The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.
My Jane and I celebrated Easter with her parents before we returned to our quest by making a trip back to the future. Our destination, Armstrong County founded March 12, 1800 looms large in both family histories. My Jane’s Dad grew up in Brady’s Bend where his Father worked in a Lime Stone Company office. Here is a little tidbit that you might not know. Brady’s Bend was making iron twenty years before Pittsburgh started the industry. My Jane’s folks moved to Kittanning where her Dad worked for NCR. Jane’s Mom did the laundry in the basement of the house and hung the clothes to dry in the attic. The baby (My Jane) and a play pen were carried up and down the stairs to be with Mom while she worked. The family connections have brought the relatives back to a cottage on the Allegheny just up river from Kittanning for annual reunions.
As we started down the mountain across the river from Kittanning we immediately located the courthouse high on the opposite mountain and made that our first stop of the day. Allow me a moment to share a thought about our uniformed law enforcement and security personnel. Entering the courthouse we passed through the metal detector to witness a ‘kook’ baiting the uniforms because they confiscated his hard plastic brass knuckles. The guards where absolutely patient and non confrontational with the bully. I believe, like Ivory Snow, that 99 99/100% of uniformed folks are exceptional people. When you see them let them know you appreciate what they do and who they are. When we find the occasional uniformed bully let’s not defend them but make them go away immediately if not sooner. End of sermon!!
Instead of interrupting the scene at the security desk we wandered around until we found the Treasurer’s office and Lori. We almost had a party as several other folks joined in the discussion while we tried to determine what building had been the Kittanning hospital in the early fifties and where we might get a hot dog. It turns out Dizzy Lizzie’s was having a hot dog special that day and someone even showed us the flier containing the information. Thanks to all the folks in the Treasurer’s office for making our quest so pleasant.
On the way out of the courthouse I shared with the security guards that I appreciated how they dealt with the ‘goof-ball’ and his brass knuckles. They laughed and replied, “That’s why we get the big bucks.” I love it!
The Kittanning Hospital which is now the Armstrong County Health Center was a four block walk (down hill of course) from the courthouse. My sister, Randy (our Dad’s name was Randall), was born in this building while my family lived in Dayton.
After the photo stop My Jane and I backtracked to Dizzy Lizzie’s just down the hill from the courthouse. Everything is down the hill from the courthouse in Kittanning. This is Dizzy Lizzie. Just kidding! Fred is the owner of the restaurant and he gave it the name. Fred is semi-retired now which means he comes in to open the restaurant and hang around awhile to talk to folks. He goes back home and returns to lock up in the evening. When he isn’t doing restaurant stuff he likes to go fishing. Sounds pretty sweet to me!
My Jane ordered some chicken noodle soup from Michele. (isn’t she cute?) and was amazed at the size of the bowl. Everything in the soup was made from scratch at the restaurant (well maybe the chicken came from somewhere else). The noodles were thick and delicious as was the cream. Yummy! I know because I had a ‘cup’ of soup with my chili cheese stuffed hot dog special. The hot dog was all over my hands and you know that means – it was great:-)
Michele (one ‘L’ because the second one serves no purpose) doesn’t like hot dogs. When she was in grade school her father was on some sort of hot dog diet. Apparently the family had hot dogs at every meal. I think, even I might have some difficulty with that diet.
We found the school building where I attended first grade and my first year of second grade. Yes, second grade was my favorite two years of school:-). After a little confusion (Dayton is not large so directional confusion can only be ‘small’.), we found the house my family lived in for two or three years. The house was white when we lived there and that was my room above my head. I remember that hill in front of the house being way more steep??
Our trip back to the future was most enjoyable. Thanks for sharing it with us.
The county was named in honor of John Armstrong, who was a Pennsylvania representative to the Continental Congress and fought in the Revolutionary War as a major general.
See you next time.