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A Bicentennial Newscast
Written June 19, 1976


Background:  When I moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1974 and took the job of program director at Washington Channels (the local cable TV company), Larry Schwingel was our newscaster and sportscaster.  But Larry left in 1975, and I added his duties to my own.

We couldn't invest a lot of money in the "news department," because we couldn't sell much advertising in the news.  Our sponsors mostly wanted to support specific organizations, such as churches or schools, by buying time in the local telecasts of those organizations' events.  A newscast was too general.  Besides, it often featured politicians with whom some sponsors didn't want to be associated.

The newscast also was not that popular with the viewers.  We didn't have ratings as such, but when we called a sampling of subscribers and asked them whether they checked Channel 3 for the automated weather information, 67% said yes.  When we asked if they watched "the Channel 3 programming such as news," only 30% said yes.

Our newscast, therefore, was a low-budget program.  We experimented with the format a few times.  For almost a year (August 1975 until August 1976), it was a thirty-minute show, three times a week:  on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:00 pm, with repeat showings at 6:00 and 7:30 pm the same night.

We felt that the newscast of Friday, June 19, 1976, was one of our better efforts, and I saved a copy of the tape.  Here's the transcript, along with stills and audio excerpts taken from the black and white video.

I'll also interrupt the transcript for some more recent color pictures, to show the progress of community construction projects referred to in the newscast.  Some of these photos were taken on April 21, 1979, and others on October 9, 2002.

For example, 2002:  The newscast originated in this Park Avenue building, then the office of Washington Channels, now vacant.


We used a simple split screen, with a studio camera on the left and slides on the right.

Because the studio was small, the "back light" was almost directly above me.  Had it been several feet further back, the lighting on my shoulders would have looked more natural.

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My newscast's theme music was taken from the last movement of Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E Flat, beginning at the soloist's entrance.  For ten seconds I pretended to ready my script at the anchor desk.  Then I looked up and began talking, and the music faded out.

TOM:  Good evening.  I'm Tom Thomas.  Welcome to the Cable TV-3 News.

We have a lot of items to cover tonight,
the United Way Health-O-Rama,
a sports report from Rory Gillespie,
a blood drive at St. Hilary Church,
and some views of what a block of downtown
Main Street will look like in a couple of years.

Here I'm describing  footage that I had shot with our rather fuzzy "Rover."

First, though, here's what the corner of  Chestnut and Franklin Streets will look like in a couple of years.  This is an architect's drawing of Millcraft Center, a ten-story office tower to be built on that corner where the redevelopment project has cleared away other buildings, including the old YMCA.

Yesterday morning, officials gathered at the site for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the four-million-dollar project.  It will be one of the largest business and office complexes ever built in Washington County, including not only the office tower but also a two-story commercial facility connected to it.

2002:  Millcraft Center looks like this 25 years after its completion.  The commercial area is on the far side of the mirror-walled tower.

Jack Piatt is the chairman of the board of Millcraft Industries.  He said that his company will move its headquarters into Millcraft Center when it's completed.  Together with one of its subsidiaries, Millcraft will take up about one quarter of the 84,000 square feet in the office tower.

The tenth floor of the tower will be leased by the Washington Club, a non-profit corporation chartered by several local businessmen, who will put a private dining club in the penthouse.  The rest of the office tower will be rented to other companies.

The two-level commercial area will contain nearly 55,000 square feet of rentable space.  The lower level will face the Millcraft Center parking lot, while the upper level will face the other way, toward the main central business district.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Mr. Piatt commented on the support and cooperation from many people in completing the final negotiations to make the Millcraft Center project a reality.  He named the Washington County Redevelopment Authority, the Industrial Development Authority, the county commissioners, and the mayor's office.

And Piatt said that he and his associates are confident of the future growth potential of the city of Washington.  He said that with the continued support of the business community, Millcraft's goal is to restore the downtown business district to a viable shopping center and attract business to Washington to ensure future growth and prosperity.

