Pittsburgh’s First (and Peculiar) Park
It was an ash dump, a firehall, a market for butchers, a place to relax for Chinese residents, and home to an alligator that roamed the city at night. Most oddly, it was in the middle of a street. It was Pittsburgh’s first park—erased for the past century, though you can still easily find its location.
Stepping Through History: Pittsburghers Reflect on City Steps
Steps and steam hammers. Steps and polio. The Titanic. Porky Chedwick, and the World Series. These are a few associations Pittsburghers made when recalling their memories for my article, “Stepping through History on Pittsburgh’s Public Stairways” in the Fall 2022 issue of Western Pennsylvania History Magazine. All the Pittsburgh area natives I interviewed have their…
Personal Connections to a Hero Named Roberto Clemente
An autograph often becomes a fan’s first cherished keepsake, a way to commemorate a personal meeting with a hero. As we mature, few people we meet rise to the level of “heroes.” However, for many local Pittsburghers and Puerto Ricans, Roberto Clemente emerged as, and remains, a hero. This past year we celebrated the 50th…
“It’ll Take an Army” Franco’s Italian Army Fifty Years Later
Franco’s Italian Army, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan group that cheered on rookie running back Franco Harris, recruited an Italian “army of support” to cheer on the Black and Gold in 1972.
Christopher Candycane: Santa’s Pittsburgh Sidekick
In 1950, the venerable Joseph Horne Company Department Store introduced a special character to elevate its holiday advertising. An “impish, loveable elf” named Christopher Candycane debuted in December 1950 in a high concept Christmas window display. Twenty revolving vignettes illustrated his accidental creation by Santa’s cook, Aunt Samantha Snowball.
Was the World’s First Gas Station in Pittsburgh? It’s Complicated.
Every December 1, posts celebrate the anniversary of Gulf opening the first drive-in gas station in 1913. That small, somewhat circular building on Baum Boulevard in East Liberty was a game-changer in automotive history, but was it the world’s first?
Ralph Kruck: Dreaming Up the Future of Industrial Design
Looking back to the 1930s and the start of a decades-long career in industrial design, Ralph Kruck recalled a profession mired in tradition and resistant to innovation.
Pittsburgh’s John Kane: A Laborer’s Life
“For I was nineteen when I came to America and then I at once became an American Workman.” -John Kane
Rock for Change: Anne Feeney and the Pittsburgh Riot Grrrls
“I think music is a fantastic way of empowering people and giving them strength and energy. I’ve spent a good part of my life trying to find and write music that will empower people to resist and stand up for what’s right.” -Anne Feeney in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette April 24, 2008.
Pitt vs. WVU: The History of the Backyard Brawl
Separated by just 70 miles, feelings run strong in the football rivalry between the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University. Sept. 1, 2022 marks the first time in more than a decade that the two teams will clash in what fans affectionately refer to as the “Backyard Brawl.”