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The Strip District: "Bayardstown Rats"


Bayardstown boys, known as "Bayardstown rats" had a bad name. Any strange boy that came along was certain to be brow-beaten and abused. Stone fights with the Allegheny boys and hill boys were common. Battles with Allegheny boys took place in skiffs on the river or, in the winter time, on ice. When the canal was frozen over, as was often the case, a Bayardstown mob would gather on skates and invade Allegheny. The invaders frequently met their equals and the battle would end on the canal viaduct, neither party venturing to enter the other's territory for fear of being ambushed.
The hill side above the site of the Pennsylvania Railroad was a regular battle ground in struggles with the hill boys, who generally had the advantage until the McCully Glass House boys would be through with their day's work, when by deploying to the right and left of the central fight the hill boys would be outflanked and driven to flight. On one occasion they fled to a schoolhouse, which was promptly bombarded with stones, all the windows broken and much damage done to furniture and books. (3)

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