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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  June, 2008

Did You Know?
By Al Owens

…P.T. Barnum made frequent trips to Fayette County with his “Greatest Show on Earth?”

While it has always been the source of local lore that Barnum had accompanied the woman known as the “Swedish Nightingale,” Jenny Lind, through Fayette County during the 1850’s – Barnum would later bring his famed circus through the county on a number of occasions.

In October of 1889, an estimated 12 thousand people turned out to see Barnum & Bailey’s “monster shows.”

In September of 1906, Connellsville was treated to Barnum’s circus that featured 24 elephants that year. The circus returned to Connellsville again in 1915.

But in June of 1917, tragedy struck in Uniontown. One woman died and a “score” of people were injured when a major storm hit during an evening performance. The large main tent collapsed and as many as 50 doctors were called to the scene to treat those people who’d been hurt.

Did you know that the man who ran for president more than any other once spoke in Uniontown?
Harold Stassen, who gained fame only because he ran unsuccessfully for president nine times, spoke in Uniontown in May of 1958. He wasn’t running for president at that time. He was campaigning as a Republican candidate for the governorship of Pennsylvania. He didn’t win that either. In fact, he didn’t even win the GOP nomination.

Did you know that an ex-Uniontown school principal was arrested and later convicted of embezzlement in England? On December 9th, 1905 edition of the Washington Post, it was reported that Dr. H.F. Brooks had fled to Europe when Uniontown’s school directors had discovered accounting irregularities, which in those ways, were under the principal’s stewardship.

Did you know that some Fayette County folks keep their word - no matter what?
A Greeley, Colorado newspaper reported in the summer of 1953, that Charles Montgomery of Uniontown saved a man’s life after he nearly drowned at a local reservoir in 1895. J.A. Stewart, also of Uniontown, thanked Montgomery and promised him he would never forget his good deed.
A short time later Stewart moved to New York. When he died 58 years later, a bank notified Montgomery that Stewart had left him $500.

Did you know that on the 27th of June, 1960, the Modesto (California) Bee reported that Dr. Barbara Moore, may have been “sleepy, sunburned and hobbled by an ankle injury,” but she was prepared to continue her cross country walk after spending a night at the White Swan Hotel in Uniontown?
The 56 year-old British vegetarian had begun her trek in San Francisco on April 13th. By the time she’d made it to Centerville on Route 40, she was pictured walking with local newspaper legend Walter (Buzz) Storey.

But according to the coverage in the Uniontown Evening Standard that day Storey, “dropped out wearily after a short stretch.” (Personally, I know exactly how he felt)

Dr. Moore was pictured in New York City in early July, as she was completing her cross country walk.

Did you know that a young Uniontown marksman made the national news in 1936 although he may not have relished the notice? 16 year-old John Krulick of Uniontown was doing a little target shooting in February of that year. The Oakland (California) Tribune reported that Krulick was showing off his shooting skills, by using loaded cartridges as his target. He hit his intended target, it exploded and it flew back and injured his leg.

Did you know that President Hoover watched a baseball team from Uniontown play in a national semi-final game?
In 1939, an All Star team comprised of six Uniontown American Legion teams played against a team from Buffalo. President Hoover was on hand to watch as the local team lost to the team from New York State by a score of 16-5. Local sports legend Disey Simon was a member of the local team.

Did you know that in 1952, a local woman earned national praise for her ongoing efforts to spread Christmas cheer? The December 22nd, 1952 edition of the Eureka (California) Humboldt Standard carried the story of a local woman, Mrs. Susan Glusica, who would send special treats to some very special men in uniform.

Mrs. Glusica’s son had died during World War II. So, every year at Christmastime the gold star mother would spend a week baking more than a thousand cookies, miniature pastry Santa Clauses, candy-filled Christmas trees and popcorn balls – and sending them to her son’s “buddies.”

Did you know that a man known for traveling through space (the final frontier) also traveled to the area? He did, and I’ll tell you all about it next week.