Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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(This article is about the city. "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" is also the name of a song written in 1952; there are also several US cities named Pittsburg.)

Skyline of downtown Pittsburgh
Skyline of downtown Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a city in Western Pennsylvania, United States, and the county seat of Allegheny County. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 334,563 (metropolitan area 2,358,695). Pittsburgh, nicknamed The Steel City, was traditionally considered the center of the American steel industry. In recent years the city has turned to technology, especially biotechnology and robotics, leading the Wall Street Journal to dub the city "Roboburgh." The Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute and numerous private companies have made Pittsburgh perhaps the top robotics city outside of Japan, while the University of Pittsburgh boasts a top-20 medical school and one of the best organ transplant institutes in the world. The city is also one of the nation's major nonprofit centers, home to major funders such as the Heinz Foundations and thousands of other nonprofit organizations. Pittsburgh also has a booming art scene and a long history of supporting culture and the arts.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Flag of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Seal of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Nickname: "The Steel City"
Location of Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania
Location in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
County Allegheny County
Mayor Tom Murphy (Dem)
 - Total
 - Water

151.1 km² (58.3 mi²)
7.2 km² (2.8 mi²) 4.75% 
 - City (2000)
 - Density
 - Metropolitan

Time zone Eastern (UTC –5)
WGS-84 (GPS)
 40.443° N 79.9974° W
Official Website



France was the first European country to send settlers to the forks of the Ohio River. They did so after capturing a small English garrison founded by William Trent. The Virginia colony sent Major George Washington with a scout named Christopher Gist to deliver a message to the French, demanding their withdrawal, and to reconnoiter their positions. The French refused. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia then sent Washington back in command of a small troop of colonial soldiers, but the French forced him to surrender at a makeshift fort, Fort Necessity. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the British colonies captured Fort Duquesne, which sat at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, at the part of downtown Pittsburgh now known as "The Point". The British built a larger fort on the same site and named it Fort Pitt in honor of the British statesman William Pitt the Elder. Fort Pitt was garrisoned in case of French attack during the French and Indian War, but by the time the improvements were made the war was over.

Pittsburgh in 1790.
Pittsburgh in 1790.

Pittsburgh was located in an area that was claimed by both Virginia and Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was briefly the seat of government for the short lived District of West Augusta, a Virginia county designed to compete with Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County, based in nearby Hannastown, which also claimed the region. In 1780, Virginia and Pennsylvania agreed on the current boundaries of the state and Pittsburgh officially became part of Pennsylvania.

After the Revolutionary War, Pittsburgh was the center of the Whiskey Rebellion, which was put down by state militias ordered in by President George Washington.

Beginning in the early 19th century, Pittsburgh's proximity to large coal deposits and excellent positioning along major trade routes made it one of the world's leading industrial powerhouses. Steel production was a major industry for many years, earning the city its nickname, "The Steel City". Pittsburgh lies at the confluence of the Monongahela River and Allegheny River, which merge to form the Ohio River, ultimately draining into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. As an industrial city, Pittsburgh was also a major hub of early railroad activity. Millions of European immigrants settled in and around Pittsburgh in the 19th and early 20th centuries to seek employment in the steel mills, coal mines, railroads, or numerous associated industries. The production of glass, for both industrial and decorative use, was also an established industry in the city.

On July 21, 1877, a day after bloody rioting in Baltimore from Baltimore and Ohio Railroad workers and the deaths of nine rail workers at the hands of the Maryland militia, workers in Pittsburgh staged a sympathy strike that was met with an assault by the state militia — Pittsburgh then erupted into widespread rioting. Another major confrontation occurred during the Homestead Strike in 1892.

Downtown Pittsburgh panorama, from 1920.
Downtown Pittsburgh panorama, from 1920.

Thanks to the presence of the nearby Bettis Laboratory and the Shippingport power plant, Pittsburgh became the world's first nuclear powered city in 1960.

With the recessions of the 1970s and the advent of cheap foreign labor, Pittsburgh's steel mills found themselves unable to compete with foreign steel mills, and most closed down. This created a ripple effect that decimated the local economy, as railroads, mines, and factories across the region shut down, one by one.

