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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  November, 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know that all you needed was $5.50 and you could have bought a wedding ring in Connellsville back in 1946?

In February of that year, Posner’s Credit Jewelers on North Pittsburgh Street had a sale featuring a “wide selection of all the smartest styles in wedding bands.”

You could get the carved 14K gold wedding band for five and a half dollars.

Or, if you splurged, you could take home a “5-diamond wedding circlet,” for a mere $32.50.

Did you know that with the state of Pennsylvania adding new gambling establishments in recent years, an event that made national news back in 1915, could serve as a worthwhile cautionary tale?

I found it in the May 20th, 1915 edition of the Trenton (New Jersey) Evening Times. It seems a Connellsville woman got a divorce because of her husband’s extremely serious gambling problems.

I know the word “extremely” is a mighty strong word, but in this case it could even be an understatement.

The woman’s husband would take his daily earnings and gamble them away each night. The couple also had two adolescent daughters, and the wife told the court that her husband had even taken pennies from their piggybanks and gambled them away.

Did you know that hair (something that, at this age, seems like a fading memory) has saved the lives of two women in Fayette County – and in two different eras?

That same Trenton, New Jersey newspaper reported on February 17th, 1910 that a Uniontown woman who’d had her hair made up in the style of Napoleon’s wife, Empress Josephine, was walking along a busy Uniontown sidewalk, when disaster nearly struck.

A runaway horse pulling a broken sleigh ran onto the sidewalk and, according to the article, “Women and children scattered into doorways out of danger.”

Everybody had avoided serious injury, except that woman with that highly styled hairdo. It seems “the shaft of the sleigh shot through her high coiffure and dragged her a hundred yards, retarding the horse sufficiently to be stopped.”

The woman was bruised, and perhaps a little startled, but her hair probably helped her escape serious injury.

That very same newspaper reported on September 6th, 1921 the case of how a woman’s hair (or the lack of it) prevented another serious injury in Uniontown.

Miss Sarah H. Kline was in town from Bryn Mawr for the Labor Day auto races, when somebody lit a cigarette on a hotel balcony along Main Street – and threw their still flaming match in the direction of the sidewalk.

The flame from the match instantly caught the Bryn Mawr woman’s sweater on fire. A Philadelphia man immediately took action to extinguish the fire.

Fortunately, the woman was wearing her hair in a short bobbed style or she may have received even more than a scorched neck.

Or, as the Trenton newspaper put it, “it almost certainly would have ignited, with serious-consequences.”

Of course those Labor Day races had gained quite a bit of popularity and national fame back in 1921. In fact, auto races at Uniontown Speedway even rivaled those of the races in Indianapolis.

But did you know that long before Uniontown held races at Uniontown Speedway, automobile drivers still raced for prize money in the area?

This item comes for that Trenton newspaper on January 9th, 1915: “AUTOMOBILE DRIVERS WILL HAVE $205,000 TO FIGHT TO FOR DURING THE YEAR 1915,” the headline read.

Later that year, the Indianapolis race would offer $50,000 in prize money. Among the other locations listed was the Uniontown Hill Climb. Five thousand dollars would be awarded in that race.

While Uniontown trailed Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit and a number of much larger cities in prize money that year, there would later be a category in which Uniontown was only second to Boston nationwide. It was called postal savings.

The United States Postal Savings System was first implemented in January of 1911. It was similar to the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) today.

People could deposit their money (usually in small amounts) into the U.S. Postal System and their money would be safe because it was backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States Government.”

In January of 1923 it was reported that Uniontown was only second in the amount of increased deposits versus withdrawals in the U.S. Postal Savings System during the previous Christmas season.

The Portsmouth (NH) Herald claimed the increases across the country were because of high employment in mining and industrial communities.
Boston had the highest number of deposits, followed by Uniontown and then Chicago.

Did you know that an alert airplane pilot near Connellsville once saved a small child in what was termed “movie-thriller fashion?” The September 20th, 1940 edition of the Reno (Nevada) Evening Gazette carried an item about a “youthful farming couple” that had reported the strange, four day disappearance of their two year-old little boy.

The article claimed the state police had theorized it was a case of abduction, and they had “set out to find a kidnapper.”

However, on the couple’s 13th wedding anniversary (coincidentally), an airplane pilot spotted the child in a cornfield and he flew to the couple’s farm, where he signaled by yelling at them.

They followed him and found that the child was safe.

The article concluded by saying that the search for the child, which had involved dozens of police officers and hundreds of volunteers, had ended.