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Robinson Township Memories

 

Welcome to Robinson Township Memories.  This website will feature Robinson Township from the 1950's to the end of the 1980's.

Robinson Township was founded in the mid 1700's.  By 1800 Robinson Township was one of 7 townships in Allegheny County.

In 1930 the population of Robinson Township was about 4,000 people.  In the 60's we had nearly 8,000 people and today around 13,000.

The 1950's showed the biggest growth of Robinson Township as the Silver Lane, Forest Grove Rd, Beaver Acres and Indian Pines areas were being developed.  Most houses in the 1950's were valued at less than $15,000 and even some as low as $7,000.

The layout of Robinson Township was different in the 1950's as compared to today.  I-79 did not exist until 1967 so the McKee's Rocks Road area went all the way through and connected to Lorish Road.

Steubenville Pike went to the left of where it is now and Bob's Complete Market  was on the main drag.  It brought you out near where Kings Restaurant is today on the road that leads you to Crafton.

Beaver Grade Road was also different down near the original Brothers Grimm, the road actually ran in front of Brothers Grimm and Robinson Petroleum up into Moon Township.

In the 1950's Routes 22/30 did not exist yet and Steubenville Pike ran alongside Tonidale and the Tastee Freeze and took you into the area we now call Old Steubenville Pike.

The Forest Grove Road area leading into Kennedy Township was much different.  You would have actually have gone down a little ramp that is now blocked off and cross over where I-79 is now and go up through where the woods grew over and into Kennedy about 25 car lengths past the I-79 bridge.

The High School was located across the street from Burkett School where Juliano's Restaurant is now located.  Montour High School relocated to its present day Clever Rd. location in 1957.

Holy Trinity Church was located across the street from Somma's Funeral Home in the building where Mike Hall Insurance is now.  Holy Trinity Church and school opened in 1957 in the building that houses the school.  In 1965 the church that is standing now was built.

The Municipal Building was located at the intersection of Route 60 and beaver Grade Road where the BP Gas station is now.  Gene Arena and Ed Mulvihill were the Police Chiefs in the 1950's.

There were not many places to do regular shopping in Robinson Township during the 1950's, we had no banks, supermarkets, department/discount stores, fast food restaurants, new car dealers or shopping centers.

Residents from Robinson went to McKee's Rocks, Crafton or Coraopolis and on rare occasions to the West Hills Shopping Center in Moon Township.

Here is a rundown of local businesses that were operating in the 1950's in Robinson Township.

 

Restaurants

 

Tonidale Restaurant

Tonidale Restaurant opened in the 1950's and was by far the best restaurant in the area.  After the Parkway West opened the restaurant had even more customers from all over the tri-state area.  The restaurant was owned by the Savekis Family and they provided some of the best meals in the area for more than 50 years.  Whether it was Fried Chicken, Veal Parmigian, Stuffed Pork Chops or Steaks Tonidale was one great restaurant.

 

Butya's Tavern

Located on Steubenville Pike near Twin Hi-Way Drive In Butya's Tavern was Robinson Townships most popular bar
for many decades.  The bartender was a short guy named Pauly and he knew everyone and provided great service and a fun atmosphere.  Butya's was noted for having the best Fried Chicken in the area.  4 large pieces of chicken and bed a French Fries served in a large box like the bakery had when they sold you a cake. 

 

Alexis Restaurant

This restaurant was located near the Pittsburgh Motel on Steubenville Pike near the Thornburg Bridge.  This was a family restaurant and it was in business until the late 1960's.

 

Evelyn's Restaurant

This restaurant was located on Steubenville Pike near where TJ's Deli Mart is.  It was a family restaurant but wasn't all that great.  It went out of business by the mid 1960's.

 

Carolina Pickin Chicken

This restaurant was the coolest of all the restaurants in the 1950's.  It was located on what we now call Old Steubenville Pike and was not far from where Parkway West Technical School is.  There were always dozens of cars there , mostly teenagers and they had good Chicken, Burgers, & Fish.  They also had car hops back in those days.

