celebration of the 100th anniversary of the town of Elizabeth, PA,which
includes a Riverboat parade and a Street parade, took place
from July 2 to
July 4, 1934. The two parades were filmed using the technology of
the day, probably a 16mm movie camera. Sometime during the 1990s two
Elizabeth men, Al Zadroga and Vincent Volpi, converted this film to
video tape and included a narrative description by Mr. Volpi.
In 2002 I received a copy of the video tape from Bill Stintson, a
life-long riverman from Elizabeth. A final upgrade was
accomplished when this video tape was converted to a digital file in
my son, Jeff Mohney, and
then placed onto CDs / DVDs. In 2009 Jeff converted the digital file to a format that
allowed it to be posted on the Internet. This is the digital
file of the video tape,which
was originallya 16 mm movie taken
in 1934. You will view over twenty minutes of
Steamboats, a fantastic sight, and then about fifteen minutes of the
street parade with many of the citizens of 1934 Elizabeth identified by
The video can
be viewed by clicking on the play arrow that appears on the lower
left corner of the viewing screen above or by clicking on the first
link on the left under the viewing screen. In either case, the
video needs a few minutes to load after hitting the play buttons since it
is 37 minutes long. The total time to load the complete video will
depend on the type of connection, phone modem or cable, that you
use but you can view it while it is being downloaded. The quality of this video, which is 75 years old when posted on
this site, suffers from not only age but also being at best a fourth generation--original
film to video tape and then a copy
of a copy. With each generation comes a drop in quality. If anyone
has knowledge about the existence of the original film or one of the
original video tapes, please contact me. I would like
to use today's technology to create a new digital copy and hopefully
a better quality video. Email me at jwmohney "at" comcast "dot" net Please
change "at" to @ and "dot" to .
above was posted onto steamboat.org message
board by a friend, it was then viewed by an individual interested in
and knowledgeable of calliopes, Jon Tschiggfrie, and he edited
the video down to those portions containing calliope music and also
wrote the following:
I can't be sure, but I would
bet that this video is a
contender for the earliest
moving picture recording of
a steam calliope! I've taken
the liberty of cutting
together all of the calliope
audio and video clips from
the 37-minute video into a
short 5-minute video
YouTube - Steam calliope
clips - Elizabeth, PA.
The narrator claims that the
calliope player is either
Leroy or Bill Morris. Any
idea who these gentlemen
Equally interesting are the
various calliope audio
recordings that were spliced
into the narration. At one
point, the recording sounds
a lot like Doc's rendition
of "Beautiful Dreamer" from
side 2 of the 1961 LP album
"Here Comes the Showboat."
The other instances sound as
if there are some makeshift
accompanying what sounds
like an air calliope. Any
A little history on this
particular instrument from
the video: It was built
sometime in the 1920s by the
ubiquitous Thomas J. Nichol
firm of Cincinnati. The
towboat R. J. HESLOP (seen
in the video) only carried
the calliope for one day, on
July 2, 1934 for the
Elizabeth, PA Centennial
celebration and steamboat
parade. The instrument dates
back at least five years,
when it was originally
installed aboard the sixth
QUEEN CITY (Way's #4615)
sometime between 1926 and
1929. The QUEEN CITY
probably carried the
instrument through the 1933
season, when the packet
became a wharfboat in
Pittsburgh. At any rate, the
calliope made its way to the
tow I. LAMONT HUGHES, which
carried this instrument in
early 1934 for the "Century
Tow." From there, it was
installed briefly on the R.
J. HESLOP before ending up
in the AMERICA circus wagon,
which now resides in working
order at the Circus World
Museum in Baraboo, WI. It is
one of the only remaining
operable Nichol instruments
with tracker action.
The link to the
site containing the edited video tape is in the narrative above and
Badge worn at the 1934 Elizabeth Centennial
Celebration, July 1 to 4.
1934 Street Parade
The photo above on left is of the Rockwell Motors car
that was part of the old time cars that helped to lead the street
parade. The other two photos are screen grabs of the movie that
was taken of the parade, the quality of the movie is poor but the hat
being worn by the driver is easily seen to help identify the Rockwell
The two photos
above were taken prior to the start of the parade at the field in front
of the Safe Factory, the smoke stack can be seen in the background of
both photos. This is in the vicinity of today's Wylie Field.
The photo on the left shows the Elizabeth Baptist Church float.
The photo on the right shows in the foreground a "Elizabeth Lodge"
without a more specific identification. On the banner can be seen a "K"
and a "P" along with the numbers "444" and also "F G". This was a
very hot day and these men were dressed in what appears to be heavy
robes with hats, with some wearing wigs. In the background is a
float with nurses and the sign reading "Charity Services Hosp."
The sign reading "Nights" appears to be on a third float.
Additional information on these floats is appreciated.
photos show the parade coming up McKeesport Road in the vicinity of
three photos above, from the collection of Kirk and Tetta Lynch Hall, show
the American Legion float from the parade. Kirk's father,
Ellis, and Tetta's father Dan Lynch, along with JW's son Mickey ( McKown)
Lynch were on this float. All of the men on the float were painted
to give the impression of statues, they stood still during most of the
above shows the American Legion Float with Dan Lynch talking to a
spectator along the parade route. In the lower right hand corner of this
picture is Glenn Meyers father, his mother, Gladys, can be seen to the
right of his father and his cousin Betty Callahan is in front of Glenn's
father looking back.
