West Mayfield History

West Mayfield’s History

By Edith Porter                                                                                                                              Reprinted from Milestones Vol. 27, No. 1 | Winter 2002

At the founding of Beaver County, the Borough of West Mayfield was part of South Beaver Township. In 1816, it came within Chippewa’s bounds upon founding of that township. In 1887, the land passed into the newly-formed White Township. Around this time, the site known as Mayfield was little more than a station on the Pennsylvania Railroad. The station stop took its name from a farm up on the hill known as Mayfield Cottage. West Mayfield, then, was the area west of the station stop. It had areas too. The Oakville area centered on present Rock Avenue just southwest of 37th Street. Another section was known as West Park. These names survive in the vicinity today in the name for a school, West Park; the name of a part of Route 251, Oakville Road; and the name of the community, West Mayfield. Its increasing industrialization and the need for more and better schools led to the split from White Township and its incorporation in 1923.

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Most of West Mayfield lies along the north and south of a long, steep hill called 37th Street, part of Route 251. To the south is a hollow which was once part of the Harbison farm and coal yards. Before the industries began, there were only the farmlands of the Whites, Edwards, Harbisons, Ridings, Waggoners and Schuttes, about a dozen houses and a little schoolhouse. Thirty-seventh Street was a narrow dirt road traveled by a few buggies and wagons in the summer and in the winter by a similar number of sleds and sleighs. When it snowed, the young people of College Hill and Geneva College had bobsled parties on the road.

Most of the names we have found among the early settlers were English. John White, credited with being the first settler, came to this area about 1792-93 under the “Settlement and Improvement Act of 1792.” He came from County Antrim, Ireland. John Edwards appears to have bought land from John White on 37th Street hill, now part of West Mayfield. He was born in Wales and came to this area sometime after 1852. Other prominent names in West Mayfield which appear to be English, Irish or Scotch are Scranton, Patterson, Portman, Calhoun, Ridings, Garvin, and Goe, Schutte and Gumph are evidently German names. Rouzer, Keller, Ohnsman, Smith, McConnels, Patterson and Ridings were instrumental in forming the charter for the township as it broke away from White Township.

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The Edwards School, a one-room red brick structure, was built about 1880 on land donated by the Edwards family. John Edwards had come to Pittsburgh from Wales when he was a young boy. He worked on the canal along the Beaver River. He worked in the gold fields of California for a year and returned to buy a farm on 37th Street hill. The Edwards School building also served as a community meeting house and as an auditorium for lectures and other programs. At the end of each school year it hosted the annual picnic for the school children and their families. The Edwards home was a welcome stop for sledders to share warmth, refreshments and hospitality. The information seems to indicate that the Edwards School had replaced the White Schoolhouse since it was, in the 1880s, “the only school for miles around.” It served the area for many years. A News-Tribune article of August 30, 1924, announced that forty pupils were expected to take up their studies in the Edwards School under Miss Leiper on September 2, the opening day of school. The school administration was still under White Township, even though they had split away the previous year, according to the News-Tribune item. That year, 1924, the three teachers at the West Park building were Mr. Balph, and the Misses Anna Birnnisser and Florence Garvin, with the enrollment expected to be between 105 and 110.

The West Park building was begun in 1919 with four classrooms. A News-Tribune article of December 23, 1930, announced the laying of the cornerstone for the new West Mayfield School (to be named Liberty School). It would house grades 1-3, and West Park School grades 4-6. It is presumed that the Edwards School continued in use as a Community Building for a time, since the Volunteer Fire Department used it as a meeting place until they were able to use the borough building. A two-story and partial basement addition to the West Park School was completed in 1959. Ten years later, in the fall of 1969, a one-story addition was occupied, and the Liberty School was no longer required for classrooms. It has become the West Mayfield Municipal Building. The enrollment at West Park has declined from a projected 255, in the Long Range Developmental Program of the Blackhawk District, (1970), to about 155 for the 1980-81 school year. Previously, secondary education was available in the Beaver Falls schools; when the borough became a part of the Highland jointure, students could attend the Highland Junior High and Northwestern High School, or they could choose to go to Beaver Falls. Since the borough is now a part of Blackhawk School District, students continue in Middle School at Highland and attend the four-year Blackhawk High School on Blackhawk Road.