 

Rosalyn Inn

This was actually a Supper Club that was located on Steubenville Pike where Primanti's is now.  From time to time they had musical entertainment and dancing.  For its time it was considered a real nice place.

 

Bishop's

Bishop's was located on Campbell's Run Road near the ramp to the Parkway West.  For years Bishop's was one of the areas best small family restaurants.

 

Goodings Tavern

This place was located on the old part of Steubenville Pike near where Bob's Complete Market was located.  This was mainly a bar the Moon Run locals went to and the age group was generally older than the Butya's crowd.

 

Brother's Grimm

This was the original Brother's Grimm Bar, it was located where the one is today but it had a different owner.  In the 1950's Beaver Grade Road ran right in front of Brothers Grimm unlike today.

 

Summitt House

This was the bar & restaurant for the Moon Run Fire Department.  Every Saturday Night they brought in a Polka Band and they also had the best Fish Dinner in the area.

 

 

Gas Stations/Grocery Stores

 

Hugh McGuire Service Station

This was the best gas station and small grocery store in the township in the 1950's.  Hugh McGuire was one of the real good guys in the township along with his father in law Mr. Frank Blumling they ran the Amoco Gas Station on Silver Lane/Clever Road.  Besides selling gas they did minor auto repairs and they had a nice little store where you could get lunch meat, brad, pop, cigarettes and candy.  Many teen would just hang out in the store leaning up against the red Coca-Cola pop cooler.

 

Victorelli's Gas Station

Victorelli's Gas Station was located on Clever Road where John Supinka has his garage.  Victorelli's provided much quicker service than Hugh McGuire but the people who pumped the gas were not as friendly as McGuire was.  The store at Victorelli's was not as good either but it was nice that it was there as they carried a few items other stores didn't carry.

 

Frank Kink's Store

This was located where attorney Dennis Trohaugh law office is right now.  Kinks' had a nice little store and they pumped gas as well.  Mrs. Kink was a real nice person, Frank was generally miserable but he was sick and none of us knew about it.  Kinks for some reason always got the newest batch of baseball cards.  Frank would always get mad at us kids who went in and asked him what Checklist of baseball cards he had, he had no idea what we were talking about.

 

Ed Elias Amoco

Ed Elias Amoco was located on Steubenville Pike near Somma's Funeral Home.  Ed provided good auto service and full service gas for over 40 years.  Ed was another one of the real good guys of the township.

 

Testa's Market

This was located on Old Steubenville Pike just down the road from Parkway West Technical School.  The store was set up much like what a Stop & Go store.  They had a very good deli.

 

Frank's Fruit Market

This was located on Steubenville Pike across from Burkett School next to where the old Del Kid Restaurant was.
Frank's Fruit Market was just in a big roll down tent, he sold a lot of pop in the summer and he had brands and flavors you couldn't get anywhere else.  Any time you asked Frank how he was doing he would always say "not so good" pr "business is bad".  This place was in business till at least the early 70's.

 

Bob's Complete Market

Bob's Complete Market was located on the old part of Steubenville Pike as you would be heading to King's Restaurant.
Bob Macek was way ahead of his time as he had not only a grocery store but a hardware store, feed store and general store all in one.  It was just like Sam Drucker's store on Petticoat Junction.  Business was good for Bob until 1967 when
I-79 was put in, this re-located many of his customers.  After 1967 he relied on customers who could walk to the store.

 

Atlantic Gas Station

This was located where Al's Texaco is today.  Not sure who ran this gas station in the 1950's.  They sold gas & tires and did auto repair.

 

Wertz's

This was a very small grocery store on Silver Lane near Forest Grove Road.  The store went out of business by the mid 1960's when Walat's Market opened.

 

Recreation & Motels

 

White Swan Park

White Swan Park was located just outside of Robinson Township along the Parkway West.  This was a fun place for parents to take their kids during the 1950's & 60's.  They had about 10 rides and a nice picnic area.

 

Greater Pittsburgh Roller Rink

This was a popular place during the 1950's in Robinson Township.  Located on Steubenville Pike across from where Karns Bakery was located.  The Roller Rink closed down in the early 1960's.

