Dateline January 31, 1956
A B-25 Mitchell Bomber crash lands into the Monongahela River somewhere between the Homestead High Level Bridge and the Glenwood Bridge, these bridges are between Kennywood Park and Pittsburgh, PA for those not familiar with the Mon Valley Area. There were a number of witnesses, thus many differing details to what happened that day. There was no Internet at that time, social media as you know it did not exist, television was new, I do not believe we had helicopter breaking news stories, this limited access to first hand details for the populace.
The Backstory or How I Heard about the Event:
I have always been a History Buff, even as a child. I love reading about history and I especially love hearing about history; add LOCAL HISTORY to the mix and I am hooked. I first heard about this story as a kid in Leo Gigliotti’s barbershop in Duquesne, PA. I knew him as “Mr. Leo” he was a great friend of my Grandpap.
I was in Mr. Leo’s shop getting a haircut around the anniversary of the bomber crash and several regulars were talking about it. They mentioned one of their buddies who had assisted in the rescue efforts, he had just been driving by when he saw the bomber crash. He helped pull crew members out of the river that day; when he showed up late to a family function his family accused him of being out at a bar, due to the peculiarity of his story. The story hooked me immediately, I listened intently to the men discuss the actual crash details and how the crew was rescued. Then the discussion turned to the conspiracy theories and my mind raced with images of the threads they weaved together.
I longed to find out more about this event, as I grew older I conducted research at the local library, but information was scarce. From time to time information would be published in a newspaper, or there would be a brief but tantalizing segment on a local news station.
Stories such as this one piqued my interest with the conflicting details about the event and its aftermath. I admit, I love to read these stories that are “off the beaten path” they give the mind a chance to wonder. Due to meeting those gentlemen in Mr. Leo’s Barbershop all those years ago, I keep an open mind about the event.
The more traditional or “official” stories contain the same facts and some even mention the controversies surrounding the plane crash. The most recent story published in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review can be found here. The Heinz History Center has information posted on their History Blog, about the crash and the recovery efforts by Marion Hill Associates, a New Brighton based company.
Your assignment is to read the articles about the plane crash that are linked above, there are three articles. After reading the articles, post a reply with your thoughts about the event, review the “Commenting Guidelines” that are posted on the Class Blog. I will be posting a reply rubric here shortly.
You can check out the more information on Mr. Leo Gigliotti here.