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Monday, December 1, 2008

Pittsburgh, All that is Good and Bad in America


December012008
From USA Today-Travel
By Ramit Plushnick-Masti-AP Writer

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After 250 years, Pittsburgh remains an anomaly

PITTSBURGH — George Washington and Gen. John Forbes looked out over the strategic fork of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers. Behind them, Fort Duquesne smoldered after being burned down by the French who fled hours earlier down the Ohio River.

"Let's call it Pittsboro'," the Scottish general told the future first president of the United States on Nov. 25, 1758, hours after the victory that ensured English would be spoken from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains.

This week, the city that emerged from that battle to become one of the richest industrial cities in the world and then one of the first major ones to go bankrupt, commemorates its 250th anniversary. And it's as much an occasion for celebrating as it is for soul-searching.

Today, that point where Washington and Forbes stood is home to a newly renovated state park. Behind is a skyline of glass and steel majestically rising over rivers crisscrossed by an array of bridges — a view whose beauty is shocking, mostly because it is unexpected.

Many outsiders still picture the city as it was years ago — smoke and soot-filled, made up of mostly blue-collar factory workers. Now, there is a high percentage of professionals living in the relatively clean city made up of 88 colorful neighborhoods, vibrant cultural centers, top-notch universities and a renowned medical institution.

"Pittsburgh over the last 250 years has been ... a microcosm of American history. You find everything that is good about America, and a lot of what's not so good about America here," said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the Heinz History Center who has overseen the production of a new exhibit celebrating Pittsburgh's history.

But Pittsburgh remains an anomaly. Its residents — even the newcomers — scorn it, but secretly love it.

FULL STORY CONTINUED...


Pittsburgh City View at Night "You find everything that is good about America,
and a lot of what's not so good about America here," says
Andy Masich, who has overseen a new exhibit celebrating
Pittsburgh's history at the Heinz History Center.


By Keith Srakocic, AP Photo

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