St. Philomena Catholic Church serves the West Mayfield community, though it is located just outside the borough boundaries. It has a parish school, begun in 1958. One grade was added each year until eight grades were provided in September of 1964. Present enrollment is about 130, and many of the students come from the community of West Mayfield.

A Christian School was established in West Mayfield in 1978. It has grades K-12 and an enrollment of about 60. It is housed in the West Mayfleld Community Church, now listed in the phone book as the West Mayfield Bible Baptist Church. The congregation began from the need for Christian teaching for children in the West Mayfield Housing Project in 1948. From a group of children in Sunday School classes in the community building of the project, the attendance grew, and a congregation formed which was known as the West Mayfield Reformed Presbyterian Mission. They separated from the affiliation with the Reformed Presbyterian denomination and were chartered in 1962 as the West Mayfleld Community Church. They began their building in 1967 on property located on lower High Street.

The Church of the Living Christ is located on Rock Avenue near 37th Street. It is a small chapel, built here in 1910, in the Oakville area, to conduct a Mission Sabbath school. A permanent Christian Association, under the College Hill Reformed Church, was formed for this congregation. It continued until about fifteen years ago when Ken Engle purchased the building from the College Hill Reformed Church for the purpose of holding Boy Scout meetings. It served the Boy Scouts for ten years until the present congregation purchased the chapel from Mr. Engle. They have held services here for the past five years.

Early industries in the area included a scale works and a key works, and coal was mined in Harbison Hollow. Large scale industrial development began in 1899 with the move into the present West Mayfield of a tube making industry, now Babcock and Wilcox Company, Tubular Products Division. Other manufacturers followed; present ones include Mayfield Foundry, maker of castings for the local mills and manufacturer of heritage articles of early American Colonial days, and Standard Steel Specialty Company, maker of elevator guides and other products.

As the new tube mill was built, there was a need for homes and workmen and their families, so the farms gradually became subdivisions. As the plant expanded, more and more homes were needed. It is a fairly densely populated area, as contrasted with Chippewa, Darlington, or South Beaver Township. West Mayfield probably has more families of different ethnic backgrounds than any other areas as well. As industrial needs increased, people from many walks of life sought employment in the Borough. It had the highest proportion of rentals in the Blackhawk District in 1970, but with the increasing number of apartments in both Chippewa and Patterson and the increase in new homes built in West Mayfield, the percentage has probably changed in the past ten years. The area is .66 square miles, and it has a population of about 2,200.

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West Mayfield is fairly close-knit, in terms of community spirit. They have an active Volunteer Fire Department, and the school has enjoyed the support of a fine Parent-Teacher Organization. The P.T.O. has contributed much to the library, school equipment and furnishings, school programs and activities, including field trips. Most of the youngsters participate in various Little League ball clubs with much support from the community. The “Hollow” is West Mayfield’s main recreational facility. It is the community park in Harbison Hollow. An extensive flat area features three ball fields, basketball and tennis courts, picnic shelters and playground equipment. It is the site of the annual school picnic. Teachers and children walk to the park. Bordered by the wooded hillsides, it is reminiscent of the way it might have been at the Edwards School a hundred years ago.

From Beaver Falls Area Centennial Historical Salute to the Centuries, 1868-1968, published in 1968

West Mayfield Auxiliary — The Ladies Auxiliary to West Mayfield Fire Department was organized in February 1939with Lila Dawson as president, Mary Stein, vice president, Pearl Hughes, secretary, and Flora Calhoun, treasurer. Meetings first were held in the borough building, They are now held at the fire hall. A charter was purchased in 1947and the group has been instrumental in various fund-raising programs. Community affairs, the annual banquet and the Christmas treat for neighborhood children are the group’s major activties.  The auxiliary has 40 members and Adele Brelloch is president. 

The Girl Scouts — West Mayfield’s first troop was organized April 25, 1939,with Ruth Forsythe as leader.

