franciscan university white logo rebuild church logo

Hail, Steubenville!

Franciscan Magazine

Your responses to the question about your favorite spots in Steubenville and its environs were many and varied, though you’ll note, as I did, that a good number revolve around places to eat and drink. Why is that, do you think?

Lisa Ferguson ’84
English Literature

Don Plagman ’66, Business
The town of Steubenville was heavily Italian during the early to mid 60s. This meant a few things: Dean Martin music, gambling, and of course, great Italian food. Defederico’s had the best “heel” sandwich (half loaf of Italian bread stuffed with meatballs and sauce, $.50 then) and John’s Sausage Shop sold the best sausage sandwich at $.35. I’ll never forget Grandma DeFed’s and John’s broken English as they checked you out.Wonderful food, memorable people.

Ron Renckly ’69, Accounting
Stoney’s, for the following reasons: 1. Walking distance; 2. Cheap beer; 3. Back then you could drink 3.2 beer at 18; 4. All your college friends would also be there on weekends; and 5. It had good and cheap bar food.

Nancy Pilaroscia-Sigmund ’72, Education
My favorite spot in Steubenville during my college years, 1968-1972, was Pimpy John’s! It was a dive, but he served the best Italian sausage sandwiches with cheese, peppers, and mustard (which we called by another name). We went all the time, and it was in a tough neighborhood. Delicious!

Nancy (DaRosso) Ritthamel ’74, Education
The new survey question brought back great memories of favorite spots, so I posed the question on our College Facebook page, which is comprised of mostly grads from 1973-1976. After 88 comments, these were the spots most mentioned!

The Grove, Octopus Garden (owned by grads Funow and O’Brien), Bics, Stein Club, The Belleview, the Ice House, Naples, dorm hallways near the two phone booths, the Cliffs on the outer campus, DeFederico’s, Diner in Weirton, Federal Terrace, Stoney’s, Pimpy John’s Sausage Shop, the All American Bowling Alley, DiCarlos, the old student center at the bottom of the classroom building, the new student union with pool tables and the “white room” for listening to music, and Smoking Stone where sorority/fraternity parties were held.

Why? These were the places where we shared good times and formed lasting friendships that we still share today, not only at college sponsored reunions, but our own mini-reunions and Facebook friendships! After 40 years, we still treasure the friendships we made at the College!

Tom Legare ’79, Sociology
Favorite place to study was in the Thomas More Hall (a.k.a. Renewal Center) laundry room to the hum of the washing and drying machines.

Timothy Glackin ’82, Accounting
Golf course (now part of the grounds), covered with snow, perfect for cross country skiing with Dan Heffernan, David Powel, Richard Ziggmann, Fr. Angelus Migliore, TOR, Fr. Sam Tiesi, etc. with skis borrowed from the monastery. Winter snows left it abandoned, quiet, peaceful, and relaxing.

Mary Anne Fox ’85, MA Theology
Happy’s. Wonderful yummy strawberry daiquiris. Never could reproduce them even though I had the Happy’s recipe. 

Teresa Mota ’85, Theology
I used to go to Bob Evans on Sunday after Mass for brunch. Had some great times there with friends!

Anita L. (Galownia ’87) King, Accounting

St. Peter’s Church, 425 N. Fourth Street, is indeed, my favorite. I was a parishioner of the parish and sang in the adult choir.

On October 1, 1994, I married Mathew Allen King in this beautiful church with the adult choir adding to the beauty of the ceremony. Monsignor Lawrence Luciana married us. We will be celebrating our 20th-year anniversary this October. Sadly, my mom’s funeral was said at St. Peter’s Church on July 11, 2011. Therefore, one of the happiest times in my life was celebrated at St. Peter’s as well as one of the saddest.

I experienced a vision in St. Peter’s Church when I was in the 2nd grade. I will never ever forget the gift I received in that! I shared it with Monsignor Luciana and in that exact spot he hung a red candle.

Kim (Kellaher ’91) Beatty, Elementary Education
My favorite place in Steubenville during my college years was the Fischer house. I was fortunate enough to meet Jen Fischer my freshman year, and I was immediately welcomed into her parents’ home.

My favorite memories are of a group of us going to 6:00 p.m. Mass on Sunday night in town, then making dinner at the Fischers, while they were at Gathering. Those homemade dinners were so enjoyable after cafeteria food all week! Many Friday or Saturday nights were spent there playing pool in the basement, watching TV, playing cards and talking to Mr. and Mrs. Fischer. They were like surrogate parents for those of us who were far from our own homes. Mr. and Mrs. Fischer even let a group of us come back to school early and stay at their house for a week of swimming and hanging out before classes started. After college when we were all out on our own, married, and starting to have children, I’m sure they thought they were rid of us, but no, visits back to Steubenville included pool parties and cookouts at their house. It was definitely home away from home!

