Carnegie Borough celebrates 120 yearsPublished Apr 9, 2014 at 5:49 am (Updated Apr 7, 2014 at 11:02 am)
Dan McGrogan attended Carnegie’s 120-year anniversary celebration with his mother Marcella, jazz guitarist Joe Negri, Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek and Maggie Forbes, executive director of Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.
Historical Society of Carnegie volunteer Harry Rieder is on hand every Tuesday to point out historical and cultural resources. He stands near the miniature Husler building which houses the historical society.
Birth of the rich history of Carnegie began in 1894 as residents of Chartiers and Mansfield boroughs voted to merge and form the Carnegie Borough. Voters wanted to show appreciation to steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who gifted residents with the Carnegie High School and the majestic Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.
This early, vibrant community was once a hub for residents of rural communities who came to worship and for health care, to shop and for farmers who trucked in to market their fruits and vegetables.
“I’m in my fifth year as mayor of Carnegie,” said Jack Kobistek. “There is much unrealized potential in Carnegie. I can see that borough residents are very interested in what happens here and I want to be here to help the town grow.”
People of Carnegie really love their town. It is evident through the enthusiasm residents show and the countless smiles. Their undeniable pride shines through as the community celebrates 120 years of building and restoring their town for future generations.
Marking the borough’s March anniversary, Carnegie writer and artist Bernadette Kazmarski recently featured the beauty of its landscapes and picturesque Main Street in her poetry readings and paintings at the landmark Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.
Continuing its milestone birthday celebration, residents recently welcomed Pittsburgh’s own Joe Negri and Friends in the Music Hall. The evening included a special tribute to Carnegie icon Marcella McGrogan as she received special recognition for her dedication to preserving Carnegie’s history.
In 1990, Marcella and her husband Dan formed the Historical Society of Carnegie. Favorite daughter, Marcella has devoted decades to preserving the borough’s history and gathering artifacts. Housed in the historic Husler Building on West Main Street, volunteers take pride in caring for the wealth of vintage documents, photographs and historical moments available to those who enter its doors.
With so much of Carnegie’s history carefully preserved for generations to come, visitors can learn about former steel mills and schools, ethnic groups who chose to make Carnegie their home and even the former danceland.
They can view a topographical map dated 1749-1799, drawings of individual churches and read about their religious heritage. World Wars I and II military uniforms worn by Carnegie’s own are on hand for all to see plus photos of parades, sporting events and the devastating floods residents endured in more than a century. Reflecting mostly on its people, the historical society calls back yesterday with photos of soldiers heading to the Spanish-American War in 1898, by honoring men and women who have served in the armed forces on the Military Wall and an entire room focusing on the life and career of baseball legend Honus Wagner.
But it’s the Main Street reproduction of the early years, handcrafted by Walter Stasik, that has Carnegie preserved at its best. With precise attention to detail, Walter’s scale model buildings and storefronts feature exact replicas of its early town. Tiny doors open, seats fill the theaters and tables and chairs seem to await diners in the restaurants. It’s great to see so much of Carnegie’s past in one place.
“I like to leverage milestones,” said Margaret J. Forbes, executive director, ACFL&MH. “A 120-year anniversary doesn’t have a special name, but it’s still significant. Bringing the community together to pay tribute to Marcella seemed the perfect way to celebrate.”
To learn more about what the historical society has to offer, call 412-276-7447.