The collapse of the US steel industry in the 1970s marked a major turning point for the city of Pittsburgh, and brought with it an unexpected renaissance as the mills closed and Pittsburgh began to shed its image of a dirty, smoky place. Pittsburgh was spared the fate of other postindustrial Rust Belt cities as the basis of the economy dramatically shifted from heavy industry to services and high technology. Pittsburgh is also home to various new skyscrapers, the tallest being the U.S. Steel Tower, famous for having only three sides. Also notable on the city skyline is the futuristic PPG Place.

Pittsburgh's population decline during the last half century is remarkable:

Year City Population City Rank [1] Population of the Urbanized Area [2]
1950 676,806 12 1,533,000
1960 604,332 16 1,804,000
1970 540,025 24 1,846,000
1980 423,938 30 1,810,000
1990 369,879 40 1,678,000
2000 334,563 51 1,753,000
2002 327,898 (estimate) 54 Next Data: 2010 Census

Geography and climate

The Golden Triangle as seen from the Roberto Clemente (6th St) Bridge.
The Golden Triangle as seen from the Roberto Clemente (6th St) Bridge.

Pittsburgh is located at 40° 26′ 29″ N, 79° 58′ 38″ W (40.441419, -79.977292).1 According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 151.1 km² (58.3 mi²). 144.0 km² (55.6 mi²) of it is land and 7.2 km² (2.8 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 4.75% water.

Pittsburgh is located at the center of a fairly expansive set of river valleys, and much of the city's residential population is situated on or near the slopes of those valleys with certain neighborhoods (particularly south of the Monongahela) nearly inaccessible by car during the winter. As a result, Pittsburgh is widely believed to be right behind San Francisco as the "steepest" city in the United States. A pair of "inclines", or trams (cable cars on inclined rails) ascend the slope of Mount Washington, assisting in local public transportation; several tunnels are major access routes through the slopes. Pittsburgh has more public staircases (700) than any other city in the United States, followed by Cincinnati and San Francisco. Many of these staircases have street names and street signs, and lead to hillside neighborhoods that can be inaccessible by car, especially in the winter. Pittsburgh has been called the "east coast's San Francisco".

See also: List of Pittsburgh neighborhoods


Pittsburgh has a temperate climate, with four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter). Spring and Fall generally have cool temperatures, Summer is warm and Winter is cold. The winters are usually not extreme, with an average temperature between 20 °F and 30 °F (−7 °C to −1 °C). In spring, the city warms up gradually; summers are moderately warm and somewhat humid. The average temperature during the summer months ranges between 70 °F and 80 °F (16 °C and 21 °C). The average annual rainfall is 36.9 inches (937 mm), and the average annual snowfall is 20.5 inches (52 cm).


People and culture


Sri Venkateswara temple in Pittsburgh attracts large Hindu/Indian immigrant crowds from the BosWash megapolis.
Sri Venkateswara temple in Pittsburgh attracts large Hindu/Indian immigrant crowds from the BosWash megapolis.

According to the census of 2000, there are 334,563 people, 143,739 households, and 74,169 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,324.1/km² (6,019.0/mi²). There are 163,366 housing units at an average density of 1,134.9/km² (2,939.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 67.63% White, 27.12% African American, 0.19% Native American, 2.75% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 143,739 households out of which 21.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.2% are married couples living together, 16.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% are non-families. 39.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.17 and the average family size is 2.95.

In the city the population is spread out with 19.9% under the age of 18, 14.8% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $28,588, and the median income for a family is $38,795. Males have a median income of $32,128 versus $25,500 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,816. 20.4% of the population and 15.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 27.5% of those under the age of 18 and 13.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Pittsburgh generally has among the lowest, if not the lowest crime rates of any comparably sized city in the United States.

Museums, arts, and entertainment

Pittsburgh at night.
Pittsburgh at night.

Wealthy area businessmen of the 19th century, including Andrew Carnegie, the Heinz family and Henry Clay Frick, donated large sums of money to local educational and cultural institutions. As a result, Pittsburgh is rich in art and culture. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is world-class, performs in Heinz Hall, which also plays host to other events throughout the year. The Benedum Center and Heinz Hall provide venues for numerous musicals, lectures, speeches, and other performances. Pittsburgh is also home to one of only two professional brass bands in the world, the River City Brass Band. Other musical arts groups include the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) and the River City Youth Brass Band, both of which include top musicians from the Pittsburgh area, in addition to the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, a nationally and internationally acclaimed semi-professional choir. These performances produced by these intensive programs are usually free to the public.

