Quote by Henry Ford
Unique Streets: 19
Miles Walked: 2.35
Street Names (italicized have been walked on another day): Surban Street, Ashlyn Street, Landis Street, Thornton Street, Sorg Way, Sherwood Avenue, Brutus Way, Bergman Street, Motor Street, Wyncotte Street, Zephyr Avenue, Boulder Way, Glen Mawr Street, Buoy Way, Bostwick Street, Menges Street, Slope Street, Stadium Street, Stafford Street, Parson Street, Christy Street
Johnny joined me on a quick (not-by-choice) walk in Sheraden. We parked in a shady spot in the middle of the Sheraden Park valley. We had two ways to get out: Walk up the steep Surban Street or go down towards the railroad tracks that run along Chartiers Creek before it empties into the river. We decided to try the latter. Three men were standing in a soggy field looking over a creek that spilled out of a large metal grate.
I asked them if there was a way to get to any streets down there and they said “No, it’s just wetlands.” We decided to explore it anyways with the hope that we might be able to get to a street.
The water coming out of the grate had a chemical smell and it wasn’t quite clear.
We walked through a tunnel that ran under railroad tracks and passed a cryptic message.
In the alluvial plain we had great views of the wetlands, blue sky, and McKees Rocks.
They weren’t kidding about the wetlands.
We got closer to where I thought street access might be and found a fence!
We turned around and went back through the train tunnel.
This time, Johnny posed on the black grate.
I asked him if we should walk up the big hill to get to some streets or drive up to them. He said “Definitely Drive!” At this point, I should have known what kind of walk we would be taking.
We drove up to Ashlyn Street and parked the car on a curve. We admired a bowling ball sitting on a pedestal in a blooming yard before walking towards the old campus of the Holy Innocents Parish.
At the corner of Sherwood and Landis sit three or four large buildings that used to be home to the Holy Innocents Parish.
A school or two, the church, and the rectory all now sit empty and boarded up. Hopscotch ghosts are still visible on the pavement, haunted by falling shoes and playful screams. Johnny couldn’t believe they had recess here because there was no playground. I started my “back in my day” speech and told him how recess (especially at a catholic elementary school) used to go down. No playground. No balls. Just running around trying to burn off the energy those delicious tater tots, Mexican pizza, and cartons of chocolate milk gave you. We didn’t miss a playground we never had or even dreamed about.
While we were walking the streets, I was looking for a famous tree. The American Chestnut tree(s) form an arched walkway in front of the home of the namesake of Sheraden, William Sheraden. Sheraden was a settler and donated the land in exchange for the naming rights. I’ve known about the trees for a few years now and have seen pictures. I have yet to see them with my own eyes. I was hoping we would see it on this walk. Even now, I still haven’t seen them. It wasn’t this one:
Even though I was carrying water for him and continuously plied him with fruit snacks, the whining began. We had gone to a trampoline park the day before for his birthday and he started complaining that he was still tired from it. He beat that dead horse of an excuse throughout the rest of the walk and I realized I would have to cut it short. I tried to take his mind off of the walk by pointing out the amazing views we had from a small alley.
In addition to the McKees Rocks Bridge, we could see the same Native American Burial Ground that we saw on Wednesday from the other side of the Ohio. It’s the little piece of land in front of the bridge.
In the bottom right corner of the above picture you can see a small gap hiding stairs in the Japanese Knotweed. I wanted to walk down them but warned Johnny that if we went down, we’d have to come back up. He decided against the stairs and we went around the bend.
On the corner of Motor and Glen Mawr, a blessed Virgin watched us from her perch between two chimney vents.
I walked down two streets (Menges & Slope) while Johnny rested at the top.
At the top of Stadium Street we discovered concrete barriers marking the street as closed. Johnny seemed surprised when I started walking down. Does he even know me at all? Closed streets are one of my favorite things!
If the slanted telephone pole wasn’t clue enough why the road was closed, the landslide halfway down was a dead giveaway.
At the bottom of the hill we found someone’s dump site. In the refuse sat a Pound Kitty much like one I had as a little girl.
We hopped over the lower barrier and started on our journey back up. I knew I would get to walk those stairs.
We walked up Strafford and after some searching, found the stairs we were looking for.
I went first so I could check for poison ivy and break all of the spider webs that spanned the skinny path. These were some long stairs and I am so glad I didn’t have to carry a 70lb 9-year-old up them on my back.
Bill Sheraden’s trees will have to wait for another day.