I arrived in Pittsburgh about the same time that Columbus arrived in America. Actually, it was in 1972, or thereabouts. I was driving through, hustling my work, and stopped at Pittsburgh History & Landmarks to try to interest them in a garden I wanted to design for them.
Other football players were bigger and faster. That didn’t hold back Greg Babe. During summer days, he would run up and down the steps inside Magnolia High School in New Martinsville, W. Va. while his friends hung out at the pool.
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.”
A top Kill Devil Hill on North Carolina’s windswept Outer Banks stands a massive granite monument that reads: “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Conceived by genius; achieved by dauntless resolution and incomparable faith.“
Somewhere between Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, sometime between assertions that America does not torture and insistence that the end justified the means, I remembered what a Pittsburgh police officer once told me about the head of the city’s Major Crimes Division: “Everybody confesses to Ron Freeman.”
Pittsburgh and steel are virtually synonymous. Less well known is Pittsburgh’s rich heritage in the oil business. In 1854, inventor and businessman Samuel L. Kier built the nation’s first oil refinery as a crude, five-barrel still 100 feet from today’s U.S. Steel Building.
I was born in Pittsburgh on Feb. 28, 1916, the fifth of 11 children. My family and I lived at 1520 Wylie Ave. in the Hill District. And we all looked out for each other. In 1925, when I was just a girl, Mama and Papa took us to the…
America’s art, literature and popular culture are ripe with the story of Johnny Appleseed, the colorful eccentric who planted orchards to feed America’s pioneers. He is often linked with legendary folk characters Paul Bunyan, Rip Van Winkle, the Headless Horseman and John Henry.
Until the spring of 1944, Hungary’s pre-war population of 700,000 Jews remained largely unscathed. Hungarian Regent Nicholas Horthy had resisted Hitler’s calls for the deportation of Hungarian Jews into the killing maw at Auschwitz/Birkenau, 175 miles north of Budapest.
This fall, 23-year-old Katherine MacCord will begin her studies at England’s Cambridge University on the dime of Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates as the first University of Pittsburgh student to earn a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
When UPMC health systems purchased Mercy Hospital last year, the future of one of Pittsburgh’s most historic institutions became assured just as new questions arose. With the sale, the Sisters of Mercy received a sum that, after expenses, totaled $88 million.
Among the great fortunes of Pittsburgh’s Golden Age (1870 – 1910), that of Henry Clay Frick stands third, bested only by Andrew Carnegie and the Mellons. But the extraordinary aspect of the Frick fortune was not its size. Carnegie, Heinz, Mellon and Westinghouse were all entrepreneurs who exercised ultimate control in their…