Pittsburgh also boasts several visual arts museums, including the Andy Warhol Museum, dedicated to the works of Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol. The Carnegie Museum of Art is home to works by such luminaries as Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and many others, along with galleries of sculpture, modern art, the Heinz Architectural Center, a large film and video collection, and various travelling exhibits. Installation art is featured outdoors at ArtGardens of Pittsburgh. The Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece Fallingwater is about an hour's drive from downtown, and the North Shore boasts an 1895 neogothic church, Calvary Methodist, whose interior was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany; the church's stained glass windows are some of the largest and most elaborate work Tiffany ever created.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers teaches media arts and runs three "art house" movie theaters. The Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University has four resident companies of professional actors.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has extensive dinosaur collections on display, including the complete first Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered, and an Egyptian wing. The building may be distinguished by a life-size statue known as, "Dippy the Diplodocus" to the right of the main entrance. Other dinosaur statues are visible around the Pittsburgh area, these decorated by artists nationwide and sold as a benefit to the Carnegie Museums. The Carnegie Science Center is more technology oriented.

Pittsburgh also houses the country's National Aviary. Phipp's Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, in the Oakland region of Pittsburgh, feature seasonal and global plants in a recently-remodeled Victorian-style greenhouse. More additions to the Conservatory are scheduled to begin in 2005. Just up the street from the Conservatory is the Schenley Park Golf Course, one of Pittsburgh's premiere public golf links. Kennywood Park is widely regarded by rollercoaster connoisseurs to have one of the best collections of functional rollercoasters in the world, including several early 20th century wooden coasters: the Racer, the Thunderbolt, and the Jack Rabbit.

Recently, Pittsburgh has gained a reputation for its large indie rock scene. Several notable indie rock bands have come from Pittsburgh in recent years, including Rusted Root, Don Caballero, and punk rock band Anti-Flag.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center, located on the south bank of the Allegheny River, is quickly becoming some of the most sought after convention space in the country, as it is able to accommodate all sizes of conventions, exhibitions and conferences. Certified with a Gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design initiative, the building is considered the first ever "green" convention center and world's largest "green" building. The convention center hosts such prominent events as the Pittsburgh International Auto Show, the Windpower 2006 Conference & Exhibition, the National Youth Workers Convention and the 2005 National Council of Teachers of English National Convention.


Club Sport League Venue Logo
Pittsburgh Steelers Football National Football League; AFC Heinz Field Pittsburgh Steelers Logo
Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Major League Baseball; NL PNC Park Pittsburgh Pirates Logo
Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Hockey National Hockey League Mellon Arena Pittsburgh Penguins Logo

Pittsburgh has a strong connection to sports. The city is home to several major league professional sports teams, listed above. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL Second Division are a minor league soccer team that play in the area. There is also a women's football team, the Pittsburgh Passion, that play in the NWFA. In 2005-06 an ABA Basketball team, the Explosion is slated for its first season, playing most games at Mellon Arena (the former Civic Arena) and four games at Pitt's Peterson Event Center.

Many famous athletes have roots in the Pittsburgh region, including Stan Musial, Honus Wagner and both Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. in baseball, and former world champion boxers Michael Moorer and Paul Spadafora. However, the Pittsburgh area is known for producing football greats, in particular quarterbacks. The "cradle of quarterbacks," as the Pittsburgh area is known, produced Hall of Famers Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, George Blanda, Joe Montana and Dan Marino as well as dozens of other quarterbacks of note including Jim Kelly (widely expected to be selected to the Hall when eligible in 2006), Johnny Lujack, Terry Hanratty and the modern NFL's first black quarterback, Willie Thrower. Metro Pittsburgh has also produced football standouts in other positions, including Mike Ditka, Jack Ham, Curtis Martin and Tony Dorsett.

Not surprisingly, football is the major sport across the region on all levels; high school, college and professional. Baseball and hockey are also big draws as well as minor and school league basketball. Pittsburgh had the most public swim pools per capita than any other place in the world. Most local high schools have indoor pools and many communities, country clubs and home-owner associations have vibrant summer swim clubs.

