1907 Halloween, Illegal Crossdressing, General Mischief

  Halloween can be a terrible time for defenders of order and morals. Has it always been so? Let's pick a  date and go back. How about 1907 in Pittsburgh ? The Pittsburg Press can take us back. Oh my! It is much worse then than now. The newspaper reported scores of men arrested for dressing as women. Similar numbers of women were arrested for donning ...
Read More

Pittsburgh’s Pot Past

As Pittsburgh makes marijuana possession a little less illegal, it is interesting to note that bales of cannabis once came here by the boatloads. A local businesswoman  ordered the bales and processed them downtown for customers who shipped them around the world. Perhaps, I should explain. Mary Irwin made rope. In all likelihood, the hemp that lined the riverbanks would...
Read More

Want a Job in 1816 Pittsburgh?

Many common occupations have gone to pasture We've been looking at surprising things you don't know about 1816. That was the year Pittsburgh got big enough to become a city. So far, we've learned: There was no summer that year. The City of Bridges had no bridges yet. Public love-making was quite popular (waltzing). You paid nothing to mail a letter. You paid a lot to ge...
Read More

How Pittsburgh ‘Saved’ the Whales, For a While

Whale oil lamp Before Oil Came From the Ground Most of us are dimly aware (no pun intended) that before electric lights, but after candles, the civilized world got around at night with oil lamps. Few of us know that initially most of that oil came from harpooned whales whose blubber had been boiled. So, it was a great relief to the whale population when someone in Pitt...
Read More