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Bellaire’s past comes to life
By Betty J. Pokas   - 08/27/2009

Times Leader

More Info on This Book: Bellaire

MEMORIES of visits to the Bellaire area led to a newly published pictorial book, which is "an effort to help preserve the town's vibrant history."

And, the book by Holly Bruno and Andrew Ehritz certainly focuses on all aspects of Bellaire, including sections on the town's industry, the river, downtown, community, faith, civil service, education and sports as well as local notables and visitors.

The authors will be at the Rigas Restaurant, 3293 Belmont St., Bellaire, Saturday before and after the football game for a book signing, and the Images of America book, "Bellaire," will be available for $21.99. The first part of the book signing will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Bruno's parents were graduated from Bellaire High School in 1959, and the book is dedicated to her grandmother, Betty K. (Krotky) Bruno, who still resides in Willow Grove.

The co-author, who grew up in Fairfield, Ohio, is the daughter of Beverly (Burkett) and David Bruno Jr. Ehritz, a Wisconsin native, moved to Fairfield at the age of 12.

Noting that Bruno often visited her grandparents in Willow Grove, Ehritz said, "Those memories are really what prompted this whole project.

"There are a few portions I'm particularly proud of," he said. "I enjoyed working on the Imperial Glass section." Not only does the book feature photos of actual glass-making and products, but pictures of Lucile Kennedy, Carl Gustkey and others from Imperial are included in the book.

The authors tried to show as big a glimpse as possible of that industry in the "Glass City" and included other glass factories. Mining and other industries such as steel and a sawmill also are pictured.

Ehritz added he and Bruno were excited to find a photo of the Capitol Theatre. It was on the bulletin board at the American Legion. "It's a great picture," he added, noting they had been talking to Bud Piatt of the Legion, and he gave permission for them to use it.

On the opposite page from the Capitol is a photo of the Nickelodeon Theatre, decorated for the Fourth of July in the 1890s.

Ehritz said another picture of which they are especially fond is one snapped at Greenwood Cemetery.

" That was my view out the front windshield," he explained.

Uncovering some of the little tidbits about Bellaire's history enabled them to met "so many wonderful people ... We had a really great time," Ehritz said.

He indicated that the novel, "Eliza and The House That Jack Built," obtained at the Imperial Glass Museum, helped to whet their interest in the town's history, and they went online and found there were no Images of America books about Bellaire so received approval to produce one.

Not only does "Bellaire" cover a variety of subjects, but it features varied periods in the town's history.

The Bellaire pictorial book is the first book that the Oxford, Ohio, couple has compiled although they had collected other local history books produced by Images of America. They are planning more books and creative projects.

Bruno is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford where Ehritz teaches English and film.

Pokas can be reached at timesleader@timesleaderon line.com.

Buy It Now: Bellaire $21.99

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