Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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This article is about the city. For the song, see Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (song). For other places, see Pittsburg.

Image:PittSkyline082904.jpg Pittsburgh is a city in Western Pennsylvania, United States, and the county seat of Allegheny County. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 334,563 (metropolitan area 2,358,695), making it the second-largest city in the state. For many years the center of the American steel industry, Pittsburgh is nicknamed The Steel City or The Iron City. Template:Infobox U.S. City



Main Article: History of Pittsburgh

France was the first European country to send settlers to the forks of the Ohio River. They did so after capturing a small British garrison founded by William Trent. The Virginia colony sent Major George Washington with a scout named Christopher Gist to deliver a message to the French, demanding their withdrawal, and to reconnoiter their positions. The French refused. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia then sent Washington back in command of a small troop of colonial soldiers, but the French forced him to surrender at a makeshift fort, Fort Necessity.

During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the British colonies captured Fort Duquesne, which sat at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, at the part of downtown Pittsburgh now known as "The Point". The British built a larger fort on the same site and named it Fort Pitt in honor of the British statesman William Pitt the Elder. Fort Pitt was garrisoned in case of French attack during the French and Indian War, but by the time the improvements were made the war was over.

Image:Pittsburgh 1790.jpg Pittsburgh was located in an area that was claimed by both Virginia and Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was briefly the seat of government for the short lived District of West Augusta, a Virginia county designed to compete with Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County, based in nearby Hannastown, which also claimed the region. In 1780, Virginia and Pennsylvania agreed on the current boundaries of the state and Pittsburgh officially became part of Pennsylvania.

After the Revolutionary War, Pittsburgh was the center of the Whiskey Rebellion, which was put down by state militias ordered in by President George Washington.

Beginning in the early 19th century, Pittsburgh's proximity to large coal deposits and excellent positioning along major trade routes made it one of the world's leading industrial powerhouses. Steel production was a major industry for many years, earning the city its nicknames, "The Steel City" and "The Iron City." Pittsburgh lies at the confluence of the Monongahela River and Allegheny River, which merge to form the Ohio River, ultimately draining into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. As an industrial city, Pittsburgh was also a major hub of early railroad activity. Millions of European immigrants settled in and around Pittsburgh in the 19th and early 20th centuries to seek employment in the steel mills, coal mines, railroads, or numerous associated industries. The production of glass, for both industrial and decorative use, was also an established industry in the city.

On July 21, 1877, a day after bloody rioting in Baltimore from Baltimore and Ohio Railroad workers and the deaths of nine rail workers at the hands of the Maryland militia, workers in Pittsburgh staged a sympathy strike that was met with an assault by the state militia — Pittsburgh then erupted into widespread rioting. Another major confrontation occurred during the Homestead Strike in 1892.


Thanks to the presence of the nearby Bettis Laboratory and the Shippingport power plant, Pittsburgh became the world's first nuclear powered city in 1960.

With the recessions of the 1970s and the advent of cheap foreign labor, Pittsburgh's steel mills found themselves unable to compete with foreign steel mills, and most closed down. This created a ripple effect that decimated the local economy, as railroads, mines, and factories across the region shut down, one by one. Today there are no steel mills in Pittsburgh, although the headquarters of U.S. Steel remains in the city, and its Edgar Thomson Plant continues to operate in Braddock, Pennsylvania, about ten miles up the Monongahela River.

With the implosion of the US steel industry, Pittsburgh, like other Rust Belt cities, began to lose population in the city, as many citizens fled to the suburbs.

Year City Population City Rank [1] Population of the Urbanized Area [2]
1950 676,806 12 1,533,000
1960 604,332 16 1,804,000
1970 540,025 24 1,846,000
1980 423,938 30 1,810,000
1990 369,879 40 1,678,000
2000 334,563 51 1,753,000
2002 327,898 (estimate) 54 Next Data: 2010 Census

Beginning in the 1970s, its economy shifted from heavy industry to services, medicine, education, tourism and high technology, especially biotechnology and robotics. The Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute and numerous private companies have made Pittsburgh one of the top robotics cities outside of Japan. The University of Pittsburgh has both a highly regarded medical school and organ transplant institute. The city is also the home of several of the nation's major nonprofit organizations, such as the Heinz Foundations. Pittsburgh also has a booming art scene and a long history of supporting the arts.

