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...
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Exploring the Belly of the Burgh in 1866

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

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 inspired to write one line remembered to this day. Let's join him. Parton...
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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

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 on As they try to change their worlds Are immune to your consultations. . . The poster below was taped to shop windows to an...
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