 

White's Pony Track

This was run by Patty White and her family during the 1950's and early 60's.   This was located on Beaver Grade Road across from where Ventana Hills is now.  Beaver Grade Road was shaped differently then.

 

Clinton Lake

This was located quite a few miles outside of Robinson Township but was a popular place to go swimming in the 1950's.  It was located off of Route 30 in Clinton Pa.

 

Greater Pittsburgh Speedway

This was located in Clinton Pa just off of Route 30.  This was one of the most popular attractions in the area in the 1950's & 60's.

 

Pittsburgh Motel

Located on Steubenville Pike near Crafton the Pittsburgh Motel was considered one of the best suburban motels in the area during the 1950's.  It is still in business today.

 

Bunny's Motel

This was a very cheap motel back in the 1950's, it was rundown even back then, I think the room rate was only $2 a night in the 1950's.  It was located where CVS Pharmacy is today.

 

Twin Hi-Way Drive In

A very popular place in the 1950's, 60's & 70's.  Many families and many teens enjoyed the movies at the drive in back in  the day.  Mrs. Morgan ran the Refreshment Stand and quite a few people drove away with the speaker still in the window of their car.  The Drive In still operates today but its under different ownership.

 

Retail Businesses

 

Karns Bakery

This was Robinson Township's only Bakery and it was run by the Karn's Family.  They were very nice people, some of their baked goods were not the greatest and many people preferred Jenny Lee Bakery in Kennedy Township or Crafton but Karns lasted more than 40 years so they had to be doing something right.

 

Kossler Pharmacy

In the 1950's Kossler Pharmacy was the only drug store in the township.  It was a nice store & Mr. Kossler was a fine gentlemen and the store had a soda fountain as did most local drug stores in those days.  Most people used Thrift Drug in Crafton or Millard's Drug Store in Kennedy because Kossler's price was always high.  The store stayed in business well into the 1990's.

 

Smitty's Barber Shop

This was a popular Barber Shop during the 1950's & 60's.  Smitty was a real good guy and he had a couple of fine barbers working for him.  It wasn't uncommon for a Saturday Afternoon card game to pop up.  The sign would say "closed" and the curtain pulled down.  There were also some great stories that happened in there, one day some guy comes in and I'm getting a haircut and he says to Smitty "I think i'm going to get one of those fallout shelters, the salesman was around this week, what do you think Smitty".  There was another incident where a number of us kids were told to go over to Kossler's Pharmacy because the men were going to pitch pennies.  While we were in Kossler's a guy about 22  years old asks Mr. Kossler for condoms, Mr. Kossler yells out "lubricated or unlubricated"  all the adults started cracking up, we kids just went back to reading our comic books.  When I got home I told my uncle about this and he cracked up too, he then called about 10 people, about 2 hours later someone called for my uncle and told him the story about what happened at Kossler's,  in just a couple of hours it came full circle.  Smitty's was there until at least the late 60's.

 

Butya Beer Distributor

Located behind Butya's Tavern Butya Beer Distributor was run by Frank Butya and his wife, both very nice people.  This was the best Beer Distributor in the area in the 50's & 60's.

 

Dan Dee Potato Chip

This business was locate don Clever Road where All occasion Catering is now.  This was a Dan Dee Potato Chip distributorship run by Joe Olejar.  They serviced retail stories and restaurants in the area with potato chips, pretzels, corn curls, and candy.  This business closed some time in the late 70's.

 

Evergood Donut

This was a wholesale/retail donut shop located on Old Steubenville Pike, they had the best tasting donuts, nobody today even comes close to Evergood Donuts.  The store closed in the early 1980's.

 

Greater Pittsburgh Hardware

This business was so hard to find its amazing they stayed in business until the 1990's.  It was located behind where Midas Muffler is now and it was surrounded by woods in those days.  They had things you couldn't find anywhere else but their prices were really high.

 

McKelvey Beer Distributor

This was located on Phillips Lane right behind Hugh McGuire Service Station.  Besides running the beer distributor Mac McKelvey was a county cop and later a school bus driver.

 

Suehr Printing

This business was located near the Pittsburgh Motel in the 1950's.  There is now a beer distributor in  that building.  The business has moved to Campbells Run Road.