Part of the city's renaissance has included the construction of various new skyscrapers, the tallest being the three-sided U.S. Steel Tower. Also notable is the futuristic PPG Place.

Geography and climate

Image:P5230052.JPG Pittsburgh is located at Template:Coor dms (40.441419, -79.977292).Template:GR According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 151.1 km² (58.3 mi²). 144.0 km² (55.6 mi²) of it is land and 7.2 km² (2.8 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 4.75% water.

Pittsburgh is located at the center of a fairly expansive set of river valleys, and much of the city's residential population is situated on or near the slopes of those valleys with certain neighborhoods (particularly south of the Monongahela) nearly inaccessible by car during the winter. As a result, Pittsburgh is widely believed to be right behind San Francisco as the "steepest" city in the United States. A pair of "inclines", or trams (cable cars on inclined rails) ascend the slope of Mount Washington, assisting in local public transportation; several tunnels are major access routes through the slopes. Pittsburgh has more public staircases (700) than any other city in the United States, followed by Cincinnati and San Francisco. Many of these staircases have street names and street signs, and lead to hillside neighborhoods that can be inaccessible by car, especially in the winter. Pittsburgh has been called the "East Coast's San Francisco."



Pittsburgh has a continental climate, with four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter). Spring and Fall generally have cool temperatures, Summer is warm and Winter is cold. The winters are usually not extreme, with an average temperature between 20 °F and 30 °F (−7 °C to −1 °C). In spring, the city warms up gradually; summers are moderately warm and somewhat humid. The average temperature during the summer months ranges between 70 °F and 80 °F (21 °C and 27 °C). The average annual rainfall is 36.9 inches (937 mm), and the average annual snowfall is 40.6 inches (103 cm). Pittsburgh averages over 200 days of cloud cover per year making it one of the top three cloudiest cities in the country.

People and culture


According to the census of 2000, there were 334,563 people, 143,739 households, and 74,169 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,324.1/km² (6,019.0/mi²). There were 163,366 housing units at an average density of 1,134.9/km² (2,939.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.63% White, 27.12% African American, 0.19% Native American, 2.75% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 143,739 households out of which 21.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.2% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% were non-families. 39.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.75% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.9% under the age of 18, 14.8% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,588, and the median income for a family was $38,795. Males had a median income of $32,128 versus $25,500 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,816. 20.4% of the population and 15.0% of families were below the poverty line. 27.5% of those under the age of 18 and 13.5% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Pittsburgh has one of the lowest property crime rates and a lower-than-average violent crime rate among cities of similar population sizes in the United States.[3]

Museums, arts, and entertainment

Image:Pittnight2.jpg Wealthy area businessmen of the 19th century, including Andrew Carnegie, the Heinz family and Henry Clay Frick, donated large sums of money to local educational and cultural institutions. As a result, Pittsburgh is rich in art and culture. The world-class Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs in Heinz Hall, which also plays host to other events throughout the year. The Benedum Center and Heinz Hall provide venues for numerous musicals, lectures, speeches, and other performances. Pittsburgh is also home to one of only two professional brass bands in the world, the River City Brass Band. Other musical arts groups include the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) and the River City Youth Brass Band, both of which include top musicians from the Pittsburgh area, in addition to the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, a nationally and internationally acclaimed semi-professional choir. These performances produced by these intensive programs are usually free to the public.

Pittsburgh also boasts several visual arts museums, including the Andy Warhol Museum, dedicated to the works of Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol. The Carnegie Museum of Art is home to works by such luminaries as Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Robert Adam and many others, along with galleries of sculpture, modern art, the Heinz Architectural Center, a large film and video collection, and various travelling exhibits. Installation art is featured outdoors at ArtGardens of Pittsburgh. The Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece Fallingwater is about an hour's drive from downtown, and the North Shore boasts an 1895 neogothic church, Calvary Methodist, whose interior was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany; the church's stained glass windows are some of the largest and most elaborate work Tiffany ever created.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers teaches media arts and runs three "art house" movie theaters. The Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University has four resident companies of professional actors. Other theater companies include City Theatre, Quantum Theater, Public Theater, Attack Theater, and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theater.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, located in Oakland, has extensive dinosaur collections on display, including the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered, and an Egyptian wing. The building may be distinguished by a life-size statue known as, "Dippy the Diplodocus" to the right of the main entrance. Other dinosaur statues are visible around the Pittsburgh area, these decorated by artists nationwide and sold as a benefit to the Carnegie Museums. The Carnegie Science Center, located in the North Side near PNC Park and Heinz Field, is more technology oriented.

