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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  November, 2008

Did You Know?
By Al Owens

Did you know that all Uniontown dogs and cats don’t fight like cats and dogs? The Idaho State Journal reported in its July 8th, 1960 the rather “strange adoption” made by a cat owned by Uniontown’s Bertha Cromwell.

“Kate,” a five year-old cat, was pictured feeding four puppies that had been orphaned when their mother had died the day before. Kate’s own kitten had not survived birth, so she expressed her motherly instincts by providing sustenance to the pups.

Did you know that a Wharton Township man made news across the country in 1992, merely by getting himself stuck in mud?

On March 3rd of that year, the Casa Grande (Az.) Dispatch carried the story of a would be hunter who’d found himself waist deep in mud, in the middle of state game lands, with nobody to help him out of his predicament.

He’d failed to break free of the mud for 21 hours, before a logging crew came along and rescued him.

Did you know two years earlier the same newspaper highlighted another Fayette County native who’d earned quite another distinction?

On August 18th, 1990 the Dispatch carried the picture of an understandably excited Terry Mulholland after he’d pitched a no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies.

The 1981 Laurel Highlands graduate would later manage to accomplish something few pitchers have done in Major League history. While pitching for eleven different teams during his career, he beat every team in baseball.

Did you know that “World’s Most Famous Woman” once came to Uniontown? The Uniontown Morning Herald announced the visit on January 18th, 1928.

Gertrude “Trudy” Ederle, the first woman to swim across the English Channel, appeared on stage at Uniontown’s Penn Theatre.

She performed some of her swimming skills inside of a 6,000 gallon tank. It was billed as “Positively the highest priced stage attraction ever presented in Uniontown.”

Did you know that in 1922 the Christmas season around Fayette County was anything but a season of good cheer?

There were four shootings on Christmas day alone – each during Christmas celebrations. The Lincoln (Neb.) State Journal carried the story of two killings how a police officer for H.C. Frick Coke Company shot and killed a man and then died.

There had been a duel at Footdale that left a man dead. And there was “pitched battle” in Buffington with the same result.

Did you know the late 1920’s and early 1930’s may have been the biggest mercantile boom in Fayette County history? And some of the increased commercial business took place during the Great Depression.

While there had been a number of solid local and regional concerns until the mid-1920’s (Cohen's, Wright-Metzler's, Silverman Brothers, I.N. Hagan's Ice Cream Company, Zed Francis, O.C. Cluss,
Campbell-Hathaway and G.C. Murphy Co. of McKeesport), there had only been a few “chain” stores before that time.

One of the lone exceptions was the F. W. Woolworth store on Main Street in Connellsville. The New York company built its own store, and on October 10th, 1913 the Connellsville Daily Courier trumpeted its grand opening.

But in 1927 a number of “chain” stores took notice of Fayette County in rapid succession. First, that year Detroit based Kresge Company signed a 40 year lease for the purposes of opening a store on Main Street in Uniontown.

That store opened on August 3rd to much fanfare. According to the Uniontown Morning Herald, “That chain store organization doesn't locate in a town that doesn't have a mighty live present and a livelier future.”
Within months J.C. Penney opened its downtown Uniontown store.

Montgomery Ward wasn’t far behind. On Saturday, March 23rd, 1929 the Morning Herald carried the front page story of “The City’s Newest General Store,” which was filling its space in the growing downtown commercial district on Morgantown Street.
But it was the Sears and Roebuck store at the corner of Beeson Blvd. and Peter Street that caused the most local buzz.
For starters, after several years of Depression era financial decline, the Chicago based company was expanding into Uniontown. 5,000 people turned out for the 150 available jobs.

Other local businesses contributed to the full page ad offering the department store giant their grand opening day well-wishes. Although The Broadway Market couldn’t resist an opportunity to plug its own products – steak, it said was going to 12 ½ cents a pound.
The Uniontown Daily News Standard was there when the 21,000 square feet store opened on November 21st, 1934. It chronicled the very first sale.

Matt Voithofer of Smithfield bought two boxes of shotgun shells.

Did you know that a U.S. Senator from Connellsville once got slapped with a hefty lawsuit?

I’ll fill you in on the rest of the story next week.