Ford City was once known as one of the fastest-growing communities in Pennsylvania. The new book "Around Ford City" is local author and retired teacher William L. Oleksak's collection of more than 200 vintage postcards, revealing the growth and development of Ford City.
The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. and the Ford China Co., both established by John B. Ford, made this town the destination of many United States citizens, as well as European immigrants searching for a new life of employment and prosperity. The vintage postcards in Around Ford City reflect the essence of this hardworking, proud, ethnic community. The people, along with the factories, hotels, churches, and many homes, have grown together over generations to form the spirit of Ford City.
Highlights of "Around Ford City" include the eight hotels, 27 clubs and taverns, and 10 churches that Ford City had at one time.
Ford City High School had more section titles than any school in Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL).
Ford City had strong ties with Charleroi and PPG Works Six
moved from there to Ford City in 1931, bringing workers with it. The glassmaking industry had a huge influence on the town.
"Around Ford City" is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at 888-313-2665 or www.arcadiapublishing.com.
Arcadia Publishing is a publisher of local and regional histories in the United States.
"Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America's people and places," the company announced in releasing the Ford City book. Information on the publisher is at www.arcadiapublishing.com on the Internet.
Oleksak, the son of a glassworker, is a retired teacher and a lifelong resident of Ford City. He graduated from Ford City High School and Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a master's degree in elementary education. He has spent the last 25 collecting memorabilia and postcards from his hometown.
"Around Ford City" is available at the Postcard History Series Price: $19.99. It has 128 pages in soft cover and is available starting Sept. 22.
Oleksak, 60, strengthened his keen interest in local history about 25 years ago as his collection of Ford City memorabilia grew; first with postcards and then with artifacts. The 1965 graduate of Ford City High School retired after 34 years as a fifth-grade science teacher at Lenape Elementary School in Ford City.
He is an active member, and past president of the Ford City Lions Club, and is a past president of the Ford City Area Hall of Fame. He also held offices in the Armstrong County Association of Basketball, Baseball, and Softball Officials.
When not searching for Ford City "treasures," Oleksak finds time to run, bike, golf, collect records, research family history, and do woodworking projects.
The publishers said: "He hopes that this work will bring back fond memories and inspire the telling of more colorful stories. Oleksak regards the book as a present to his hometown and hopes that it will motivate future generations to keep the history of Ford City alive."