The adventures of Pioneer Girl travelling with enthusiastic Camper Barn Owl Guy

Started as a blog about my trip from Pittsburgh to California in a Ford Pickup, hauling a 30' refurbed trailer/camper. Ah, California Dreaming, 'n all that. Found that adventures can be long distance or in your own neighborhood... I look for my own twist on local sites, don't take the known for granted...and always find something new. It's easy, just open your eyes..

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Isaly's West View
September 24, 2011  Good morning, fellow Pioneers… wow, it’s been a while since I had my exploring shoes on.  Today I head out to see what I can see.

Along with trusted Scout, I find myself in West View, PA, a northern suburb of Pittsburgh—coordinates per Scout:  40°31′6″N 80°2′1″W / 40.51833°N,  Destination: Isaly’s Dairy Store in search of a Skyscraper Cone.  Everyone remembers those tall cones from the 1960’s, rich White House ice cream filled with maraschino cherries, 4 inches of ice cream piled atop a cone in the shape of and precariously tilted to one side…) closely resembling a Marge Simpson hairdo) all for a whopping 5 cents. 

Although Isaly’s went bankrupt in the 1980, Isaly’s in West View is one of only two remaining privately owned dairy bars in the Pittsburgh area and has kept the authentic charm with booths, bright red rows of the famous Barbeque Sauce, luncheon counter with silver rimmed stools, deli case full of chipped ham and other lunch meats decorated with plastic parsley.  But, alas, no skyscraper cones--in fact no ice cream to dip and dig the Isaly’s elongated spoon into. Those spoons!!  For fun, I checked out the spoons, which were actually patented back in the 1930’s.   In fact, even the technology for chipped chopped ham was patented.  But Skyscraper Cones are now just a memory...

Disappointed and hungry (although breakfast was an option), I headed down Perrysville Avenue towards one of Pittsburgh’s most remembered amusement parks, West View Park.  Sure, West View Park entertained folks young and old with the Racing Whippet, the Swings, the Dips Roller coaster and other fun rides and picnic spots from 1906 to 1977 and a lot has been documented about the amusement park; but it was DANCELAND where couples met, courted, and danced to performers like Duke Ellington and Bobby Vinton (who was a student at Duquesne University then), Bobby Vee, and many others.

But I'm a rock and roller,and and interesting tidbit I found along my research was that in 1964 Danceland featured a new rock and roll group from England on their very first U.S. tour-- and tickets could be had for $1.50: The Rolling Stones!  It's true!   Let's see in 1964 I was..well, let's just say very young. The tour in was, in Bill Wyman's words, a "disaster," as they had no hit records here and were basically nobody's at the time. But KQV booked them at Danceland--I'm curious to know what transpired to get them booked.  If only they knew then what we all know now.   It wasn't until one year later in 1965 that "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" hit the charts and remained #1 in US for 4 weeks.  Danceland had them first!
Sadly, Danceland burned to the ground in 1973, it’s mirrored glass ball shattering to a million crunchy pieces, smoldering for days. Although the fire did not start the demise of West View Park,it  was certainly the icing on the cake. The park closed in 1977.   I went there looking for a plaque establishing the Park as a Pennsylvania historic site, but alas there was none.  There’s lots of fast food joints and a Giant Eagle though, hardly an apt tribute. Oh the sign leading into the shopping center has a wooden carousel horse on it...     But West View Park is but a memory… 

Well, all I can say is, I got my exploring feet got dancing with this little trip.  So until the next time…  Keep on dancing, keep on rocking and a’rolling with the Gentry's:


ps this blog is not intended to be a complete historic view of West View, PA or Isaly's, I'm not from West View and never had the joy of experiencing the rides, the lake, the boats, the tunnels, or Danceland. (although Isaly's skycrapers and chipped ham, I sure have)  This is just my little side-take of my day..I call it Cones and Stones.