The Pittsburgh Limestone Corporation operated the quarry in Ganister that eventually became the Blue Hole. Every year, the quarrymen were treated to an outing. This photo, taken at some point prior to 1937, is from one of those outings.
I’ve made a version of the photo where I’ve labelled the individuals by number and listed the person’s name at the bottom.
I have not identified most people, but I’ve listed a few. And thanks to you readers, I’ve been able to add some more names. This includes Ed Guerin, Mike Wapner, Wasil Youchison, Mitro Karol, John Homyack, John Skvir, John Fitzingo (or Fecenko), and possibly Angelo Calderone.
This photo comes from my personal collection. Mike Conrad (originally Kundrat) stands on the left and my great-great uncle Wasil Youchison stands on the right. The photo dates to 1927 and was taken from what is today Wertz Road. Below is a photo I took in 2012 from very nearly the same spot to contrast how the area changed over 90+ years.
This photo comes from my personal collection. The woman on the left is Mary Youchison, my great-grandmother, and her friend Mary Verbonits is on the right. The photo dates from 1925 and the two are most likely standing in what was known as Gypsy Row.
A burgeoning immigrant population resulted in a school-age population. Ganister’s children attended a one-room school situated atop the southern ridge overlooking the quarries and the miners’ homes. These two photos come from my family and portray students in 1936 and what we believe is a few years earlier.
The Ganister Blue Hole serves as a very physical reminder of the town’s raison d’etre: the quarrying of ganister, or limestone. After the quarries shut down, the pits gouged into the Earth filled with water. At first the Blue Hole functioned as a recreational pool. Then later it became a dumping ground. I remember from my childhood watching a car pulled from the bottom of the Blue Hole.