The Story Behind Pittsburgh's Revitalization, Part X (September 21, 2009) -- available on Facebook and Twitter, too
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Images of Pittsburgh
250 Years: 1758-2008

You have to read this (even if your not a Steelers' fan):
For Terrible Towels, a Wonderful Legacy


Immaculate Reception-December 23, 1972: Franco Harris, Bradshaw -- another moment in history of which nothing more needs to be said. Forty years in the wilderness ended. A week later the Steelers would become the sixteenth victim in the Dolphins' perfect 17-0 season, but the team had taken the first step toward four Super Bowl victories. Like many from Pittsburgh in that era, I remember where I was during the last 22 seconds of this playoff game, held at the new Three Rivers Stadium. The stadium is already gone but this moment still lives in American Football history. Sour Grapes Department: John Madden, the Raider coach at that time, has always sworn that the ref went and called the stadium security office. As Madden tells it, the ref said, How many guards to do you have to get me out of here, if I call an incomplete pass ? When told that there were but three, he hung up the phone, ran back onto the field, and signaled touchdown, from

Steel Town Speak: PBS -- CMU -- Mr. Carnegie's Library

Christian Walter (1937) and Edward W. Redfield

Christian Walter was born in Old Allegheny on the North Side of Pittsburgh in 1872. He had no formal art training and yet, led a long and successful career as an artist. Walter’s work was included in the first Carnegie International Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Pennsylvania Academy among others.

Newspaper "Stamp" from 20's and 30's that
extols the virtue of Pittsburgh's location

E. W. Redfield: Overlooking the SoHo district in Pittsburgh
More about Pittsburgh Artists Here

Panther Hollow-detail

"Panther Hollow" -(left)- A detail from a work painted by Edward Willis Redfield, when his son was at the Carnegie Technical School (now-CMU circa 1919-20). Redfield served on the Jury for the Carnegie International Exposition (1919). He once said that he had found it difficult to do oils in the smoky climate.

A Redfield reference (with pictures) reprinted at Google Books --

To the right is a Gorson Painting.

- Statue of George Washington -

The Battle of Braddock's Field Revisited-- July 9, 1930: This was another in the series of stamps of this period that had nothing to do with commemorating events surrounding the 150th anniversary of the War of Independence, but rather was, like many stamps of the period, purely of political inspiration. Pennsylvania representative Clyde Kelley, whose bill had provided for air mail transportation to be transferred to the private sector, was a native of Braddock, Pennsylvania. It so happened that 1930 marked the 175th anniversary of the Battle at Braddock's Field, a battle in which George Washington, then a non-commissioned "colonel" in the British army, ironically lost. The town of Braddock was to hold a large celebration commemorating this "defeat" and it was hoped the stamp would help promote the event. It must be added that although Washington and General Braddock, who was mortally wounded in the affair, lost the battle, it lay the seeds of Washington's heroism. Washington, of course, went on to become one of the greatest American heros and father of his country. The stamp shows the statue of Washington, unveiled at Braddock's Field on July 9, 1930, the day the stamp was first released.

General Edward Braddock was mortally wounded when French and Indian troops ambushed his force of British regulars and colonial militia, which was on its way to attack France's Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh). Gen. Braddock's troops were decimated at Fort Duquesne, where he refused to accept Washington's advice on frontier style fighting. British Gen'l. Braddock gave his bloody sash to George Washington at Fort Necessity just before he died on July 13th. see also &

Issued November 25, 1958September 14, 1758: At the Forks of the Ohio River (at Fort Duquesne later to be called Fort Pitt, in a disputed portion of Penn's Woods), French forces, under command of François-Marie Le Marchand de Lignery, defeat Highlander, Major James Grant's troops on as yet unnamed heights above Fort Duquesne. Almost 300 British Regulars (77th Highland Regiment), Virginians and Pennsylvanians died this day as French-allied native tribes spilled out of Fort Duquesne and swept over the British forces. Many an englishman was taken captive and tortured to death.

For his poor effort Grant gets the hill named for him, and later Grant Street in the City of Pittsburgh, which ascends the Hill. When General Forbes and Colonel Bouquet arrived with the remaining forces on the 25th of November of that year, Fort Duquesne was a smoking ruin as the French had fled. Today, Heinz Field sits on the spot where Native villages once stood and where some of Grant's doomed army met their brutal end above the banks of the Allegheny River. Grant himself, although captured, escaped certain death and had what can best be described as a checkered career thereafter.

