Exploring the Belly of the Burgh, Part 4: Oil

Whale oil lamp How Pittsburgh 'Saved' the Whales, For a While 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 wh...
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Exploring the Belly of the Burgh in 1866, Part 1

Pittsburgh, as it would have looked to Parton for the brief time the smoke cleared a little. See credit lines at end of post. Time travel is possible. Come with me and we'll join James Parton as he takes a train to Pittsburgh 149 years ago. James Parton You might be surprised. Proud Pittsburghers will tell us about the health benefits of smoke.  We'll go ...
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Exploring the Belly of the Burgh in 1866, Part 2

How a Man Came to Write a Famous Line About Pittsburgh We are accompanying James Parton, a well-known author in his day, as he explores Pittsburgh 149 years ago. He has already experienced a day with only about 30 minutes of daylight. Parton's fame as a biographer would fade with time, but he is about to go to the Hill District where he will be inspire...
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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Bowie glows before a Pittsburgh audience in 2004 David Bowie and the Baby Boomers David Bowie died as an old man earlier this week.  Reports indicate it was because he lived beyond his youth and middle age. Let that be a lesson to us all.   Bowie was 24 when he came to Pittsburgh in 1972.  . . . And these children that you spit onAs they try to ...
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Pittsburgh’s Worst Flood Ever? See What That Really Means

Noah's Ark, the landmark fun house at Kenywood Park, coincidentally opened in 1936, the year of Pittsburgh's worst flood. The following film clips preserve flickers of a disaster that is fading from memory. Few of today's Pittsburghers and Johnstowners were around in 1936 when  much of the Mid Atlantic region flooded like never before or since. It wa...
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