You saw earlier that Bob Prince was there; so also was Delvin Miller.

Earl Bugaile was planning to tape a radio interview anyway, so while I continued to operate the camera, I asked him to hold the Rover's microphone as well as his own.

And Earl Bugaile of WKEG Radio was on hand to interview Jack Piatt and those two celebrity guests at yesterday morning's groundbreaking.

EARL:  All right.  Jack, after a long wait and trying to get things together, it's got to be a good feeling to see the groundbreaking finally arrive.

JACK:  It certainly is.  Boy, I'll tell you, it's just like a dream coming true.  We've got a nice sunshine day to have it come true.

EARL:  What about the progress of the building now?  When do you hope to start the actual construction, and how about tenants you already have leased?

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JACK:  Well, as far as the actual construction, we're probably going to start on Monday morning at eight o'clock.  And we have little barricades to put up here to keep anybody from falling in some of these holes around.  As far as the occupancy, we have, I would say, probably about 35% of the building already rented.  And we're currently negotiating with quite a few other industrial and commercial people to take occupancy in the building.

EARL:  Jack, you have probably one of the best PR men in the business here in Bob Prince, and everybody knows him.  It's great to welcome you here to Washington and have you associated with this project.

We didn't need to explain to our viewers who Bob Prince was.  A Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster since 1948 until he was fired in 1975, "The Gunner" was still very popular in Western Pennsylvania, even though he had found a new job for 1976 with the Houston Astros.

BOB Well, thank you.  You know, when Jack Piatt asked me if I would accept the position of assistant to the chairman of the board, I did very graciously do that, for this reason.  I say "graciously" because I thought originally he was pulling my leg, and I said, "There's not much that I can do for you that you haven't already done."  And Delvin Miller kicked in and said, "You'd better get in here and do a little something."  So I am delighted to be a part of it.

And of course, it ties me in even closer to Washington, Pennsylvania, where I've been Commissioner At Large in Boys Baseball, you know, for the past several years since Joe E. Brown passed away.  And I'm just delighted to be a part of this, and it gives me the chance also to get back out of Houston, Texas, after the summer season is over, and get back up in here with all the people that I love very dearly.

EARL:  You plan to spend a lot of time here in the off-season?

BOB:  I certainly do.  I'll spend all the doggone time I can possibly spend, unless Delvin shows me another way I can make a living in Pompano behind a horse.  If he can do that, I'll be down there for a spell, too.

Also needing no introduction was Del Miller, the founder of the Meadows harness racing track north of Washington and its annual trotting event, The Adios.

EARL:  Delvin, you've always been involved in a lot of things around here, and this has got to be a big project for you, too.

DELVIN That's right.  Bob and I, we're going to go in business.  We're going to charge admissions for the sidewalk superintendents, so we're going to charge admission and collect that for sidewalk superintendents of this great building that's going up. 

TOM: Construction of the Millcraft Center project is expected to take 12 to 14 months.  That means it should be completed before Labor Day, 1977.  Right now, it's just a very big field, but already an office across Chestnut Street from the project is taking rental applications and is also going to be overseeing the construction, which, as Jack Piatt said, will start Monday.

1979:  The completed Millcraft Center was a modern building in an otherwise aging city.

This Rover footage was taken by our other full-time employee, Tim Verderber.  Its purpose was to publicize the United Way event.


The United Way's annual Health-O-Rama at the Washington Mall is now about half over.  It will continue until nine o'clock tonight and then from noon till nine tomorrow.

The United Way is making free health tests available at the Mall, including pulmonary function, anemia, sickle cell anemia, hearing, oral screening, preschool hearing, height and weight, diabetes, heart disease, urinalysis, vision, and blood pressure.  President Julie Uram said, "You owe it to yourself to take advantage of the United Way's Health-O-Rama and the many free tests at one convenient location."

Once again, it's at the Washington Mall tonight till nine and tomorrow from noon until nine.