Churches — West Mayfield Reformed Presbyterian Chapel, Rock Avenue, the Rev. Willard McMillan, minister . . . Recognizing an urgent need for Christian teaching for children in the West Mayfield housing project area in 1948, the Home Mission Board of Reformed Presbyterian Churches of Pittsburgh District was granted permission by Edna M. Broad, project manager, to conduct Sunday school classes in the community center. Fifteen children attended the first session Feb. 8, 1948, with Wayne Graham, Mrs. Paul Bingham, Miss Ruth Schrader and Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Sarver the teachers. A year later, Ray and Katherine Smith began helping with Bible classes and the Work became known as West Mayfield Reformed Presbyterian Mission with Smith acting as superintendent and at times giving the message for the worship services. An adult Bible class was started with the late Alfred Tyson as teacher. Mr. and Mrs. Rodger Hunt were sent by the mission board as full-time workers in 1954and lived and served in the project until 1957when Hunt resigned to complete his training for the ministry. For the next four years, the Rev. and Mrs. Frank Smith served the mission and a church building fund was initiated before the Rev. Mr. Smith left to serve the Koppel church full time. The Rev. Charles Stamm and the Rev. Charles Anderson served as ministers until 1966. The congregation separated from the Reformed Presbyterian denomination and was chartered in March 1962 as West Mayfield Community Church. Ground was purchased (on Lower High Street) and
construction of a church building began in 1967.The Rev. Floyd Hazen is minister. 

Fire Department — West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department first was organized in 1929,and chartered Nov. 25, 1930.First officers were: David Schutte, president; David Jones, vice president; Martin Patterson, secretary; Joseph Stein, treasurer. Mainly because of lack of money and the depression, the company was disbanded. It was reorganized in April 1938. At this time, the treasury balance was $146and activities were begun to raise money for purchasing equipment. In August 1938, the first truck was purchased from Pulaski Township. Meetings were at Edwards School and later in the borough building. In 1939, a Ladies Auxiliary was organized. In 1940, it had raised sufficient money to purchase a tent, which was donated to the firemen. The tent was rented to various organizations during carnivals and street fairs and proved to be a good source of income. Late in 1949, discussions were started regarding the building of a new station. After consultation with the auxiliary and council, an offer was made for a piece of land and financial aid from the auxiliary was promised. The new fire station was built and dedicated in 1952. In 1956,the company installed radios in the building and in the truck. All calls were received by Beaver Falls base station. Prior to this, all fire calls were received by the West Gate office of the Babcock & Wilcox Co. Personnel there would activate the siren and see that the department had the correct location of the fire. West Mayfield became a member of Zone One, which consists of 14 fire departments. In 1956,the company obtained a new pumper for $13,000. This addition gave the department two pieces of equipment. In 1958,a new addition was made to the fire station. Since that time, the Fire Department has purchased radio monitors for each fireman and other equipment necessary to update efficiency. Present president is Paul McCutcheon and William Teasdale is Chief.

Separation from White Township — White Township emerged as a separate municipality soon after 91 residents of Chippewa Township signed a
petition that was presented at the June term of court in 1887. Harry T. Barker, David E. Lowry and John H. Wilson were selected as viewers but Wilson was unable to serve and Levi Fish replaced him. Sept. 5, the viewers reported favorably for division and the question was submitted to Chippewa voters in the 1887November election. Division was approved 134-9. On Dec. 8, the court ordered the division and specified that the township east of the line should be called White. According to the report of the secretary of internal affairs for 1900, there were 180 taxables, a total value of real estate amounting to $180,708.Of the latter, $4750 represented real estate exempt from taxation. It’s population as shown by the United States census for 1900, was 491. The name “White” was suggested to the court at the time the decree was drawn by John M. Buchanan, Esq., and Edward B. Daugherty, Esq., and was given in honor of John White, who long lived near Morado Park. He was born in Antrim, Ireland, and came to America in 1791as a young man. One of Beaver County’s first settlers, his first location was on present site of Patterson Heights. He later moved to Morado and in time owned about 450 acres of land where the Bridge Works and Morado were located. (Morado has since become part of Beaver Falls, and East Works of Babcock and Wilcox Co. presently occupies the site of the Bridge Works.) White married Elizabeth Kelso, a native of Beaver County. Thomas White, their son, was born on the homestead farm which was located near the present site of West Mayfield Dairy. He inherited 82 acres close to the Beaver River, erected several buildings in 1853,including a stone house which is still standing. The borough of West Mayfield separated from White Township, taking a large portion of land in the north section. It was incorporated on Aug. 29, 1923,and adopted Hamilton Awning Co. by council at a meeting Dec. 7, 1923.Officers for this new borough were: Harry Ridings, burgess; Joseph C. Rouzer, president and a council member; William Smith, secretary of council; J. R. Patterson, tax collector; Farmers National Bank, treasurer; W. A. McConnels, solicitor; other council members were Karl Keller, David Schutte, John Goe, Martin Patterson, John Romishak and Harry Davis. This separation left White Township with only .72 square miles in size, making it one of the smallest in Pennsylvania.

