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Pittsburgh

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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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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Pittsburgh’s Smokey Island and it’s Ghoulish Past

It’s not a secret that Pittsburgh has more than a little bit of a dark history. There’s absolutely a reason why it was once described as “Hell with the lid off.” One part of the dark history was the former Smokey Island near Pittsburgh’s Point. This island was nowhere you wanted to be if you …

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Buhl Planetarium: The North Side’s Million Dollar Theater of the Stars

Overall, I haven’t been hugely impressed with some of the “improvements” that have been made on Pittsburgh’s North Side (ahem, Allegheny Center, gag). Anyway, thankfully someone had the foresight to save some of that area’s true treasures including the Carnegie Library of Allegheny, the Allegheny Post Office, and Buhl Planetarium. Buhl Planetarium is one that …

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Finding Mister Rogers Neighborhood at the Heinz History Center

There is a lot of excitement in the air these days with the upcoming Mr. Rogers movie. Fred Rogers was such an iconic figure here in Pittsburgh that you can find tributes to his legacy in many different places around the area. One of my favorites is the Mister Rogers Neighborhood exhibit at the Heinz …

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The Curious Move of the Allegheny County Morgue

With Pittsburgh’s colorful history spanning more than 250 years it is no wonder its buildings have quite a few stories to tell. Honestly though, when I think of Pittsburgh buildings and curiosities, one in particular absolutely rises above the rest — the Allegheny County Morgue. This is definitely a case where the truth is stranger …

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The Fall of Aliquippa Park and Rise of the Aliquippa Works

It might surprise you that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, amusement parks were much more common in Western Pennsylvania than they are today. In fact, dozens of parks were operating all around the Pittsburgh area including Woodlawn’s Aliquippa Park located in Beaver County. I’ve written in the past about how I was shocked …

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