McDonald reminisces during 125th anniversary celebration

June 29, 2014
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Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter
Ray Miller, chairman of McDonald Borough’s 125th anniversary celebration, holds a copy of The Record Outlook from Aug. 2, 1989, which was buried in the time capsule during the borough’s centennial celebration. Order a Print
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Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter
A group of McDonald Borough anniversary committee members pried open a time capsule Sunday that was buried in 1989. Order a Print
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Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter More than 100 people attended McDonald Borough’s 125th anniversary celebration Sunday inside McDonald Presbyterian Church.

A group of teenagers – born long after Chinese students demonstrated in Tiananmen Square, or when Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union – joined the crowd Sunday at McDonald Presbyterian Church to see what was inside a time capsule from 1989.

The boys joked the capsule likely contained some extinct relic – maybe even a dinosaur. Surprisingly, when the capsule was opened, the committee chairman pulled out a Tyrannosaurus rex figurine.

But for most people at McDonald Borough’s 125th anniversary celebration, 1989 wasn’t so long ago. Many reminisced in the church pews about McDonald’s heyday of oil rigs and booming businesses.

They talked about the former shops and the skating rinks, but also the hardships. Tim Thomassy, one of the speakers, reminisced about walking to the old McDonald school “uphill, both ways” and swimming in a strip mine pond.

“You’d be all yellow … You’d stink like sulphur,” Thomassy said, and he jokingly asked how many people went skinny-dipping there.

The time capsule itself was of modest proportions – only about two-feet tall. It contained a couple trinkets and old newspapers, with the front-page story from The Record Outlook’s August 2, 1989 edition reading, “Mt. Pleasant Solicitor Questions Legality of Hickory School Use.”

But the capsule mostly held stacks of letters. Longtime McDonald residents rushed to collect their old letters, and many prepared to submit new ones for the 2039 time capsule.

Residents can view memorabilia from 1989 or drop off items for the 2039 time capsule at Heritage Public Library from now until July 3.

McDonald’s festivities will continue with the 22nd annual McSummerfest, a celebration of music, food and fireworks that runs through Saturday.

Emily Petsko joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in June 2013. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and global cultural studies.

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