I didn't regularly cover meetings of the County Commissioners.  This story probably was adapted from a report in the local newspaper, the Observer-Reporter.


County Commissioners are discussing the options at the Washington County Airport, where the Goodridge National Guard Armory is located.  An air support facility there services all Army helicopters in western Pennsylvania, but the 40 full-time maintenance men may have to be shifted to another location if the local armory can't obtain another five acres of additional land.

The additional space is needed to park the aircraft that are flown here for servicing.  The county may be asked to look into purchasing the additional land and to provide a fulltime traffic controller at the county airport.  Otherwise, the air support facility may go somewhere else.  But there's no present plan to move the 200 men of Troop D who fly helicopters at Goodridge Armory.  They'll stay.

The County Commissioners yesterday did approve an emergency appropriation of over $5,000 for a new beacon light at the county airport.

2002:  The Washington County Courthouse still marks the center of town.  This new lamppost marks an expansion of the original "Bassettown Square" project.  By 2005, at a cost of nearly $15 million, 14 additional blocks will get new sidewalks, trees, storm sewers, and underground utilities.

In other action, the commissioners agreed to pay Coventry Care of Monongahela about $8,000 to make the transition to the new County Extended Care Facility as smooth as possible.  When the old County Homes are shut down and the new facility at Arden Downs put into operation, new policies and job classifications will have to be set up, and Coventry Care will act as consultants for this administrative work.

This story came from a Spence press release.  His opponent, Roger Raymond Fischer, must have worried that he might get less than 50% of the vote.

We told you on Wednesday that John K. Baronette, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate in the May primary for the 47th district seat in the state House of Representatives, has now announced he'll run for that same seat in the fall, this time as a Federalist candidate.

Therefore, Fischer (the Republican incumbent) arranged things so that he would not need a majority but merely a plurality:  voters would have three choices in the fall.

Another "opponent" entered the race, hoping to siphon off some of the anti-Fischer votes that would otherwise have gone to the real opponent, Spence.  This was politics as usual in Washington County.

The man who defeated Baronette in the primary, J. Albert Spence, has responded to Baronette's renewed candidacy.  Spence said, "I entered the Democratic primary this spring because I thought we needed a leader, not a follower, in the legislative process.  Obviously, the majority of the electorate agreed that I, not Mr. Baronette, could best provide that leadership.

"Baronette or anyone else has the right to place his name before the people; however, I wonder what motivates a 66-year-old retiree to run for a State House seat after he has already been beaten in the primary for that seat and has no chance of winning in the fall.  I think the answer is obvious," said Spence, "when Baronette's chief supporters are Francis Florian, Andrew Dezak, and Donald Jacobs — all past Fischer supporters.  Baronette is obviously being used in an effort to split my vote by the Fischer camp."  End quote.

But Al Spence does not think that his candidacy will suffer from Baronette's reentry into the race.  He said, "The people of this district are too intelligent to fall for a political gambit of this nature."

Another press release concluded the first eight-minute segment of the newscast.

Finally in the news, close to 200 Scouts from Allegheny Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America, start a week-long leadership training program this Sunday at the Council's Camp Semacanon near Butler.

Those attending "Brown-C-Double-2" from Washington include John Gorby, Bob Kensky, and Dane Ward.

Rory Gillespie's father was active in Boys Baseball and his mother worked in our office.  He and Tim taped this five-minute piece earlier in the day in a different corner of the studio, using both of our studio cameras.  It was kind of an experiment.

By the way, I apologize if some names of people and businesses are misspelled in this transcript, as I'm relying on my memory from three decades ago.

I can't find the spellings by watching the tape, because we never put the names on the screen.  We had only the most rudimentary character generator (the "crawl" portion of our data channel).

The lack of graphics, not to mention the lack of footage, made it dull television.  But at least our sports music was unique.