West Mayfield By Jack Talerico — While Beaver Falls is celebrating its 100thanniversary of incorporation, the Borough of West Mayfield is marking its 45th anniversary. West Mayfield, formerly a part of White Township, was incorporated Aug. 29, 1923, with adoption Dec. 7, 1923. Harry Ridings was the first burgess and Joseph C. Rouzer, Karl Keller, David Schutte, John Goe, Martin Patterson, John Romishak and Harry Davis made up the first council, with Rouzer president. William Smith was secretary, J . R. Patterson was tax collector, Farmers National Bank was treasurer and Charles Rimbey was constable. In 1968,Milton H. Richeal is mayor with Anthony Kasunick, James M. Toy, Frank Brozich, Donald Casey, George Dotson, David Schutte and Daniel Thellman serving on council. Kasunick is president and Toy is vice president. Joseph Orosz is secretary, Eugene Balzer (real estate) and Andrew Balzer (wage) are tax collectors and Kenneth Zurga is chief of police. When the last census was taken in 1960,West Mayfield boasted a population of 2,201. The borough has 91/5miles of improved streets and roads and is part of Highland School District. West Mayfield has two elementary schools —-Liberty(for lower grades) and Park (for upper grades). Junior high students attend Highland Suburban Junior High and high school students attend Beaver Falls Area Senior High School. Schools have played an important role in West Mayfield’s history. Edwards Schoolhouse was built before most of the “town,” and it was the need for more and better schools that prompted West Mayfield to secede from White Township in the 1920s. The elder John Edwards was born in Wales and as a boy, came to Pittsburgh about 1849and soon after to Beaver Falls to work on the Erie Canal, which ran on the Beaver River. He went to work in the gold fields of California in 1852 (after the 1849 Gold Rush) for one year then came back to Beaver Falls and bought a farm on 37th Street Hill that is part of West Mayfield now. Near the year 1898, West Mayfield was a station on the Pennsylvania Railroad. It consisted entirely of just a little shed, situated just south of the 37th Street bridge, which spanned the cut made by the Pennsylvania Railroad through the Edwards and Harbison farms. Two trains ran daily, one from Enon Valley and from Alliance, Ohio, to Pittsburgh and back. Both trains made stops about every mile of the route. In this period, there was nothing in the West Mayfield area but the Edwards, Harbison, Ridings, Waggoner and Schutte farmlands, a little schoolhouse, and about a dozen houses. The schoolhouse had been built about 1880 on land donated by the Edwards family. (It was familiarly known as Edwards School.) It was the only school for miles around. Grades from one to eight were taught all in one room by the same teacher. Frequently, teachers had no more than an eight grade education themselves. They received a salary of $40 a month. The school building also served as a community meeting house and as an auditorium for lectures and other programs, and at the end of each school year, hosted the annual picnic for the school children and their families. Thirty-seventh Street was a narrow dirt road traveled by a total of two or three buggies or wagons a day, and in the winter a similar number of sleds or sleighs. In the snow season, there was no traffic at night, and the young people of College Hill and Geneva College had bobsled parties on the road. The sleds, all home made and the pride of the owners, held eight to ten squealing young people. Part of what is now 37th Street was called “Edwards Hill” in those days. The Edwards home was the wonderful place where sledders could get warm and usually partake of some hot chocolate, popcorn, or crunchy apples, and occasionally even homemade pie. In 1900, the tube mill began building its plant. Workmen and their families needed homes, so the farms gradually became subdivisions. As the tube mill expanded, more and more homes needed to be built. Now the cornfields, the orchards, the woods, the pasturelands and the little red schoolhouse are all gone, as are most of the children who once lived on the farms that trudged to the little schoolhouse. Four members of the Edwards family still are enjoying active lives elsewhere, pursuing hobbies of gardening, fishing, forest hiking, and furniture refinishing. Glover Edwards and Bert Edwards are living together in Fort Pierce, Fla. Bill Edwards lives in State College and Catherine Edwards Fuller lives in Santa Ana, Calif.

