CULTURE

A Window Into the Marcellus

“Heat and Light,” the latest novel from western Pennsylvania native Jennifer Haigh, has tandem virtues. It possesses not only the urgent feel of a story “ripped from the headlines,” as they say, but also the grace and insight of American literary fiction for the ages. The Marcellus Shale boom in…

The Story of an Icon

by Charles Rosenblum
With the completion of the Tower at PNC Plaza, Pittsburgh has yet another generation of skyscraper design in its picturesque cityscape. Though our first tall steel-​frame building — Longfellow, Alden & Harlow’s Carnegie Building of 1895 — was lost in 1952 for the Kaufmann’s store annex, the Frick building of 1902 remains with several…

Neither, Either, Or

If you want to explore the vexing subject of global climate change, Seamus McGraw is the guy to have as a tour guide. He will not torture your brain with elaborate science, tax your patience with lectures about evil consumer habits, or bash you over the head with partisan arguments.…

The City-​County Building

by Charles Rosenblum
Ask people their favorite downtown Pittsburgh building, and many will tell you Henry Hobson Richardson’s Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail. Pittsburgh’s first really famous piece of architecture has been popular consistently since its 1888 completion.

South Side Visions

I only met my husband’s grandfather a few times; he died at age 92, shortly after my husband and I were married in 1988.

A Pittsburgh Masterpiece

by Ben Schmitt
When Rachel Rosenberg arrived at the University of Pittsburgh from California as a freshman, she was immediately drawn to the cultural classrooms lining the Cathedral of Learning’s first and third floors: their alluring aesthetics, stunning architecture and meticulous attention to detail. “There’s nothing like this anywhere else,” she said. “They…

Wilkinsburg renewal

by Jonathan Barnes
Shortly before he died last year, Korean War veteran Jack Ward stood inside the doorway of the Save-​A-​Lot grocery store in Wilkinsburg’s Penn Avenue business district. Wearing his Marine cap and shirt with service patches, he handed out pamphlets about the proposed sale of alcohol in some borough restaurants. A…

Mount Oliver Incline, Circa 1895

When the mount oliver inclined railway was built in 1872, it was Allegheny County’s second incline, and an average one-​way ride cost six cents.

The new Westmoreland

Early in October, looking out over the view of Greensburg from the newly reconfigured Westmoreland Museum of American Art, someone remarked that a building’s foundations had been discovered recently in the old parking garage, which is being turned into a garden. In England, such work recently turned up the body…

The new sound

Steve Hackman, 35, is an emerging phenomenon in the world of music, fusing classical and popular pieces. Hackman is creating and conducting his hybrid concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Jan. 27 and March 9. A native of suburban Chicago, he has an undergraduate degree in piano performance from the…

4 reads for the Pittsburgh winter

Theresa Brown, a nurse from Point Breeze, is already nationally known for her 2010 nursing memoir “Critical Care” and years of writing online for The New York Times about her profession. Brown’s new book, “The Shift,” should cement her reputation as a reliable and compassionate explainer of modern American heath…

Monsignor Rice’s trampoline

by Christine O’Toole
To understand how I, a lapsed Catholic from the East, came into possession of a small, slightly cracked trampoline that used to belong to Pittsburgh’s most famous “labor priest,” you must begin, as South Hills summers always do, with the St. Anne’s Fair.

Wabash Park ice skating, 1917

On the wintry afternoon of Jan. 20, 1917, pittsburghers of all ages enjoyed ice skating at Wabash Park in Pittsburgh’s West End. Regularly a grassy swath, it was apparently flooded and frozen for the season. The park is still there, as are a number of the park-​facing homes along Wabash…

Pittsburgh Cultural Events Calendar

by PQ Staff
In every issue, in partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Quarterly presents a calendar of arts and events happening in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. Copies of this 16-​page guide are also made available in theaters, venues, restaurants and hotels across downtown.

The long way home

Lori Jakiela has the essential quality for a memoirist with a tale of trauma to tell: empathy for the reader. She makes her anguish entertaining. But based on the engaging voice, underlying humor and clarity of her adoption memoir “Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe,” I bet she…
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