Pittsburgh has been called the "city of champions" for its success in sports. The city and region enjoyed a string of championships in the 1970s. Not only did the Steelers win four Super Bowls under just one coach and a core group of players (a feat that Pittsburgh alone holds), but the Pirates won six division championships, and bracketed the decade with World Series victories over the Baltimore Orioles in 1971 and 1979. Even the Pittsburgh Triangles of the short-lived World Team Tennis took the Association championship in 1975, their second year of play. Although they missed the flurry of championships in the Steel City in the '70s, the Penguins brought home back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in the early 1990s.

The 1970s also saw the University of Pittsburgh Panthers win a National Title and contest for two others. Some minor polls named Pitt #1 in those years. Overall, the school has won nine football National Championships and two basketball National Championships.

The city also celebrated the American Basketball Association's Pittsburgh Pipers, which won the world's first modern basketball championship (which for the first time allowed the dunk and three-point shot) in 1968. The Pipers later changed their name to the Pittsburgh Condors, but would never again reach the heights of that first season. Pittsburgh was the home to the minor league basketball Rens of the 1950s and 1960s and the Piranah's in the early 1990s. One of the lasting legacies of the Pittsburgh basketball scene was the 1979 movie The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh that cast the fictional "Pittsburgh Pisces" in the finals and included cameos of many great NBA and Harlem Globetrotter Greats. The campy movie was almost B-grade in its quality but has garnered a cult-following, it was not, however, the greatest regional piece captured on film.

The same cannot be said of Slap Shot, the quirky 1977 hockey comedy shot in nearby Johnstown, which is widely loved in hockey circles, as well as All the Right Moves capturing the passion of local High School and College Football in the Pittsburgh region.

Pittsburgh's rich sports heritage also features the Negro Leagues, stomping grounds of baseball greats Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. Pittsburgh hosted two Negro League teams in the 1930s and 1940s. The Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays were dynasties in their own right, competing in the Negro League world series almost every season for twenty years.

The region's sports history included a few upstart professional teams such as the baseball 1890 Pittsburgh Burghers and the 1914-15 Pittsburgh Burghers, the 1980s USFL Pittsburgh Maulers (owned by San Francisco 49ers owner DeBartolo) and the Arena Football League Pittsburgh Gladiators of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Pittsburgh hosted the first-ever "Arena Bowl", with the home team making two appearances in it.

The region also once had a thriving college football scene with Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University (then called Carnegie Tech), the University of Pittsburgh, and Washington and Jefferson College, all making "major" bowl game appearances and ranking high in national polls from the 1910s through the 1940s. Although Robert Morris, Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne still field NCAA I-AA or Division III teams, only the University of Pittsburgh program plays a Division I national schedule.

Pittsburgh is home to a number of amateur women's ice hockey teams including; Pittsburgh Puffins, Pittsburgh Piranhas, Central Pittsburgh, and the (apparently defunct) Pittsburgh Renegades.

Both Central Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Puffins (a founding member team) compete in the Pennsylvania-Ohio Women's Hockey Association (POWHA), a women's amateur travel league. Central Pittsburgh was the first non-founding team to join the league in 2004. They quickly became a foce finishing second in both the regular season and the playoffs, losing to the Cleveland Blues by one goal in the POWHA Championship game. In their pervious meeting with the Blues they had tied 4-4 and 4-0. They were the only team in the league to shutout the Blues, who finished first in both the regular season and playoffs.


From the Civil War era to the 1930s, Pittsburgh was considered a Republican stronghold. Since the Great Depression, Pittsburgh has been dominated by Democratic candidates.

Although considered socially moderate, Pittsburgh citizens tend to be members of the Democratic party. This is primarily due to the city's labor union population, which has continued to dwindle with the decline of the U.S. Steel market. Democratic candidates have been elected consecutively to either the mayor's office or city council since 1933, when David L. Lawrence led the party to power.

The mayor serves a four year term and the next election will be held in November 2005. City council members are chosen by plurality elections in each of nine districts.

The city is currently facing a financial crisis and has been declared a "distressed municipality" by the state. This may result in massive cuts to city programs and debates over which taxes to raise, or it may bring about long-lasting political change.