The year 1758 has been chosen as the beginning of Pittsburgh, because that is the year in which it came into British hands (and was renamed for William Pitt). In 2008 the City celebrated the anniversary of its 250th year. On June 29, 2008, for instance, the Tour of Pennsylvania ended with a 50 mile circuit race downtown, some of it in the rain. Why Pitt ?  As the French would say --

Le 23 janvier 1806: Ce jour meurt William Pitt the Younger. Premier ministre de Grande-Bretagne à l'âge de 24 ans, en 1783, William Pitt disparaît en pleine tourmente, sans avoir eu le temps de cueillir la récompense de ses efforts. Son ennemi, Napoléon 1er, est au faîte de la puissance. Nul ne se doute encore qu'à Trafalgar, quelques mois plus tôt, il a perdu toute chance de vaincre un jour l'Angleterre.

William Pitt the Elder, First Earl of Chatham, also known as the Great Commoner, dominated the political scene influencing government from within and without. He is remembered for his vocal criticism of harsh British policy levied against the American colonies and his skills as a wartime leader during the Seven Years' War. The City of Pittsburgh, PA bears his name. The memory of William Pitt is kept alive in this city by the interest the name itself creates. There is a bust of him in the City-County Building and Carnegie Institute owns one of his noted portraits. from

The City of Pittsburgh has adopted the Pitt coat-of-arms for its seal and the motto -- Benigno Numine, which implies a benign divine Providence, as in:

nil Claudiæ non perficient manus,
quas et benigno numine Iuppiter
defendit et curæ sagaces
expediunt per acuta belli.

In his letter to William Pitt dated "Pittsbourgh, 27th November, 1758," acquainting the Prime Minister with his conquest of the area, General Forbes says in part - I have used the freedom of giving your name to Fort Du Quesne {former French fortification}, as I hope it was in some measure the being actuated by your spirits that makes us Masters of the place . . . . The letter is not in the General's own hand, but in that of one of his clerks; but Forbes would have been cognizant of its form. from

Forbes was successful where General Braddock had failed and died. Some of you may remember that General Washington accompanied the unsuccessful man, marking Washington as a failure or worse. Pitt the Elder believed England's future lay in America and not Europe. He poured money into the colonies to shore up their defenses during the French-Indian War. These expenses, and Britain's post-war inept efforts to recoup its money led to the American Revolution, where Washington's reputation was restored in full. During the month of January 2006, The History Channel has done a series (2006) on the French-Indian War and its implications on World events and follow-on American War of Independence.

Monongahela River Steel Plant (pre-J&L): GORSON, Aaron Harry

Monongahela River Steel Plant
Aaron Harry Gorson
Gulf Oil Company was headquartered in Pgh
Panther Hollow-detail

"Panther Hollow" -- another detail

Beautiful Picture of a Shannon-Drake car downtown -- More Gorson Pictures -- More old pictures

Aaron Harry Gorson (1872-1933) was born June 2nd, in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania. In 1888 he immigrated to the USA to join an older brother in Philadelphia. He soon found employment and worked as a machine operator in a clothing factory during the day, while at night he attended classes at the Spring Garden Institute to pursue his dream of becoming a painter. He settled in Pittsburgh in 1903, and soon began to paint the city’s steel mills. Most he painted from the outside at night, though occasionally he made dramatic interior views. "I laugh when I hear people railing at Pittsburg[h]'s smoky atmosphere," said Gorson, a Lithuanian immigrant, to Charles Gillespie of The Pittsburgh Press in 1908. "All painters surely must bear me out when I say the smoke-filled foggy air adds wonderfully to the artistic effectiveness of the view."

July 29, 1786: - The first newspaper west of the Alleghenies was published. The newspaper was founded in 1786 when John Scull and Joseph Hall brought a printing press from Philadelphia and set it up in a small shop in the village which was growing up around Fort Pitt. Originally called "The Pittsburgh Gazette", it is still being published, but is now titled The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, having acquired the Pittsburgh Press, the Pittsburgh Post and perhaps a few more along the way.

December 1st of 1814: General Andrew Jackson, then a US General, later a US President, achieved the greatest American victory after war's formal end. He had expected the assault and had prepared well. On this day the shallow-draft steamboat Enterprise, completed in Pittsburgh under the direction of keelboat captain Henry Miller Shreve, left for New Orleans to deliver guns and ammunition to General Jackson.

Streetcars are still in use
Forbes Field
Forbes Field memories

October 1, 1903: The Pittsburgh Pirates (National League Champions), playing at the Huntington Ave Baseball Grounds, defeated the home team Boston American League Ball Club (not the Pilgrims (now the Red Sox)), 7-3, in the first regular World Series game between the two leagues. Cy Young and Boston came back to win the series, five games to three. On October 13, 1903, Boston defeated the Pirates in this, baseball’s first, World Series.

The next year the New York Giants refused to play in a World Series. In 1905 the two leagues reached an agreement for a perpetual annual Fall classic. Before 1903 there were other end-of-season games, some even called "World Series," but by 1892 these had died out. Except in time of World conflict the Series has continued uninterrupted since the turn of the 20th Century.

