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Pittsburgh’s Shocking Early Steps



We’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:

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.