The Thunder Bird Boatel an old show boat that sat along the Allegheny river in Ohara twp pa. which had a notoroius ending.

There is nothing now but a couple pilings along the Allegheny River where the Thunderbird  Boatel once sat.
along River Road in Ohara Twp. at an angle across from the Oakmont Yacht Club  a big white old fashioned side wheeler it sat along River Road for several decades and hosted numerous musical acts
as well as  dinner party's and events .

But with the loss of a newer generation not wanting to dress up and go to a show and dinner  the Boatel ended up closing  in 1967and sitting empty for many years  till it became a notorious private  gay bondage club apparently  when it was raided by the Allegheny County Police for under age drinking and sealed its fate never to open again. I remember the headlines flashing across KDKA late evening news many people where shocked at the time in late 70s when the raid took place. Eventually in early80's it was towed down river and as far as  I can determine and
was scrapped.  Its hard to find anything online about the boatel and of course memory's are fading as well.
With its notorious past its not hard understanding why . Apparently not everyone was a fan of it sitting there as several neighbors complained to Ohara twp about noise from party's and lack of parking .

Unfortunately its another piece of lost history in the Pittsburgh region and for some people good reason  one of those what happens in Vegas stayed in Vegas situations.

Yes there actually was a Transylvania Bible School in Pennsylvania

Transylvania Bible School sure conjures up images of a college vampires would attend but this was not the case it was a very serious bible study school located on Freeport Road the Old Pa route 28
in Slate Lick  Armstrong County.
Started by the Dr. Harry Shilling in 1938  -45

In what started out as a camp ground ,gas station etc.  and grew into a beautiful historic stone 3 story learning  facility which still stands to this day  and is now known as Biblicle Life Institute

I still remember the road side sign along modern route 28 which proudly proclaimed Transylvania Bible School   back in 60s  which was there for many years. and always wondered about the place till finnaly when i was able to drive on my own I drove up the old 28 Freeport road and found it.
people don't believe you when you tell them their was just such a place named Transylvania Bible School but for any one who lived in Armstrong ,Butler County area  at the time they would remember that road sign had they traveled down Route 28.

40-8 La Societe des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux The military Organization with a chapter here in Pa. you probably never heard of but may remember their parade float

If you ever attended a parade in Western Pa. in 60s , 70s or early 80's  you may remember this float which was built to resemble a train.

The last time I saw it was in Kittaning  around 2005 it was sitting in a vacant lot minus its parade marking  the one I always remembered was the 40-8 marking on the front.
which got me wondering what was this float all about ? and what happened to it?

Well the answer will surprise you . The name of the Organization is

40 - 8 La Societe des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux  which mens Forty and eight in french

It is  an Elite  High Honors Military Organization  which came out  of the American Legion national Meeting held right here in Philadelphia in 1920 by returning WWI vets

 and whose mission was to help take care of the orphans of  soldiers
killed during WWI  and has since taken on other charitable work.

All based around the numbers 40-8 which was marked on rail cars in Europe during WWI which meant  occupancy by 40 soldiers or 8 horses 

There where a couple chapters here in Pa. they even had a picnic grounds I remember passing I think it was in Fayette county or laurel highlands  it was way high up on a mountain ridge .

Sadly all the men who built the float and where member of the local Voiture  as it was known have all passed and chapter possibly closed . I have not heard of any activity's of the group in many years which is why the train was sitting where it was up for sale.
another unique piece of W. Pa military history lost. But there is still an active chapter in Bucks Montgomery county area.

   is a

A Strange Unused Tunnel Entrance on Southsides E. Carson Street

If you travel down E. Carson several hundred feet from Arlington ave and across from terminal way you will find a strange unused tunnel entrance
 not quite big enough for a modern car but large enough to make one wonder what it was for .

It has always been fenced off as long as I can remember but at one time you could walk under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Tracks to a small group of homes in a gully beside Arlington Ave which was partly filled in and reused for the construction of the Liberty bridge in the 1930s. .

People often call this the Neeld Tunnel  as there was a proposal at one time to run a tunnel from near this area on E. Carson to Warrinton ave  But this does not seem to be the case tunnel is not big enough . Most logical explanation is it was shut off and replaced by several steel stair cases built over the railroad because the tunnels where dark and dangerous for pedestrians to use to their homes .
Bridge over E. Carson near tunnel  now gone

Many of the pedestrian tunnels under the railroad in  Wilkinsburg where closed off for the same reason.