The Ridings Family — In the year 1867, Henry Ridings and Suzannah Duckworth married in England and soon after left to make their home in America. They first settled in Mingo Junction, Ohio. After they had four children (Harry, Ella, Florence and Alice), they decided to move to Beaver Falls. In 1878, they settled in White Township. Henry Ridings worked at Pittsburgh Seamless Tube Co., which later was purchased by Babcock & Wilcox Co. Their children all married and they also lived in or near White Township. Harry married Jenny Greenhalg (they lived with Harry’s parents). Alice married Robert W. Scranton (they also lived in White Township). Ella married John Goe and lived in Oakville which is part of White Township. Florence married Louis Reeher (they moved to Wilkinsburg). The population of White Township kept growing because of the building and expanding of Babcock & Wilcox Co.  ‘l’he forming of the borough was done by Harry Ridings, James Patterson, Karl Keller and Joseph Rouzer. Clyde Ohnsman, the first borough surveyor, was also instrumental in forming of the charter. Three of the first council are still living, Charles Portman and David Schutte in West Mayfield, and John Romishak, who moved away. Ridings was active in borough politics and activities until his death in 1942. What is known today as Babcock & Wilcox Co., Tubular Products Division, was started in West Mayfield in 1899 in what was White Township at that time. The Atlantic Tube Co. (in 1901) became Pittsburgh Seamless Tube Co. and later became B&W. Other manufacturers in West Mayfield are Standard Steel Specialty Co., makers of elevator guides and other products; Mayfield Foundry, maker of castings for the local mills and also manufacturer of heritage articles of early American colonial days. Factories of the past are the Key Works, what is now Standard Steel Specialty Co., the Scale Works; and also mining of coal was done in Harbison Hollow.


West Mayfield (Courtesy of Beaver County Bicentennial Atlas)

West Mayfield’s notable people include past and present residents or others who have served the borough in some official capacity, such as an elected official, firefighter, police officer, public works employee, or as a member of a public interest project like a jubilee planning committee.  Please let us know if there are people to add to this list or corrections in spellings or attributions. 

Hazel Abert: Ladies Auxiliary
Phillip Beck: Firefighter
Deloris Beighley: Ladies Auxiliary
Harry W. “Bud” Beighley: Fire Dept. President
Mel Blackburn: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Pat Blackburn: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Joe Bonafate: Police Chief
Alice Boyle: Ladies Auxiliary, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Kathleen Brewer: Tax Collector
Ann Brosnich: Ladies Auxiliary
George Brozich: Golden Jubilee Committee
Tom Brozich: Mayor, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Flora Calhoun: Ladies Auxiliary
Bud Casey: Mayor
Licia Cogley: First Woman Mayor
Constance M. “Connie” Casey: Ladies Auxiliary
Ronald L. Casey: Fire Chief
John J. Cholewski: Police Chief
Nadine Connors: Crossing Guard
Mildred Cox: Ladies Auxiliary
Kitty Cramer: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Mike Cunning: Firefighter

Eleanor L. Eckman: Ladies Auxiliary (Charter Member)
Ken Eckman: Firefighter, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Mona Eckman: Ladies Auxiliary, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Donald Eiler: Police Chief
Hazel Farkas: Crossing Guard, Board of Elections, Ladies Auxiliary
Paul Farkas: Mayor, President of Council, Fire Chief, Golden Jubilee Committee, Diamond Jubilee Committee (Chair)
Cleora Finney: Golden Jubilee Committee
Wylie Goe, Sr.: Firefighter
Betty Jean S. Golmont: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Harry Golmont: Council, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Dewey Gorrell: Police Chief
Fred Gumpf: Police Chief
Gladys Gumpf: Golden Jubilee Committee
Wendy Harker: First Woman Asst. Fire Chief, Council, Ladies Auxiliary
Belva Heaton: Ladies Auxiliary, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Bill Heaton: Fire Chief, President of Council, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Dawn Heaton: Ladies Auxiliary
Janet Helbig: Council, Holiday Party Committee
John Hornacek: Golden Jubilee Committee
Mary Hornacek: Golden Jubilee Committee
Hazel Hinds: Ladies Auxiliary
Tom Hinds: Firefighter
Pat Hinzman: Ladies Auxiliary
Vic Horvath: Council
Wanda Horvath: Council
Pearl Hughs: Ladies Auxiliary
Ralph Hughes: Firefighter

