Mystery solved

December 22, 2013
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Park Burroughs / Observer-Reporter
The area of South Main Street and Park Avenue is still prone to flooding today. Order a Print
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Flooding at the intersection of South Main and South streets is nothing new, as evidenced by this photo from the early 1900s.
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Park Burroughs / Observer-Reporter
Three Guyz Pizza is now in the building and the one next to it on South Main Street. Order a Print
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Teegarden’s Restaurant occupied the building at South Main and South streets around 1900.

Judging from the small number of responses, this week’s Mystery Photo had our readers stumped. We received just three phone calls and two email messages – a small fraction of what we’ve come to expect.

Fortunately, two of our readers were able to positively identify the location of the photo, based on some clues that escaped our eye.

Tom Wylie, owner of the Judson Wylie concrete and building supply company on South Main Street in Washington, was first to respond and was sure that what was Teegarden’s Restaurant is now Three Guyz Pizza restaurant. He pointed out a concrete marker along the sidewalk that is partially obscured by the utility pole. That marker is still there, as is the railroad platform at the far right of the picture. That platform is part of the old Pennslvania and W&W railroad station currently used for storage by Judson Wylie.

Wylie said if you walk behind the current restaurant, you can see the separation between the two buildings.

Jim McKinney of Washington remembers when Albano’s Grocery occupied the structure.

“That house looks like it did when I was a kid,” McKinney said. “I used to pass it every day on my way to school.”

It’s our best guess, based on the fashion of the clothing, the photo was taken around 1900. City directories from 1903 onward have no listing for the restaurant or any family spelling Teegarden that way.

A photo taken after a flood of Catfish Creek the night of Aug. 19, 1912, was first published in the Pittsburgh Post and later in the Washington Reporter. It shows the area of South Main Street that is still prone to flooding. The building looks the same in the flood photo and our Mystery Photo, with a striped awning on the north side visible in both.

The Aug. 21 edition of the Reporter warned Washington residents of the danger of disease from the flood because of “the large amounts of night soil and other objectionable substances” floating in the water.

The building was Bickert’s Restaurant in the late 1920s and early 1930s, before it became a grocery. Before Three Guyz, it was a restaurant called Primo, which is now on Route 19 north of Washington.

Other readers who responded last week guessed the location might have been Waynesburg or Claysville – logical guesses in that Teegarden and Teagarden are well-known names in those boroughs.

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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