1909 -- Lost in a London Fog: Former native (Pittsburgher), now Chicago resident and publisher, William D. Boyce is helped by a Scout to find his way. On February 8, 1910, The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in Washington, D.C. by William D. Boyce. The first of the regional parks to be dedicated in Allegheny County (PA), in 1963, was named William D. Boyce Park, honoring the founder of the Boy Scouts who was born in the area. The park's picnic groves and shelters have titles with Boy Scout associations: e.g. Tenderfoot, Eagle, Den, and even Baden Powell (the founder of the British Boy Scouts). Boyce serves the populous eastern region beyond Monroeville, and has been outfitted with major recreational features, such as skiing.

June 30, 1908: An explosion near the Tunguska River in Siberia instantly vaporized much of what occupied some 300 square kilometers, an area that encircled the impact site of an estimated 60 meter diameter stony meteorite. Because the site was remote, it was many years before the first research expeditions were made into the area But, what has that event go to do with Pittsburgh ?

The Last Indian-head Cent

A year later on the other side of the world, another explosion in sports, 35,000 Baseball fans help to dedicate a new Stadium. The largest assemblage ever gathered at any sports park to date, anywhere, enjoyed ideal baseball weather conditions and impressive ceremonies, including concerts by two (count 'em two) marching bands. Brief speeches, as one might expect, preceded the game. The Pittsburgh Pirates hosted the Chicago Cubs, when Forbes Field opened on June 30th (1909). Pittsburgh celebrated its 250 anniversary in 2008.

First Lincoln-head cent

October 16, 1909: The first see-saw World Series ended, after each team -- Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers -- had won alternately until game seven. Pittsburgh pitcher Babe Adams came through with a 6-hit, 8-0 win over Detroit. It was his third complete-game victory and gave the Pirates their first world championship. Three years later, the Series had an eighth game, because the seventh ended in darkness and a tie, and did not count. In this do over between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, Boston won, 2-1, in ten innings. Finally, The once-lowly team called the New York Mets won its first World Series baseball championship on this date in 1969. Do you remember what ballclub the Mets beat ?

October 2, 1920 (more Baseball): Cleveland won, 1-0. On this date in baseball history, the last triple-header in the Twentieth Century took place, as the League leading Cincinnati Reds took two out of three games from the Pittsburgh Pirates. A contemptuous rain threatened to prematurely end the 1920 baseball season .... Was the game played in Cincinnati or Pittsburgh ???

November 2, 1920: On election night, November 2, 1920, commercial radio broadcasts coverage of the US national election for the first time. The announcers at KDKA AM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, read telegraph ticker results, without commentary or critical social analysis, as the returns arrived. At night, this station could be heard over most of the Eastern United States by a small percentage of the population that had radio receivers (and who had tuned to the broadcast). KDKA's license -- the first radio commercial broadcast license -- was issued October 27, 1920.

Harding's Republican landslide came from winning all states except those in the deep South, which as usual voted the solid Democrat party line. Both parties' candidates hailed from Ohio. The third party socialists ran Eugene Victor Debs (of Indiana), who barely received 900 thousand votes (3.4% of the total cast). Back then democrat-voting states were called the red states, which was the way it was generally until the TV networks changed things in Y2K.

January 2, 1921: Pittsburgh radio station KDKA broadcasts the first church program over the air: a vesper service of Calvary Episcopal Church. The senior pastor, seemingly unimpressed by the landmark broadcast, did not participate in the service, leaving his assistant (Dr. E.J. Van Etten) to preside.

September 20, 1921: KDKA on your dial at 1020 (ten-twenty) today -- 980 back then -- although dials (analog tuning indicators of frequency) were not so precise or selectivity that narrow. Broadcasting from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the station management started one of the first daily radio newscasts in the country from the city desk of The Pittsburgh Post, now the Post Gazette, the first newspaper west of the Alleghenies.

Many people ask if these call letters "stand for" anything. The simple answer is: no. KDKA's license -- the first radio commercial broadcast license -- was issued October 27, 1920. The call letters "KDKA" were assigned from a roster maintained to provide identification for ships and marine shore stations, these being the only regular radio services operating under formal license supervision by the Federal Government. When it came time to grant the license, "KDKA" was simply the next set of call letters on the list.

CMU Today -- Pitt in background
Mt. Lebanon Municipal Building

A Record Broken Early in a Career -- September 8, 1958: Roberto Clemente’s bat (his stats -- his 1959 Topps' Card) of the Pittsburgh Pirates tied a major-league (USA) baseball record by hitting three triples. Clemente led the Bucs to a 4-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. On the same day 8 years later (1966), the first Star Trek episode premiered on NBC TV affiliates across the Nation. NBC cancelled the show on September 2, 1969, because it was unpopular. The concept just never caught on; and the actors, who knew them ?

