On October 10, 1984, the
Brookline Chamber of Commerce held a recognition dinner to honor a man
who, for fifty-seven years (up to that time), had operated a hardware store
on Brookline Boulevard. It is a fair estimate that anyone who lived in
Brookline during the half century of 1930-1980 knew Orville Bryant,
the owner, for sixty-three years before retirement in 1990, of Bryant's
Most likely, at one time or
another, you chanced into his store for some nuts and bolts, or
sandpaper, and met another wonderful person upon checkout, Orville's
partner and devoted wife Mildred, who handled the register keys for over
Mr. And Mrs. Bryant were as much
a part of the Brookline community as automobiles are to Detroit. Their
store was located on the 900 block of Brookline Boulevard.
The original Bryant's
Hardware, at 920 Brookline Boulevard, in the early 1950s.
For many years
the store was nestled in where the Mazza Pavilion now stands, then moved
to the corner of Stebbins and Brookline Boulevard. A smart move in
retrospect as in 1973, fire gutted the original building, then
occupied by Tryson Shoes.
From their perch they watched as
Brookline evolved and grew, supplying the necessary hardware whenever
the need arose.
Orville was born in 1906 in
Pittsburgh and grew up in the West End. His father, Charles S. Bryant was
a well-known photographer. In 1927, Orville opened his hardware store at
920 Brookline Boulevard. He and wife Mildred moved to Woodbourne Avenue
from their home in Elliott and spent the next fifty-six years together, devoting
their time and energies to raising two children, Orville Jr. and LuAnne,
and serving the community of Brookline.
Orville Bryant was one of the
founding members of the Brookline Chamber of Commerce, known many years
ago as the Brookline Business Men's Association. The first meeting of the
organization took place in the basement of his business back in
Fifty-five years later, in 1984,
Orville Bryant was once again on center stage, with Mildred by his side,
at a Chamber event. This time he was not there as an organizer or
officer, but as an honoree for his dedicated service to the community
he loved to serve, Brookline.
Orville retired in 1990 to care
for his beloved Mildred, who passed away in July of that year. He sold
the store to John Mussitsch of Stebbrook Pharmacy and moved to Shadyside to
live with his daughter. His twilight years were spent painting, gardening
and playing with his grandchildren. Then, in August of 1993, after a bout
with pneumonia, Mr. Bryant passed away at the age of 87.
The Bryant's old hardware store,
like so many others (Jay's Hardware, Fred's Hardware and Nolan's
Hardware to name a few) that occupied a space in Brookline's business
district have disappeared. Today we go to the superstores Busy Beaver,
Home Depot or Hechingers. But there was a time, not to long ago, when the
corner hardware store was an essential part of a community, and in
Brookline, Orville and Mildred Bryant's Hardware was the place to
The information above was sent
in by Brookline native Orville Bryant Jr. (Wes), who now lives in Naples,
Florida, after a long career with Lipton Tea in New
"I grew up in Brookline on
Woodbourne Avenue from 1938-1960. Went to Carmalt and Brookline Public
Schools, then South Hills High School and the University of Pittsburgh.
In 1960 I moved to Virginia as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S.
"Many years were spent playing
and working on Brookline Boulevard at my parents hardware
store. Brookline was a great place to grow up. I have lots of great
For many years a familiar site to
walkers along Brookline Boulevard.
The Bryant's Hardware sign at the corner of Stebbins Avenue.
Below are some excerpts from a
Brookline Journal article, dated October 4, 1984, announcing a
recognition dinner for Orville Bryant.
If they decided to join forces,
Brookline businessmen Thomas Shannock and Orville Bryant probably could
lay claim to a local longevity record.