Skip to main content

Butler, PA Walkabout

 1113

Over the Christmas holiday, I was able to explore parts of Southwestern Pennsylvania.  On December 23rd, we took a drive up to and walked around the town of Butler.

To visit the entire photo set on flickr, head here.

Butler is a unique town of 15,000 located about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh.  It is the county seat of Butler County.  The County Courthouse (shown below) was built in 1885 and is still in use today.

1070

One of more unique buildings in Bulter is the Butler County Motor Company Ford Dealership.

1079

This is the first time I had seen an automotive dealer be housed in a multi-story building like this.  The Butler County Motor Company (aka Butler County Ford) has been around since 1918 and was one of the first Ford automotive dealerships authorized by Henry Ford.

Walking down Main Street in Butler - there are a number of great older building, storefronts, and ghost signs.

1091

1087

Beer? Wine? Your choice

1086

One of the buildings that caught my eye at the end was the home of the Penn Theatre.  Even though looking up the theatre online says that it is being renovated, it looks in pretty bad shape, and most of those articles date to 2005 and the theatre looks a lot better then.

The Penn Theatre will see better days

1104

1106

The theatre was built in 1938 and was sold in 2001.  Currently, the Butler Penn Theatre Community Trust hopes to renovate the Penn Theatre but the last information I found was a presentation from 2009.  I certainly hope that this theatre can be renovated and that various events small, large, local, and otherwise can occur there.

Finally, it was a cold day and even some snow flurries briefly fell through the air.  Maggie and I stopped at a Downtown Butler tradition, Cummings Candy and Coffee Shop to warm up and get something to eat.

1099

The Cummings family have owned and operated the shop since 1905 - making it the oldest family owned business in Butler!  Inside definitely has an old fashioned soda shop feel, and it's a great place to have some coffee or tea or a quick snack.

There's a lot more to Butler than the quick 30 or so minute walk that Friday before Christmas.  It was certainly worth the drive to check out for the first time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

The Many Failed Plans of Pittsburgh's Wabash Bridge and Tunnel

The December 27, 2004 opening of the Wabash Tunnel ended over 70 years of proposals and speculation for the use of the over 100 year old facility.  The tunnel, which is now a reversible roadway that is an alternative route for rush hour traffic, saw many failed plans during the 20th Century.  These plans included options for mass transit, converted and new bridges for vehicles, and other forms of transportation.

Brief History:
Constructed in 1902-04, the Wabash Bridge and Tunnel was planned and financed by rail mogul, Jay Gould.  Gould began his "Battle of the Wabash" with the established railroads of the city in 1890.  He would finally emerge victorious, but during that struggle, Gould would see many setbacks that would eventually result in the railroad's bankruptcy in 1908.  On October 19, 1903, when the two ends of the bridge were to be joined together over the Monongahela River, the 109' bridge collapsed; killing ten men.  Construction would resume four days later …

A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

History:
Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…