May 26, 1959: Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher, Harvey Haddix, threw a no-hitter for 12 innings; but still recorded a loss to the Braves 1-0 in the 13th inning. Milwaukee Braves slugger Joe Adcock whacked in a run to win the game; however, one must remember that an error had let the game continue to this point. The Pirates tolerated this failure, so Haddix won game seven in the 1960 World Series in Pittsburgh, giving the Pirates a Series title, the first in a long, long time.

September 11, 1959: Elroy Face of the Pittsburgh Pirates saw his 22-game winning streak terminate with extreme prejudice. Face lost to the LA Dodgers, 5-4. He did, however, finish the 1959 season with an impressive 18-1 record. On the same date 31 years earlier, Georgia born Ty Cobb had his last at bat in major league baseball. On the same date in 1991, playing at home in Atlanta, the Braves won a 1-0 no-hit victory over the San Diego Padres. It was the 13th no-hitter in Brave teams' history (three cities). But what made the National League record books, was the fact three different Braves pitchers -- Kent Merker, Mark Wohlers, and Alejandro Peña -- were used in the combined no-hitter.

October 13, 1960, the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series at Forbes Field with a 9th inning homerun by Hall of Famer (2001), Bill Mazeroski. After game six of the World Series, the New York Yankees had scored 46 runs and the Pittsburgh Pirates (Buccaneers) only 17, yet the Bucs had the series tied going into game seven. The final day of play opened with a home run by an unsung hero, Glenn Richard Rocky Nelson. The game's finale (the historic game-winning, walk-off blast by Maz) gave the Bucs a world championship after a thirty-five year famine. An academic building at University of Pittsburgh, which by-the-way had a cornerstone, was later built on the site of Forbes Field. You can still see the plate, I am told, through the floor, a clever cover-up, if ever there was one ...

October 17, 1971 -- Another seven game classic: Roberto Clemente, Steve Blass’ pitching and the leadership of Willie Stargell transformed the Pittsburgh Pirates into World Series winners. After losing the first two games, the Bucs came back to win three consecutive contests (and finally a fourth) for the championship. Steve Blass hurled a four-hitter and Roberto Clemente homered, as the Pirates won the last game, 2-1. The Pirates had a repeat performance on this day in 1979. After being down three games to one, Willie (by then ‘Pops’) Stargell’s third World Series home run gave the Pirate team its third straight win, 4-1, and another world championship. Stargell was Series MVP. Ten years later, during the third game of a series (played in San Francisco), the earth shook, bridges collapsed, fires roared out of control and the televised event was postponed in a shaken Candlestick Park.

On July 31, 1988, Willie Stargell became the 200th man inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Mr. Stargell had 475 career homers, twice leading the National League (NL) (48 in 1971, 44 in 1973). He drove in 1540 runs, scored 1195 and had 2232 hits with a lifetime batting average of .282, and Stargell's inspirational leadership contributed greatly to Pittsburgh Pirate world championships in 1971 and 1979, years when he shared NL MVP honors. His #8 (team playing number) was retired by the Pirates in 1982.

Verification Stamps: Before the introduction of the QSL cards in order to verify long distance radio reception (DX), many broadcasters in the USA, and others in Canada, Mexico and Cuba, sent Verified Reception Stamps to respond to listeners' reports. The concept in 1924 was invented by EKKO Company of Chicago (an outgrowth of the American Banknote Company). About 700 participated. The stamps became collectibles and were traded. Soon the stamps could be bought directly from EKKO; but with the Depression, interest in these stamps gradually decreased. Printing ended in the 1930s.

Radio verification stamps fall into three categories: EKKO stamps, Bryant stamps (to the left) and stamps produced for individual stations, such as WSB in Atlanta. The PM Bryant Company decided to compete with the EKKO Company. Bryant's stamps and first album appeared September, 1925. Bryant, based in the Wrigley Building in Chicago, had a smaller less complicated stamp. Most if not all Bryants were purchased directly from the Bryant Company, rather than distributed by stations. The Bryant Company had issues for stations in Great Britain and the Philippine Islands. see

Suburban Pittsburgh Views along LRT line (Beechview, Dormont, Mt. Lebanon, Castle Shannon)

Postcard -- notice the added -h-

To the left is an ancient postcard of Old Blockhouse (1902) -- This is the last standing remaining structure of Fort Pitt,
constructed outside the palisade walls of the fort (circa 1764).
I love Streetcars {Pics from mid-60's} -- Pre-History of Area

The Carnegie Name
Lock #1 Monongahela River at Pittsburgh

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