Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Your Favorites of 2019

blizzard of '78

Blizzard of ’78, Photo courtesy of the Vindicator

It has now been a bit over five and a half years since I began writing about Youngstown. One of the most rewarding parts of this, beyond learning so much I’d never known about our home town, is all the interactions both online and in person. The ones that have been the most special are with descendants or friends of people I write about. I think people from Youngstown are just the best! I’d love to send you all a holiday gift, but there are just too many of you. But wait! I can send something else–articles I loved writing, and that you loved reading. So here are ten of your favorites, along with some pictures, counted down. Looking them over has been a way to recall our year together. I hope you enjoy revisiting these stories and snapshots one more time.

Atlas of Mahoning County Ohio from actual surveys by and Full View HathiTrust Digital Library HathiTrust Digital Library

Scanned from Titus, Simmons, and Titus Atlas of Mahoning County, Ohio, 1874

10. George Borts Farm. I used to deliver papers to the house that was the old Borts home. Little did I realize how influential this family was in the early settlement of the West Side of Youngstown. All I knew was that Borts Field was named after them.

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The Wall Garden, looking east. Photo by Bob Trube © 2019.

9. The Wall Garden. I drove, biked and walked past this amazing garden in the side of the hill above West Glacier Drive in Mill Creek Park. It was fascinating to learn about the major construction project involved in creating the Wall Garden, which is 552 feet long and 54 feet high.

Oak Hill Cemetery postcard

Entrance to Oak Hill Cemetery before construction of the granite gates

8. Oak Hill Cemetery. If you want a who’s who of Youngstown history, one of the best ways to get it is a tour of Oak Hill Cemetery, a scenic final resting place that is also a walk through Youngstown history.

vindicator head shot

Esther Hamilton, Headshot from Vindicator “Around Town” Columns in the 1960’s

7. Esther Hamilton. She was one of the more colorful and interesting figures who seemed to know everything that was going on in Youngstown and reported on it in her “Around the Town” columns in The Vindicator. What I didn’t know was how involved she was in various charitable activities around the city she covered.

Paisley House

The Paisley House, photo courtesy of The Paisley House

6. The Paisley House. I passed by this house for years without knowing the purpose of this beautiful old building or who lived there. I had fun learning its history, purpose, and interviewing its current director. Turns out they have an incredible and ongoing history of serving the elderly in the Mahoning Valley.

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Calvary Cemetery Northeast Entrance, © Bob Trube, 2019.

5. Calvary Cemetery. It’s curious to me that articles about cemeteries were two of the most popular of this year. This was about the Catholic cemetery on Youngstown’s West side, one I passed walking to Chaney High School from my home a few blocks away.

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Renner Mansion, © Bob Trube, 2019.

4. George J. Renner, Jr. I had known nothing about Renner, his family, or the brewing business that was the largest in Youngstown, nor that I used to run past his former residence when I would go for runs at Wick Park during college.

blizzard of '78

Blizzard of ’78, Photo courtesy of the Vindicator

3. The Blizzard of 1978. I wasn’t in Youngstown during the Blizzard of 1978 (actually stranded for five days in a college dorm in Bowling Green). It was interesting to look at old Vindicator accounts of the storm, the meteorology of the storm, and its impact in the Youngstown area.

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Zedaker’s Anjon Acres, © Bob Trube, 2019.

2. Zedaker’s Farm and Pony Rides. Driving past Zedaker’s last summer brought back memories, led to some research and resulted in this article about the farm, the family, and the thriving business that continues to this day.

Southern_Park_Mall,_Boardman

View of Southern Park Mall” by Nyttend – Own Work, Public Domain

1. Southern Park Mall. For many of my generation, the mall was our favorite hangout. I remember those days, the history of Southern Park, as well as discuss the decline of malls, and the turnaround plans for Southern Park.

The article titles are linked to the full articles. I hope you have some time to relax and spend some time with these snapshots of Youngstown, perhaps with a smile on your face, as they bring back your own Youngstown memories. Maybe they will even encourage some storytelling around the Christmas tree!

16 thoughts on “Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Your Favorites of 2019

  1. Hard to pick the best but these were all great. I liked your penguin article as we lived only a block away from the place Pete stayed, Crandall Park and visited the swans several times a week. I have a sweatshirt from their 1991 championship and don it whenever it is cold in FL someone always stops me to tell me where they are from –Niles, Girard etc and yesterday it was Stubenville. Thank you for all the great articles. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  2. Thank you for a thoughtful list. There are several I have chosen to read. Growing up in northern Ohio I had several friends that lived in Youngstown and would visit there a lot. Quaint small town. Wish I appreciated it more when I was younger. I grew up in a the smaller town of Elyria. And I love to go home in the spring and do a road trip thru Ohio’s small towns. The farmland is always a comfort.

  3. Thanks for the great “Top Ten” review, Bob. I always seem to learn something new about Youngstown from your stories as happened here with the Renner house. I remember the Renner Brewing Company name but didn’t know of the large home on the north side.

  4. Thank you Bob! I left Y-town in 80 and moved to Columbus. So we did get back occasionally. I haven’t been there in years, I guess it is time for a trip, would like some Wedgewood Pizza! Happy Holidays!

  5. Thanks Bob. It’s a wonderful contribution you have made through your posts. Happy Holidays and Blessings in the New Year.

    John Yoder

  6. Bob, All were great and informative. Keep writing!
    Merry Holidays to all!
    Spending some happy Youngstown town time this weekend.
    Michelle Humans White

  7. Working class is what I like about the site. It shows that our life wasn’t much different. Yet we love when where and how we grew up.
    Dennis R. Williams
    ALLUSWE UNITY.

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