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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bob Baker - A Canonsburg Son and A Pugilist

Robert "The Grinder" Baker (October 26, 1926 – April 23, 2002) was a heavyweight boxer whose professional career spanned from 1949 until 1959. Baker was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and originally fought out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Baker had an impressive amateur career. He only lost one amateur fight and won the 1949 Intercity Golden Gloves championship in the heavyweight division.[1] He started his professional career with twenty-six consecutive wins. However, his winning streak came to an end when he was defeated by another leading contender, Clarence Henry, in 1954. In his previous fight, only days before, he drew with bulky Kid Riviera. 

Bob Baker and Tommy Jackson in Boxing Match
Baker vs Tommy Jackson
He also lost to Bob Satterfield, Archie Moore and other contenders during this era. After his defeat to Archie Moore in 1954, he never lost by a knockout again.
There was talk of Baker facing heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano in 1956. However, even though Baker defeated Nino Valdez on December 7, 1955, the championship bout never materialized. The bout against Valdez was a rematch of a bout fought in May 1953 and both were won by Baker by unanimous decisions.
Before losing a split decision to Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson on February 3, 1956, Baker won thirteen straight bouts and was ranked as a top contender for Marciano's heavyweight title. 

After defeating another leading contender, John Holman, in Miami Beach Auditorium, Florida, on May 9, 1956, he lost a rematch with Jackson on September 26, 1956. Again by split decision. A majority of the ringside press felt Baker won, although the Associated Press scored it for Jackson.

After 1957, his fighting skills diminished, although Baker defeated George Chuvalo, a future Canadian champion and multiple world heavyweight title contender in the 1960s and 1970s, by unanimous decision, on September 9, 1957 in Canada.

Boxing record
Total fights68
Wins by KO20
Personal life:
BobBaker served in the Navy prior to becoming a boxer. 
He was an only child and had only one child himself, Robert Baker, Jr.
Born: 1926-10-26
Birthplace: Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 2002-04-23 (Age:75)
Nationality: US American
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Thank you  George Rhino Lyon for bringing this Canonsburg Son to our attention.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Historic Snowstorm of 1950

 The front page of Monday, the 27th November, 1950 Daily Notes edition
Below is a view of North Central Avenue looking down the hill towards Pike street from College Street following most the storm's 36" of snow.

These two pictures are excerpts from the December 2010 edition of the Jefferson College Times which can be found in its entirety in the JCT Archive here on the Canonsburg Friends Blog. 

A 1913 View of Canonsburg's Northern Skyline and its Sizable Oil Field

A 1913 View of Canonsburg's Northern Skyline
Pointing out landmarks and for bearings, the left and right horizontal arrows point out Central and Greenside Avenues that run northward  up the hill. As you may recall, near the top of the hill, Central Avenue transitions into Ridge Avenue. The two arrows on the right, point out the steeples of the Greenside Church and above it between College St. and Vine St. the St Patrick Church(erected 1907) . The upward arrows point to the back of the College Street School(erected 1895) and toward the sizable oil field seen at the time on the northern skyline

Canonsburg Oil Fields - circa 1900
This early 1900's photograph of oil derricks in the backyards of houses along Ridge Avenue.  The steam from the pump engines show they were actively pumping up oil.  The remarkably still "white" wash seen hanging on the clothesline in the foreground would be in the back yards of the houses near where Moscow(Moscov) once had his small store.
The above pictures were excerpted from the December 2010 issue of the Jefferson College Times.

A very similar view of the oil field as seen above but taken from a more southerly vantage point and includes a good bit of Ridge Ave. in the foreground. You can see the entire light colored house in this picture where as in the one above, the light colored house just barely inches into the left side of the picture. As well, this  picture must not have been taken on wash day. 
picture provided by Marilyn Engel Cronin

The below picture postcard was recently provided by Debbie Moe.

 Although not verified, it is believed this picture shows the oil field and derricks along the Ridge Avenue skyline but from a more Easterly vantage point.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011


It's winter in Pennsylvania  
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour
At five below.
Oh, how I love Pennsylvania
When the snow's up to your butt
You take a breath of winter
And your nose gets frozen shut.
The weather here is wonderful
So I guess I'll hang around
I could never leave Pennsylvania
Cuz I'm frozen to the ground!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

75th Anniversary - Kennywood Noahs Ark Ride.

Noah's Ark at Kennywood
The only Noahs Arc ride remaining in  North America is at Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, PA. They originally wanted to build an Ark in the 1920’s but the great depression delayed their plans until 1935. Kennywood’s Ark was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (now Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters), who had acquired the rights to build the Arks. The Kennywood Ark was the last one ever produced. It was completely refurbished in 1969 with new scenes, animals and stunts. The famous whale entrance was also added at that time along with a new, larger mountain. The 1996-97 season saw another major refurbishment to assure that the Ark will last for another generation. The only other two operating rides are in the United Kingdom at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Frontierland.

Noah's Arc today, as seen on this snowy morning.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A bit of California

Since I do not have any Canonsburg related happenings to post, thought I would share some pictures from a recent back road trip to Las Vegas to attend the Consumer Electronics Show.
These first  pictures show a bit of California's old historic Route 66 heading east. 
On the way back, to break the trip, we stopped for the last three races at the Santa Anita Race Track.  
I've added a few caption to some of the pictures.  Hope you enjoy.