10 Curious Facts About Pittsburgh


photo from commons.wikimedia.org/

An amazing view of the beautiful city of Pittsburgh from the top of Mount Washington.

Mary Marzula, Staff Writer

While we live just outside of Pittsburgh, we may not know some interesting information regarding the city’s history and legacy. Here are some fun facts about Pittsburgh that you can pull out the next time you want to impress family and friends.

1. The City of Bridges 

Many people already know that Pittsburgh is full of famous bridges, but did you know that the city has more bridges than Venice? With more than 445 bridges crossing rivers and roads, don’t be surprised if you come across more bridges than you expect next time you are driving through the city. 

2. The City of Art 

We live in a very artistic city. Many museums located in Pittsburgh show off beautiful artwork from around the world. Between the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Mattress Factory, if you are looking to have a day filled with art, there are lots of options in Pittsburgh. 

3. Drab to Fab 

Pittsburgh was once called the “city of smoke” as it was once covered in soot due to rapid industrialization in the late 1800s. After clearing up, Pittsburgh is currently ranked 30th for most livable city in the world and second in the United States, according to CBS Pittsburgh, Today, Pittsburgh is known for many green spaces and buildings that are LEED-certified. 

4. Home of the movie theater 

The cinema was first founded in Pittsburgh on June 19, 1905. Harry Davis and John Harris were the first to open this cheap form of entertainment to the public eye. Short films were shown as a way for families and friends to get together for a night out. From 1905 to 1915, admission would only cost you five cents — hence the original name of the theatre: the nickelodeon. 

5. Steepest hill 

Pittsburgh is home to the steepest hill in the country. The city has many steep inclines but no other compares to the hill of Canton Ave. Located in the Beechview neighborhood, Canton Ave hill has a 37% grade and a length of 21 feet. Imagine trying to get your car up that mountain of a hill at the height of a Pittsburgh winter. 

6. One of the first first baseball stadiums 

As Pittsburgh is known by many by its sports teams, it’s not too surprising that the one of the first modern baseball stadiums was built in Pittsburgh. Located in the Oakland neighborhood, Forbes Field was built in 1909 and was not only home to the Pirates but also the Steelers, Pitt Panthers, and other local teams. Forbes Field is now the home of the University of Pittsburgh’s library and several university dorms. 

7. Fast food fans 

Everyone knows the famous Big Mac from McDonald’s, but do you know where it came from? What a surprise, it was invented in Pittsburgh. In 1967, franchiser Jim Delligatti wanted to create a burger bigger than the offerings from competing fast food chains geared towards adults. The Big Mac has grown to become one of the most famous fast food options in America. 

8. The beginning of radio 

Another first for Pittsburgh is the first commercial radio station, KDKA, which first went on the air on November 2, 1920. That date was chosen because it was Election Day and the station wanted to have as many listeners as possible for the monumental event. The public would be able to listen to the election before reading it later in the newspaper. 

9. Standing strong 

Over 250 years old, the Fort Pitt Blockhouse is the oldest structure in western PA dating back to 1764. The building was first used for defense against Native American attacks during the mid 1700s. After the British abandoned the Fort in 1772, the Block House was used as a trading post for a number of years. From 1764, the Fort Pitt Block House has stood strong and survived much throughout its years in the city, from the flood of 1936 to parts of the city being burned to rapid industrialization from coal and steel, the Fort Pitt Block House has a great story to stand for. 

10. Up high 

When thinking of the University of Pittsburgh, you may think of the Cathedral of Learning. The 42-story building, a central structure of the university, is the second tallest university building in the world. The Gothic Revival skyscraper that Pitt Chancellor John G. Bowman commissioned in 1921 inspired local industries to donate steel, cement, elevators, glass, plumbing, and heating elements. Costing roughly $10 million, building started in 1926. This incredible building contains over 2,000 rooms.  The first thirty-six floors are used for educational purposes, if attending Pitt you may have a class in this historical building. The main lobby, the Commons Room,  is referred to as one of the “great architectural fantasies of the twentieth century”. 

It may seem that Pittsburgh is just another old boring city, but if you take the time to learn the fun things about the city you will grow a bigger appreciation for the beautiful city in our backyard.