Saturday, September 05, 2009

My Favorite Mt. Lebanon Things: A Start

The weather is gorgeous, Fall is almost here, and amid Sturm und Drang about the Mt. Lebanon School District, it's time to sit back and reflect on the good stuff.

Today, I'm starting a series on My Favorite Mt. Lebanon Things. This will not be a list of "The Best of Mt. Lebanon." It will not be a list of "What Makes Mt. Lebanon Special." There is no other shoe to drop, no list of things that I don't like. (I've posted about that list before.) It's just my list of things here in Mt. Lebanon that I really like. These won't come in any particular order. As you'll see, there may be more than one "favorite thing" of a particular type. And not all of my favorite Mt. Lebanon things are actually in Mt. Lebanon.

You likely have your own list, and in the comments, you're welcome to share your thoughts.

Today's starter:

The service desk at Rollier's hardware store.

In general, Rollier's is a wonder. It's a large, full-service, locally-owned traditional hardware store that manages to compete against Home Depot, Lowe's, big box garden centers, and chains of Ace, Busy Beaver, and True Value. Rollier's doesn't have their size or scale, and sometimes it won't have everything you need. (When I need lumber, I head to Brookside in Bethel Park.) But like many Mt. Lebanon residents, when I need a part or a tool, I'll head to Rollier's first, and often it's my last stop.

But the real magic of Rollier's is the service desk, still plugging away and offering magnificent value back by the plumbing department. Where I grew up, out in the San Francisco Bay Area, our town had a local hardware store that was a lot like Rollier's: hardware, tools, plumbing, bathrooms, housewares, and a garden department. And it had a great service desk. I remember how the staff would do calculations or add up your total on the brown paper spread out over the counter, and when the counter got too cluttered with numbers, a new sheet would be unrolled and taped down. But that was the '60s and '70s, long before the Big Box revolution. Back in my home town, the hardware store is still there, but now it's part of the Ace chain and, I'm pretty sure, the service desk is gone.

So Rollier's service desk is a magnificent throwback, and it's an indispensable one for all of us who own and maintain old houses. Our torn screens and broken hinges and plumbing parts don't always respond to the off-the-rack treatment that's the usual Home Depot way. A few years ago, one of the valves in my laundry sink broke. The gentleman at Rollier's literally built me a new one out of unrelated parts, and he charged me a very reasonable -- even modest -- amount of money. The valve still works fine.

Rollier's service desk. One of My Favorite Mt. Lebanon Things.


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Blogger Tim Nolan said...


Agreed, the service desk at Rolliers--or just Rolliers in general is a gem.

My favorite Mt. Lebanon things are any of the tree-lined streets. Running or walking down streets like Parker, Austin, Jefferson, Old Farm. Take your pick!

September 06, 2009 1:25 AM  
Anonymous Bill Lewis said...

The Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center....year round...people of all ages, walks of life, etc...playing the game or just watching...having fun, enjoying life....and for many of the same reasons, the Mt. Lebanon Public Library.

September 06, 2009 10:51 AM  
Anonymous David Brown said...

I love the many Mission and Craftsman style homes in Mission Hills, Hoodridge, and elsewhere. We even have a street named Roycroft. Does anyone else know of any other architectural references of that period in our place names?

September 06, 2009 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Bill Lewis said...

David...Mt. Lebanon residents able to answer your questions include John Conti, Lori Humphreys, Louise Sturgis, Wally Workmaster and Margaret Jackson...all of whom are active and extremely knowledgeable about local history, architecture, and historical preservation.

September 07, 2009 11:39 AM  
Blogger Brad Fisher said...

Our small but refreshing parks.

September 07, 2009 4:51 PM  

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