Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Your Favorites of 2021

Can you believe it? We’ve spent another year together remembering what was so great about growing up in Youngstown, Ohio. I’m amazed that we have been doing this since 2014. Because next Saturday is Christmas, I thought I would count down your top ten favorite posts (by number of views) this week–kind of like WHOT’s New Year’s countdown of the top 100 hits of the previous year, only a lot shorter! So without further ado, here they are:

10. Center Street Crossing. An old railroad man suggested this post to me about the crossing just west of the Center Street Bridge where eleven tracks from five different railroads crossed, the busiest manually operated crossing in the country.

9. South High School. South High School had a long and illustrious history, from its grand architecture to its sports teams to its distinguished graduates.

8. Caroline Bonnell. Caroline was one of four Youngstown women to survive the sinking of the Titanic, part of the Wick-Bonnell party from which George Dennick Wick perished. I share her recollections and recount her life of service.

7. Village of Poland. Posts about the towns and townships around Youngstown have always been popular. I recount in brief the history of this village through which Ida Tarbell and William McKinley passed, among others.

6. Gypsy Lane. I discovered that this road, which defines Youngstown’s northern boundary gets its name from a real settlement of gypsies on the North Side. I include some background on gypsies, and heard many corroborating stories from readers about gypsies in Youngstown.

5. Favorite Things. After a crazy week, I came up with a list of my favorite things about Youngstown. See if the things on my list are on yours!

4. Slumgullion. That’s what we called the macaroni, ground beef, onions, and tomato sauce stew, topped with some cheese. But as you all let me know, there are a number of other names, and they are all right!

3. Seven Years of Food Posts. My “Slumgullion” post inspired me to go back and compile all my food posts from the seven years of this series. One thing for sure, Youngstown people love to eat and talk about food.

2. Front Porch City. I reflect on how Youngstown was once a “front porch city” where summer evenings on front porch and visiting with neighbors were one of the things contributing to healthy neighborhoods.

1. Pat Bilon. Did you know that when the actor who played E.T. phoned home, he called Youngstown? Bilon had an interesting life before he ever starred as E.T., one that sadly ended too soon. Many of you knew him from his radio show, high school or college, or your encounters with him as a bouncer at the Wedgewood or his work at his church. No wonder this was your favorite post of the year.

It’s fun just to look back at these “snapshots” of our life in Youngstown. One of the favorite parts of my weeks is posting these articles and then hearing from you. I learn so much from your comments! And if you have ideas for an article, just leave a comment or message me. My best wishes to you all for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

To read other posts in the Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown series, just click “On Youngstown.” Enjoy!

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