History

The Wearin’ of the Boots

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks. Green beer. Parades. Rubber boots. For Floyd Hughes, my late grandfather, St. Patrick’s Day always reminded him of rubber boots. In March 1936, Pup-Pup, as his grandchild and great-grandchildren called him, was a 21-year-old shipping clerk for Eastman Kodak in Pittsburgh. A husband and father with a 9-month-old daughter, he lived on Spring Hill and took a streetcar to work

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The Duquesne Incline: A Ride Back in Time

The Duquesne Incline: A Ride Back in Time

In the movie Back to the Future, teenager Marty McFly goes back in time by way of a souped-up DeLorean and the help of an eccentric scientist.  But you don’t need an old sports car or the assistance of Doc Brown to go back in time.  All you need is a visit to Pittsburgh’s Duquesne Incline. The Duquesne Incline, located at 1197 West Carson Street

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Mellon Square

Mellon Square

Great cities have great urban parks. Before 1955, downtown Pittsburgh lacked a great park, but that’s understandable. When your city is shrouded in smog, you have bigger problems than lack of a green space. But when Pittsburgh native Richard King Mellon returned to Pittsburgh after serving in World War II to take over the helm of Mellon Bank, he was appalled at how dilapidated Pittsburgh

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Art Rooney, Sr.

Art Rooney, Sr.

Did you know the boyhood home of Art Rooney Sr. once stood on the same spot where Three Rivers Stadium would be built many years later, and where Mr. Rooney himself would be hailed as “The Chief”? Art Rooney was born in Coultersville, a town east of Pittsburgh, into a family that made their living as coal miners and steel workers.  His parents moved their

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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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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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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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The Mayors of Pittsburgh: 1794 to 1840

The Mayors of Pittsburgh: 1794 to 1840

The Chief Burgesses George Robinson (1794-1800), First of the Chief Burgesses of Pittsburgh   The records for leaders in Pittsburgh go back to the year 1794 with George Robinson as the first of eight Chief Burgesses of Pittsburgh. George, it seems, had a run in with the law when he was arrested by General Irvine’s troops, under the direction of President George Washington, for rebel activity

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The Mayors of Pittsburgh: 1840 to 1946

The Mayors of Pittsburgh: 1840 to 1946

William W. Irwin (1840-1841), Whig William Irwin had a favorite mode of transportation when he was a boy: a pony.  He acquired the nickname “pony Irwin” because he rode his pony wherever he went.  When Irwin was elected mayor of Pittsburgh in 1840, he focused on expanding the Pittsburgh’s infrastructure and city government.  He wanted the city to be able to keep up with the

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The Mayors of Pittsburgh: 1946 to 2014

The Mayors of Pittsburgh: 1946 to 2014

David L. Lawrence (1946-1959), Democrat In 1945, David L. Lawrence, an Irish Catholic Democrat, was elected mayor of Pittsburgh by a slim margin.  At the time, Pittsburgh was not a pretty place.  The smog was so thick that it was not unusual for men to change their white dress shirts in the middle of the day because they would become dirty from the air.  It

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