Jeffrey Novak ’91, English
The Dinor in Weirton, West Virginia.

John McNichol ’92, English
My two favorite places at Steubenville were easily the cliffs and a little patch of grease called the Dinor.

I loved them for different reasons. The cliffs were always quiet, and however tumultuous my life might get, I could always count on a little patch of solitude on the cliffs at night, looking out over the Ohio River at the quiet lights in the town below.

The Dinor, on the other hand, was always open. And for a few dollars, I could get a huge plate of fries and gravy and kill hours with friends, being loud and obnoxious as we wanted or felt we needed to be. 

Sr. Mary Catherine Kasuboski, TOR ’93, Spanish
Believe it or not, my favorite spot in Steubenville during my time as a student was the fields (no longer existing) up by the Steel Cross and beyond, where I could sometimes walk in solitude and enjoy a few moments of quiet. After that, I’d have to say Walmart—for very practical reasons, and because I could almost never go there without seeing someone I knew.

Peter A. Drabbant ’94, Theology; ’03, MA Counseling
For myself, I think it is Union Cemetery. I used to walk/run there. I remember a particular tree and marveling at its strength, height and depth of root; it was near a river bank. I was deeply moved and inspired to ask Jesus for my faith to be deeply rooted (like this particular tree), so that the wind gusts, storms, or tornados of life never uproot me. For some reason, this experience/memory never left me. It has been now over 10 years and thanks be to God, I, along with my wife, remain to this day “rooted” and grafted in him through his Church, hoping and praying my faith remain as such till the day I “fall asleep” in him.

Jeanne (Cobb ’95) Stephens, Communication Arts
My favorite place on campus was definitely the Portiuncula. I prayed many times there when things were hard. I loved walking around campus praying the Rosary with friends and boyfriend at the time. Steubenville was definitely a spiritual oasis for me as I was studying there.

I sure do miss that campus life.

Abby (Murray ’01) Dyer, Education
The place that I regained perspective and found peace was the Portiuncula Chapel. I miss it so much. What a beautiful quaint place! I recently copied a picture of the Port and made it my desktop background, again to center and serve as a constant reminder of what is really important. Oh, how I miss spending a few quiet moments there just to thank God and to “be.”

Ruth (Fehr ’09) Ball, Philosophy, Theology, and Catechetics
One of my favorite places on campus was the little cove of trees and bushes on the lawn between the fieldhouse and the library—the place where I gave myself my first black eye. Really. But my favorite place was the Port and surrounding area (seconded by the Eucharistic chapel). No matter what, it was always so peaceful there. The cool stone floor of the Port on a hot day was almost a reiteration of the cool refreshment of His peace and love being poured out on us. I loved sitting on a bench by the huge trees and eating my lunch, looking straight at Jesus through the open doors of the Port. Lunch with Jesus—it was awesome!

I also loved the giant wooden sign at the front entrance to the University. When I saw it, I always felt a rush of warmth and joy, that I was really coming home after break.

Cristina Gonzalez ’09, History
My favorite place in the Steubenville area is the Highland Hills Memorial cemetery in Follansbee, West Virginia. I have many great memories of friends and I having a picnic on the hill overlooking Steubenville’s downtown area—the Ohio River, the bridges, and all of the Church steeples. You could even see Franciscan University! It was also fun to go in the evening to see the sun set over the whole city.

Candice (Vandeven ’09) Warfield, Theology and Catechetics
My favorite place was the golf course behind Assisi Heights because it was peaceful and a beautiful place to be in nature. I loved to walk or jog there.

Alexandria Titus, ’12, Early Childhood Education
My favorite place in Steubenville was the Union Cemetery. I never really experienced it or took advantage of its peacefulness until I moved off-campus. It was the perfect place to get away from the stress of student teaching, and just thinking of it now puts me back beneath the trees on a perfectly cool spring day. A close second is going to Mass at St. Peter’s in downtown Steubenville and entering into the larger-than-life mural behind the altar. I think back to my days in Steubenville (both on- and off-campus) with very fond memories.

Zygmunt Gross ’13, Economics
Downtown Area: Grand Theatre

Originally published in the Autumn 2014 Franciscan Magazine.

Your turn: What was your favorite place to spend time during your college years? Send replies to, and we will share online or in Franciscan Magazine (submissions subject to editing).