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RORY Hello.  Welcome to Local Sports Roundup.  I'm Rory Gillespie. This is a new program for Channel 3, and we'll try to cover all the local sports that we can.

If we are missing some event and you'd like to bring it to our attention and get this event included, please drop us a line here at Washington Channels office in care of Local Sports Roundup.

We'll start off with the results from Washington Park.  In Pony League action this week, Scott Gray pitched a no-hitter for Presco, beating Burger King 5 to 3.  Gray struck out seven batters and walked four in his win.  Randy West took a hard loss for Burger King as the losing pitcher, and he struck out 13 batters.

The Pony standings after the completion of half the season are as follows.  Presco leads the way with an 8-1 record; Cameron Beverage is second with 6-3; Fairmont Supply and Optimists are 5-4; Washington Steel also has a 6-3 record.  National Annealing Box, the Elks, and Burger King all have 4-5 records.  Judson Wiley is 3-6; and Eagles at the bottom with a 1-8 record.

In Bronco League, Brockway leads the way with an 11-1 record, and this is in the National Division.  And the others in that division are Millcraft at 9-3, Tubeson Texaco at 6-6, Coca-Cola 5-7, Jessop Steel 5-8, and Chambers Insurance 1-10.  In the American Division of Bronco, Kiwanis is also 11-1, First National Bank is 8-3, The Meadows is 5-7, Teledyne is 5-7, Smith Auto is 4-9, and Molybdenum Corporation is 2-1.

Washington Girls Softball is just getting under way, and their league standings are as follows.  The Capris are 2-0.  The GTO's are 2-1, the MG's are 2-1, the Darts are 1-1, and the XKE's are 0-3.

In Mustang League (the 9- and 10-year-olds), their National Division:  Delta Tau Delta leads it off with a 7-0 record.  Joe Falvo Paint is a 2-2 record.  Al Lorenzi Lumber is 2-4.  Washington Automatic Machines is 1-3, and Washington Institute of Technology is 0-6.

In American League, Ontario Machines is 5-1, leading that division.  Tri-State Engineering is 4-1.  Brockway is 2-2.  Stan's Shoes is 2-3, and Lions Club has one win and five losses.

Washington County Women's Softball had its clash of the undefeated teams this past week, with the Washington Patriots beating West Penn Wire 6 to 3.  Earlier this week, in another game, the Patriots forced Fairmont Supply to concede, after 4½ innings, 43 hits, and 45 runs scored.  The Patriots' record now stands at 5-0.

Gina Piatt of Trinity High School earned second place in both shot put and discus in the National AAU Age Group Track and Field Championship, held at UCLA.  Piatt competed in the 14- to-15 age group.  Her best marks were 136 feet 3 inches in the discus and 41 feet 9 inches in the shot put.

Summer basketball this week had good results for Peters Township, as they defeated Chartiers-Houston 58-53.  In other games, Washington defeated Trinity 59-45, Upper St. Clair beat Fort Cherry 45-43, and Mon Valley stopped McGuffey 76-50.

Two members of the Frazer Simplex Junior Rifle Team won state junior championships.  Bill Crozier placed first in the sub-junior division and sharpshooters with a 388 score.  He's allowed to receive only one title, and was named the Pennsylvania Sub-Junior Position Champion.  Beverly Ogdano was the other winner for Frazer Simplex, as she captured the Pennsylvania Class C Position with a score of 357.

And finally, Bob Fitzpatrick and Kay Dyer teamed up to win Washington's first Celebrity Pro-Am Tennis Tournament, held last weekend in Washington Park.  Fitzpatrick and Dyer took a 10-6 pro set victory from Chuck Taylor and Audrey Richman in the finals.  All proceeds went to the Washington Humane Society.

And that rounds out Local Sports Roundup for this week.  Hopefully, we'll see you again next Friday.

The only commercial in the newscast that day was this 30-second spot consisting of my recorded voice and five slides.  The sponsor was a local gas station owner.  I assume that the Ryder truck-rental company paid at least half of the cost.

