History

Waking Up on the Wrong Side of History

On Friday morning, June 24, 2016, the entire Euro-​American establishment woke up to find that, contrary to their strict instructions, the British had voted to leave the EU.

What Happened at Thompson’s Island?

Were you to launch a canoe at the U.S. Forest Service Buckaloons boat ramp, where Brokenstraw Creek enters the Allegheny River, then float down toward the borough of Tidioute, the setting would appear much as it must have to a party of Seneca Indians paddling the same route in the…

The Holmes Precedent

by Marino Parascenzo
Time was when yogi Berra had to work off– season as a restaurant greeter. Richie Hebner dug graves. Nolan Ryan pumped gas. When Pirate slugger Ralph Kiner asked for a raise, scripture-​quoting general manager Branch Rickey told him: “We finished last with you and we can finish last without you.”

The Little Block House That Could

The first question a visitor usually asks is: “So… what was this place?” As curator of the 250-​year-​old Fort Pitt Block House, sometimes I feel that I have the most interesting job in the world. I get to take care of the only structure left of Fort Pitt and the…

The formidable Frick

by Christine O’Toole
One hundred and twenty five years ago, the eastern side of Pittsburgh’s East End — its grand villas powered by electricity and surrounded by gleaming motorcars — was arguably the richest and most tech-​savvy neighborhood in the country. Within a half-​mile stretch between Point Breeze and Wilkinsburg dwelt a dazzle of shrewd self-​made millionaires:…

Louis vs. Lewis

Joe Louis was the man. Everyone in the country knew his name. He was heavyweight champion of the world when the title was the most prized crown in all of sports and carried more prestige than the biggest Hollywood star.

Clan Carnegie

The fact that the Carnegie Museum complex in Oakland happens to be located on Forbes Avenue wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy except that Andrew Carnegie and Brigadier General John Forbes both hail from the small town of Dunfermline, Scotland.

The Watery Part of the World

The standing watch was sent below for wet– weather gear, and the clattering of their feet on the ladder awakened me. I headed above deck, blinking in the light and trying to align the fair skies behind us and the gentle roll of two-​foot waves with the urgency of the…

The Search for the Lost Archives

A lifeguard’s strong dark arms buoy his young, light-​skinned pupil, as other children in the pool cheer their friend’s attempts to swim. The undated, black-​and-​white photo from the archives of the Pittsburgh Courier is part of a century-​long storyline about the lives of African Americans that the newspaper chronicled.

In the American Grain

Who are the preeminent individuals in American business history? A strong case might be made for a quintet: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, John D. Rockefeller and Sam Walton. Who is primus inter pares? It’s Henry Ford in a walk-​away.

Smilin’ Charlie Schwab

The Christmas season was in full flush Dec. 12 1900 at the University Club in New York, where the city’s financial and industrial elite gathered to honor Charles Michael Schwab, the president of Carnegie Steel.

Money, Power & Purpose

Harvard played its final game of the 1911 baseball season the day after graduation. With Harvard up 41 and one out to go, team captain and star pitcher Charles B. “Chick” McLaughlin called time, for a substitution at first base.

Taking Wing

Not all the thousands of people who regularly pass beneath her glance up, but occasionally, one will stop for a better look. She hangs from the ceiling of the Landside Terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport with her name, Miss Pittsburgh, written on her nose.

The Business of Politics

The year was 1955, the place the long bar at the Carlton House Hotel. Standing as bookends were Pirates sportscaster, Bob “the Gunner” Prince and KDKA newscaster, curly-​haired Bill Burns. Both men were serious drinkers, but the Gunner, resplendent in a canary yellow blazer with an ever-​present screwdriver in hand…

George Westinghouse: The Mystery

by William S. Dietrich II
It was a dreary fall day when, on a friend’s suggestion, I visited the George Westinghouse Museum in Wilmerding. It is housed inside the former Westinghouse Air Brake offices, a gray stone building with a hint of the medieval, appropriately named “the Castle.”
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