African American News and Genealogy

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Those who love Fairview plan for next incarnation

Sunday, May 21, 2006 By Caitlin Cleary, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Barbara Calloway still remembers, as a little girl, the way her heart would start beating faster whenever the family car pulled onto the country road leading to Fairview Park. A hundred acres of lush, green countryside set in the middle of Westmoreland County's rolling hills, Fairview Park was far from the city and all of its racial land mines, the whites-only lunch counters at the five-and-ten, the off-limits department store dressing rooms, the Kennywood swimming pool that officials reportedly opted to close in the early 1950s rather than integrate. Out here, there were no restrictions, said Mrs. Calloway, a retired teacher from Point Breeze. "You could just run and run, and not worry." During the 1940s, a group of African-American churches from Pittsburgh and the Monongahela Valley had come together to find an alternative to local amusement parks such as Kennywood and West View, which excluded blacks. In 1945, they bought 100 acres in Westmoreland County, envisioning a place for Sunday school picnics, family reunions, weddings, where African-American families could have fun and a sense of belonging. During the height of its popularity, Fairview Park had a roller coaster, a merry-go-round, a skating rink, a swimming pool, softball fields, swings, see-saws, a sandbox, a petting zoo, even hot-air balloon rides on Fairview Park Day. And its well water "was the best-tasting water in the world," said Mrs. Calloway, 63. Full Story:


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