Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH, a city, port of entry, and county-seat of Allegheny co., Pa., at the confluence of the Monongahela and the Allegheny rivers, at the head of the Ohio river, and on the Pennsylvania System, the Baltimore and Ohio, the New York Central, the Wabash, and other railroads; 353 miles W. of Philadelphia; area, 41.61 square miles; pop. (1890) 238,617; (1900) 321,616; (1910) 533,905; (1920) 588,343.
Municipal Improvements.—The city owns a waterworks system, costing over $7,000,000. The filtration plants have a storage capacity of 230,000,000 gallons, and the water is distributed through nearly 750 miles of mains. There are in all about 1,000 miles of streets paved. The sewer system covers 650 miles. There are over 500 miles of street railways.
Notable Buildings.—The principal public buildings are the Allegheny court house; the Carnegie Foundation, including the Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art and Science, the Allegheny county court house, St. Paul's Cathedral, and many other churches; Masonic Temple; Eighteenth Regiment Armory; and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. There are also many fine business edifices, hotels and theaters; the United States Bureau of Mines.
Manufactures.— The two chief industries are the production of iron and steel; but there are many other flourishing manufactures. The city is well known as the Iron City, for there is nothing in the iron industry which is not here manufactured, including locomotives, bridges, shafting, brakes, all sizes of nails, and the most delicate watch springs. There are in Pittsburgh beside blast furnaces and iron and steel works over 2,500 manufacturing establishments, employing more than 75,000 persons. The most important manufacture next to iron products is glass in many varieties. There are also large tanneries, and manufactories of steel cars, paper bags, carbon points, boots and shoes, white lead, etc. The lumber and pork-packing industries are very large.
Banks.—On Sept. 1, 1919, there were 22 National banks in operation, as well as many private banks and trust companies.
Education.—At the close of the school year 1919 there were over 80,000 children enrolled in the public day schools. There is also an excellent system of night schools, kindergartens, and manual training schools, and many private schools. The institutions for higher education include University of Pittsburgh, Western University of Pennsylvania, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh Academy, Pittsburgh Female College; School of Design for Women, Pennsylvania College for Women, Carnegie Institute of Technology, several theological seminaries, several commercial colleges, Bishop Bowman Institute, Ursuline Academy, Convent of the Sisters of Mercy, and county and city medical schools.
Churches and Charitable Institutions.—There are over 250 churches in Pittsburgh. The most important of these are St. Paul's Cathedral, Trinity (P. E.), St. Peter's (P. E.), First Presbyterian, United Evangelical (German), First Baptist, English Evangelical, etc. Among the charitable institutions are the Western Pennsylvania, City General, the Homeopathic, the Mercy, St. Francis, Passavant's, St. Margaret Memorial, and East End Charity Hospitals; Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum, Convent of the Sisters of Mercy, Western State Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind, Home for Incurables, etc.
Finances.—In 1919 the total bonded debt of the city was $35,199,093, less sinking fund. The assessed valuation in 1919 was real estate $806,020,730, and tax rate $1.33 per hundred.
History.—In 1754, at the suggestion of George Washington the English began to erect a blockhouse on the present site of the city. They were, however, driven away by the French, who built a fort at the junction of the two rivers and named it Du Quesne. In 1758, after two unsuccessful attempts to retake the place, the English under General Forbes made a third attempt, and the French burned and evacuated the fort. In the following year another fort was erected here, named in honor of William Pitt. Shortly after a village was established by some English and Scotch settlers. The British withdrew from the post in 1772, and it was held by Virginia in 1775-1779. The place was incorporated as a city March 18, 1816.