Pittsburgh also houses the country's National Aviary. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, in Schenley Park, feature seasonal and global plants in a recently-remodeled Victorian-style greenhouse. More additions to the Conservatory are scheduled to begin in 2005. Just up the street from the Conservatory is the Schenley Park Golf Course, one of Pittsburgh's premiere public golf links. Kennywood Park is widely regarded by rollercoaster connoisseurs to have one of the best collections of functional rollercoasters in the world, including several early 20th century wooden coasters: the Racer, the Thunderbolt, and the Jack Rabbit. A water park owned by Kennywood, Sandcastle, is another local amusement park.

Recently, Pittsburgh has gained a reputation for its large indie and punk rock scene. Several notable indie rock bands have come from Pittsburgh in recent years, including Rusted Root, Don Caballero, and punk rock band Anti-Flag. The city is also famous in the underground for its strong hardcore scene, producing bands such as End Of Humanity and Built Upon Frustration.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center, located on the south bank of the Allegheny River, is quickly becoming some of the most sought after convention space in the country, as it is able to accommodate all sizes of conventions, exhibitions and conferences. Certified with a Gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design initiative, the building is considered the first ever "green" convention center and world's largest "green" building. The convention center hosts such prominent events as the Pittsburgh International Auto Show, the Windpower 2006 Conference & Exhibition, the National Youth Workers Convention and the 2005 National Council of Teachers of English National Convention.

Pittsburghese: Local speech variations

Although its vocabulary and speech patterns can be found throughout Appalachia and the Midwest, Pittsburgh English dialect, or "Pittsburghese," is a point of pride to some native Pittsburghers. Some speakers of Pittsburghese are known as "yinzers," after the use of the word "yinz" as the plural of "you"; others use "yunz" and are known as "yunzers". Frequently-heard examples of Pittsburghese include "keller" (for "color"), "red-up" (for "clean up"), "slippy" (for "slippery"), "n'at" (for "and so forth, etc"), "up'ere" {for "up there"}, "gum band" (for "rubber band")and "dun-ton" (for downtown").

Carnegie Mellon University professor Barbara Johnstone and University of Pittsburgh professor Scott Kiesling have done significant sociolinguistic research on the region's dialect[4], and there's an extensive (though unscientific) listing of Pittsburghese at pittsburghese.com.

See also: Yinz


Club Sport Founded League Venue
Pittsburgh Steelers Football 1933 National Football League; AFC Heinz Field
Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball 1882 Major League Baseball; NL PNC Park
Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Hockey 1967 National Hockey League Mellon Arena
Pittsburgh Xplosion Basketball 2000* American Basketball Association Mellon Arena and Petersen Events Center
Pittsburgh Riverhounds Soccer 1998 United Soccer League Falconi Field
Washington Wildthings Baseball 2001 Frontier League Falconi Field
Pittsburgh Passion Football 2002 NWFA Rubenstein Stadium

(*Franchise dates back to 2000, renamed 2005)

Pittsburgh has a strong connection to sports. In addition to the major sports teams listed above, many famous athletes were born and raised in the Pittsburgh region, including Stan Musial, Honus Wagner and Ken Griffey Sr. in baseball, and former world champion boxers Michael Moorer, Billy Conn and Paul Spadafora. However, the Pittsburgh area is known for producing football greats, in particular quarterbacks. The "cradle of quarterbacks," as the Pittsburgh area is known, produced Hall of Famers Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Jim Kelly and Joe Namath as well as dozens of other quarterbacks of note including Johnny Lujack, Gus Frerotte, Marc Bulger and the modern NFL's first black quarterback, Willie Thrower. Metro Pittsburgh has also produced football standouts in other positions, including George Blanda, Mike Ditka, Ty Law, Jack Ham, Curtis Martin and Tony Dorsett.

Not surprisingly, football is the major sport across the region on all levels; high school, college and professional. Baseball and hockey are also big draws as well as minor and school league basketball. Pittsburgh has more public swim pools per capita than any other place in the world. Most local high schools have indoor pools and many communities, country clubs and home-owner associations have vibrant summer swim clubs.

