Bethel Park Pennsylvania Images: After attending my 40th High School Reunion (Michael Stewart), I went through the Brady Stewart Collection Archives to find negatives on the Stewart family and friends growing up in Bethel Park. To say the least, I had a lot of fun digitizing a wide array of negatives of Bethel Park, Bethel Park High School and numerous area athletic teams. Since I was 8 years old (1961), my father, Brady Stewart Jr., attended most of my athletic events and occasionally took photographs.
I created four (4) galleries on the website http://bradystewartphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-list; Bethel Park High School Images, Bethel Park Baseball Images 1961 – 1970, Bethel Park Pennsylvania Images, and Bethel Park Sports Images 1968 – 1980. All images in the blog and web site are copyrighted by Brady Stewart Studio Inc. If you are interested in downloading an image or to purchase a print, please contact Brady Stewart Studio by phone (724.554.9813) or email email@example.com.
Bethel Park Boro: Bethel Park is middle class suburb south of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Bethel Park was established in 1866 and one of the keys to its growth were coal mines; Coverdale (Terminal H Mine) and Mollenauer. The growth after World War II paralleled most cities and states; the ongoing migration of the middle class from the city to suburbia. The good reputation of the area school districts; Bethel Park, Upper St Clair and Mt Lebanon also contributed to the overall growth of the South suburbs. Over the years, Bethel was a predominately catholic community with 3 large parishes; St. Valentines, St. Germain, St. and Thomas Moore. The Stewart family relocated to Bethel Park from Pleasant Hills, PA after the birth of their third child in 1953 (Michael Stewart). Marjorie Stewart, wife of Brady Stewart Jr, still lives in the house on Summit Street.
We were brought up catholics and went to St Valentines School and Church. I found images of my sister Cathy’s first communion in 1953… which also was year St. Valentines opened for business. Cathy and Brady Stewart III attended St Valentines for 8 years before moving over to Bethel Park High School. I attended St Valentines for three years before attending Hillcrest Elementary School. I moved on to public education after a few major disagreements with the Sisters (Nuns) at St. Valentines. As any of you fellow catholics know, at that time, you didn’t win ANY disagreements with Sisters! I digitized a few class photos of St Valentines and Hillcrest.
During the 1950s & 1960s, Brady Stewart Jr used family members as models for a number of advertising agency location photography assignments. I included digitized images of one for regional Volkswagen dealerships and local Grocery Store (Bethel Market).
Sports Photography: The quality of the sports images in the collection are a direct result of the work my father did for the Steelers and Pitt during the 1950s. My father was hired part-time by John Campbell of Bell & Howell to photograph Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panther football games at Forbes Field and Pitt Stadium. During the early 1960s, a group of parents established the Bethel Baseball Association. This group was instrumental is building the foundation of Bethel Park’s baseball excellence over the next 20 years. The success was a direct result of recruiting dedicated and qualified men to coach the children. I digitized a number of team photographs taken by Brady Stewart Jr. Growing up, baseball was my favorite sport because of my success in BBA leagues and the ongoing success of the Pittsburgh Pirates. My favorite athlete to this day is Roberto Clemente. He was the only baseball player that I ever saw that came to play everyday and played at the highest level everyday. Other than the birth of my four boys, the greatest thrill of my life was playing right field in the 1970 WPIAL (Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League) Championship Baseball Game at Forbes Field. In right field, the Pittsburgh Pirate field crew burned a X where Roberto stood. During my three-year high school career, we played in two championship games at Forbes Field (1969 & 1970) and lost in the WPIAL semi-finals in 1971. We also had exceptional Colt and American Legion summer league teams during this time. One of the main reasons for our success was a boy named Bob Purkey Jr. Bobby was the son of professional baseball pitcher Bob Purkey who pitched for the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. Bobby Jr was on his way to the big leagues in 1972 when he succumbed to Sudden Death Syndrome (http://www.aafp.org/afp/1998/0601/p2763.html) that struck a number of young athletes at that time. There are some digitized images included in the galleries.
Bethel Park High School: In the fall of 1959, Bethel Park High School relocated to a parcel of land at the end of Broad Street and parallel to Church Road. Sophomores, juniors and seniors moved to the six-building campus, which consisted of two academic buildings, library, auditorium/cafeteria, physical education building and boiler house at a cost of $4.1 million for construction and equipment. Ninth graders stayed at the junior high. Digitized images of the campus and the 1964 football improvements are included. When I got to the high school in 1967, we had 4 academic buildings (9-12 grades), enlarged library, auditorium/cafeteria and athletic facilities.
During the 1960s, it was clear that Bethel Park football underperformed under then Coach and Athletic Director Dan Galbraith. The search committee looked for someone who could make Bethel Park successful in one of the most competitive leagues in the WPIAL. Rudy Andabaker was hired as football coach in 1969. Rudy was a former star football player with PITT and the Pittsburgh Steelers before starting his coaching at Donora High School. Rudy and his staff were quite a contrast to the former Coaching staff under Dan Galbraith. It took a year but starting in 1970, Bethel Park became a force in the Western Conference of the WPIAL Class AA. Rudy and his staff instilled a competitive mindset that was 180 degrees from the previous coaching staff. Rudy Andabaker staff included: Dick Mongelluzzo, Ron Eisaman, Frank (Biff) Baker, Art Tosh, John Meister, and Doug Behn. As a result, 5 players on the 1970 team received division I football scholarships and two other received Division II scholarships; the most scholarships in any one year in Bethel Park Football history. Mike Stewart and Joe Barrett (William and Mary), Dennis Franks (Michigan), Scott Streiner and Glenn Eisaman (Cincinnati), Jim Dingeldine (West Liberty College), and Clark Miller (Clarion). We all received very good educations because of Rudy and his staff. I digitized a number of images from the 1970 football season.
The last image in the group is of Armon Gilliam. Armon graduated from Bethel Park in 1981 and went on to have a very successful college basketball career at UNLV “Running Rebels” and the 13-year career in the NBA. Armon was a defensive end on the 1980 Bethel Park High School football team. Due to one of the many Bethel Park teacher strikes, I was an assistant football coach for the 1980 & 1981 season along with operating Brady Stewart Studio Inc. Armon was a pleasure to coach and if we would have had him a year earlier, he probably would have had a football scholarship. As we saw later in his life, he had an abundance of athletic talent. He left us way too soon passing away last year of a heart attack.
Bethel Park Images: As of this writing, 175 Bethel Park images are on the web site: http://bradystewartphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-list. All images in the blog and web site are copyrighted by Brady Stewart Studio Inc. If you are interested in downloading an image or to purchase a print, please contact Brady Stewart Studio by phone (724.554.9813) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.