Pittsburgh, known for its many bridges, spirited sports fans, and friendly citizens, wants you to know just how welcomed you are here. There’s a common love for all things Pittsburgh at the History Center, so when our friends at VisitPITTSBURGH launched their new “Pull Up a Chair” campaign, we decided it’s the perfect time to share some of our favorite Pittsburgh chairs on display in the museum.
Check them out below!
1. Mister Rogers’ bench
Everyone’s favorite neighbor had a chair of his own. After walking through the door and singing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” at the start of each episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Mister Rogers sat on this bench to change his shoes. He often addressed the viewers from the bench as well. See this fan favorite – Mister Rogers’ bench – in the Special Collections Gallery.
2. The Santaland chair from Kaufmann’s Department Store
There’s nothing like the look on a kid’s face when they see jolly old Saint Nick! The tradition of having Santa in department stores began in the 1890s. Although it’s unclear when Kaufmann’s first hosted Santa, by the time Macy’s took over in 2006, visiting Santa at the store had become a beloved Pittsburgh tradition. After traveling through the store’s trees and sparkling lights, children reached Santa, sat on his lap, and shared their Christmas list with him. If you stop in during Christmastime, you may just find Santa back on his chair, but until then, you can find this Santaland chair in Visible Storage.
3. Mayor Ebenezer Denny’s rocking chair
This rocking chair belonged to Mayor Ebenezer Denny, the first Mayor of Pittsburgh. Denny served as mayor of the city from 1816-1817, and this chair came to the History Center from his granddaughter, Anna Melazina Spring. Check out this 200-year-old chair in Visible Storage.
4. George Romero’s director chair
George Romero first arrived in Pittsburgh as a student. He attended Carnegie Tech, left without a degree, but made valuable contacts. He formed Latent Images in 1963 with some friends and they used seed money to film their first feature, “Night of the Living Dead.” The film became a critical and cult classic. This chair is from the 1994 film “Jacaranda Joe,” a mock documentary that Romero made with Valencia Community College. Find this chair in the Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibit.
5. Stadium seats from Forbes Field
Pieces of Forbes Field have become cherished possessions of those who could get a piece of the park before it was dismantled. Some people who owned them used these seats as chairs, desk chairs, and living room seats. After Forbes Field opened, critics claimed that the 25,000 seats would never be filled. With over 30,300 in attendance at the first game on June 30, 1909, the stadium exceeded expectations and quieted critics. Look out for these seats in the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.
What are you waiting for? Pull up a chair at the Heinz History Center and immerse yourself in a world of exploration and learning.
What’s your favorite chair at the History Center? Let us know which one and why in the comment section below.
Megan Stouffer is the History Center’s marketing & communications department’s summer 2019 intern.