Fayette County has always had a rich sports history. If one were to visit the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame located here in the Uniontown Library they would learn about the varied accomplishments by many talented men and women. Basketball, in particular, has been a powerhouse sport in the area.
Being alumni of Uniontown High School, my first thoughts are to the glory years of UHS basketball, teams like the 1962, 1964,and 1981 Uniontown men’s teams. The alumni of Laurel Highlands probably remember the 1968 men’s team, while those from Geibel reminisce about the 1978 men’s team or the 1993-1996 women’s dynasty teams. However, long before all of these great teams there was the one that started it all. The 1925 Uniontown men’s basketball team was the first to inspire and unite the area with its dominance on the court.
There was some discussion last week on the Fayette County Historical Society’s excellent Facebook page about Uniontown’s centennial celebration. I knew we had relevant artifacts here in the PA Room, so I thought I’d look into the history of the event.
First, to clear something up: While lots were drawn for Beeson’s Town in 1776, our borough was not formally established until 1796. Hence, the 1896 Centennial.
We weren’t 20 years late for our own party. Phew.
Map of the original Beeson’s Town lots, printed in the July 4, 1896 edition of the Daily News Standard.
This ad for a traveling circus took up a full column of the Republican Standard in 1883.
This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the March 23, 1914 edition of the Daily News Standard.
This weekend marked one hundred years since the burning of McClelland House, a hotel that once stood on West Main Street in Uniontown. If you’re local, you may have noticed coverage of the anniversary in the Herald-Standard and even on area news stations — particularly with regard to a volunteer firefighter named Voight LaClair.
McClelland House’s listing as it appears in the 1913-1914 Uniontown and Connellsville directory.
It was around 9:20 A.M. when the fire was first noticed by two clerks in a store adjacent to the McClelland House. The front room of the shop filled with smoke so quickly that they didn’t dare to retrieve their coats or pocketbooks; instead, Myra Lewellen and Edna Bowlen rushed outside to call for help. They assumed that the fire had started in the hotel’s kitchen, which shared a wall with the five and dime store where they worked. The blaze quickly grew out of control:
“With a fierceness and intensity that defied all efforts toward checking them, the flames . . . spread with alarming rapidity, great volumes of smoke poured out the doors, windows and crevices of the buildings and the onward march of the grim destroyer struck terror in the hearts of everyone.”