2017 Fall

Pittsburgh Quarterly Archives

2017 Fall

Give a Little Whistle

It’s not until chapter 10 of Harper Lee’s famous novel that we are told of the magic of mockingbirds. Atticus Finch, lawyer and father extraordinaire, says, “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Benevolent Miss Maudie explains,…

The Union Project

“Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread.” –Studs Terkel

Cokeless Steel?

by Mike Wereschagin
Power companies aren’t alone in their shift away from coal. Steelmakers, industry groups and the federal government are spending millions looking for a way to make steel without coke, the carbon-​rich form of coal used to fuel blast furnaces. Like coal-​fired power generation, coke production is a major source of…

Petrochemical Alley

by Jeffery Fraser
Shell Chemical Appalachia’s petrochemical complex has begun to rise from a dusty Beaver County brownfield that follows a slow bend in the Ohio River near Monaca. It took hefty tax incentives to secure it. The nation’s largest zinc smelter was razed to make room for it. More than 7 million…

Up in the Air, Part III

A decade ago, as Consol Energy’s 150th anniversary drew near, top executives began to take stock in where the company stood as a leading producer of coal and where that path would take it. Coal was in what CEO Nicholas DeIuliis called a “supercycle.” It was the workhorse of the…

The Fate of a Prison

For a sprawling building in an ambitious Romanesque style on a conspicuous riverfront site, Western Penitentiary has spent most of its life in architectural obscurity. After an auspicious start, it fell quickly from prominence. Now, it may soon fall to the wrecking ball.

Seeing Autumn Through a Spider’s Web

“I had never paid much attention to spiders until a few years ago. Once you begin watching spiders, you haven’t time for much else — the world is really loaded with them. I do not find them repulsive or revolting, any more than I find anything in nature repulsive or revolting, and…

Sepsis Alert

by Keith Gillogly
By the time Nancy Schollaert Nichol arrived to see her family doctor after experiencing abdominal pain for five days, the visit didn’t last long. She was immediately sent to the UPMC Northwest emergency department in Cranberry where she found out she’d need emergency gallbladder surgery.

What Lies Beneath: The Frick Gets Undressed

by Matthew John Milligan
It’s the first article of clothing you put on and the last one you take off. It comes in all shapes and sizes, colors and textures, ranging from exceedingly comfortable to helplessly imprisoned. It can be sporty, sultry, dull or disturbing, and is quite literally the foundation of the outfit…

A Question of Leadership

Pittsburgh Quarterly asked three local leaders: “What’s the toughest leadership dilemma you’ve ever faced; how did you handle it; and what did you learn from it?”

Drilling for Answers

by Julia Fraser
Well pads, compressor stations, diesel truck traffic. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves many moving parts, some of which have the potential to vent pollutants into the air southwestern Pennsylvanians breathe.

Living in Harm’s Way

Lynda Schuster has had quite a life. now safely squared away in Squirrel Hill, she spent the 1980s and ’90s in one danger zone after another. She reported on wars, insurrections and misery in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa for The Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor.…

Golden Eagle: High, Wild and Here

Imagine the view from a thousand feet up. Snow-​mantled ridges cloaked in barren forest, angling southwestward as far as an eagle can see. On the northwest horizon stands a crisp urban skyline above the glint from three rivers. That’s the view golden eagles survey as they soar along the Laurel…

Beechwood School Garden, 1916

Over the past 10 years, school gardens have been cropping up across the Pittsburgh region. Spurred by chef-​activist Alice Waters’ 1995 Edible School Yard, the school garden movement has been praised for yielding both a harvest bounty and hearty educational benefits. In these outdoor classrooms, students learn about everything from…

The Egg Route

My dad likes to reminisce, and after most of our 22 family members had moved to the living room after a holiday dinner to nap or watch sports, I learned how the desire for farm fresh eggs connected my parents to both the city of Pittsburgh and their rural roots…
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