Luna by Brian Butko

Luna Pittsburgh’s Original Lost Kennywood by Brian Butko Senator John Heinz History Center, 140 pp., paper $12.95 It’s not often that a history book begins with a graphic description of a lion attack. But in Brian Butko’s latest, Luna, it is the perfect way to set the stage for this enjoyable look at the growth of the entertainment industry in Pittsburgh at the turn of the 20th century. The...
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Siegmund Lubin: The Forgotten Filmmaker

In Philipsburg, the summer of 1914 ended with a crash that could be heard for miles and seen around the world. On the slopes of Centre County’s Collision Field, a stadium formed by nature, five thousand festive, flag-waving spectators gathered to watch the wrecking of two great Pittsburgh & Susquehanna Railroad locomotives. Bands entertained the Labor Day celebrants with musical...
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Ernest: Life in a Mining Town

In 1904, the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company began deep mining in Ernest, Pennsylvania. In 1965, the industry there came to an end. Between these two dates, people lived out their lives in this small community northwest of Indiana, where for over sixty years every facet of existence revolved around the digging of coal from the hillsides surrounding the town. But what was life like in a...
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Chin Up, Smile, Keep ‘Em Happy!

With the construc­tion of movie palaces through­out Pennsylvania in the years immediately fol­lowing World War I, ushering – quite ordinary employment in the days of the nickelodeon – became a much-sought-after vocation. For it was then that movie house showmen first pronounced that service was the “personality” of show business, and that ushers were an individual...
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