Daybreak anchor gives history lesson on Mahoning Valley

Mahoning Valley history lesson

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – How much do people know about the history of the Mahoning Valley and the people who came before them?

With the help of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, Daybreak anchor Len Rome provides a brief history of the area, including some surprises.

Rome explains that President Harry Truman once said that the only thing new in the world is the history that you don’t know, so he tries to find something new.

George Dennick Wick made his fortune running five different iron companies in the Mahoning Valley in the 1880’s and 1890’s. He is best remembered for founding Youngstown Sheet and Tube.

He took his family on a European vacation in the spring of 1912 and he would never see Youngstown again. He booked himself and his family passage home on the Titanic.

“The rescue or the lifeboat effort to get people off he ship was not very well organized,” Mahoning Valley Historical Society President Bill Lawson said. “He put his wife and daughter and other female relatives onto the boat and watched it go down and said that he would follow along in one of the later boats. And that was the last they saw of him.”

George Wick’s widow, Mollie, lived in their house on Wick Avenue after the Titanic tragedy. She wore black until the day she died, and some say that on cold, windswept nights, if you look carefully, you can see Mollie looking out one of the windows waiting for George to come home.

The city of Campbell is named after James Campbell, the president of Youngstown Sheet and Tube. But why is it not pronounced Campbell like the soup and instead is pronounced Camel, like the animal.

“Dropping consonants and sometimes whole syllables. It happens and that obviously happened with the city of Campbell,” Lawson said.

And wasn’t there once an amusement park in Craig Beach?

“There was an amusement park that grew up on Grandview Drive with a view of the lake and operated for many years. There are a couple of images that I have seen out there of an amusement park,” Lawson said.

In 1850, the son of a former slave was born in Detroit, Mich. His name was William Calbreath.

By the 1880s and 1890s, he became a famous chef. A traveling salesman for a cereal company stopped by and loved Calbreath’s smile, so he took him to a photography studio, snapped his picture and paid him for it.

Calbreath went on to eventually live in the Mahoning Valley and he ended his career selling coal in Struthers. Rome said people around here know him and have seen his picture.

That cereal company still uses Calbreath’s picture to this day. It is the guy on the Cream of Wheat box: William Calbreath, who is buried on Youngstown’s north side.

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