When a truck breaks down, you can't deliver.  Late deliveries make for unhappy customers.  Unhappy customers can be hazardous to your business health.

So don't risk it.  Rent Ryder, and deliver!  Ryder has 21,000 rental vehicles of every size and kind, available through 400 coast-to-coast locations including the Colonial Amoco Service on West Chestnut Street here in Washington.

So if you need a truck, or a whole mixed fleet, for overnight or for a year, remember Ryder.  Ryder rents deliverability, at the Colonial Amoco Service, 1297 West Chestnut Street.

The third quarter of this newscast was a group interview, taped the day before in yet another part of our studio.

A local church had asked us if they could publicize their blood drive on TV.  Since it wasn't a big enough story for our weekly interview show About Washington, which normally featured two 13-minute conversations, we decided to do a segment for the news.

It turned out to be nearly nine minutes long.  Tim directed, and two high school students operated the cameras.

In order to know what questions to ask, I talked to my guests beforehand to find out what points they wanted to get across.  And I was careful to give my crew sufficient warning as to who was going to be talking next.

TOM:  There's a special event coming up at St. Hilary's Church this Sunday, an event whereby the people of the parish can help other people — and themselves.  And maybe you might like to get involved in it, too.

We have three people in our studio here with us,  two of them representing the parish, and one representing the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh.  Let's introduce our way around.  On the end, we have?

MONICA Monica Dingle.

TOM:  And what is your job?

MONICA:  Well, I'm the coordinator of St. Hilary's blood drive this year.

TOM:  The blood drive.  And sitting next to you?

FR. SMOLLEY I'm Father Smolley; I'm the assistant pastor at St. Hilary's here in Washington, and I'm sort of the spiritual director of the whole program.

TOM And on this side?

SALLY:  Sally Meesey; I'm with Central Blood Bank.  I'm a field representative, and I work specifically with Monica in making all the arrangements and the setup for the drive.

TOM Let's talk to Monica about what is going to be happening on Sunday.  The hours, what the setup is going to be.

MONICA Okay, it'll be held at St. Hilary cafeteria from the hours of 10 AM in the morning  until 3:45 in the afternoon.  Approximately, now, we have 130 donors that are signed up.

TOM:  And you're trying to get people mostly from your parish to sign up.

MONICA:  Yes, we're mainly interested in our own parish right now.

TOM:  Now, why would you want people from your parish to sign up?  Why are you having the blood drive?  Does it give some sort of benefits, then, to the people who give?

MONICA:  Yes; it's not just to the people who give; it is for the whole parish.  We agreed upon, with Central Blood Bank, that there will be blood there whenever anybody from our parish would need it.  And that's why we had set up the drive.

TOM:  So this drive is your obligation under that agreement.

MONICA Yes, it is.

TOM:  Father Smolley, are there other reasons why the church is sponsoring this program?

FR. SMOLLEY Well, I think basically, once again, to live the Christian message that we are our brother's keeper.  In and through this program, once again, our parish will be able to reach out into the Christian community to help the people that live here in the city of Washington that may be in the need of blood on that certain day.  And of course, once again, here at St. Hilary's, we will be sponsoring on that day the blood bank program and taking care of, once again, that the people from our parish — this will be an annual affair that they can come down to the cafeteria on that day and donate their blood annually.

TOM:  We'll talk more about the details in a moment, but now I want to turn to the lady on my right here, Sally Meesey from the Central Blood Bank, and ask her about the work of the blood bank.  St. Hilary is important this Sunday, because you're depending on them to supply certain of your needs, right?

SALLY Right.  The way we set up our system with anyone donating is primarily through large groups and trying to arrange with churches, companies, whatever, to set up what we call an annual donor day — like the third Sunday in June, for example, at St. Hilary's.