Pittsburgh has exhibited amazing adaptability in the wake of the steel industry's collapse. The primary industries have shifted from steel manufacture and heavy industry to high technology, robotics, health care, biomedical technology, finance, and service-based fields. Education, from primary/secondary through magnet schools, specialized professional institutes, and top-flight universities, is also a major local employer. Pittsburgh has a very low cost of living compared to other cities in the Northeastern U.S. The average price for a 3- to 4-bedroom, 2-bath family home in Pittsburgh is $162,000, which is well below the national average ($264,540 as of October 2004, according to the Federal Housing Finance Board). Fixer-uppers and smaller homes in the city can be found for under $50,000.

Corporations headquartered in Pittsburgh

See also: List of major corporations in Pittsburgh


The Pittsburgh region is home to many universities and research facilities, the most prominent of which are Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Mellon University houses one of the oldest computer science school and the oldest drama school in the United States, both of which are widely considered to be among the best in their fields. Carnegie Mellon University also houses internationally renown research centers including the world-famous Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and the Robotics Institute, the first of its kind in the world and a leader in the field of robotics. It also houses a top ten [3] engineering school, and its top ten [4] business school is consistently ranked among the best in the nation. Carnegie Mellon University is famous for its unique interdisciplinary environment and as an innovative leader in education. Carnegie Mellon University is affiliated with 12 Nobel Laureates.

The Health Sciences Department at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center operate some of the finest hospitals in the world, and an advanced medical research center that performs pioneering work in organ transplantation, AIDS and cancer research, and many other fields. University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine is ranked amongst the top twenty graduate medical programs nationally [5]. The university is also known for its respected programs in its departments of Asian studies, business, philosophy and philosophy of science, as well as for its law school.

Pittsburgh public school teachers are paid well relative to their peers, ranking 17th in 2000-2001 among the 100 largest cities by population for the highest minimum salary offered to teachers with a BA ($34,300). Pittsburgh ranked fifth in the highest maximum salary offered to teachers with an MA ($66,380). Local public schools include many charter and magnet schools, including City Charter High School (computer and technology focused), Homewood Montessori, Pittsburgh Gifted Center, the Frick International Studies Center, Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and several schools for blind, deaf, or otherwise challenged children.

See also: California University of Pennsylvania, Carlow University, Chatham College, Duquesne University, LaRoche College, Penn State University, Pittsburgh Flight Training Center, Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, Pittsburgh Technical Institute, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, Seton Hill University, Slippery Rock University, St. Vincent College, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Washington & Jefferson College


Pittsburgh boasts not only the world's very first commercial radio station, world's first PBS station, as well as the first "networked" TV station and "mid-western" newspaper, but even today has a bevy of media talent and resources. It is one of the few mid-sized metros in the U.S. with two major daily papers. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review have a long history of Pulitzer Prizes and breaking in-depth investigative news stories on a national scale.

The Pittsburgh TV Market is served by CBS Affliate KDKA-TV Channel 2, ABC affiliate WTAE Channel 4, and NBC Affliate WPXI Channel 11. WQED Channel 13 is Pittsburgh's PBS affiliate and is a major contributor to national media as the source for "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood", "National Geographic Explorer", and "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?".

Pittsburgh Radio is dominated by KDKA 1020 AM and KQV 1410 AM, WEAE 1250 AM provides sports radio to the tri-state. On the FM dial WXDX "The X" and WDVE as well as the legendary WAMO provide the foundation of the pop music scene. Pittsburgh is also home to WQED-FM, a listener supported commercial free classical music station.

See Also: Pittsburgh Newspapers, Pittsburgh FM Stations, Pittsburgh AM Stations, Pittsburgh TV Stations


Pittsburgh's steel bridges connect areas of the city which are otherwise divided by its many rivers.
Pittsburgh's steel bridges connect areas of the city which are otherwise divided by its many rivers.

Pittsburgh is connected to other urban centers by the Pennsylvania Turnpike and on the rails by passenger railroad Amtrak and various freight railroads. Pittsburgh is also served by the Pittsburgh International Airport in Findlay Township, Pennsylvania. General aviation enthusiasts may prefer Allegheny County Airport, a 1920s art-deco marvel that once hosted Charles Lindbergh and now handles 139,000 private and corporate-jet flights a year.

