The Newtown Pentacle

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Dormont noticings

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Mobile Oppression Platform, as I’ve named the Toyota, was purchased and registered in New York State before we left. One last payout in tax to Albany, for me. State law here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania demands that resident vehicles be registered under their bureaucracies, and transferring the legal status of the vehicle – even between neighboring states – has proven to be surprisingly complicated due to having to handle the bureaucratic demands of two States and a large automobile manufacturer’s financing department. The long procedure was finally completed, and as the car is now wearing a Pennsylvania license plate, one had to bring the thing to a dealership for an inspection to scry its emissions and mechanical soundness. It’s a brand new car, so it obviously passed, but I still had to kill an hour or two. Luckily, just such a dealership is proverbially “around the corner.”

I did what I do when I’ve got time to kill, and walked around the periphery of the town I’m living in, called Dormont. There’s no such thing as a typical house here, according to my admittedly limited observations, but those homes pictured above are pretty typical and are likely in the 190-300k range. Unfortunately, they’re located along an arterial roadway and up the block from one of the worst McDonalds I’ve ever set foot in. I do like a McCoffee though, which is surprisingly decent as far as hot bean juice goes. Saying that – how do you screw up McDonalds? I used to work at a Burger King in high school, and I can tell you that it’s assembly line back in the kitchen. The only time you really have to pay attention is when your building the actual sandwich, everything else is timed and fairly automated.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I drive past these buildings just about every day on the tertiary arterial road which connects the two secondary arterial roads that define the larger neighborhood. The blonde brick one has the word “Hafer” in block type across its lintel, and an intriguing design element which I think I’ve seen before. I’ve found an old ad from 1971, hawking Carrier Air Conditioners, that lists “Hafer’s” in Dormont at this address as a store where you can buy one of their units. I’ve also found an announcement from 1919 that a C.A. Hafer had been awarded a valuable plumbing contract on a then new housing development. Hafer seems to be a fairly common name in Pennsylvania, incidentally, so there’s a lot of false positives. Curious.

At least I now have a leading question to ask when I pay a visit to the Dormont Historical Society. I recognize this sort of design as a mercantile building, and that three circled icon… it’s a tip of my tongue thing, one which I know I’ve seen before. Masons, Shriners, Odd Fellows? Something.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a chain of casual dining restaurants, of the sort which were called “diners” once, in the Pittsburgh area called “Eat’N Park.” It’s one of those not terribly healthy for you kind of menus – pancakes with bacon and eggs, or burgers and fries, or corn dogs, milkshakes and pies – but sometimes that’s what you want on a weekend morning. This outfit is pretty consistent from location to location with their branding, service, and food quality even though they’re found all over the geography in these parts. I’m told it’s a family owned company that’s getting ready for a growth spurt of new locations, and they’re observationally pretty popular.

Luckily for me, these dudes were fixing an illuminated Eat’N Park sign here in Dormont, just as I got stuck at a red light.

Back tomorrow with something different.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 29, 2023 at 11:00 am

Posted in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh

Tagged with ,

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