We do this because we need to stabilize the blood supply.  Monica has 130 donors.  If she said, "I've got 130 people, I'll have them come in and give sometime" — well, that would be nice, it would add to the blood supply, but it wouldn't do anything toward stabilizing it.  Whereas if she keeps that same 130 donors and says "I'll give it to you on this day every year," then I can count on that relatively well.  And I can look at the whole calendar for the whole calendar year and see where there's going to be enough blood, where there may be a shortage, that kind of thing.  And this is the way we set up our system.

So we're appreciative of St. Hilary's for utilizing this day, because it was very important to us, being so close to the Fourth of July, for one thing.

TOM:  Um-hm.  You need more blood then because of the various accidents that might take place?

SALLY:  Right, that's part of it.  Generally in the summer there's just an overall increase in usage and need.  I think part of the reason is because there are more people vacationing in the summer so there's less people that are giving but there are more people traveling, you know, more accidents of course, more surgeries scheduled.  But at the same time people feel maybe a little lethargic because of the summer weather, so not as many people give then.

Around any holiday, of course, you do have a problem with less people thinking of giving.  Let's face it, they do have other things on their mind.  So less people think to go in and donate, while many more people need it at that time than normally.

TOM:  It sounds like it is a seasonably variable thing.  Can you store blood for any length of time once it's given?

SALLY:  Yes.  Whole blood, kept as whole blood, is able to last 21 days.  Now if you divide that blood up into its different components, the different components can last varying lengths of time.  Platelets, for example, which are essential in clotting, will only last 48 hours.  So, you know, two days after Monica's drive, if we split all that blood up there's not going to be platelets left from that.  So this is another reason why it's important to have blood coming in regularly on every day of the year.

As a matter of fact, right now we are in a critical situation.  In all blood types we do have a need right now, but especially in O-positive and O-negative.  And I did want to take this chance to mention that if anybody in the community of Washington would like to give, especially if they are O-positive or O-negative, they could certainly go over to Washington Hospital and donate.  We do have a cooperative agreement with Washington Hospital in terms of blood supply and I'm sure that they'd be glad to take any donors that did want to give at this time. 

And hopefully some more people from St. Hilary's will.  Maybe this will prompt them to call Monica and make an appointment to give on Sunday at their own parish.

TOM:  So this appeal that we're making today is not just for the people of St. Hilary to come on Sunday, but people from other churches, or no church, are welcome to donate at the Washington Hospital, you say.

SALLY:  Right.  I think what we have to do in every community anywhere really in the country is make people more aware of the regular need for blood.  We have a problem in blood banking in that, across the country, taking only the eligible people — and I'm not counting sick people or children or anything like that — of all the eligible population that could donate, only three per cent of them do.  In this area, I think if all of us who are eligible would give once, we'd only have to give about once every ten years and there'd be more than an adequate supply.  But you'll find right now that we have many people who give four and five times a year, you know, just to try to maintain the supply, and it doesn't really completely do it, obviously.  So we do want to get more people involved in donating, at least to try it one time.

TOM:  Going back over to our two people from the St. Hilary parish:  You have scheduled this for this Sunday, which happens to be Father's Day.  I guess that's causing a few conflicts.  If somebody is going to be out of town on Father's Day, can they give blood into this St. Hilary "account," later?

MONICA:  Oh, yes, definitely.  They can go up to the Washington Hospital at their convenience and donate it in the name of St. Hilary Parish, and we will be credited for that.

TOM:  If they donate on Sunday, now, are there special restrictions as to what they should eat beforehand, or when they should come?  You want them to make appointments, don't you?

MONICA:  Yes, right.  If you don't have an appointment and you would like to make one, you can do so by calling me at 225-1560.  If you are already scheduled, we tell you to eat a light meal before you come down.  Something that's not fatty; just as long as you do have something on your stomach.  Uh, requirements?  Just if you're in good health.  And if you're not too sure about your eligibility, you can contact your doctor and ask him if you are eligible to donate or not.  But you will be given a mini-physical before the blood is donated.

