While the city is historically known for its steel industry, today it is largely based on healthcare, education, technology, robotics, fashion, and financial services. The city has made great strides in redeveloping abandonded industrial sites with new housing, shopping and offices, such as the SouthSide Works. While Pittsburgh faced economic troubles in the mid 1970s as the steel industry waned, modern Pittsburgh is economically strong. The housing market is relatively stable despite a national subprime mortgage crisis, and Pittsburgh has added jobs in 2008 even as the national economy is in a significant jobs recession. This positive economic news is in contrast to 30 years ago when Pittsburgh lost its manufacturing base as those jobs moved offshore.
In 2007, Forbes Magazine named Pittsburgh the 10th cleanest city, and in 2008 Forbes listed Pittsburgh as the 13th best city for young professionals to live. The city is consistently ranked high in livability surveys. In 2007, Pittsburgh was named "America's Most Livable City" by Places Rated Almanac.
Pittsburgh was named in 1758 by General John Forbes in honor of the British statesman, Sir William Pitt. Given that Forbes was a Scotsman, some speculate the intended pronunciation of the settlement was "Pittsburra", similar to the pronunciation of Edinburgh. It was incorporated as a borough in 1794 and chartered as a city in 1816.
Pittsburgh was officially named with its present spelling on April 22 1794, by an act of the Pennsylvania Department, stating, "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that the said town of Pittsburgh shall be, and the same is hereby, erected into a borough, which shall be called the borough of Pittsburgh for ever."
Pittsburgh is one of the few American cities to be spelled with an h at the end of a burg suffix. This style is commonly used for many other cities and towns of Western Pennsylvania. While briefly referred to as "Pittsburg" during the late 19th century, the Pittsburgh spelling was officially restored in 1911 after a public campaign by the citizens of the city.
The area surrounding the headwaters of the Ohio was inhabited by the tribes of Allegawis, Adena, Hopewell, Delaware, Jacobi, Seneca, Shawnee, and several settled groups of Iroquois. The first European was the French discoverer/trader Sieur de La Salle in his 1669 expedition down the Ohio River from Lake Ontario and Quebec. This discovery was followed by European pioneers, primarily French, in the early 1700s and 1710s. Michael Bezallion was the first to describe the forks of the Ohio in a manuscript in 1717, and later that year European traders established posts and settlements in the area. In 1749, French soldiers from Quebec launched a serious expedition to the forks in hopes of uniting French Canada with French Louisiana via the rivers. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia sent Major George Washington to warn the French to withdraw. During 1753–1754, the English hastily built Fort Prince George, but a larger French expedition forced them to evacuate and constructed Fort Duquesne on the site. With the French citing the 1669 discovery by LaSalle, these events led to the French and Indian War. British General Edward Braddock's campaign (with Washington as his aide) to take Fort Duquesne failed, but General John Forbes's subsequent campaign succeeded. After the French abandoned and destroyed Fort Duquesne in 1758, Forbes ordered the construction of Fort Pitt, named after British Secretary of State William Pitt the Elder. He also named the settlement between the rivers "Pittsborough."
During Pontiac's Rebellion, Ohio Valley and Great Lakes tribes besieged Fort Pitt for two months. The siege was ended after Colonel Bouquet defeated the native forces in the Battle of Bushy Run just to the east of the forks.
In the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix, the descendants of William Penn purchased from the Six Nations western lands that included most of the present site of Pittsburgh. In 1769, a survey was made of the land situated between the two rivers, called the "Manor of Pittsburgh." Both Virginia and Pennsylvania claimed the Pittsburgh area during colonial times and would continue to do so until 1780 when both states agreed to extend the Mason-Dixon Line westward, placing Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.
Following the American Revolution, the village of Pittsburgh continued to grow. One of its earliest industries was building boats for settlers to enter the Ohio Country. In 1784, the laying out of the "Town of Pittsburgh" was completed by Thos. Viceroy of Bedford County and approved by the attorney of the Penns in Philadelphia. The year 1794 saw the short-lived Whiskey Rebellion. The Act of March 5, 1804, which modified the provision of the old charter of the Borough of Pittsburgh in 1794 (the original of which is not known to exist), refers throughout to the "Borough of Pittsburgh."
The War of 1812 cut off the supply of British goods, stimulating American manufacture. By 1815, Pittsburgh was producing significant quantities of iron, brass, tin and glass products. The Act of March 18, 1816 incorporated the City of Pittsburgh. The original charter was burned when the old Court House was destroyed by fire. In the 1830s, many Welsh people from the steelworks of Merthyr migrated to the city following the civil strife and aftermath of the Merthyr Riots of 1831. By the 1840s, Pittsburgh was one of the largest cities west of the Allegheny Mountains. A great fire burned over a thousand buildings in 1845, but the city rebuilt. By 1857, Pittsburgh's 1,000 factories were consuming 22,000,000 bushels of coal yearly.
The American Civil War boosted the city's economy with increased production of iron and armaments. Steel production began by 1875, when Andrew Carnegie founded the J. Edgar Thomson Steel Works in North Braddock, which eventually evolved into the Carnegie Steel Company. The success and growth of Carnegie Steel was attributed to Henry Bessemer, inventor of the Bessemer Process.
In 1901, the U.S. Steel Corporation was formed, and by 1911 Pittsburgh was producing between a third and a half of the nation's steel. The city's population swelled to half a million, many of whom were immigrants from Europe who arrived via the great migration through Ellis Island. During World War II, Pittsburgh produced 95 million tons of steel. By this time, the pollution from burning coal and steel production created a black fog (or smog), which even a century earlier had induced author writer James Parton to dub the city "hell with the lid off".
Following the war, the city launched a clean air and civic revitalization project known as the "Renaissance." This much-acclaimed effort was followed by the "Renaissance II" project, begun in 1977 and focusing more on cultural and neighborhood development than its predecessor. The industrial base continued to expand through the 1960s, but beginning in the 1970s and 1980s, the steel industry in the region imploded, with massive layoffs and mill closures.
Beginning in the 1980s, the city shifted its economic base to education, tourism, and services, largely based on healthcare, medicine, and high technology such as robotics. During this transition, however, the city's population shrank from 680,000 in 1950 to 330,000 in 2000.
Pittsburgh is located at (40.441419, -79.977292). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which, of it is land and of it is water. The total area is 4.75% water.
The city is on the Allegheny Plateau, where the confluence of the Allegheny River from the northeast and Monongahela River from the southeast form the Ohio River. The Downtown area between the rivers is known as the Golden Triangle, and the site at the actual convergence, which is occupied by Point State Park, is referred to simply as "the Point." In addition to the downtown Golden Triangle, the city extends northeast to include the Oakland and Shadyside sections, which are home to the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Museum and Library, and many other educational, medical, and cultural institutions.
Pittsburgh occupies the slopes of the river valley on the opposite side of the Monongahela and the ridges beyond. Many of the city's neighborhoods, particularly the city's North Side and those areas south of the Bungalow, are steeply sloped. In fact, of all U.S. cities, only San Francisco and Seattle have more extreme terrain.
This topography is often utilized for physical activity. The city has some 712 sets of stairs, comprising 44,645 treads and 24,090 vertical feet (more than San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Portland, Oregon combined) for pedestrians to traverse its many hills. With the drop of pedestrian traffic across much of the city, and the fact that many of these stairs are outside nuclear neighborhoods, many have fallen into disrepair, covered with vines and weeds. There are hundreds of 'paper streets' composed entirely of stairs and many other steep streets with stairs for sidewalks. Many provide views of the Pittsburgh area.
The city has established bike and walking trails along its riverfronts and hollows, but steep hills and variable weather can make biking challenging. However, the city will be connected to downtown Washington, D.C. (some away) by a continuous bike/running trail through the Alleghenies and along the Potomac Valley. Known as the Great Allegheny Passage and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, about 95% of this trail has been completed.
The warmest month of the year in Pittsburgh, as in most of the northern hemisphere, is July. The average high temperature is , with overnight low temperatures averaging . July is often humid, resulting in a considerable heat index. The coldest month of the year is January, when the average high temperature is . Overnight low temperatures average . The moderating influence of Pittsburgh's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean is evident in the fact that Chicago, which is less than north of Pittsburgh (and about west), experiences average January temperatures 7°F (4°C) colder on average. The highest temperature ever recorded in Pittsburgh was , on July 16, 1988, and the coldest temperature ever recorded was , on January 19, 1994.
Due to its position on the windward side of the Allegheny Mountains, Pittsburgh receives heavy precipitation, and many days are subject to overcast skies. Precipitation is greatest in May, due to frequent thunderstorms and more organized low pressure systems which track up the eastern coast of the United States. On average, of precipitation falls during this month. The driest month of the year is February, when most precipitation falls in the form of low moisture content snow. However, Pittsburgh's February precipitation, , is relatively heavy compared to other cities located further inland, mainly because the city is east enough that it can be impacted by Nor'easters in some way, but usually lighter than in the central and eastern parts of the state.
The city can be broken down into the Downtown area, called the Golden Triangle, and four main areas surrounding it. These four surrounding areas are further subdivided into distinct neighborhoods (in total, Pittsburgh contains 90 neighborhoods.) These areas, relative to downtown, are known as the North Side, South Side/South Hills, East End, and West End.
Downtown Pittsburgh is tight and compact, featuring many skyscrapers, 9 of which top . U.S. Steel Tower is the tallest at . The Cultural District comprises a 14 block area of downtown along the Allegheny River. It is packed with theaters and arts venues, and is seeing a growing residential segment. Most significantly, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is embarking on Riverparc, a 4-block mixed-use "green" community, featuring 700 residential units and multiple towers between 20–30 stories. The Firstside portion of downtown borders the Monongahela River and the historic Mon Wharf. This area is home to the distinctive PPG Place Gothic glass skyscraper complex. This area too, is seeing a growing residential sector, as new condo towers are constructed and historic office towers are converted to residential use. Downtown is serviced by the Port Authority's light rail and multiple bridges leading north and south. It is also home to Point Park University, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Culinary Institute, a Robert Morris University branch campus and Duquesne University which is located on the border of Downtown and Uptown.
The North Side is home to various neighborhoods in transition. What is known today as Pittsburgh's North Side was once known as Allegheny City and operated as a city independently of Pittsburgh. Allegheny City merged with Pittsburgh under great protest from its citizens. The North Side is primarily composed of residential neighborhoods and is noteworthy for well-constructed and architecturally interesting homes. Many buildings date from the 19th century and are constructed of brick or stone and adorned with decorative woodwork, ceramic tile, slate roofs and stained glass. The North Side is also home to many popular attractions such as Heinz Field, PNC Park, Carnegie Science Center, National Aviary, Andy Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory installation art museum, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Penn Brewery and Allegheny Observatory.
The South Side was once an area composed primarily of dense inexpensive housing for mill workers, but has in recent years become a local Pittsburgher destination. In fact, South Side is one of the most popular neighborhoods in which to own a home in Pittsburgh. The value of homes in the South Side has increased in value by about 10 percent annually for the past 10 years. The South Side's East Carson Street is one of the most vibrant areas of the city, packed with diverse shopping, ethnic eateries, pulsing nightlife and live music venues. In 1993 the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh purchased the South Side Works steel mill property, and worked together with the community and various developers to create a master plan for a mixed-use development including a riverfront park, office space, housing, health-care facilities, and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers indoor practice fields. Construction began in 1998, and the Southside Works is now open for business with many store, restaurants, offices, and the world headquarters for American Eagle Outfitters.
The East End is home to the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Carlow University, Chatham University, The Carnegie Institute's Museums of Art and Natural History, Frick Art & Historical Center (Clayton and the Frick art museum), Phipps Conservatory, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, and the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. The neighborhoods of Shadyside and Squirrel Hill are large, wealthy neighborhoods featuring large shopping/business districts. Oakland, heavily populated by undergraduate and graduate students, is home to most of the universities, Schenley Park and the Petersen Events Center. Bloomfield is Pittsburgh's Little Italy and is known for its Italian restaurants and grocers. Lawrenceville is a revitalizing rowhouse neighborhood popular with artists and designers. The Strip District is a popular open-air marketplace by day and one of Pittsburgh's hottest clubbing destinations by night.
Pittsburgh's patchwork of neighborhoods still retain an ethnic character reflecting the city's immigrant history. These include:
Several neighborhoods on the edges of the city are less urban, featuring tree-lined streets, yards and garages giving a more characteristic suburban feel, while other aforementioned neighborhoods, such as Oakland, the South Side, the North Side, and the Golden Triangle are characterized by a more diverse, urban feel.
|Pittsburgh Steelers||American Football||National Football League||Heinz Field||Super Bowl Champions: 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 2005|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||Ice Hockey||National Hockey League||Mellon Arena||Stanley Cup Champions: 1990–91, 1991–92|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Baseball||Major League Baseball||PNC Park||National League Champions (pre-World Series): 1901, 1902;|
World Series Champions: 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, 1979
|Pittsburgh Xplosion||Basketball||Continental Basketball Association||Mellon Arena |
Petersen Events Center
|Pittsburgh Riverhounds||Soccer||USL Second Division||Chartiers Valley High School Stadium|
|Pittsburgh Passion||American Football||National Women's Football Association||George K. Cupples Stadium||NWFA World Champions: 2007|
|Pittsburgh Harlequins||Rugby Union||Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union||Founders Field|
The Pittsburgh metro area is served by many local television and radio stations. The Pittsburgh designated market area (DMA) is the 22nd largest in the U.S. with 1,163,150 homes (1.045% of the total U.S.). The major network television affiliates are KDKA-TV 2 (CBS), WTAE 4 (ABC), WPXI 11 (NBC), WPGH-TV 53 (FOX), WPCW 19 (CW), WQEX 16 (ShopNBC), WPMY (MyNetworkTV), and WPCB 40 (Cornerstone). WBGN 59 is an independent station owned and operated by the Bruno-Goodworth Network.
WQED 13 is the local PBS station in Pittsburgh. It was established on April 1, 1954, and was the first community-sponsored television station and the fifth public station in the United States. The station has produced much original content for PBS, including Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, several National Geographic specials, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
There are a wide variety of radio stations serving the Pittsburgh market. The first was KDKA 1020 AM, which is also the first commercially-licensed radio station in the United States, receiving its license on October 27, 1920. Other popular stations include KQV 1410 AM (news), WEAE 1250 AM (sports), WKST-FM 96.1 FM (pop and hip-hop), WZPT 100.7 FM (adult contemporary), WDVE 102.5 FM (album rock), WPGB 104.7 FM (talk), WXDX 105.9 FM (modern rock), and WAMO 106.7 (hip-hop, rap). There are also three public radio stations in the area; including WDUQ 90.5 FM (National Public Radio affiliate operated by Duquesne University), WQED 89.3 FM (classical), and WYEP 91.3 FM (adult alternative). Three non-commercial stations are run by Carnegie Mellon University (WRCT 88.3 FM), the University of Pittsburgh (WPTS 92.1 FM), and Point Park University (WPPJ 670 AM)
According to the Pittsburgh Film Office, over 123 major motion pictures have been filmed, in whole or in part, in Pittsburgh, including the The Mothman Prophecies, Wonder Boys, Dogma, Hoffa, and The Silence of the Lambs.
Showtime Networks, a premium cable and satellite tv content provider, made Pittsburgh the setting of the hugely popular and groundbreaking series Queer as Folk. The series now runs edited versions on the Logo Network. While Queer as Folk was filmed in nearby Toronto, Ontario, Canada; the setting in Pittsburgh has given the city noticed publicity in the gay community.
From the American Civil War to the 1930s, Pittsburgh was a Republican stronghold. Democratic candidates have been elected consecutively to either the mayor's office or city council since 1933, when David L. Lawrence was able to lead the party to power due to the alleged corruption and fraction of the Pittsburgh Republican Party and the election of President Roosevelt whose New Deal began the recovery from the Great Depression, by which the workers of Pittsburgh were especially hard hit. Today, the ratio of Democratic to Republican registrations within the city limits is 5 to 1.
The mayor, like the nine-member council, serves a four-year term. The seat of government is the Pittsburgh City-County Building. After the death of Mayor Bob O'Connor in September 2006, City Council President Luke Ravenstahl was sworn as the new mayor of Pittsburgh. Sworn in at age 26, he is the youngest mayor in the history of any major American city. He served in this position until a special mayoral election was held in November 2007, when he was reelected.
City council members are chosen by plurality elections in each of nine districts. The current members of the city council are: Darlene Harris (1), Daniel Deasy (2), Bruce Kraus (3), Jim Motznik (4), Douglas Shields (5), Tonya Payne (6), Patrick Dowd (7), Bill Peduto (8), and Rev. Ricky Burgess (9).
Pittsburgh is represented in the Pennsylvania General Assembly by three Senate Districts and nine House Districts. Pittsburgh's State Senators include Jim Ferlo (38th District), Wayne D. Fontana (42), and Jay Costa (43). Representatives in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives include Jake Wheatley (19th District), Don Walko (20), Lisa Bennington (21), Chelsa Wagner (22), Dan Frankel (23), Joseph Preston, Jr. (24), Thomas C. Petrone (27), Paul Costa (34), and Harry Readshaw (36). In the United States House of Representatives, Pittsburgh is included in one Congressional District, the 14th District, and is represented by Mike Doyle (D).
The Pittsburgh Police Bureau is the law enforcement arm of the city and the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau is a major emergency response unit in Western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh EMS provides heavy rescue and river rescue services to the city.
As of April 4 2008, the city and Allegheny County, are discussing a plan to merge as early as 2009 in the interests of consolidating government and enhancing the status of the region. If approved, the city of Pittsburgh will annex the entire land of Allegheny County in a Metropolitan Government, and the population will stand at 1.4 million making it the 7th largest city in the United States.
The City of Pittsburgh is home to many colleges, universities and research facilities, the most well known of which are Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Also located in the city are Carlow University, Chatham University, Point Park University, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and a branch campus of suburban Robert Morris University as well as the Community College of Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. The greater Pittsburgh region boasts even more colleges and universities, including LaRoche College and Slippery Rock University north of the city, Robert Morris University and Geneva College west of the city, Washington & Jefferson College and California University of Pennsylvania to the south, and Seton Hill University and Saint Vincent College to the east.
The campuses of Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh are located adjacent to each other in the Oakland neighborhood that is the traditional cultural and education center of the city. Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university founded by Andrew Carnegie and is ranked #22 overall on US News & World Report list of America's Best National Universities. Carnegie Mellon is known primarily for its computer science, engineering, business, public policy, and fine arts programs. The University of Pittsburgh, established in 1787 and popularly referred to as "Pitt", is a state-related school with one of the country's largest research programs. Pitt is ranked as the 19th national public university by US News & World Report and 57th overall, and is known for its programs in philosophy, international studies, information science, engineering, business, law, medicine, and other biomedical and health-related sciences. Carlow University is a small private Roman Catholic university that while coeducational, has traditionally educated women. Chatham University, a liberal arts women's college with coeducational graduate programs, is located in the nearby Shadyside neighborhood, but also maintains a 400-acre Eden Hall Farm campus located in the North Hills. Duquesne University, a private Catholic university, is located in the Bluff neighborhood of Pittsburgh and is noted for its song and dance company, the Tamburitzans, as well as programs in law, business, and pharmacy. Point Park University, which recently announced a major expansion of its downtown campus, is the youngest university in the city and well known for its Conservatory of Performing Arts and its operation of the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Robert Morris University is based in the suburb of Moon Township, Pennsylvania and maintains a satellite center in downtown Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Public School teachers are paid well relative to their peers, ranking 17th in 2000 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), Pittsburgh Montessori School (formerly Homewood Montessori), Pittsburgh Gifted Center, Frick International Studies Academy, Rogers Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and several schools for blind, deaf, or otherwise challenged children. Private schools in Pittsburgh include Bishop Canevin High School, Seton-La Salle Catholic High School, Central Catholic High School, Oakland Catholic High School, Winchester Thurston School, and The Ellis School. Shady Side Academy, whose main campuses are located in Fox Chapel, has a junior high school in the neighborhood of Point Breeze.
The city also has an extensive library system, both public and university. Most notable are the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh's University Library System, which rank 9th largest (public) and 18th largest (academic) in the nation, respectively.
Pittsburgh is a city of bridges—446 in total. Pittsburgh has more bridges than Venice, Italy, which has historically held the title of "City of Bridges". Around 40 bridges cross the three rivers near the city. The southern "entrance" to Downtown is through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and over the Fort Pitt Bridge. The Panhandle Bridge carries the Port Authority's 42-S/47-L/52 subway lines across the Monongahela River. All told, over 2,000 bridges dot the landscape of Allegheny County.
The main highway connecting Pittsburgh to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76) on the east is I-376, locally known as the "Parkway East", while I-279 (called either the "Parkway North" or the "Parkway West", depending on its location relative to Downtown) connects the city with points north and west. I-76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike), I-79, and I-70, roughly form a triangular-shaped "beltway". Navigation around Pittsburgh can also be accomplished via the Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Belt System.
A planned highway system called the Mon-Fayette/Southern Beltway project would allow access from the south and southwest of the city via a limited-access tolled expressway system. The projects are in the planning stages with some sections already open to traffic. The projects are being planned by The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.