Pittsburgh has a high number of freeze/thaw cycles in the winter which is sometimes blamed for the difficulty of maintaining local roads. The hills and rivers of Pittsburgh form many barriers to transportation within the city.


Bridges are ubiquitous around town, as they connect the neighborhoods separated by rivers and valleys. The southern and eastern entrances to the city are through tunnels. Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other city in the world: over 2,000 bridges dot the landscape of Allegheny County [6], while Venice, according to the Lonely Planet travel guide, only has 409.


The main artery connecting Pittsburgh to the turnpike on the east is I-376, locally known as "Parkway East", while I-279 (referred to as either "Parkway North" or "Parkway West" depending on the particular stretch of road with respect to downtown) connects the city with points west (including the airport) and north. I-579 or the "Crosstown" is a spur off I-279 that alleviates downtown and northshore traffic headed north or south and to events in either the David Lawrence Convention Center or Mellon Arena. A set of local roads are designated as a beltway system (called the Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Belt System) to form six loops centered on downtown with each loop identified by a different color (under the "Pittsburgh Wayfinder System" of road signage, implemented in the summer of 1994). Pittsburgh, because of its radical topography, is a confusing yet rewarding city to navigate.

See also: Pittsburgh Left.

Mass transit

Local public transportation is coordinated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County, the 14th largest transportation system in the United States, which maintains a bus service, incline railways and a light rail/subway system called "the T", which consists of street cars which go underground as they enter downtown. The T consists of three largely parallel lines, and only serves downtown and the "South Hills" suburbs -- the small "via Allentown", the 20-year-old "via Beechview", and the recently re-opened "via Overbrook." Construction on two small extensions -- one to the Convention Center, and another to the North Shore -- may begin by the end of 2006; the federal government recently agreed to pay for US$55 million of the $363 million construction price.


An aging population, steep hills, and variable weather make biking less popular in Pittsburgh than in some other cities. However, some efforts have been made to incorporate the bicycle into the transportation system. The "Jail Trail," formally called the Eliza Furnace Trail, stretches from downtown (at the county jail) out to the East End of the city, where bike trails can be found along some roads. Additionally, the Port Authority has installed bike racks on some buses. Bicycles are permitted on the Port-Authority-run Incline during off-peak hours. Bike PGH! serves as the local bicycle advocacy group and is working to make Pittsburgh safe, accessible, and friendly towards bicycle transportation.

Name and spelling

Pittsburgh is one of the few American cities or towns to be spelled with an h at the end of a burg suffix. The earliest known reference to the settlement was found in a letter sent from General John Forbes to William Pitt dated "Pittsbourgh, 27th November, 1758". Bourgh (later burgh) is a variant of borough, which has cognates in words and place names in virtually every Indo-European and Semitic language, as well as others. For a fuller explanation, see under borough. The first recorded reference using the current spelling is found on a survey map made for the Penn family in 1769. In the city charter, granted on March 18, 1816, the Pittsburgh spelling is used on the original document, but due to an apparent printing error, the Pittsburg spelling is found on official copies of the document printed at the time.

On December 23, 1891, a recommendation by the United States Board on Geographic Names to standardize place names was signed into law. The law officially changed the spelling of the city name to Pittsburg, and publications would use this spelling for the next 20 years. However, the change was very unpopular in the city, and several businesses and organizations refused to make the change. Responding to mounting pressure, the United States Geographic Board (a successor to the original United States Board on Geographic Names) reversed the decision on July 19, 1911, and the Pittsburgh spelling was restored. [7]

The confusion and controversy surrounding the aborted spelling change means that both the Pittsburgh and the Pittsburg spelling were commonly encountered around the turn of the 20th Century.

Sister cities

Pittsburgh has fourteen sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI): Bilbao (Spain), Donets'k (Ukraine), Zagreb (Croatia), Ostrava (Czech Republic), Saitama (Japan), Presov (Slovakia), Fernando de la Mora (Paraguay), Matanzas (Cuba), Omiya (Japan), Saarbrucken (Germany), San Isidro (Nicaragua), Sheffield (England), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Wuhan (China).

See also

External links

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