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Books about Dormont details borough’s history
By Ken McCarthy   - 10/31/2008

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

More Info on This Book: Dormont

Muriel Moreland has some fond memories of her time at Dormont High School both as a student and later as a teacher.

But not among those are the treks she occasionally had to take as a student of one particular gym teacher.
"She used to make us walk up Potomac Avenue and back to Dormont High School," she said.

Mrs. Moreland, who is president of the Dormont Historical Society, said those who are unfamiliar with the topographical challenges presented by some of the borough's streets--or much of the borough's history for that matter--can now read all about it.

She has authored a new book called "Dormont" that chronicles the borough's first 100 years. The borough will celebrate its centennial in 2009.

The book, which was published by Arcadia, features 128 pages and 207 photos of the borough now and then.
Proceeds from sales of the book go to the historical society.

Mrs. Moreland called putting the book together a "massive project," but said she's very happy with the result. She said "Dormont" has sections on the borough's churches, schools, events, recreational activities and businesses.

She said it also features things that aren't there anymore such as the high school, the Kelton Avenue school, the Toddle House Restaurant and Pearce's.

"That was an old soda-fountain, and they made their own candy," she said. "The kids would go there after the games, and a lot of the kids worked there while in high school."

During her research for the book, Mrs. Moreland said she was surprised by the population and housing boom that came to Dormont after the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924 and the Liberty Bridge in 1928.

She said from 1928 to 1938, the borough experienced a 478 percent growth.

Only two Dormont natives are singled out in the book, she said.

Former Congressman Jim Fulton, who served in the House from 1944 until his death in 1971, has a page dedicated to him.

And current resident Thomas Hoyt 'Slim' Bryant has a small section about his life.

Slim Bryant and His Wildcats, a quintet of singers and musicians, were a Pittsburgh institution noted for influencing the sound of country music. From 1940 through the 1950s, the group was the sound of country music for most of the Pittsburgh region.

Mrs. Moreland said Mr. Bryant will turn 100 in December.
"And he's as nice of a gentlemen as you could ever hope to meet," she said.

Dormont council president John Maggio said he plans on buying enough copies of the book to give away a few as Christmas presents.

"It is a wonderful book, filled with great pictures and stories," he said. "I have great admiration for people like Muriel who devoted their time and energy to put this book together."

Mrs. Moreland said Dormont will celebrate its centennial from June 27 to July 4. Among the festivities will be a revival of the 'Dormont Dash,' a race through town that started on the borough's 50th birthday.

She said the historical society will be marking a birthday of its own next year when it celebrates 10 years.

"We're only 90 years younger than the borough," she said.
To purchase the book, contact Muriel Moreland at 412-341-3667. The price is $20.

Buy It Now: Dormont $21.99




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