Bob Jones: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Charlie Jones: Firefighter
David Jones: Firefighter
David T. Jones: Firefighter
Fred Keller: Firefighter
Mary Ann Kester: Golden Jubilee Committee
Clyde Kirk: Firefighter
Dick Klugh: Council, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Elizabeth Knapp: Ladies Auxiliary
Pat Lansberry: Borough Secretary
James O. Lewis: Firefighter
Oscar “Rip” Littel: Fire Chief
Lou Little: Fire Chief
Kay Lothrop: Firefighter
Frances S. Majcher: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Lena Massa: Ladies Auxiliary
Nary Massa: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Clarence C. Matthews: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Shirley A. Matthews: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Paul McCutcheon: Firefighter
Peg McCutcheon: Golden Jubilee Committee
Forrest M. McDanel: Firefighter
George Megown: Council
Ralph Miller: Golden Jubilee Committee

Thomas E. Oroz: Firefighter, Public Works
Martin Patterson: Firefighter
Lillian Petrucka: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Helen Richeal: Ladies Auxiliary
Milton H. “Milt” Richael: First Mayor
Harry Ridings Sr.: First Burgess
John W. Ridings: Fire Chief
Mable E. Ridings: Ladies Auxiliary (Charter Member), Golden Jubilee Committee, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Martha Ridings: Second Burgess (First Woman Burgess)
Charles Rimbey: First Police Officer
Thomas A. Roberts Jr.: Firefighter
Leslie E. “Pickles” Roeder Jr.: Firefighter
Angie Roser: Ladies Auxiliary, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Paul Rouser: Firefighter
Vada Rouser: Ladies Auxiliary, Diamond Jubilee Committee

Joe Sabona: Public Works, Golden Jubilee Committee
Nellie Sabona: Ladies Auxiliary
Connie Sano: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Ron Sano: Firefighter, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Donna Schlack: Diamond Jubilee Committee
David Schutte: Fire Dept. President
Bob Scranton: Firefighter
Harry Scranton: Firefighter
Louise Scranton: Ladies Auxiliary, Golden Jubilee Committee
Edward Sebastian: Council, Firefighter, Golden Jubilee Committee
Bill Sepp: Council
Monica Sepp: Council, Holiday Party Committee
Becky Simons: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Warren Simons: Diamond Jubilee Committee
B. W. Smith: Firefighter
Jeff Smith: Fire Chief, Diamond Jubilee Committee
Lydia Spooner: Ladies Auxiliary, Golden Jubilee Committee
Joseph Stein: Firefighter
Mary Stein: Ladies Auxiliary
Grace H. Stelter: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Bill Teasdale: Firefighter
Dan Thellman: Mayor, Golden Jubilee Committee
Lola Thellman: Golden Jubilee Committee
Pat Sabona Tiberia: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Margie Tkacik: Golden Jubilee Committee
Jim Toy: Diamond Jubilee Committee
Jim Vandenberg: Council, Diamond Jubilee Committee

Mable M. ‘Boots’ Wallace: Ladies Auxiliary, Diamond Jubilee Committee 
John Whal: Firefighter
Kathie Wijnen-Riems: First woman police officer
George C. Wiltrout: Mayor, Firefighter
Julia Wiltrout: Ladies Auxiliary
Harry Yonlisky: Police Chief
James O. Young: Second Police Officer
Betty Zelhart: Golden Jubilee Committee
Ken Zurga: Police Chief


  • Harry Ridings Sr.: First Burgess
  • Martha Ridings: Second Burgess (First Woman Burgess)
  • Milton H. “Milt” Richael: First Mayor
  • Dan Thellman: Mayor
  • Bud Casey: Mayor
  • Tom Brozich: Mayor
  • George C. Wiltrout: Mayor
  • Paul Farkas: Mayor
  • Licia Cogley: Current and First Woman Mayor


