How much do you know about Ross Township? Did you know there are 40 family cemeteries in the hills above the northbound lanes of McKnight Road? Most of them now hidden by housing developments or ashphalt roads.
Did you know that during the Cold War, the current location of Ross Park Mall was a military site?
Have you ever heard of Corey's cliff, the 40-foot-high rock shelter that sits above interstate 279?
I have lived in Ross for most of my life, and wasn't aware of any of these things, until I met John Schalcosky.
Schalcosky, 30, is president of the Ross Township Historical Society, and his stories and collected photographs have already filled one book, called "Images of America: Ross Township."
"I grew up in Ross and graduated from North Hills High school, then at age 18, I enrolled in film school at U.C.L.A.," he said. "I learned a lot about location scouting, and when I moved back to the North Hills, I started looking into locations around here. I wanted to know what had happened in my back yard."
What had been a hobby, is now his life's work. Schalcosky researches house histories, and performs geneology research to support himself. He's also the "go-to" guy for Ross and West View police when they come across something that requires an historical perspective.
Schalcosky is also at work on a second book which will concentrate on West View. He and Bob Leo, 22, another Ross resident, have also founded the West View Historical society.
Both the Ross and West View Historical societies have growing Facebook pages which are filled with fascinating photographs and stories.
Schalcosky isn't limiting himself to Ross and West View.
"Eventually, I'd like to start pages for McCandless, Etna, and Shaler," he said. "I want to recruit young people to get interested and learn the history of this area, because before long, those few people who know it best, won't be around."