2015 Speaker Series

Monday, April 6, 2015 at 6:30 PM:  Sally Brooks, Moon Library





The delightful and humorous 100 year old former Moon Township teacher, Sally Brooks, will talk about the history of the Moon Area School District.  One of our elementary schools is named after our Centennarian’s late husband, the former Moon Township Superintendent +Herb Brooks!


April 9, 2015 Update:  This program proved DELIGHTFUL, as Sally Brooks took us with her on a journey to the past, all the way back to the days of the Native Americans, before any settlers, to when the citizens here decided they needed a school for their children, all the way to the “Taj Mahal” we see today.  It was one of the largest meetings we’ve had to date, with so many of Sally’s former students and neighbors in the audience.  She readily knew them all and related stories back of their families! Who can forget her memorable tales of her three prom dresses she rotated year after year or when she related how her Principal husband made only $100/ month and she made $120.  “Do you think he married me for my money?” <3  Such a loving person!  She charmed us all.


Monday, June 1, 2015 at 6:30 PM:  Brady Crytzer, Moon Library




Author and history teacher Brady Crytzer will speak on the history of Southwestern Pennsylvania. His books will also be for sale for those interested in purchasing copies.  Read more about Brady Cryzter here at the link below:




Amazon states:

“During the winter of 1753, George Washington accepted the first, and potentially most dangerous, mission of his life–he was twenty-one. The resulting tale is one of international intrigue and heartbreaking disappointment that set the stage for the French and Indian War and forever changed Washington’s destiny. The untried major faced a daunting task and was twice nearly killed, first by a treacherous guide and later as he tried to cross the icy Allegheny River. Using firsthand accounts, including the journals of George Washington himself, historian Brady Crytzer reconstructs the complex world of eighteenth-century Pittsburgh, the native peoples who inhabited it and the empires desperate to control it. Through trial and triumph, a man was defined, and a legend was born.”


Doesn’t this sound like something you’d like to learn more about?


June 22 Update:  Brady Crytzer held his audience in awe on June 1 as he shared his vast knowledge of the Native American Empire here, explaining the differences between the Iroquois nation and their local “underlings” of this region, who grew more defiant of “foreign” rule with the passing generations and formed their own alliances,  whenever it suited them. He spoke of Delaware, Shawnee , and the colonizing  with the Seneca, who after a while, became not Iroquois, but “Mingo.” We learned more about  the roles of  the “Half King,” George Washington, General Braddock,  Legionville, Queen Aliquippa,  Pontiac’s Rebellion. We heard that the primary chief of this region, Guyasuta, spoke 29 langugages, but couldn’t read nor write; white settlements were “discouraged,”  and that all   (French/English/Native Americans/White settlers) negotiated primarily through the Ohio River.   Great evening spent learning more about our local Native American history. Thank  you, Brady!



Monday, August 3, 2015 at 6:30 PM: Mark Berton, Moon Library



Mr. Berton is the author of two books on our area.  His presentation will trace the history of Dixmont State Hospital.  For more information about his work, check out the link below.




From Arcadia Publishing:

“Author Bio: Mark Berton covered Dixmont State Hospital for several years during his tenure with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and he spends his free time photographing asylum architecture. His access to Dixmont and those who were part of its history provided a unique perspective in the life of a functioning mental health facility and its demise.”


Many Pittsburgh natives remember the old Dixmont State Hospital with its towering boiler house smokestack that once stood along busy Rt. 65.  It has always been a topic of curiosity, urban exploration, ghost hunts and historical research.  Prior to its closing in 1984, Dixmont State Hospital stood as a refuge to the mentally ill for three counties in Western Pennsylvania.    It was a majestic study in the Kirkbride design of asylum architecture.



“Dixmont was originally built by the Western Pennsylvania Hospital in 1859 as a private venture before being bought by the commonwealth. It was named for famed mental health care reformer Dorothea Dix, who was instrumental in choosing the hospital’s site—a site chosen for its tranquility and its view of the Ohio River. Dixmont was completely razed in January 2006 to make way for a multi-parcel commercial endeavor. But for those who spent time there, Dixmont was a vibrant community within a community. Through historic photographs, Dixmont State Hospital opens up this world that was off limits to the general public but was alive with festivals, celebrations, and the successful treatment of patients.”

Update:  The people who attended this meeting were in awe of the vast library of photographs Mark brought along to the meeting, and several former nurses who served at Dixmont added to the great discussions that followed Mark’s wonderful presentation.  All who attended thoroughly enjoyed the evening of learning more about the hospital that served so many very ably.


Two photos Mark shared:  Nurses at Dixmont and the Station…Thank you Mark for a great evening!



Monday, October 5, 2015 at 6:30:  Gia Tatone at Moon Library



Mrs. Tatone is a member of the Coraopolis Historical Society, serves on the Moon Area School District’s Board of Education and is the author of two books on local history:  Coraopolis and Neville Island.



Update:  Gia Tatone missed a preliminary meeting between Cornell and Moon Area School Districts about a possible school merger to speak at our meeting, as this had been on her schedule for quite some time.  She shared many delightful stories from her book above that has consistently been the best seller of the IMAGES OF AMERICA series publishing company, whose proceeds Gia donated to charity.


This would be a good place to also remind our readers to visit the great new RESEARCH website for Coraopolis History started by Stacey Christe:  http://www.coraopolishistory.com.  The website is very valuable for its maps, photographs, and research articles now made available to all.  Thank you, Stacey Christie.   Read accounts of the naming of Coraopolis from Vance Fort (Port) in 1886, of Andrew Boggs building the Stone House under the cliff-quarry. Learn more about Vance Fort that was located 1/2 way between Broadway and Chestnut, and between the P&LERR and Second Ave!