10 Signs That You MightBe From Brighton Township

We all know that the highway signs on I-376 stating that “Brighton” is 1 mile ahead are blatantly wrong. Who says they’re going to “Brighton?”

Founded in 1816, Brighton Township has built a community of residents that maintain the kind of neighborly atmosphere of an ideal suburbia. Whether we were short a cup of sugar for a recipe or the family next door needed their mail brought up during a weeklong vacation, growing up in B.T. felt like being surrounded by extended family.

When revealing yourself as a Beaver High School alum, the likely reaction is, “Ohhh, so you’re a cake eater.” If your reply to that sentiment is, “Well, actually, I’m from Brighton Township,” read on…

1. You attended K – 5 at Brighton Township Elementary School.

You have fond childhood memories of an unmulched playground with puddles under the swings, a delta ladder, and the good old dome monkey bars. You tell your kids that, “Back in my day, we had dirt on our playgrounds. It was dangerous!”

Those of us that didn’t break our necks jumping off the swings onto the non-rubberized earth went on to spend one whole year for sixth grade at College Square Elementary, where we merged with the “real” cake eaters. (Just kidding, I love my french butter cream icing as much as the next guy!)

2. You are a “Ridge Runner.” If not, you can define “Ridge Runner.”

For those of you that aren’t natives of Brighton Township, Ridge Runners are those that grew up in the Dawson Ridge housing plan behind Tusca Plaza. It’s a mellow little neighborhood, with quiet streets ideal for teaching children to ride their bicycles.

Dawson Ridge has seen its share of excitement. It was selected as one of the filming sites for the 2009 movie, “Adventureland.” Jesse Eisenberg’s makeup and wardrobe trailers lined up on Maple Street, and locals spent a week or so trying to catch a glimpse of Hollywood big shots.

3. You remember the Tusca Foodland fire.

The night of December 27, 1998, a devastating 8-alarm fire tore through the township’s longstanding supermarket. The men and women of Brighton Township Volunteer Fire Department braved the heat of the flames that blew out the glass storefront, while battling the chill of cold winter air in water-soaked gear. Despite the honorable efforts of BTVFD and members of assisting departments, the store was reduced to rubble.

In the months following the blaze, residents had to commute a bit farther for groceries as the store was rebuilt. Since then, the business has changed hands and is now operated as a Shop ‘n Save…though I still find myself calling it Foodland (and if you’ve been in B.T. for a bit longer, you may still refer to it as Economy).

4. You have stood in line for an hour at the Social Hall for BTVFD’s Fish Fry.

You’ve lined up single-file against the wall of the building, wrapped around tables, out the doors and up the sidewalk, because you know the meal is worth the wait.

Every Lenten season begins with morning radio shows asking for nominations for the best fish fry in the region. Brighton Township does it best, and these firefighters know how to perfectly fry some cod. Top it off with a side of fries, and don’t dare walk out without a container of coleslaw to go!

5. You have stood in line for two hours at Brady’s Run Park Lodge for pancakes.

On more than one occasion, my jaw has dropped in awe at discovering that a Beaver County resident has not been to the Maple Syrup Festival. I was under the impression that everyone went to Brady’s Run in early springtime to hop on a school bus and stand in line, rain or shine (…usually rain) to be served an endless supply of all-you-can-eat pancakes.

Whether you fancy buckwheat or buttermilk, a steady stream of Boy Scout volunteers are always buzzing about with stacks of refills.

The most special part of the Maple Syrup Festival? The syrup is manufactured on-site from sap tapped from the park’s own maple trees. The volunteers who produce it are always willing to give those willing to listen a lesson in how the syrup is made!

6. You’ve walked on Brady’s Run Lake in the winter.

If you’re brave enough to take on the cold, Bradys Run Lake will occasionally freeze solid enough to cautiously navigate across (if you’re wondering, that’s a minimum of 4” thickness). My dad spent many winter days ice fishing on the lake, and after an extended freeze, I’d follow him out to a hole in the western PA tundra to wait patiently for a bite.

7. You have been to at least one graduation party at Two Mile Run Lodge.

Parties at Two Mile Run Park on Gypsy Glen Road should always be attended with a change of clothes for the kids. Because they will end up looking for crayfish (crawdads!) under big, flat rocks in the creek. For those not so inclined to search for icky lobster-like creatures in the water, there are fields for Frisbee sessions and basketball courts within sight of the lodge and pavilion.

8. You once held your nose when rounding the bend on Dutch Ridge by Wildwood Road.

Remember Nicol’s Dairy? Years ago, those wide-open fields behind what is now Dutch Ridge Dairy were dotted with black and white cows. The cows (and their pungent odor) have moved on to greener pastures, but you can still stop by the little store for a deli sandwich or coffee on your way to work.

9. You went on a school field trip to the Richmond Little Red Schoolhouse.

And you thought all of your grandparents went to grade school there. Granted, it was in operation until 1950, so for some of us, that may have been true.

This one-room schoolhouse has stood above Bradys Run Park since it was built in 1844. I remember sitting in the hard wooden seats, with inkwell holes cut out of the desks, wondering what awful things a pupil had to do to be subjected to sitting on the stool in the corner with the dunce cap on.

10. You remember the Tusca Drive-In theater, and/or shopped for treasures at the flea market.

I may be dating myself, but I vaguely remember the single screen towering next to Tuscarawas Road. I can’t remember seeing a movie there, but my grandmother regularly took me with her to shop for treasures at the flea market years after the film reels stopped rolling.

Sound off, Brighton Township natives! What makes B.T. special to you?

Ella Parker
BC born & raised, Ella spent her childhood playing in the woods, and her teens exploring them on horseback. These days, when she’s not on duty as a vet tech, she is busy staying active with her beau and their young son.

She is forever curious and has a playful personality, but is also fiercely driven and dedicated to her passions!