Pittsburgh has been called the "city of champions" for its success in sports. The city and region enjoyed a string of championships in the 1970s. Not only did the Steelers win four Super Bowls during the decade under just one coach and a core group of players (a feat that Pittsburgh alone holds), but the Pirates won six division championships, and bracketed the decade with World Series victories over the Baltimore Orioles in 1971 and 1979. Even the Pittsburgh Triangles of the short-lived World Team Tennis took the Association championship in 1975, their second year of play. Although they missed the flurry of championships in the Steel City in the '70s, the Penguins brought home back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in the early 1990s. In 2006, the Steelers returned to the Super Bowl and won, becoming the third team in league history to win five Super Bowls. (For more on the Steelers' record run to the championship, see Super Bowl XL.)

The 1970s also saw the University of Pittsburgh Panthers win a National Title and contest for two others. Some minor polls named Pitt #1 in those years. Overall, the school has won nine football National Championships and two basketball National Championships.

The city also celebrated the American Basketball Association's Pittsburgh Pipers, which won the world's first modern basketball championship (which for the first time allowed the dunk and three-point shot) in 1968. The Pipers later changed their name to the Pittsburgh Condors, but would never again reach the heights of that first season. Pittsburgh was the home to the minor league basketball Rens of the 1950s and 1960s and the Piranhas in the early 1990s. One of the lasting legacies of the Pittsburgh basketball scene was the 1979 movie The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh (1979 film) that cast the fictional "Pittsburgh Pisces" in the finals and included cameos of many great NBA and Harlem Globetrotter Greats. The campy movie was almost B-grade in its quality but has garnered a cult-following, it was not, however, the greatest regional piece captured on film.

The same cannot be said of Slap Shot, the quirky 1977 hockey comedy shot in nearby Johnstown, which is widely loved in hockey circles, as well as All the Right Moves capturing the passion of local High School and College Football in the Pittsburgh region.

Pittsburgh's rich sports heritage also features the Negro Leagues, stomping grounds of baseball greats Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. Pittsburgh hosted two Negro League teams in the 1930s and 1940s. The Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays were dynasties in their own right, competing in the Negro League world series almost every season for twenty years.

Ice hockey was introduced to Pittsburgh in 1896. Surprisingly, Pittsburgh was home to one of six teams in the first professional ice hockey league (| International Hockey League) in 1904.

The region's sports history included a few upstart professional teams such as the baseball 1890 Pittsburgh Burghers and the 1914-15 Pittsburgh Burghers, the 1980s USFL Pittsburgh Maulers (owned by San Francisco 49ers owner DeBartolo) and the Arena Football League Pittsburgh Gladiators of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Pittsburgh hosted the first-ever "Arena Bowl", with the home team making two appearances in it. Pittsburgh also had an indoor soccer team from 1978-88 called The Pittsburgh Spirit.

The region also once had a thriving college football scene with Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University (then called Carnegie Tech), the University of Pittsburgh, and Washington and Jefferson College, all making "major" bowl game appearances and ranking high in national polls from the 1910s through the 1940s. Although Robert Morris, Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne still field NCAA I-AA or Division III teams, only the University of Pittsburgh program plays a Division I national schedule.


Image:AlleghenyCtyCourthouse-082904.jpg From the Civil War era to the 1930s, Pittsburgh was considered a Republican stronghold. Since the Great Depression, Pittsburgh has been dominated by Democratic candidates.

Considered socially liberal, Pittsburgh citizens tend to be members of the Democratic party. This is primarily due to the city's labor union population, which has continued to dwindle with the decline of the U.S. Steel market. Democratic candidates have been elected consecutively to either the mayor's office or city council since 1933, when David L. Lawrence led the party to power. A majority of Pittsburghers in the inner-city are very democratic and push for civil rights, where the outlying more suburban areas tend to be Republican and conservative. The city has an ordinance protecting GLBT citizens from discrimination. It is the only city within a 200 mile radius with such protections and has thus become a beacon those who identify as GLBT.

The mayor, like the 9 member council, serves a four-year term. Bob O'Connor, from Squirrel Hill, replaced fellow Democrat Tom Murphy on January 3, 2006. City council members are chosen by plurality elections in each of nine districts.

