Paul Korol & His Postcards
Back in January, my good friend and trusted researcher Paul Korol died at Allegheny General Hospital after a long illness.
Paul collected postcards, books, photos and all sorts of materials about the history of the Pittsburgh area, and he shared all his knowledge and treasures with me for many—if not all—of my Pittsburgh documentaries since 1988.
He first volunteered his help on Kennywood Memories, and I soon became aware of how much he enjoyed amusement parks and all the artifacts and memorabilia that helped document their histories.
Paul especially loved old West View Park, where he worked for a couple of summers in the 1970s before it closed.
And I know well this one image (below) of Paul as the engineer of a small train at Cascade Park in New Castle. The amusement rides aren’t there anymore, but he made a postcard to celebrate Cascade and its history (and, I suspect, the fun he had there).
He actually made about 350 of his own postcards, not too flashy, black and white images surrounded by a white border, printed in Beechview by Little J’s Publications. Some of these cards were printed for the Three Rivers Postcard Club—the club for Pittsburgh deltiologists—some for Pittsburgh Plumbing & Heating Supply Corp. (where Paul worked for 32 years), some for friends and some just “to know Pittsburgh.” He had that printed on the back along with his initials: PSK. Cool little pieces of Pittsburgh.
He had such a love for our local history and all its quirks and surprises. He often suggested topics for stories on my TV programs, letting me know when he had an especially rich collection of any certain images that might be pertinent. When I started writing this back page of Pittsburgh Magazine, he became a trusted adviser here, too. He was a historian with a passion for printed paper products. He kept brochures, bulletins, programs, and he organized them all with a librarian’s diligence. His widow, Claudia, says she’s going to keep the collection together. And she seems to be learning to appreciate—and even love—the gathered images. The problem with any collection, Claudia says, is you can’t take it with you, but with any luck, it will live on and stay useful, fascinating and surprising for many years