SALLY:  And I think if they're unsure, they can come down anyway and go through the medical screening.  It is, as Monica says, sort of a mini-medical exam anyway, and our staff will tell them whether or not they can give, and if not, why not.

TOM:  So those hours once again on Sunday are what?

MONICATen AM in the morning until 3:45 in the afternoon.

TOM:  In the cafeteria of St. Hilary's School.


TOM:  And the number for making an appointment:  225-1560 if you want to sign up, especially if you're a member of the St. Hilary parish.  We thank Monica Dingle and Father Rudolph Smolley and Sally Meesey for coming down and talking to us about this:  the blood drive at the St. Hilary's parish this Sunday.

The newscast on June 19, 1976, concluded with six minutes from that week's Mayor's Report, which also made the front page of the local paper.  Click here for that picture.

Yesterday morning's Mayor's Report here on Cable TV-3 was a special edition, with members of the press invited to attend.  Mayor Mike Johns showed slides of the architect's model of the downtown renovation project, which will extend the sidewalks and redo the fronts of the buildings on Main Street between Beau and Chestnut.  Here's a portion of that program.

MAYOR JOHNS These are the first architectural drawings of what the downtown should look like — just slow them up a little bit, would you, please? — what the downtown is to look like.

2002:  This is the block of Main Street that was remodeled in the 1970s as "Bassettown Square," so titled because the city was originally called Bassettown in the 18th century before being renamed to honor President Washington.

That's redoing some façades, putting in brick sidewalks or some sort of textured sidewalks, new types of lighting, trees, pulloffs to drop off and pick up people, widening the sidewalks a full lane, removing parking from Main Street, putting all the electrical wires and all underground, and in general sprucing up the looks of the town.

It's too bad this isn't in color, because this is quite colorful in its original form.  You can continue.

That's a picture of Lot F, which is the present Main Street parking lot where have turned it into a raised plaza.  There'll be a sidewalk café.  There'll be a fountain there; you can't see it from that angle, but we will be able to certainly see some of the pictures of the model.

And this is the model.  This is an aerial view of Lot F there on your left.  You really can't see too much because it's too above the street.

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I'm trying to see what these pictures are.  Just slow it down a little bit.  I can't even tell what that is.  Continue, so we can see some façades. 

TOM:  Coming down a little lower now.

MAYOR JOHNS:  Right.  Now that's the corner of Main and Beau, looking north on Main Street toward Main and Chestnut.  The building on the left is the old Richman Brothers building, the present Trumper's building.  The building on the right is the King's Kitchen restaurant.

A cameraman had moved the studio monitor closer, so that the mayor could see the slides more clearly.

All right, this helps quite a bit.

That's a picture there of Main Street looking south.  There on the left is the Sol Mintz building; I think you can see it has stucco on it and then set-on boxes.  On the right is David's Limited.  That's what it's going to look like going uptown.  No one would ever see it from than angle unless you were about 70 feet tall and standing on Main Street.

But here is an angle that you may see it at.  There is a picture there of the Sol Mintz building, a closeup, a little more eye level.

You can see very clearly that it's been changed drastically.  The sidewalks have been widened; there's trees and new lighting, and all sorts of things downtown now.

2002:  That corner of Main and Beau turned out like this.  In a change of plans, the upper stories of the Sol Mintz façade were not remodeled.  But the sidewalks were in fact widened, and over a quarter century, the trees grew and the light poles leaned.

Going on up the street, that's the old lower Hurd's building; it now has the Pinball Palace in it.  It's basically been somewhat restored.  It's not so radically changed.  The building has good architectural lines, and it's been cleaned up and fixed up, and if you are familiar with what it looks like now, it's quite an improvement.

The signs, the overhead signs have all been taken down, and we have a uniform type of signage.  And then going on up the street, there's the Isaly's building and next to it is the Ideal Boutique.  There you see some planters with shrubs in it, also trees that are planted directly in the streetscape with tree grates around them.  Next slide.