The city is currently facing a financial crisis and has been declared a "distressed municipality" by the state. This may result in massive cuts or tax increases, or it may bring about long-lasting political reform such as city-county consolidation and metropolitan government. So far, the city has fared well through this process, and has continued to show growth, with the recent addition of American Eagle Outfitters corporate headquarters, a buyer for the defunct Lord & Taylor complex, and multiple mixed-use towers going up downtown. Although there is debate on the root cause of the city's budget imbalance many cite the wild success and growth of the medical and academic industries in the city. Pittsburgh has seen tremendous growth with the Arts Institute International headquarters, a bevy of world-class universities, as well as some of the nation's best hospitals, but all of it is a mixed blessing for the city in that more land and towers are being tax exempted by these successful non-profits. Pittsburgh did finish the year of 2005 with a $15 million surplus as the result of major cuts and fiscal changes during the year.


Pittsburgh has adapted in the wake of the steel industry's collapse. The primary industries have shifted from steel manufacture and heavy industry to high technology, robotics, health care, biomedical technology, finance, and service-based fields. Education, from primary/secondary through magnet schools, specialized professional institutes, and top-flight universities, is also a major local employer. Pittsburgh has a very low cost of living compared to other cities in the Northeastern U.S. The average price for a 3- to 4-bedroom, 2-bath family home in Pittsburgh is $162,000, which is well below the national average ($264,540 as of October 2004, according to the Federal Housing Finance Board). Fixer-uppers and smaller homes in the city can be found for under $50,000.



Image:TowerLearning.jpg The Pittsburgh region is home to many universities and research facilities, the most prominent of which are Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Mellon University houses one of the oldest computer science schools and the oldest drama school in the United States, both of which are widely considered to be among the best in their fields. Carnegie Mellon University also houses internationally renowned research centers including the world-famous Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and the Robotics Institute, the first of its kind in the world and a leader in the field of robotics. It also houses a top ten [5] engineering school, and its top five [6] business school - The Tepper School of Business is consistently ranked among the best in the nation. Carnegie Mellon University is famous for its unique interdisciplinary environment and as an innovative leader in education. Carnegie Mellon University is affiliated with 13 Nobel laureates, 9 Turing Award recipients, 3 Academy Award recipients, 5 Emmy Award recipients, and 3 Tony Award recipients.

The University of Pittsburgh is known for its respected programs in its departments of philosophy of science, Asian studies, business, and philosophy in its School of Arts and Sciences, and for its Schools of Law and Engineering. The University of Pittsburgh is affiliated with two Nobel laureates and one Pulitzer Prize recipient. The University's Health Sciences Department and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center operate some of the finest hospitals in the world, and an advanced medical research center that performs pioneering work in organ transplantation, AIDS and cancer research, and many other fields. University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine is ranked amongst the top 16 graduate medical programs nationally [7].

Pittsburgh Public School teachers are paid well relative to their peers, ranking 17th in 2000-2001 among the 100 largest cities by population for the highest minimum salary offered to teachers with a BA ($34,300). Pittsburgh ranked fifth in the highest maximum salary offered to teachers with an MA ($66,380). Local public schools include many charter and magnet schools, including City Charter High School (computer and technology focused), Homewood Montessori, Pittsburgh Gifted Center, the Frick International Studies Center, Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and several schools for blind, deaf, or otherwise challenged children.

See also


Pittsburgh boasts the world's very first commercial radio station, the world's first non-commercial television station, and the first "networked" TV station and "mid-western" newspaper. It is one of the few mid-sized metros in the U.S. with two major daily papers; both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review have long histories of Pulitzer Prizes and breaking in-depth investigative news stories on a national scale. The alternative papers in the region include the Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, and the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the larger ethnic publications in the region. The Pitt News, a financially independent, student-written, and student-managed newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh, is closing in on its 100th year of publication.

The Pittsburgh TV Market is served by CBS O&O KDKA-TV Channel 2, ABC affiliate WTAE Channel 4, and NBC affiliate WPXI Channel 11. WQED Channel 13 is Pittsburgh's PBS member station and is a major contributor to national media as the source for Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, National Geographic Explorer, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?. UHF stations include home-shopping WQEX Channel 16, WCWB Channel 22, religious WPCB Channel 40, and Fox affiliate WPGH Channel 53.