Read the program for the 1934 Centennial This link takes you to a page on the Elizabeth Boro
web site maintained by Richard Rattinni and has the day by day list of
activities along with every name that was involved with this community
photos show the dock area for the boats that were in the River Boat
four photos of the 1934 riverboat Parade in Elizabeth, PA were taken
by Gladys A. Kettering (nee: Bucy) and sent to me by her son Robert.
A view of the 1934 River
Parade from one of the boats.
photo of the Steamer R.J. HESLOP is from the collection of George
Churchwell, nephew of Captain John M. Hysmith. Captain Hysmith owned
the R.J. HESLOP in 1934 when this photo was taken. This photo shows the
R.J. HESLOP on July 2, 1934 boarding passengers on the West Elizabeth, PA
side of the Monongahela River , Elizabeth, PA is in the background.
The R.J. HESLOP is preparing to lead a Riverboat Parade in commemoration
of Elizabeth's 100th birthday, note the sign on the boat and the calliope
player on the top deck.
brief history of the R.J. HESLOP is from the "Ways Steam Towboat
Directory" written by Fred Ways JR.
Article about the 1934 Parade and Captain Hysmith appeared in the
September 1985 issue of S & D Reflector.
REPORT Monongahela River Movie
by James A. Wallen
Fifteen of the sternwheel towboats that were active in
the Pittsburgh pools
and beyond, paraded on the movie screen before the 45 who attended the
of the OK Chapter of S&D on Sunday, June 2nd, in the Mason County
Point Pleasant, WV.
All of the boats were seen as they moved in the
procession celebrating the 100th
anniversary of the town of Elizabeth, PA on the Monongahela River on July
2, 1934. It
took place in an era when there was constant towboat activity in the
as tows of coal, steel, sand and gravel and other products were always
under way so
the boats seen in the parade were familiar to many of those in the
audience who had
boated on the Upper Ohio.
Leading the parade was Capt. John Hysmith's steamer R.
J. HESLOP, which had been
equipped with a calliope for the occasion, and it was followed by such
steamers as the I. LAMONT HUGHES, A. 0. ACKARD, CRUISER, J. H. HILLMAN, A.
B. SHEETS, WM. LARIMER JONES, E. K. DAVISON, WILLIAM B. RODGERS,
LaBELLE, COLLIER, CRUCIBLE, LEONA, BEACON and PENNOVA. The lone
diesel-powered boat in the parade was the sternwheeler MARY ALICE.
Many of the steamers were loaded with passengers, well
dressed in the style of the day
(white shoes, white ducks and straw boaters), and all obviously enjoying
Many of those most prominent in Pittsburgh river affairs at that time were
on hand; Capt.
J. L. Howder was chairman of the river parade committee and Capt. Bob
commander of the fleet.
Before beginning the showing, Capt. Charles Henry Stone,
who presided at the
meeting, gave a brief sketch of the admirable career of Capt. John Hysmith,
captain of the R. J. HESLOP, the boat that headed the parade at Elizabeth.
As he watched the following boats, black smoke rolling from their stacks
of white water pouring from sternwheels, Capt. Hysmith must have had some
satisfaction in looking back over the difficult earlier years of his life
when he was helping
his father dig mussels and catch fish on the Lower Ohio, Cumberland and
rivers, a period when he lived on the family's large houseboat at
At the age of 15, Jack Hysmith was in charge of a large log raft being
the Tennessee River, but soon thereafter he became "striker
pilot" on a steamboat at
a salary of $14 a month. It was just a year or so later that his father
died, so young
Hysmith undertook the task -of looking after his mother, two sisters and a
selling their large, two-story houseboat at Metropolis, Jack moved the
Pittsburgh and took a job as fireman on the steamer WILLIAM G. CLYDE.
Jack Hysmith became a mate, eventually gained a pilot's license, and at
of 30 years he had accumulated the sum of $45 to offer as down payment on
purchase of the steamer R. J. HESLOP. The boat's owner, William F.
correctly judged Jack Hysmith's characteristics of energy, sobriety and
turned the boat over to him. Within six months Jack had paid for the R. J.
in full, continuing to support his mother and pay for the education of his
and younger brother. "What better kind of career could you
have?" asked Capt.
Stone. In later years Capt. Hysmith owned and operated the Dravo-built
A guest aboard Capt. Hysmith's R. J. HESLOP during the
parade at Elizabeth was
the man for whom the boat was named, Col. Bob Heslop of Point Pleasant,
only ran a machine shop that performed much work for steamboats but who
helped rivermen in many other ways over the years.
Thanks for being able to show the film were extended to
Ed Smith of Pittsburgh,
who had loaned it to Bob Bosworth for copying. As a fortunate coincidence,
Loomis came forth at just the right time with a good story on the parade
Donald T. Wright which appeared in the Waterways Journal of July 7, 1934.
are the articles that appeared in the July 7, 1934 edition of "The
Waterways Journal" as mentioned above.
photos taken during the 1934 Elizabeth Centennial and would be willing to share
them please contact me at jwmohney
"at" comcast.net Not
a clickable email address, change "at" to @