Bridgeville Remembered


A History of Bridgeville from Colonial Times to 1950
- by John F. Oyler

The following pages are a collection of essays dealing with the history of the Bridgeville area, beginning in colonial times and continuing through 1950. In 2013 and 2014 the Bridgeville Area Historical Society and the Bridgeville Public Library sponsored a series of fifteen lectures on this subject. Following each lecture, I commented on the specific topic with a column in my series “Water Under the Bridge” which is published weekly in the Bridgeville Area News. Some lectures generated several columns. These columns have been modified and are presented in chronological order.

First Printing 2014
Bridgeville Area Historical Society
Copyright 2014 (Text and Pictures) - John F. Oyler

Table of Contents

Image Title

Bridgeville - Images of America

title

For more information on Bridgeville history and even more historic photos,
be sure to check out John Oyler's book:

Bridgeville - Images of America
from Arcadia Press, 2010.

Copies can be purchased from the Bridgeville Area Historical Society
or from any bookstore.

What’s in a name?

  • Putting the “bridge” in Bridgeville...

    According to John Oyler, writer of the column Water Under the Bridge for the Bridgeville Area News, the old saying “meet me at the bridge” really did provide the name for the community which established itself on the banks of the Chartiers Creek.

    The problem began with the only bridge which crossed the creek. Back in the late 18th century, the owner of the only accessible bridge which crossed the Charters Creek decided he would begin charging a toll for the privilege of traveling across his bridge—in part to help recoup his costs in improving the structure.

    Local farmers, however, were none too pleased with that idea and threatened to create their own bridge. After much legal wrangling, a group of them began construction of a new bridge. Once finished, it became a local landmark and the go-to meeting place for area residents—where they would “meet at the bridge.”

Bridgeville Tidbits

  • The history you didn't know...

    - Population in the village of Bridgeville in 1858 was 110 persons. The local school, in contrast, had 96 registered pupils. Students came not only from Bridgeville, but also from the surrounding area--farms and homes in Collier, South Fayette and outlying areas of Upper St. Clair Townships.

    - In 1830, Jonathan Middleswarth built a fabulous new home for his intended bride. Unfortunately, she jilted him at the altar and the house was forever known as Jonathan’s Folly.

    - The second postmaster in Bridgeville was Maggie Morgan, who served from June 1874 until November 1875.  She was the daughter of the first postmaster and worked in the Moorehead Post Office, located in Morgan's Store (on present-day Route 519).

    - Prior to its incorporation on 27 July 1901, Bridgeville was the largest unincorporated village in Allegheny County, with a population of 2,400 people and 425 registered MALE voters.

    - The first borough building was at 358 Washington Avenue.  The contract for construction was given to the Colussy brothers, and the cost of construction was listed as $6,441.

    - In October 1901, there were eight mail arrivals each day to the Railroad Street Station.  Station agent W.F. Russell was made to carry the 36 sacks of mail between the station and the post office in Bennett's Drug Store.

    - A special "movie" train operated from Bridgeville to Pittsburgh, and departed at 7:10 PM—taking residents into town for an evening out.  A "shoppers" train also operated, departing at 10:00 AM.  Trains truly were the only real method of transportation into town—particularly for emergency trips to the hospital, where patients were loaded by stretcher onto a train's baggage car whenever it was required.
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