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H. J. Heinz: “To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.”

H. J. Heinz: "To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success."

All-American favorites such as french fries, hamburgers and hot dogs just wouldn’t be enjoyed in quite the same way had Henry John Heinz not come along.  He is responsible for that wonderful condiment known throughout the world called Heinz Ketchup.  He didn’t invent ketchup, he just perfected it!  The road to the creation of Heinz ketchup started when Henry John Heinz was born on October

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Pittsburgh’s Medical Pioneer: Dr. Thomas E. Starzl

Pittsburgh's Medical Pioneer: Dr. Thomas E. Starzl

Genius in Your Midst Sometimes when genius is in your midst, you fail to appreciate it fully. It often takes time to realize the magnitude of another person’s accomplishments. That is how it is with Dr. Thomas E. Starzl. Those who lived in the area while Dr. Starzl was making breakthrough after breakthrough in transplantation surgery almost became accustomed to his innovations. But when we

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Dr. Cyril Wecht: Pittsburgh’s Polymath

Dr. Cyril Wecht: Pittsburgh's Polymath

Cyril Wecht is many things: coroner, physician, lawyer, author, lecturer, politician, professor, media consultant, forensic expert.  One thing you cannot call him is boring. He was born to Jewish immigrants on March 20, 1931, in the mining village of Bobtown in Dunkard Township, Greene County.  His father, Nathan, was a shopkeeper and came from Lithuania; his mother, Fannie Rubenstein, was a homemaker from the Ukraine. 

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David McCullogh: America’s History Teacher

David McCullogh: America's History Teacher

On July 7, 2013, David McCullough was honored on his 80th birthday when the 16th Street Bridge was renamed the David McCullough Bridge.  It is fitting that a renamed bridge was chosen to honor McCullough rather than a building or some other structure, as the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner’s body of work has been a bridge to the past for the nation: he’s an American

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Mary E. Schenley: The Pittsburgh Enchantress Who Shocked the World

Mary E. Schenley: The Pittsburgh Enchantress Who Shocked the World

The name Schenley has been immortalized all over Pittsburgh, but if Mary Elizabeth Croghan Schenley were alive today, no doubt her name would be in the headlines for every celebrity gossip site. A descendant of one of Pittsburgh’s most illustrious families, Mary Elizabeth Croghan was born in April 27, 1826, in Louisville, Kentucky, to William Croghan, Jr., and Mary O’Hara. Mary O’Hara was the daughter

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Jonas Salk

Jonas Salk

Humanity is truly fortunate that Jonas Salk, a son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, choose medicine over his original goal of becoming an attorney.  Or perhaps we should thank his mother, who never thought he would be a good lawyer!  Whatever the final motivation, love of medicine or a mother’s desire for her son to be a doctor, Jonas Salk started down a path that would save

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Johnny Appleseed and His Pittsburgh Roots

Johnny Appleseed and His Pittsburgh Roots

Like St. Nicholas, whose life morphed into the legendary figure of Santa Claus, or Phoebe Moses, who became Annie Oakley, John Chapman’s real life was so unusual that it inspired a legend: Johnny Appleseed. While legends are often dressed up in the fairy tale garb of whimsy, fantasy, and out-sized virtue, the real stories of the people behind the legends are often more interesting and

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Johnny Angel

Johnny Angel

If Los Angeles is known as the “City of Angels,” then Pittsburgh could be known as the “City of the Angel”. Johnny Angel, to be exact. Johnny Angel and his bandmates, the Halos, have been ruling the Pittsburgh music realm since 1972. “I think we are the longest surviving group in the area,” said Jack Hunt, who is more prominently known by his stage name,

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Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente

“Anytime you have an opportunity to make things better and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on this Earth.”  ~Roberto Clemente Pittsburgh awoke to a big snow storm on New Year’s Day in 1973.  The news that greeted Pittsburghers as they turned on their radios and televisions was unbelievable.  Tragically, their star Pirate baseball player had been taken from them in the prime

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Dahlen K. Ritchey

Dahlen K. Ritchey

Dahlen Ritchey was born January 31, 1910, and grew up in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh on Parkview Avenue.  Along with his sister Virginia, Dahlen was one of two children of Charles and Anne Ritchey.  Their father was employed at J&L Steel, and the family lived close to Forbes Field where Dahl often worked as an usher. Since Parkview Avenue was in close proximity to

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