Pittsburgh Radio has long been dominated by KDKA 1020 AM, although as of early 2006, the station is no longer number one in the ratings. KQV 1410 AM, now an all-news outlet, was Pittsburgh's dominant Top 40 station throughout the 1960s. WEAE 1250 AM provides sports radio to the tri-state area. On the FM dial, album-rock WDVE (102.5) has been dominant for decades, while WXDX (105.9 The X), WRKZ (93-7 K-Rock), WKST (96.1 Kiss) and legendary WAMO (106.7) provide the foundation of the pop music scene. Pittsburgh is also home to three public radio stations: WDUQ, the local NPR station; WQED-FM, a listener supported commercial-free classical music station; and WYEP 91.3FM, the nation's third-largest independent "adult album alternative" (AAA) station. The Radio Information Service, broadcasting on a subcarrier of WDUQ provides special programming for the blind and print impaired.



Image:PittsburghBridges.jpg Pittsburgh is connected to other urban areas by I-76 (The Pennsylvania Turnpike), I-79 and I-70. On the northern extremes of the metro area I-80 connects with the city's suburbs. On the rails the city has passenger railroad Amtrak and various freight railroads. Pittsburgh is also served by the Pittsburgh International Airport in Findlay Township, Pennsylvania. The Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in the city's easternmost suburbs serves as a secondary "reliever" airport for commercial traffic, providing a few scheduled commercial flights daily. General aviation enthusiasts may prefer Allegheny County Airport, a 1920s art-deco marvel that once hosted Charles Lindbergh and now handles 139,000 private and corporate-jet flights a year in the city's southern suburbs.

Pittsburgh has a high number of freeze/thaw cycles in the winter which is sometimes blamed for the difficulty of maintaining local roads. The hills and rivers of Pittsburgh form many barriers to transportation within the city.


Bridges are ubiquitous around town, as they connect the neighborhoods separated by rivers and valleys. The southern and eastern entrances to the city are through tunnels. Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other city in the world: over 2,000 bridges dot the landscape of Allegheny County [8], while Venice, according to the Lonely Planet travel guide, only has 409.


The main artery connecting Pittsburgh to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76); on the east is Interstate 376, locally known as "Parkway East", while Interstate 279 (referred to as either "Parkway North" or "Parkway West" depending on the particular stretch of road with respect to downtown) connects the city with points west (including the airport) and north. Interstate 579 or the "Crosstown" is a spur off I-279 that alleviates downtown and northshore traffic headed north or south and to events in either the David Lawrence Convention Center or Mellon Arena. A set of local roads are designated as a beltway system (called the Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Belt System) to form six loops centered on downtown with each loop identified by a different color (under the "Pittsburgh Wayfinder System" of road signage, implemented in the summer of 1994). Pittsburgh, because of its radical topography, is a confusing yet rewarding city to navigate.


Mass transit

Local public transportation is coordinated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County, the 14th largest transportation system in the United States, which maintains a bus service, incline railways and a light rail/subway system called "the T", which consists of street cars which go underground as they enter downtown. The T consists of three largely parallel lines, and only serves downtown and the "South Hills" suburbs -- the small "via Allentown", the 20-year-old "via Beechview", and the recently re-opened "via Overbrook." Construction on two small extensions -- one to the Convention Center, and another to the North Shore -- may begin by the end of 2006; the federal government recently agreed to pay for US$55 million of the $363 million construction price. A 54-mile high-speed Maglev train has been proposed to connect Pittsburgh International Airport, Downtown Pittsburgh, Monroeville, and Greensburg. Such a route would allow 35 minute end-to-end travel times at speeds of up to 240 miles per hour.


An aging population, steep hills, and variable weather make biking less popular in Pittsburgh than in some other cities. However, some efforts have been made to incorporate the bicycle into the transportation system. The "Jail Trail," formally called the Eliza Furnace Trail, stretches from downtown (at the county jail) out to the East End of the city, where bike trails can be found along some roads. Additionally, the Port Authority has installed bike racks on some buses. Bicycles are permitted on the Port-Authority-run Incline during off-peak hours. Bike PGH! serves as the local bicycle advocacy group and is working to make Pittsburgh safe, accessible, and friendly towards bicycle transportation. Other trails include the Montour Trail, a rail-to-trails project serving the western suburbs, and the new Riverfront Trail, which runs from the Carnegie Science Center to Washington's Landing.


During the height of Pittsburgh's steel-making days, the city had many passenger and freight rail connections to railroad mainlines. Many of these rail lines still exist, but are used mostly for freight. Some railroad lines have been converted, with the backing of Mayor Tom Murphy into multi-purpose trails, which have been rather popular.

