History

Meadowcroft — Western Pennsylvania’s time machine

Most people are aware of western Pennsylvania’s rich history, but few know just how far back that history reaches. A trip to Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village in Avella in Washington County indicates how significant our region is.

A Day of Reflection

It was a warm, clear, sunny, wonderful day with a deep blue sky, so untypical for Pittsburgh. I remember it like it was yesterday, although some three-​plus decades have since passed. The city is noted for being one of the cloudiest in the US, ranking up there with Seattle and…

The Great Banishment of 1923

Robert Young was one of the bad characters in Rosedale, a black neighborhood of Johnstown, after he arrived in 1923. Rumors swirled that he had committed murder in his native state of Alabama. And he had been having troubles with his significant other, Rose Young, since they arrived for him…

The Man Who Took Away Snakes

No, he wasn’t always a plumber for the City of Pittsburgh, and he wasn’t always called Pupi either. His wife called him Andy. Pupi told me this story one day when we were hunting at “The Farm.” I was his hunting dog that day. My job was to kick brush…

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life: The Conclusion

It was now late winter of 1971 and I was running the traffic division at the 226th MP Company at Fort Benjamin Harrison, outside Indianapolis. In those days Fort Ben was the headquarters of the Army Finance School and the location of the Army Finance Center. The building that housed…

Kennywood at 120

by Kate Benz
Everyone has at least one, and probably way more memories of Kennywood: Finally getting behind the wheel of the blue car on the Turnpike. Stealing a kiss on the Old Mill. Begging Mom for another hour at the park. Putting up with your own whining kids when you say it’s…

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life, Part II

So there we were, in late 1970, having graduated from the U.S. Army Military Police Correctional Specialist Academy, the best-​trained prison guards in the world. We had been assigned to one of the worst prisons in the world, the stockade at Long Bình, Vietnam, better known as the Long Bình…

August Wilson and the Joe Louis-​Billy Conn Title Rematch

Pulitzer prize-​winning dramatist and Pittsburgh native August Wilson dramatized the modern history of African-​Americans in 10 plays, often called the Pittsburgh cycle, for each decade of the 20th century.

Make No Little Plans

World’s fairs seem a quaint remnant of generations past, or perhaps a childhood memory of visiting New York in 1939 or 1964. In a world where news is literally at one’s fingertips, traveling hundreds of miles to marvel at the latest food production techniques seems unnecessary.

Buying a Company Town

Joseph Meyer lives in the former manager’s home of an abandoned company town, where there is no running water, no cell service, and until recently, there was not a single resident. On this cold Saturday in December, 63-​year-​old Meyer splits wood to heat his three-​story home. The scene would be…

New Long Stairway in Mill District, 1940

Perched atop a network of stairs, photographer Jack Delano captured this snow-​dusted Hazelwood scene in 1940 for the Farm Security Administration (FSA).

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…

Sept. 17, 1862 — The Day Pittsburgh Exploded

“Tread softly, this is consecrated dust. Forty five pure patriotic victims lie here, a sacrifice to freedom and civil liberty. A horrid memento of a most wicked rebellion. Patriots! These are patriots’ graves.” –Inscription on the memorial at Allegheny Cemetery

Pittsburgh to Gettysburg

During a muggy June in 1863, Civil War-​weary Pittsburghers panicked at rumors that Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was marching his Army of Northern Virginia toward Pennsylvania.
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