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North Park Water Tower Stand Pipe and The Terrazzo Floor

 At first glance, the North Park water tower appears to be a looming column of rusting steel. Looks, however, can be deceiving. This tower holds a fantastic secret that no one but a select few have seen in almost 50 years. Built in 1937, Pittsburgh’s North Park Water Tower, officially known as the North Park …

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The Decline of Ligonier Beach Swimming Pool

It’s a local historic landmark that invokes strong emotions throughout the community. In 2018, Ligonier Beach swimming pool closed after a catastrophic flood and has since sat empty, its future in limbo. It was recently purchased by Ligonier Township and was opened to the public which gave me a unique opportunity to explore the property.  …

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The Lost Children of the Alleghenies: A Tragic Mystery

It’s a tragic story that’s steeped in mystery and whispers of foul play. The incident happened 165 years ago, but the echos of the Lost Children of the Alleghenies still linger.   On April 24, 1856 George and Jacob Cox went missing. The children, ages 7 and 5, were the sons of Samuel and Susannah …

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White Mountain: The PA Ski Area You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

When it comes to skiing in the Laurel Highlands, most people think of the big three ski resorts: Laurel Mountain, Hidden Valley, and Seven Springs. What many people don’t realize is that in addition to those three current resorts is that there were several other popular resorts at the time, including White Mountain Ski Area.  …

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Allegheny Arsenal: The Day Pittsburgh Exploded

Tucked behind a playground and a ball field in the shadow of Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood lies a 200-year-old building which stood witness to the largest civilian disaster of the Civil War. While most of the Allegheny Arsenal is now gone, the powder magazine is still standing as a reminder of this nearly-forgotten …

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From the Vatican to Pittsburgh: The Pittsburgh Creche is One of a Kind

For me, one of my favorite Christmas displays is the creche. There are so many variations of the nativity scene located in various places, but did you know the Pittsburgh Creche is particularly special? When you first see the creche, which is located in the plaza of the US Steel Tower, you will notice its …

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Ascend the Holy Stairs at St. Patrick Church in the Strip District

Tucked away on a side street in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Strip District is St. Patrick Catholic Church. From the outside the church is rather unassuming. It has a small, narrow tower and a simple brick exterior. A statue of St. Patrick stands out front.  The building’s simple exterior belies the unique treasure that lies …

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Pittsburgh’s National Negro Opera Company House

Nowadays the house doesn’t look like much. In fact, the building has been condemned and there are missing walls and broken windows. It will take millions of dollars to restore the house to its former glory, but former glory it once had. This house was once home to the National Negro Opera Company and saw …

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The Tumble Bug: The Midway’s Classic Flat Ride

The Tumble Bug was once a staple of the amusement park midway. A classic flat ride, there were two variations that many parks had. One featured a sort of stubby “face” that looked like a bug, hence the Tumble Bug name. The other variation looked like a turtle and that ride is often referred to …

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The Loyalhanna Gorge Stone Tipple and the Ligonier Valley Railroad

If you frequent Route 30 between Ligonier and Latrobe, you are probably familiar with the old stone quarry tipple which was serviced by the Ligonier Valley Railroad.  The stone tipple was part of a quarry which sat on the north wall of the Loyalhanna Gorge. It was used to load hopper cars full of gravel …

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Cascade Park’s Legacy of the Roller Coaster in the Woods

Cascade Park in New Castle is probably one of my favorite defunct Western Pennsylvania amusement parks. Maybe its because of its fantastic history as an amusement park, but what I think is even more fascinating about the former park is how much of the old park remains — you just need to know where to …

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Black Cross Cemetery: The Mass Grave in Butler County

Tucked along a back road in Butler County is a cemetery that time has almost all but forgotten. In fact, if you didn’t know it was there you would probably drive right past it.  This cemetery is known as Black Cross Cemetery or Wooden Cross Cemetery, this wooded area is actually the unmarked final resting …

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