Week 3 (Hints of Spring)

I spent some time looking for signs of spring this week. It’s been an especially long winter and we’ve finally traded our snow flurries for some warmer weather and even hints of sun once in a while.

Bob Podurgiel had warned me about a momma goose that had nested right off the bank of Chartiers Creek near the rail tower. I kept my distance and managed to squeeze off a few shots without disturbing her. She seems so exposed and alone. There’s no shelter here and she’s the only protection that her eggs are getting. It’s no wonder geese have a reputation for being so protective.

The trees are in full bloom this week and the white petals are everywhere. It seems that we’ve traded our occasional snow flurries for falling blossoms. I ran into Michael below as I was taking pictures. He looked a bit perplexed and it took a minute or so before he finally asked what I was doing. We chatted for about ten minutes and he let me take a few shots of him for fun. I enjoyed his company and hope we run into each other again.


Week 2 (Festival of Color)

I’ve got photos from two different events this week.

Chuck Beard moved his the gallery for his long term “Abandoned Pittsburgh” project to Main Street this week. His grand opening was this past weekend and was well attended. The gallery is beautiful and Chuck is a fascinating person to talk to. His gallery is a great addition to the borough.

The second event was Carnegie’s Festival of Color which was a blast. The Indian Community Center did a really nice job hosting the event. Everybody was incredibly friendly, the entertainment was first class and the rain held off until the end.

The only downside was that there wasn’t a larger turnout from the community. You should consider giving the event a shot next year if you are in the area. It’s a great family-friendly venue.

I had a wonderful time. I just need to figure out whether I want to wash my camera bag or learn to “embrace the purple.”

Week 1 (Borough Council)

The Flying Squirrel is a great game and toy store/ice cream shop in Carnegie. Unfortunately the shop owner, Mel Luke announced that the store needed to close. This was a big blow to Carnegie especially in the wake of the fire at Papa J’s recently.

Shortly after news of the closing came another announcement that Mel wanted to open a small, single-screen movie theatre in the same location. Tonight was her presentation to the Carnegie Borough council. There was a full house in support of the proposal and council decided to proceed with looking into the zoning changes needed to make the movie theatre a reality.

I attended the meeting to provide support and try to get a few photos. But after Mel’s proposal I was approached by Colleen Bowers. She introduced herself and asked if I could stay and take a few pictures of a presentation ceremony.

Colleen’s daughter Melissa lost her life in an attack by her boyfriend. She has since dedicated much of her time to raise money and awareness for victims of domestic violence.

Colleen presented a check to “The Center of Victims” for ten thousand dollars that was raised during a recent fundraiser in honor of her daughter.

Colleen was incredibly gracious and I really enjoyed meeting her. She’s doing an amazing job keeping her daughter’s memory alive.

I’m glad I came to the meeting tonight to support the changes to the community. But I feel very lucky to have met Colleen and to have heard her story.

An Introduction

Hi – thanks for taking the time to visit.

There’s a bit of information about me and this project in the header of this page. I wanted to spend a little time talking about why I’ve started this project and share some of the pictures I’ve taken over the past couple of months as I prepared to embark on this adventure.

Here’s a brief list of my motivations:

  • I want to try to figure out what happened to cause Carnegie to blossom over the past few years. Carnegie didn’t bounce back immediately after the flood in 2004 and I want to meet the people involved in bringing it back to life.
  • Along those lines – there are people like Phil Salvato at Third Street Gallery and the folks at Standard Ceramic that were completely  wiped out by that flood. I’d like to find out what kind of person sticks out the hard times and reinvests the time and money to start over from scratch.
  • There’s a rich history in Carnegie that begs to be explored. It’s the home of Honus Wagner and his presence can still be felt in parts of the borough. The townspeople turned back a KKK rally that nearly doubled the town’s population in 1923. Frank Holtz was the chief of police until 1991 but wrestled on ‘Studio Wrestling’ as ‘The Fighting Cop’ for many years. He was recently inducted in the Keystone State Wrestling Hall of fame. The local library is a treasure trove of information regarding Abraham Lincoln. I could continue but I’ll save that for future posts.
  • Art and music are booming in Carnegie and there is a great deal of personality behind those scenes. I’d like to meet the people that make that happen.
  • There are institutions like businesses that have been on Main Street for over a hundred years and local churches that mix with new businesses that have brought an influx of new shoppers over the past few years. I love that the resurgence in Carnegie is home-grown and not because some outside entity came to town with a boatload of new jobs.

I don’t want my project to be a billboard for Carnegie – I just want to show the town as it is.

I’ve already made new friends and look forward to making more as I make my way through the borough.

I’d like to give a shout out to Jeff Keenan and Dan McGrogan from the Carnegie Historical Society for their time and help.

I met Robert Podurgiel through this project and he’s already become a good friend. He’s been an endless source of information and my biggest cheerleader as he introduces me to everybody that we run into. I apologize in advance if my work doesn’t live up to Bob’s fanfare.

I plan on posting once a week on Sunday evenings and my next post will be December 17th. Thanks for taking the time to come by!

If you have any suggestions please don’t hesitate to use my contact page.


Christmas in Carnegie

(Thanks so much to Robert Podurgiel for the background for this event and this write up)

Light up Night in Carnegie brings everyone together to celebrate the holidays with the lighting of the town’s Colorado Blue Spruce tree.

Planted in 1994 in honor of Carnegie’s Centennial Celebration, the Blue Spruce now towers almost five stories high over the PNC parking lot on West Main Street, creating a challenge to decorate the enormous tree, but each year the Public Works Department and volunteers are up to the challenge.

Children from the Carlynton School District and the Higher Voice Music Academy on East Main Street sing Christmas carols at the base of the tree while volunteers serve hot chocolate and cookies.  Coming to the event every year is a holiday tradition for many families in town.

The evening culminates with a visit from Santa, who arrives in the Carnegie Volunteer Fire Department’s ladder truck to distribute gifts and toys to the children.

Each year the Volunteer Fire Department sells Christmas trees in the parking lot across from the fire station on West Main Street, and the many retail shops on Main Street participate in the annual window display contest.  The competition is fierce.

George at Modern Mercantile designed the holiday window displays for the big department stores in downtown Pittsburgh before he opened his shop on East Main Street.  Modern Mercantile sets the standard when it comes to window displays, but he is always willing to help out other shop owners when they come to him with questions on how to improve their displays.

Joe Beth, owner of Oh La La boutique on East Main Street, says one of the things she likes most about Carnegie is that the business owners all work together to make the town a fun place to shop and visit during the holidays.