There's the Ideal Boutique.  That's the first building we looked at, the one I said the Ideal Boutique was in, and Vincent Evans's Studio is above that; and that's quite an improvement over what we saw.  That was a real disgrace, that building.  And you really can't blame the merchants for not putting a lot of money in their buildings.  The downtown was deteriorating, it was getting difficult to rent their space, and nobody puts a lot of money in the buildings if they can't get a return out of them.

Continue up the street.  That's a little more of an aerial view of it.  That's a closeup of that first building we'd seen.

Now we're starting to move on to the plaza area that will be between Union Shoes and Ideal Boutique.

We've raised it above the sidewalk about four or five feet; continued the same paving pattern.  The little structure there in the front is an information kiosk.  There are steps going up one side; there'll be a ramp up the other side for the handicapped.

1979, looking east:  To more than compensate for the handful of parking spaces that were lost when Lot F was converted into this plaza, a multi-level parking garage was built behind it.

There it is looking down on it.  Those umbrellas there are part of the outdoor café that's being planned.  There's also a fountain in this square.

1979:  The little fountain in the plaza was not destined to survive the 20th century.

There's another view of it, looking from the Union Shoe building.

That's a picture, somewhat, of what the restaurant, we hope, will look like.  We have to get a private developer to build the restaurant.  We can do all other things but the restaurant.  There's a fountain there, sort of in the right center of the screen; a lot of trees.

Basically [we're] trying to improve the looks of the downtown area and have an additional reason for people to come downtown:  a very unique type of restaurant. 

2002, looking west:  The restaurant with its outdoor café never happened, and the brick-paved plaza has been turned back into a parking lot.

(This view is from the parking garage.  The tower in the background is  Millcraft Center, one block further west.)

Right now, we have people that must come into downtown, that want to record a deed or see their attorney or see their doctor, and the problem is keeping them here to shop once they're here.  We already have those natural magnets; this is just an additional magnet to make the uptown a little more of a pleasant place to be and another reason to go here, to see our downtown and to take advantage of our stores.

There will be a large clock that is not shown in this model.  It was put into the design after the model was constructed.  It'll be somewhere in the front of that square that is visible from the street and also by those who are sitting in the plaza area.

1979, looking east:  In front of the clock, a metal sculpture called Crystal Vision was installed.

Also note the cutout in the curb for cars to stop and drop off passengers.  Before Bassettown Square, both sides of this block of Main Street had been lined with parallel-parked cars, leaving little room for the narrow, congested sidewalks.  After the renovation, there were only a couple of these pulloff areas.

There are no benches in the plaza area; this is the only place to sit.  There are no benches in the whole downtown; there's going to be no place to loiter.  The planters are going to be specially designed with tilted sides so people can't sit on them.  Everything's going to be as maintenance-free as possible.  As much precast concrete as we can put in there.  It's to have immediate impact and lasting beauty, even with some degree of neglect.

2002, looking west:  After 25 years, the trees have grown and the clock is gone but the sculpture remains, as does the slightly battered concrete "street furniture" that you see here (planters, trash cans, and so on).


With less than a minute remaining in the newscast, we exited the Mayor's Report excerpt, and I ad-libbed a conclusion.

TOM:  The Mayor's Report program will be seen in its entirety later tonight, and you'll find out how much this is going to cost.  Mike Johns says the entire project, including some aspects which are not yet even applied for federal funds, might run to as much as three million dollars.

But it should really renovate downtown Washington, and you'll get to see the slides of the entire model tonight at eight o'clock as we repeat the Mayor's Report program.  That's tonight at eight o'clock here on Cable TV-3.

And that's about it for this Friday edition of the news.  Next Monday, we'll look at the public school busing hearing which was held today.

Until Monday's Cable TV-3 News, I'm Tom Thomas; good night.

As I pretended to gather up my script, the last ten seconds of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto brought the show to an end.



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