - McKees Rocks Pedestrian Bridge (closed and soon to be demolished)

16 comments:

  1. MY FATHER WAS BORN ON OHIO STREET - HIS MOTHER WAS SHOT TO DEATH IN 1938 WITH A POLICEMANS GUN. IT WAS AT THE TIME RULED SELF INFLICKED. MY FATHER WAS ONLY 3 YEARS OLD. DOES ANYONE KNOW THE SPEK OR DEJOHN FAMILY?

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    1. I'm Albert De John, Jr. I was 4 years old when my mother Anna Spak De John was shot. We lived with the Spaks on 94 Ohio St. Please don't remain anonymous as I would like to contact you. You can contact me by email : aldejohn@verizon.net

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    2. I was born at 94 Ohio St. in a house belonging to my grandmother Justine Spak. My father, Albert was married to Anna Spak. They had two of us, my older brother Daniel & me. My mother, Anna died in December, 1939. I was 4 years then. We moved to Avalon shortly after that indecent. Will the person who wrote "MY FATHER WAS BORN etc." please contact me at aldejohn@verizon.net.

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  2. That's a fascinating piece of history. If you have facebook, join the McKees Rocks Historical Society group. You can ask your question to the group and there may be some old timers who remember.

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  3. McKees Rocks Historical Society Facebook Private (you must ask to join) group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/129546890402006/331374450219248/

    McKees Rocks Historical Society Public Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/McKees-Rocks-Historical-Society/139655842733617

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  4. AnonymousJuly 13, 2013

    Thanks for documenting. My father grew up there and would tell stories passed down about the horrible turn of the centiry conditions (horses kicking down doors, etc) from when the neighborhood was still company housing. I have fond memories of playing in Presston park and going to the little corner store that used to be next to it.

    Most of the houses have been heavily modified over the years. Duplex's created from the 4 unit flats. Old, outside staircases for the 2nd floor units still exist in most houses, just covered up from the front.

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    1. I've don't know of any outside staircases and all of the houses are mirrored images of the other side of the duplex with two rooms downstairs, staircases on the shared inner wall and two rooms upstairs. The main difference you will find is where each house added (or didn't) a bathroom as they had outhouses as recent at the 1950's, or any additions to the back. I grew up in Presston and my father currently owns 10 of these houses, only 2 of which are heavily modified and one containing no bathroom, only a literal Water Closet, with a single toilet.

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    2. Yes some of the house had an outside staircase, I believe it was just the houses on the first block near the river where I lived. I'm not sure if they all had them but some did. That's why the alleys between the house are wider down there. Also those houses on that block have 3 rooms downstairs 2 rooms up.

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  5. This is great stuff. I grew up on Orchard Street until I was 12. Some of my family still lives down there. I miss the Candy Store, the "Dirtpiles", running across the footbridge up to Island Avenue (There used to be a candy store up there, too, near where Davis School was.), the 4th of July picnics at the park...so much stuff comes back to mind after seeing this. Well done, sir.

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  6. i think the bridge should be saved what happened to the material that was to be used for the bridge ?it would be a shame to tear it down it was a way out if flooding occured why can't it be saved?

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    1. i was living in florida when someone told me a preston resident made the news for sealing the footbridge supplies

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  7. Grandparents lived at 28 Ohio St. Spent many weekends visiting while growing up. Family lived near the Stowe police station on Island Ave. Made many trips across the foot bridge and can remember standing in the smoke of the locomotives on the train tracks below. Have some old Presston 4th of July festivities publications from the 1920s (or earlier). No copyright so will share sometime in the near future.

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  8. where the park is withthe grass on both sides, was there ever buildings there and what were they? and at the end of orchard street was a big building called the bricky, what was that building?

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  9. I believe the brickhouse was originally for railroad workers, then later residence for individuals and families I believe, possibly rentals. A friend of mine lived there and I would visit, but only to the front door.

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  10. Is anyone familiar with Presston Midget League Baseball from 1927?

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  11. My great great grandfather was Deputy Harry Exley.. the one mentioned in several articles and pictured from August 21, 1909 Bloody Sunday. Strikers pulled him out of streetcar and killed him. :(
    jenglenn812@comcast.net if anyone has pictures or more info for our family tree.. or find me at ancestry.com

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