Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cider Making

The Kretschmann Farm is an organic staple of Western PA and we swung out to Sally's Cider Press in Harmony, PA to watch them press apples, shop for pumpkins, etc.

Also took a little detour through Crow's Run:
Though not an area highly traveled these days, the area called Crow's Run by the local Indians because of the number of Crows that found a natural sanctuary as they nested and rested in the tall hemlocks that once interspersed the valley was known as Indian lands until March 12, 1783. At that time, the lands were part of what was set aside as “depreciation lands” which were given by the State of PA as payment to the soldiers and officers who had served in the revolutionary war. This land, until 1789, was priced as low as fifty cents per acre.
By 1929, the cement industry began to dominate the paving industry and coupled with the depression, demand for paving brick lessened, causing the No. 1, and last, brickyard in Crow’s Run to close its operations. The brick kilns and buildings were sold as salvage. The borough of Freedom purchased a number of them and paved many of its streets with the bricks. The balance of them were sold to a real estate firm in Ambridge, PA. Bricks can still be found today in Crows Run, though the dismantling of the yard brought an end to the industrial hey-day of the Crow’s Run Valley.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

La Belle Cut Nail Works

Founded in 1952, the La Belle Ironworks and took its name from the French name for the Ohio River, La Belle Rivière, ‘‘the beautiful river.’’ Making cut nails was an important 19th-century American manufacture, and nail production became a hallmark of Wheeling industry.
1997, it was known as the "La Belle Cut Nail Plant, The Largest in the World
The 13th month long Great Nail Strike ended the reign of Wheeling being "Nail City." Because of the strike, wire nails flooded the market and due to lack of workers, automatic nail feeders were introduced which replaced most of the need for skilled men.

But as cut nail use declined in the late 1880s in favor of modern wire nails, La Belle diversified its product line, first through the manufacture of tin plate, and later with the production of steel plates, tubes, and sheets. In 1920, La Belle merged with Wheeling Iron and Steel and Whitaker-Glessner Company to form Wheeling Steel Corporation (later Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation) and continued to produce cut nails, developing a specialized market in hardened nails for use in masonry. D-Mac Industries bought the nail plant in 1997 and operated it as Wheeling-La Belle Nail Company.
Facing an economic downturn and foreign competition, Wheeling-La Belle Nail Company closed on September 30, 2010.
The merger of Wheeling Steel and Iron Company, Wheeling-Glassner and Labelle Iron Works create the Wheeling Steel Corporation in 1920.
Those doors closed in 2010 but the company's impact on the Valley still holds strong today even having the hockey team named after the industry.

Friday, September 11, 2015


I had worked cross the river from Moundsville a few years ago and was able to return recently to see the Mound.
View from the top:
The state Pen: