The history of Pittsburgh dates back to June, 2010 when the Bravo Group opened an office here. The arrival of the firm in Pittsburgh brought in thousands of jobs and attracted new, cutting edge businesses to a region previously deemed uninhabitable.
Just kidding. Pittsburgh dates way farther back than 2010. Therefore, for today’s blog post we’ll look back on the history and culture of the city Bravo’s third office calls home.
Cultural History—Terms of importance
Monongahalen Culture: The term used to categorize the groups of indigenous Americans living throughout the Monongahela River Valley in Western Pennsylvania before the 17th century. Historians suggest that European immigration to Western Pennsylvania forced “Monongahelans” to merge with other Native Americans, eliminating their culture.
Shawnee, Seneca, and Lenape: The Native American tribes that lived closest to Pittsburgh.
French and Indian War (a.k.a. Seven Years War): Europeans began heavily migrating to the Pittsburgh area upon the turn of the 18th century. The Frenchand British were the first European nations to forge ties with Native Americans in the Pittsburgh region. The French and Indian War was a battle fought between the two nations for influence over the Native Americans. Pittsburgh was a significant battleground site of the war and was among the territories Britain controlled following the war.
Towards the end of the 18th century, Pittsburgh experienced a heavy influx ofEnglish, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and German immigrants. Around the beginning of the 20th century, large groups of both Judaists and African Americans settled in Pittsburgh. Today, the majority of Pittsburgh’s cultural heritage stems from the descendants of these population groups.
Pittsburgh has a history of rich economic success and blue-collar work ethic thanks to an industrial boom during the late 18th and 19th centuries that made the city a world-leading producer of iron and steel. Here are some of the notable events that define the city’s economic history:
1765—Coal mining in Pittsburgh is a first for Pennsylvania
1787—Pittsburgh Academy, now the University of Pittsburgh is founded
1792—Boat manufacturing industry in Pittsburgh begins. Downtown Pittsburgh marks the point where three western Pennsylvania rivers, the Allegheny, the Ohio, and the Monongahela, all merge. Pittsburgh founded its boat manufacturing industry by making flatboats and keelboats. In 1811, the first steamboat was built in Pittsburgh. By the 19th century, Pittsburgh was exporting vessels for ocean travel.
1800—Roughly around this time, coal, brass, and tin mining began in western Pennsylvania. Iron and glass manufacturing began to take off, too. By 1815, Pittsburgh was producing $764,000 in iron, $249,000 in brass and tin, and $235,000 in glass products.
1816 – Pittsburgh incorporates as a city.
1818—The region’s first river bridge, the Smithfield Street Bridge, opened. Pittsburgh is now known as “the city of bridges.” It holds the world record for a city with the most number of bridges within its limits.
1830—Around this time, Pittsburgh’s steel industry begins. It became so successful, the city named their football team after it.
1850—At this point, there are 939 factories in Pittsburgh that employ more than 10 thousand workers and produce nearly $12 million in goods. Pittsburgh is the third busiest port in the United States, behind New York City and New Orleans.
1861-1865—The American Civil War boosts Pittsburgh’s Steel industry to new highs. By the war’s end, over one-half of steel and more than one-third of all U.S. glass was produced in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh continued to develop industrially through the 19thcentury. Eventually, however, its steel industry hit a wall and in the 1970s, collapsed. Pittsburgh’s turn around, though, is remarkable. The city has since transitioned its economy to one based on technology, services, health care, higher education, etc., with multiple corporate headquarters. In the midst of an American recession, Pittsburgh is doing exceptionally well. Many news and literature publications today consistently rank Pittsburgh as one of America’s most livable cities. Pittsburgh’s heavy industries are long gone, but the city’s blue-collar work ethic and spirit of innovation will never leave.
Finally, one cannot talk about Pittsburgh without mentioning its unique dialect. This is how we talk:
–Yinz: Pittsburgh’s version of “y’all”
–Yinzer: A citizen of Pittsburgh that uses the word “yinz”
–Dahntahn: In other words, “downtown”
–Dahn ‘are: In other words, “down there”
-We use gumbands—not rubber bands.
-We eat hoagies and sammitches—not subs and sandwiches.
-We drink pop. What is soda?
–Jaggerbush: A plant with thorns.
-We put jimmies on our soft serve ice cream—not sprinkles.
-Our football team is the Stillers.
-We buy groceries at Giant Igle.
Picture Caption (1): http://www.thepittsburghhistoryjournal.com
Picture Caption (2): http://www.iienet.org/Chapter/Chap003/index.html