The current railroads in Pittsburgh include:

Class I railroads

Norfolk Southern (NS)

Norfolk Southern operates the former assets of Conrail, which was composed of the assets of the Pennsylvania Railroad which was instrumental in the formation of modern Pittsburgh. NS operates three lines through the city of Pittsburgh. The original line, the Pittsburgh Line runs from US Steel's Edgar Thompson Steel Mill in Braddock, PA over the Allegheny River near downtown Pittsburgh and into Island Ave Yard where it becomes the Fort Wayne Line. The second line, the Mon Line runs along the south shore of the Monongahela River from Braddock, PA to Island Ave Yard. The line was formerly the Monongahela Railroad and is used by coal trains from southern Pennsylvania and trains with over height cars that cannot fit under the roof of Pittsburgh Union Station of the Pittsburgh Line. The Mon Line joins the Fort Wayne Line at Island Ave yard after re-crossing the Monongahela over the Ohio Connector (OC) bridge. The third line, runs along the north shore of the Allegheny River and serves several coal branch lines and power plants. Operations are centered around a small yard in Etna, PA. The Mon and Pittsburgh Lines rejoin at both ends of Pittsburgh and between the two over 60 trains a day pass.


CSX operates the former assets of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) and the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad (P&LE). Much of the old Baltimore and Ohio lines through Pittsburgh have been removed or are unused. Formerly an important part of the B&O system, Glenwood Yard is owned and operated by the Allegheny Valley Railroad for local jobs. The yard used to grant access the B&O's Grant Street Station in downtown Pittsburgh. The building has been rebuilt into a PNC Bank building and the old right of way is now a bike path. The B&O main line, which cuts north and under across Pittsburgh by using the Panther Hollow Tunnel is now used by the AVR. The bridge over the Allegheny River is no longer used; AVR trains connect with Norfolk Southern's Pittsburgh Line about 1 mile east of Union Station. CSX freight trains use the former P&LE through McKeesport, PA and Braddock, PA before crossing the Mononghela into Homestead, PA. The P&LE line and the Mon Line run side by side until the Mon Line crosses the Ohio Connector bridge at McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. On an average day, the P&LE line carries about 30-35 trains a day..


Amtrak doesn't own any track in the Pittsburgh area but uses the rails of NS, CSX and AVR. Two trains service Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvanian between Pittsburgh and New York City and the Capitol Limited between Washington, DC and Chicago, IL. The Capitol Limited uses CSX from Washington to Pittsburgh, the AVR from Pittsburgh through the Panther Hollow Tunnel to NS and NS from the AVR interchange until Chicago. The Pennsylvanian operates from Pittsburgh Union Station to Penn Station in New York City.

Shortlines and Regionals
  • Pittsburgh, Erie, and Wheeling R.R.
  • AVR (Allegany Valley Railroad)

Name and spelling

Pittsburgh is one of the few U.S. cities or towns to be spelled with an h at the end of a burg suffix. The earliest known reference to the settlement was found in a letter sent from General John Forbes to William Pitt dated "Pittsbourgh, 27th November, 1758".

Burgh is the Scots language and Scottish English cognate of the English language borough, which has other cognates in words and place names in virtually every Indo-European and Semitic language, as well as others. The first recorded reference using the current spelling is found on a survey map made for the Penn family in 1769. In the city charter, granted on March 18, 1816, the Pittsburgh spelling is used on the original document, but due to an apparent printing error, the Pittsburg spelling is found on official copies of the document printed at the time.

On December 23, 1891, a recommendation by the United States Board on Geographic Names to standardize place names was signed into law. The law officially changed the spelling of the city name to Pittsburg, and publications would use this spelling for the next 20 years. However, the change was very unpopular in the city, and several businesses and organizations refused to make the change. Responding to mounting pressure, the United States Geographic Board (a successor to the original United States Board on Geographic Names) reversed the decision on July 19, 1911, and the Pittsburgh spelling was restored. [9]

It is also believed that Pittsburgh's large German population during this era aided in the famous "H" controversy by not using the "H" in the city's name, since most German cities have "burg" at the end of the names without the "H."

The confusion and controversy surrounding the aborted spelling change means that both the Pittsburgh and the Pittsburg spelling were commonly encountered around the turn of the 20th Century.

Sister cities

Pittsburgh has fourteen sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):

Famous Pittsburghers

See List of famous people from Pittsburgh

Points of interest

See also

External links


Government Agencies




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