Category: Bicentennial (page 1 of 2)

Pittsburgh’s Shocking Early Steps

 

Pittsburgh-Bicentennial-FeatureWe’ve been looking at things you don’t know about 1816. That was the year Pittsburgh got big enough to become a city, relying less on the state to run things.

So far, we’ve learned:

  • There was no summer that year.
  • The City of Bridges had no bridges yet.

Now, we find something really unexpected:you're invited

Public Love-Making

Yes, public love-making. The scandalous fad swept across the world from Vienna, Paris, London, and quickly reached even frontier towns like Pittsburgh .

They gave it a name. They called it the Waltz.

The what?

The Waltz.

We could laugh at such silly prudishness. How could the people of 1816 think the Waltz was provocative?

Fact is, we are probably more prudish than they were.

The Waltz we know now was not the same thing then.

It was slow, intimate and sensuous. The dancers gazed continuously into each others eyes, oblivious to others around them. Their hands went where they felt natural.

1810wals

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Originally posted 2016-03-16 10:24:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Dear Price of Dear Whoevers

 

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).

Now we look at another surprise: You paid nothing to mail a letter. You paid a lot to get one.

 

Pittsburgh-Bicentennial-FeatureMail service was very different.

There were no stamps, and you didn’t have to pay a cent to send a letter on its way.

Nice! Free mail!

Not quite.

You had to pay if you wanted to read your incoming mail, and it wasn’t cheap.

That’s right. Postage was paid on the receiving end.

It was expensive because  mail was transported over rugged wilderness in wagons and stage coaches, and then a lot of it sat unpaid for in deadletter offices. The local post office advertised the names of all those who had not picked up their mail in the hopes someone would tell them to come to town and get it.

Those ads are a great resource today for genealogists tracking people over geography and time, but back then it only added to postage costs.

Today, a 49-cent stamp will send a one-ounce letter anywhere in the country.

In 1816, taking inflation into account, you paid the equivalent of $1.73 in Pittsburgh.

That’s if the letter traveled no further than 40 miles. Anything over 500 miles, say from Boston,  cost you $5.21 in today’s dollars.

Oh, and we’re talking just a single-page letter folded and sealed, not even an envelope.

A two-page letter would cost twice as much. Three pages. . . well, you get the idea.

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Originally posted 2016-03-30 09:25:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Line Up to Celebrate Cityhood

Pittsburgh-Bicentennial-FeatureThe Steel Borough. The Borough of Champions. Iron Boro Beer. 

None of those ever existed.

That’s reason enough for a parade, right?

Pittsburgh will mark its 200th year as a city on Saturday, July 9 with a celebratory procession downtown — including more than 400 descendants of its many mayors– followed by music and fireworks at Point State Park.

Pittsburgh could have remained a borough, but before we get into that, I should point out there is a good reason entire colleges are devoted to the study of public administration. It’s well outside the realm of common sense and consistency.

In 1816, Pittsburgh had a population somewhere around 7,000.

It sought the city designation from the state (You could call it a commonwealth, but it’s a distinction without a difference).

Most states don’t have boroughs, but Pennsylvania does. Pittsburgh didn’t want to be one any more. Philadelphia was a city. Pittsburgh wanted to be one, too.

Forty-seven years earlier, Pittsburgh had been a town or a township (sometimes they’re the same thing). The declaration making it a borough said it would be a borough “for ever.”  

Borough, burgh, burg, etc. all derive from a really old European word meaning fort. That tells you something about how safe it was in the good ole days.

It also explains why Gen. John Forbes looked over the Point  in 1758 and named the site Pittsburgh. Pitt was his English boss in London who sent him to oust the French and erect a fort. We call it Fort Pitt. Forbes, a Scot, was thinking Pitt’s Fort.

This sea urchin was alive when Pittsburgh became a city 200 years ago. He is know for pointed observations, but attempts to interview him proved unsuccessful.

This sea urchin was alive when Pittsburgh became a city 200 years ago. He is known for pointed observations, but attempts to interview him proved unsuccessful.

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Originally posted 2016-06-08 12:41:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Dress All 1816 in 2016

Pittsburgh-Bicentennial-FeatureIt wasn’t a very big city, to be sure; less than 6,000 residents, but still there were balls and plenty of coming-out parties to attend. Then, there was church. What would you wear?

We’ve been looking at 1816, the year Pittsburgh got big enough to become a city

Thanks to the Internet and the popularity of Regency Era romantic books and movies, 1816 fashions are at least as available now as they were then.

Ready-made clothing only started to appear just before 1816. Sorry ladies that was just for men.

Most everyone knew how to sew,  but they got a tailor or seamstress to make the best outfits. You can still get those patterns on the Internet.

If you’re a man, you can do it the modern way —  buy ready-made. Like the outfit below.

 

vict_mens_21_full

DO YOU WANT TO BE HIM? The coat will cost you about $300, the hat about $100. All told, you’re looking at about $900 to become a Regency Period count complete with pocket watch and cane. Just click on photo for details and other outfits.

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Originally posted 2016-04-20 09:41:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Want a Job in 1816 Pittsburgh?

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:Pittsburgh-Bicentennial-Feature

  • 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 get one.

Now, we’ll send you back to 1816 to look for a job. Someone’s written a resume for you. Problem is you probably don’t know half the occupations listed on it. The following test may help.

 

The  occupations on this test came from a Pittsburgh directory compiled in 1815.

1. You are an experienced skin dresser. That means
2. You say you are a drayman. That means
3. As a milliner, you
4. You say you are a chandler. It's not your name. It means
5. As a longtime glover, you
6. You want to be a white-smith rather than a black-smith because
7. As a nail cutter you have seen a lot of
8. You can't be a carter without
9. You say you are a gentleman. That means
10. As a mantua-maker, you enhance the appearance of
11. Being a morocco dresser, you must know

If you got more than half correct, chances are good you will get hired in 1816. After all, Pittsburgh was booming. The War of 1812 (it lasted into 1815) made it a center of military supplies and reinforced it as the gateway to go after Indian land in the Midwest.

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Originally posted 2016-04-04 22:03:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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