History Behind the Holiday: Halloween

History Behind the Holiday: Halloween

People have been celebrating Halloween—or some version of it—for more than 2,000 years. Today, many mistakenly associate this Americanized holiday with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). However, that is not quite true. The roots of Halloween reach much farther back, to Western Europe B.C.E. The Original Halloween Halloween originates from the Celtic New Year festival, Samhain (sow-in). The Celts, who lived during

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The Kelly Strayhorn Theater: A Place of Inspiration and Artistic Incubation

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater: A Place of Inspiration and Artistic Incubation

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty is named for two hometown legends: Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn. Gene Kelly—singer, dancer, actor, filmmaker, and choreographer—is best known for his role in Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and many other films. Billy Strayhorn was an American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger who collaborated with the likes of Duke Ellington. Both called Pittsburgh home during their

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A Rash of Murders in 1977

A Rash of Murders in 1977

This Is Not For The Faint Of Heart In 1977, I was a senior in high school when Southwestern Pennsylvania experienced a series of brutal murders that left everyone in the area on edge. Gun sales soared, hardware stores couldn’t keep locks on the shelves, teens traveled in packs for safety, and women were afraid to go out alone. It didn’t much matter who you

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Prominent Civic Associations in Pittsburgh

Prominent Civic Associations in Pittsburgh

  Civic Associations have a distinctive and vital role in a democratic society. These organizations work with the goal of improving communities. Many serve the important function of providing a collective voice to issues that affect the community. Pittsburgh is home to many civic associations whose missions are to enhance the Greater Pittsburgh area for residents and visitors. Below are some of the most notable.

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Lunch at El Campesino

Lunch at El Campesino

What’s the best thing to do at work on a slow Friday afternoon? Take a lunch break and go out to eat must be the correct answer. I’m sure not everyone has the type of job where leaving for a long lunch break is accepted, but if you do I would advise checking out an El Campesino near you. When we arrived, a hostess greeted

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My First Visit to Calvary Cemetery

My First Visit to Calvary Cemetery

I was six years old the first time I went to a cemetery. It’s a day I remember clearly, even some 70 years later. I grew up in a family where there were a number of elderly relatives. For the first half dozen years of my life I was chiefly unaware of the deaths in my family. Then, with the passing of some distant aunt,

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The History Behind the Holiday: Rosh Hashanah

The History Behind the Holiday: Rosh Hashanah

What marks a new year? Across most of the Western world, parties leading up to midnight of January 1st celebrate a new calendar year. Often, the first day of school in September marks a new year. In the business world, fiscal years can begin and end at any time. For the Jewish people, Rosh Hashanah is the two-day religious festival that honors the Jewish New

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Mario Lemieux – A True Pittsburgher

Mario Lemieux - A True Pittsburgher

Few are the Pittsburgh sports figures who inspire awe even decades after their playing days are over. In fact, there are only three who come to mind—Roberto Clemente, Honus Wagner, and Mario Lemieux. I told my children about Roberto Clemente’s career and legacy. I listened to my grandfather as he talked about Wagner in reverential tones. He would recount how when he worked as a

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The History Behind the Holiday: Labor Day

The History Behind the Holiday: Labor Day

We all look forward to that long weekend at the beginning of September. The one that celebrates Labor Day… or is it Memorial Day? Labor Day is the first Monday in September; it is a federal holiday that is often celebrated with day-drinking and barbecues. For a lot of people, it’s really just a long weekend. But, do you know why we get this extra

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The History of Pittsburgh Annexations

The History of Pittsburgh Annexations

Pittsburgh is the 61st largest city—by population—in the country. By 2015 data, Pittsburgh has a population of approximately 305,000 over 55.5 square miles. When Pittsburgh was incorporated as a borough in 1794 it amassed only a half square mile. The City of Pittsburgh has been absorbing municipalities for centuries. However, unlike other cities—such as Houston, Phoenix, and San Diego—city limits have stayed virtually unchanged since

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