  • Joseph C. Rouser: First President
  • Karl Keller: President of Council
  • Edward Flickner: President of Council
  • Forest McDanel: President of Council
  • Joseph Sabona, Sr.: President of Council
  • Otto Schipley: President of Council
  • Victor Shaffer: President of Council
  • Joseph Orosz: President of Council
  • Daniel Thellman: President of Council
  • James Toy: President of Council
  • Anthony Kasunick: President of Council
  • David Schutte: President of Council
  • Paul Farkas: President of Council
  • Tom Brozich: President of Council
  • Bill Heaton: President of Council
  • Lou Little: Current President of Council

Tax Collector

  • J. R. Patterson: First Tax Collector
  • Kathleen Brewer: Current Tax Collector

Fire Service Leadership

  • William Dawson (First Chief)
  • John W. Ridings (Chief)
  • Oscar “Rip” Littel (Chief)
  • Ronald L. Casey (Chief)
  • Jeff Smith (Chief)
  • Paul Farkas (Chief)
  • Bill Heaton (Chief)
  • Lou Little (Current Chief)
  • Wendy Harker (Current and First Woman Asst. Chief)
  • Harry W. “Bud” Beighley (President of Fire Department)
  • David Schutte (President of Fire Department)


Police Leadership

  • Charles Rimbey: First Police Officer
  • James O. Young: Second Police Officer
  • Harry Yonlisky: Police Chief
  • Fred Gumpf: Police Chief
  • Dewey Gorrell: Police Chief
  • Ken Zurga: Police Chief
  • John J. Cholewski: Police Chief
  • Joe Bonafate: Police Chief
  • Donald Eiler: Police Chief

Public Works Leadership

  • Joe Sabona Jr., Street Commissioner
  • John Lambright, Street Commissioner
  • Brian McNeely, Head of Borough Maintenance
  • Jeffrey Seybert, Head of Borough Maintenance

Much of the history of the Blackhawk School District was gathered by a group of students at Pennsylvania State University, Beaver Campus, and published in a book entitled The Blackhawk School District, Diversity Then and Now. The co-authors are Babs Donnell, Cheryl Nicely, Edith Porter, and jean Means, to whom we are indebted for an account of one of the newest of the merged districts of the county. Another local historian, Mary L. Turek, has also compiled a history of the district.”

The Blackhawk District that began operation on July 1, 1970, is located in north central and northwestern Beaver County. The new district was created from two school districts representing eight separate areas: Highland Suburban School District, consisting of Patterson Heights, Patterson Township, West Mayfield, and Chippewa Township; and Northwestern Beaver County School District, made up of Darlington Borough, Darlington Township, South Beaver Township, and Enon Valley.

The initial step toward the formation of the Blackhawk District came when the Beaver County School Board met in October 1968 to adopt a plan for administrative reorganization in the county. Blackhawk was one of the districts to be in operation by July 1970.

West Mayfield in 1887 was an unincorporated community in White Township. A residential area and station stop on the Pennsylvania Railroad, it stretched out on either side of Thirty-Seventh Street. West Mayfield became the site of the Babcock and Wilcox Company, Tubular Products Division in 1899. Other plants followed, and new and better schools were needed for the growing population.” Approved as a borough in 1923, West Mayfield had already constructed the four-room West Park School. Liberty School was second, built in 1930.

Following the borough’s inclusion in the Highland Suburban School District, students could attend either the Highland Junior High School and Northwestern High School or Beaver Falls junior and senior high schools. When West Mayfield became part of the Blackhawk School District, all secondary school students attended the Blackhawk High School.

from “New School Districts After State-Mandated Jointures”



Two new schools opened their doors in 1978 – the West Mayfield Christian School and the Pleasant Hills Wesleyan Methodist School. The West Mayfield Christian School, administered by the pastor of the Mayfield Baptist Church, Beaver Falls, uses a program known as Accelerated Christian Education, or A.C.E. In this program, individualized learning materials are used that allow each student to progress at his own rate. Originally including kindergarten through grade four, it gradually added to its program to include all twelve grades, as well as a limited number of college courses. Enrollment, which had been as high as forty students, presently numbers about seventeen. Present principal is Paul Miller.

from Catholic, Parochial & Private Christian Schools by Susan Kaufman