Quick Tip: Town Histories

When researching the history of a particular town, check what the local media had to say on the anniversary of its founding. Newspapers often print special editions at these times that contain a wealth of historical information.

Papers printed on a town’s centennial or bicentennial are a good place to start, but don’t discount the lesser anniversaries — the 50th, the 75th, or even the odd 220th. You might even check for special editions printed by a newspaper on its own anniversary.

This Week in History: Prewar Prosperity in 1915

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the January 28, 1915 edition of the Morning Herald.

In January of 1915, the U.S. was just emerging from a two-year recession. It was in this economic climate that the The Morning Herald made a joyful announcement: The H.C. Frick Company had called for a thousand more coke ovens to be fired (or put into operation) across the region, and ordered them to run five days a week.

“I predict . . . that in the next few years a medical man of Uniontown will be able to look through and through the human body and discover any irregularity or abnormality, and with other discoveries in therapeutics and surgical appliances brought into use, will be able to right it so far as human power can right a physical wrong.

Then in these halcyon days, and they are coming — we shall only die because ‘All men are Mortal.'”

– H.R. Stout, Fayette County physician

Source: “A Century of Medicine.” Daily News Standard [Uniontown, PA] 4 July 1896: 9.

This Week In History: The Storm of 1886

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the January 14, 1886 edition of the Republican Standard called “Snow Bound.”

With this January’s subzero temperatures still fresh in our minds, it seemed fitting to bring up another wretched moment in Fayette County’s weather history: The Storm of 1886, which the Republican Standard deemed “a landmark in the conquests of King Blizzard.”

After a mild holiday, the first sign of bad weather came on Friday, January 8, 1886:

“The old mountain began to roar and rumble, ominous of a pending storm. About dark it began to snow . . . The storm raged without cessation through Saturday and Saturday night, blowing, snowing, drifting and freezing. Before Sunday morning it had become too cold to snow, but the windstorm prevailed more or less until Sunday night. The snow was nearly a foot and a half deep and the mercury had dropped to below zero.”

This Week in History: The Braznell Mine Disaster of 1899

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the January 6, 1900 edition of the Daily News Standard called “Coroner’s Jury Verdict.” 

An hour before sunrise on December 23, 1899, engineer Solomon Meese stood near the mouth of the Braznell Mine. As the operator of the cage that transported workers up and down the mine shaft, he’d already sent a few groups down that morning. Others had gone in before he’d arrived and were busy preparing for their shift more than a hundred feet below the surface.