People in photo still a mystery

Photo location identified; participants unknown

November 25, 2012
Mystery Photo 23

Our readers were quick to point out where last week’s Mystery Photo was taken, but who the four young men in the photo are may never be known.Peters Township resident Reed Day emailed us to let us know that the photo was shot on the west side of Canonsburg Lake, looking toward Route 19.That white building is the Sam McDowell farm, now the site of Kmart. Day said the brick house amid the trees is home of Bill and Christine McDowell.Mark Sanders agreed the picture was taken on the North Strabane side. He added that the lack of leaves on the trees indicates the photo was taken in early spring, possibly the first day of trout season in early April.A look through late March and early April editions of the O-R on microfilm from 1971 and 1972 turned up nothing, so it’s possible the photo was never published.Bill Puchi, a former Peters Township police officer, said that people did camp on that side of the lake, which is now asphalt, not mud.The body of water was created in 1943. Known then as Alcoa Dam, it supplied the corporation’s forging plant. It was later renamed Canonsburg Lake, even though there’s not a drop of it in that borough. The lake forms part of the boundary between North Strabane and Peters townships.The five lads standing around a campfire with their clothes drying on sticks might have been from anywhere. They would be in their late 50s now and probably have less hair. We’d still like to know who they are, if anyone has a clue.Look for another Mystery Photo in next Monday’s Observer-Reporter.

Park Burroughs has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1972. He is the winner of numerous state and regional awards for feature, column and editorial writing. He is the author of two books, “Enter, With Torches: Recollections of a Grumpy Old Editor,” and "Washington County Murder and Mayhem." He retired in September 2012 but continues to contribute to the O-R’s news pages.

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