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

http://www.fortyandeight.org/history-of-the-408/

 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 have a picnic grounds it is  in Fayette County  its way high up on a mountain ridge along US 119 in Smithfeild  Chapter 18

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 except for Smithfeild  But there is still an active chapter in Bucks Montgomery county area.
















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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
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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.