2016 Fall

Pittsburgh Quarterly Archives

2016 Fall

The Challenge of Fighting Back

Reading the latest novel by Stewart O’Nan, the Pittsburgh-​born writer who boomeranged home several years ago, is like watching the performance of an experienced athlete who makes it all look so easy. “City of Secrets” is his 16th novel since 1994, and the first to take place entirely outside of…

Unfounded Fears of the HPV Vaccine May Have Grim Consequences

by Kelly Casey
The virus is hearty, robust and everywhere: on our skin, our fingertips, our countertops. Most of us can fight it off. But certain strains can lead to chronic infections and later cancer for an estimated 25,000 American men and women. The human papillomavirus (HPV) has long been known as the…

Short Takes: “Whiskey, Etc.” “Death by Cyanide”

Sherrie Flick’s latest collection is described as “short (short) stories” — that parenthetical “short” preparing you for one page tales, even one-​paragraph blasts. Scholars of marketing might see this as evidence that fiction creators are getting with the short-​attention span condition of the modern consumer, offering an efficient product that can be…

Molded Tooth Staggered Gear and Worker, 1913

The Mesta Machine Company churned and smoked on more than 20 acres of land along the Monongahela River.

Richardson, Hamlet, White, McNally, Patrick, George, Crudele, Walker

Kathy Brittain Richardson is the 15th president of Westminster College. She comes to western Pennsylvania from Mt. Berry, Ga., where she was provost and professor of communication at Berry College. A native of Douglasville, Ga., she earned a bachelor of arts in communication and religion/​philosophy, summa cum laude, from Shorter…

Now Entering “Happy Valley”

The Pennsylvania State University has more than 645,000 living alums. Obviously, they know about “Happy Valley,” as do the throngs who attend football games each fall. But if you’ve never visited Penn State, State College or Centre County, it’s well worth exploring, especially on a quieter, non-​football weekend.

Honey, I Have an Idea…

In May of 2013, Renny Clark and I arrived at the Hillman residence at 11 a.m. Our mission was to propose the creation of a forum for student civic engagement at the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics and hopefully the seed of an endowment to support the forum’s work.

Smart City

by PQ Staff
Certainly, it’s not great news that Pittsburgh didn’t win a $50 million federal Smart City Challenge grant to redesign its transportation system.

A Monument Then and Now

Did the demolition of the greenfield (really the Beechwood Boulevard) Bridge feel like the passing of an era? The urbane, concrete arch span of 1923 was crumbling far too ominously above the speeding traffic of the Parkway East to be able to stay in place, so it was ceremoniously demolished.…

Vivien Li, River Keeper

My parents came from educated families in China and Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States. My mother arrived in the early ’50s as an undergraduate while my father, who was 10 years her senior, was studying for a Ph.D. Back then, it was difficult for Asians to come…

Boom and Bust

All over rural pennsylvania, motel parking lots, which just a couple of years ago were teeming with lumbering pickup trucks with out-​of-​state plates, are nearly empty. So are the hastily constructed “man camps” that not so long ago provided temporary shelter for roughnecks and roustabouts. So are the breakfast joints…

A Collector’s Eye

Tradition winds through the leafy streets of Sewickley like a summer breeze, ruffling the flags on stately old homes and the flowers that adorn each perfect lawn. In a neighborhood filled with beautiful houses, the 1950s French-​inspired stucco stands out, as it did when Anne and David Genter bought it…

Erie Bluffs State Park

One of the most distinctive places to explore in Pennsylvania is Erie Bluffs State Park. Located west of the City of Erie, the park sits along more than a mile of lakefront near Lake City, west of the mouth of Elk Creek and north of PA Route 5.

Swainson’s Thrush

by David Liebmann
Fall is a time of movement: college students packed in SUVs returning to classes, younger kids nervous to get back to school, the lazy days of summer fading fast. Millions of birds are moving, too, some passing through the Pittsburgh area en route to wintering grounds to the south.

The Old Ways May Be Best

by Deborah Weisberg
Marino floro plucks a perfectly shaped fig from a tree in his Sewickley yard, opens the door to his chicken coop, and offers the fruit to a chamois-​colored hen, which clucks with enthusiasm.
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