My City-Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
(Chuck Stephens a retiree from the computer field has a strong interest in history, particularly the American Civil War. His writing experience is not that extensive. He does enjoy writing short articles for fun. He has contributed a published article to www.stanwalks.com in for the city of Pittsburgh concerning the cultural district. He wants to use this forum to better hone his ability to write an interesting article. You can contact him at this address.)
Pittsburgh, my home town has a long and interesting history. Pittsburgh was the first city to have the nickname”Gateway to the West”. Way back when if you wanted to go west you would find yourself in Pittsburgh to start your trek. Most people started their travel by boat along the Ohio River.
Pittsburgh was also a trading hub. Trappers would go to Pittsburgh to sell their wares. With the three rivers, Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio Pittsburgh became a large trading post. It also was deemed a very important location. The rivers provided transportation to the west, a stopping off place for travelers and a starting point for travelers.
Both the British and the French fought over this location. Both countries realized that Pittsburgh was indeed the gateway to the west. Control of this location would enable the holder to control the trade and the gateway and control of the western portion of this country.
This museum also explains the part Pittsburgh played in the French and Indian War. General Washington, at the time he was not a General, he was sent to put an end to the Whiskey Rebellion, General Forbes spent time here. He was killed several miles to the east along what is known as Forbes Road. His body was buried off to the side of the road to prevent scavengers finding it. A spot thought to be his burial site is marked along Pennsylvania route 22. For this short article there were too many historical happenings in Pittsburgh’s early history. You have read about the history, something that I find very interesting.
Progressing on in time Pittsburgh was still the gateway and starting off point for travel west. What is now downtown was once an area of crowded warehouses, railroads and stock yards. Andrew Carnegie can along and decided Pittsburgh was an ideal place to start his Steel making business. Coal was plentiful and the river provided the transportation. There were several railroads providing transportation west and east. This provided Carnegie with first a means of getting his raw material but also a way to ship his product.
The steel industry brought the immigrants to Pittsburgh. One of the nicest things about Pittsburgh is that even today we maintain the ethnic charm of individual neighborhoods. Sure today others have moved in to these neighborhoods but the charm is still there. Where else will you find a Polish Hill, Little Italy or Deutschtown, to name a few?
Soon the steel industry began to slide. The companies had not invested in the infrastructure and the newer mills overseas could produce steel much cheaper. The big hulking furnaces and belching smoke stacks began to disappear. No more was Pittsburgh to be called the “Smoky City”. What to do now, the largest single source of income for so many people was drying up. The tax base for the city was slowly getting smaller and smaller along with the population.
Pittsburgh has now reinvented itself. We are now a world class city with a world class Symphony, a cultural district that is the envy of many a city, several large institutions of higher learning. Carnegie Mellon University, formally known as Carnegie Tech has become one of the best known research facilities in Robotics and Industrial Automation, not to mention a world renowned school of drama. Alumni such as Josh Groan, Steven Bochco, Barbara Feldon and Ted Danson to name a few. Our University of Pittsburgh has brought to this city the 10th best medical facility in the country judged by Newsweek Magazine.
Pittsburgh has reinvented itself. Known by what was mentioned above but also by our biomedical research and remains the world headquarters for United States Steel and several other steel companies but also the World Headquarters of the largest aluminum manufacturer in the World – Alcoa. We are also home to the Andy Warhol Museum. This is also his birth place and family home. We house the only Aviary – The National Aviary. This is the birth place of Steven Foster and the first Libraries built by Andrew Carnegie.
There is so much to see and do in my great city you have to visit to appreciate all we have. When you go through the Fort Pitt Tunnel on your trip from the airport you are presented with one of the finest skyline views in America with the fountain shooting water 20+ feet into the air from Point State Park. What an introduction. Come visit us.
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