published Sunday, Aug. 25,1996
There isn't much that's happened in the city of Sharon during the past 89 years that Ferd Dalo doesn't have a sharp recollection of, often through first-hand participation. (David E. Dale/Herald)
BUHL DAY HONOREES
Town's historian has "lived it every day," can't help but become involved
Ferd Dalo biography at a glance
By Shawn M. Starkey
Herald Staff Writer
"I remember ..."
Someone chatting with Ferdinand A. "Ferd" Dalo Jr. is sure to hear the spry octogenarian utter that phrase several times.
It's not uncommon for Dalo to break at mid-sentence in his downtown Sharon office and trot up the stairs to a loft where he keeps some of his archives - maps, blueprints, paintings, photos, letters and other documents.
The items include a yellow brick from the old high school, built in 1904, that used to stand at South Water Avenue and Ohio Street and Dalo's high school diploma, which is about 20 times the size of the ones Sharon now gives to its graduates.
The 1996 Buhl Day honoree shrugs off his vast knowledge of the area, which has seen him dubbed by many as Sharon's unofficial historian.
"It just rubbed off because I've been living it every day," he said, recalling the conversations of customers from his father's confectionary shop, where he worked as doorboy.
"You'd overhear something and couldn't help but become involved," Dalo said.
"If you're looking out for yourself, in a sense, you're looking out for everyone else."
He grins, recalling some of the happiest times of his 89 years.
Those include when he served as secretary of the city's safety committee in the 1950s.
He said at the time the accident and death rate for Sharon was incredibly high.
So, the committee worked on putting up stop signs and traffic signals. When the project was completed, Dalo says proudly, the city went 11 1/2
months without a fatality.
Dalo's duties with the safety committee also included working with the state highway department when the freeway (parts of East Connelly Boulevard and Route 62) was constructed.
He also had a hand in the Chestnut Street bridge - it's now part of Connelly.
A member of St. Joseph Church, Sharon, Dalo remembers working with St. Joseph School in the 1960s after a tragic fire in Chicago killed 50 Catholic school children.
"I practically lived there for the next 10 years," he said of the work he helped with in trying to bring St. Joseph School up to stricter building standards.
Dalo and his wife of 56 years, the former Marie E. Spitzig, were involved at the school's Parent-Teacher Association, each having served as president.
"He is still interested in everything that goes on downtown," Mrs. Dalo said of her husband, who still works full time as a Realtor.
"The projects have been many, including a couple of trips (moves) to California," she said. "But I think he was really homesick for Sharon."
Throughout his years in Sharon, Dalo has seen myriad businesses and organizations come and go.
He was there, walking around the scaffolding, when the Columbia Theatre was built in 1922. And he watched as a 1981 fire destroyed an adjacent building, which housed the theater's hallway entrance.
A former board member of Columbia Theatre Inc. - the group working to restore the theater - Dalo was instrumental in finding the theater's original chandelier and arranging for it to be donated back to the theater.
"I guess all I've tried to do is just do my job," he said.
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Updated August 29, 1996