Sadly many of the steel staircases have been closed and removed as well over the years as people no longer walk to work in the numbers they once did from the slopes. 

If i find any more solid evidence on the tunnel and its history I will update it in the future.

Rumors of a not so Holy Cemetary in Westmoreland county where a Convent and Academy once stood

The St Xavier Convent Academy for Girls once stood along Us 30 The Lincoln Highway  near Latrobe it was within eye site of St Vincent's .
Sadly all that remains is a old road a couple pathways a broken statue of Mary and some foundations the Academy and Convent where destroyed in a catastrophic fire back in January 28 1963

What does remain and is still in use thou is the St Xavier Cemetery a little down Xavier road
with its neatly aligned tomb stones and markers the final resting place of the Nuns of Mercy

Unfortunately they have had to fence off and forbid trespassers due to graves being robbed of brass plates and ornaments and vandalism .
It is a Holy and consecrated  place not to be disturbed.

But locals have for years have talked about Rumors of a 2nd Cemetery on the property an Unholy Cemetery
 where the fetuses of unborn babies are buried those conceived by young lady's who attended the academy who got knocked up by one of the boys from St. Vincent's and even those of nuns said to have become pregnant by priests.  

Is there any truth to it the local diocese  adamantly denies any such activity ever happens and such cemetery full of  hundreds unmarked fetuses graves exists .

However having been raised Roman Catholic I have heard these same rumors not only here at St Xavier but other catholic institutions its a subject not talked about. But lets face it . In very rare instances it did happen, and how it was handled is a subject not to be talked about.Because the Roman Catholic church is anti abortion . Where the children Aborted or where they given up for adoption?

The only way these rumors will be put to rest would be to use ground penetrating radar on the grounds  and be allowed to be explored and I do not see that happening.

Yes there has always been quiet rumors about the church and its some times unholy practices  and plenty of documentary exist on You-Tube as well as books and on the History and other Cable Channels .Will the truth ever come out who knows but as long as the church is not willing to come out and allow questions to be resolved there will always be  questions rumors and conspiracy's.

The strange abandoned cement ponds in South park which where once swimming pools complete with water fall

If you go up behind the Stone Manse in South Park in Allegheny County Pa. you will find several shallow  cement ponds complete with water fall  emptied and abandoned in early1960s. and now overgrown and forgotten. maybe your grandparents talked about swimming there.

Up until the time they where permanently shit down they where a favorite place for young children to go swimming I went there with my 2 younger brothers several times until the county closed the ponds due to several reasons.

First the ponds had no filtration or treatment to the water and spread of disease was a worry.

2nd they where always being vandalized as they had no fence around them and illegal late night party goers would throw glass beer and wine bottles into the ponds .

 You would have to be in your 50s. to say you swam there but what a neat experience it was
especially getting to play around the water falls. I remember a couple kids brought a plastic boat to the pond which was from a promotion for Chicita bananas one time which stores had on display.

Just one of the great memories I will have that younger generations will never ever know .

If you know where to look the remains of a deadly US Navy Hell Diver Bomber that crashed in the Laurel Highlands can be visited

There have been many small aircraft over the years that have crashed into the mountainous area known as the Laurel Highlands which composes parts of Westmoreland, Fayette and Somerset county's in Pa. Famous for its thick unforgiving fog which has caused many crashes after pilots lost their bearings and did not know mountain was below .

One of the more famous cases is a TWA flight 1# which went down in 1936

Killing 12 of 14 aboard and recently featured on Mysteries at Museum TV show segment because the Connelsville Canteen Museum has a piece of burnt mail from the crash among their display items.

and of course the tragic crash of flight 93 during 9-11

But one of the lesser known crashes of a Navy Hell diver while on maneuvers  and which plane engine parts can still be scene is one of the forgotten crashes

A  Curtis B2C-4E crashed between Ligonier  and Jennerstown on October 9 1945 on a return trip to airbase in Michigan after taking place  with 21 planes from Bombing Squadron  97   in Washington DC celebration that very foggy day
 and has remained largely forgotten .
Petty Officer George A. Cohlmia, who died with Ensign Frank J. Campbell when their U.S. Navy dive bomber tragically slammed  into the mountain at a horrific speed  parts of the plane as seen below still exists to his day and can be viewed if your up to to the strenuous hike to the site, in the middle of no where . Apparently a well known one often tagged by those who chase  geocaches .
If you go remember this is a site of reverence people lost their lives here and respect it as such.