 

Turner Electric

This business was located next to Frank's Fruit Market on Steubenville Pike in the building that would become the Del Kid.  This company sold appliances, they went out of business in the mid 1960's.

 

Doctors

 

Dr. Alfred Grilli

Dr. Grilli ran a family practice for more than 30 years on Steubenville Pike in Moon Run right next to Burkett School.

 

Dr. Sam Musmanno

Dr, Musmanno was one of the finest doctors in the whole state during his 30+ year career.  If you had something serious wrong this was the person to see.  Dr. Musmanno would spend a lot of time with you, if you had an 8pm appointment you would not get home until 11pm.  Dr. Musmanno and his wife Rosemary were wonderful people, both are now deceased.

 

Auto Repair

 

Jack Frankeny Garage

This was located on Steubenville Pike just up from the BP, Jack Frankeny Garage moved from this location in the early to mid 60's.

 

Harry Kuzemka Garage

Harry Kuzemka was another of the real good guys in the area.  Harry's Garage was originally on McKees Rocks Road but when I-79 came through he had to move to Kennedy Township.  Harry provided excellent auto repair into the 1980's.

 

Mawhinney Service

This was an auto repair shop in the 50's & 60's located at the intersection of Route 60 and Churchill Road.  The building was torn down quite a few years ago.

 

TV Repair

 

Sam Dianni

In the 1950's TV was still fairly new so it was tough to find a good TV repairman, Sam Dianni was the guy.  Sam lived on Francis Dr. and fixed TV's on the side.  He was one of the most honest guys you could ever find.

 

Dan Davies

If you didn't use Sam Dianni then you probably called Dan Davies, Dan was a good guy too and he did this as a sideline as well.  The only difference with Dan was he brought his whole family along when he fixed your TV.

 

Industrial Businesses

 

Calgon

Calgon was a popular national company that was located on Steubenville Pike right across from where McDonalds is now.  Verizon is in that building.  Calgon always had the best looking landscaping in the township thanks to Mr. Edward Zawatski.  Calgon was also a sponsor of Robinson Little League Baseball.

 

Crucible

Cruicible was a steel company located where the old Giant Eagle was located along Steubenville Pike.

 

Kuhn's Eggs

Kuhn's Eggs was located on Campbells Run Road along the Parkway West.  They sold eggs wholesale to stores and restaurants.

 

Mobay Chemical

Mobay Chemical was located along the Parkway West near Tonidale.  Mobay was also a sponsor of Robinson Little League Baseball.

 

Surrounding Areas

 

McKees Rocks

Back in the 1950's McKees Rocks was the most popular place Robinson Township residents went to shop.  There were 4 supermarkets in McKees Rocks.  Krogers was where Pat Catan's is now.  A&P was across from Lloyds Auto Parts, Loblaws was in where Foodland is and Giant Eagle was on Chartiers Ave.

McKees Rocks also had a G.C. Murphy's store, Adelle ladies shop, Buster Brown shoe store, record store, drug store, Isaly's, 3 banks and a shoe repair shop.

 

Crafton Ingram Shopping Center

Crafton Ingram Shopping Center was also a popular place in the 1950's.  WT Grants Department Store was the main attraction.  They had 3 supermarkets including Thorofare, Krogers & A&P, a local meat market, bowling alley, Thrift Drug, barber shop and Keystone Shoes.

 

Coraopolis/Moon Township

Most Robinson Township residents only went to Coraopolis or West Hills Shopping Center in Moon a couple of times a year.  Coraopolis had some real nice menswear stores, drug stores, local grocery stores, furniture stores and local restaurants.

West Hills Shopping Center was the coolest of all the shopping centers in the 1950's.  Kresge Department store was the main store (this became K Mart years later but in a different location).  Thorofare grocery store, a nice hardware store, bakery and record store were all in the West Hills Shopping Center.

 

Kennedy Township

In the 1950's there was very little in Kennedy Township, all there was at the time was a small shopping center with Thorofare, Jenny Lee Bakery, barber shop & Millard's Drug Store.  This was located 2 doors up from where Wendy's is now.