Ruthless Tide by Al Roker

Ruthless Tide The Heroes and Villains of the Johnstown Flood, America’s Astonishing Gilded Age Disaster by Al Roker William Morrow, 303 pp, cloth $28.99 The Johnstown Flood of 1889 retains  its fascination. The flood was caused by the breaking of a dam owned by the South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club, a group of Pittsburgh industrialists and financiers. In a horrifying display of the...
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Colonel Fred: The Handsomest Man in the Pennsylvania National Guard

A surprising number of the residents of Warren, Pa., remember Fred E. Windsor (1859-1936), though his name as well as his exploits have been long – if not deservedly – forgotten beyond the corporate limits. In the memory of Warrenites, he is the man on the borrowed white horse who led the Memorial Day parades in their youth, a relic and a reminder of the exhibitionistic optimism of...
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Fayette at the Crossroads

Fayette County has always been at the crossroads, both literally and figuratively, its destiny shaped by its location, the incredible riches of its natural resources and the vi­tality of a people descended from al­most every nation of Europe. It has a son of dual personality, geo­graphically divided between mountains and lowlands, historically divided into two almost equal eras of economic...
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Frederick J. Osterling and a Tale of Two Buildings

There was much to build in a growing industrial city like turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh, and many of the important architectural com­missions went to Frederick J. Osterling, a versatile designer, a respected businessman and a prominent – if occasionally controversial – architect. But when Osterling received that commission of which all archi­tects dream, it resulted in the sudden...
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Uniontown’s Prince of the Gilded Age

Nothing captures the attention of the press more than a good scandal. In Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in January 1915, it had one. The financial collapse of coal baron Josiah V. Thompson, and the ruin of his bank, summoned a reporter from the New York Tribune to the Fayette County seat. Stepping off at the Pennsyl­vania Railroad station, the unidentified reporter hurried to Thompson’s office...
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The ‘State’ of Allegheny

One of the first centers of the organization of the Re­publican party and scene of its first national conven­tion in February, 1856, Allegheny County was strongly for Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860. As the vote count proceeded, one of the leaders kept sending telegrams to Lincoln’s home in Illinois, keeping him up on the news that “Allegheny gives a majority of …...
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A Grande Dame Named William Penn

A hotel is more than a place where people seek shelter, conduct business, entertain, work, play, make friends, and, perhaps, fall in love. It is so much more. It is a stage on which both small and large dramas of daily life are played out – where individuals celebrate the important occa­sions of their lives or where they may seek solitude. While all hotels are interest­ing places, a grand...
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“The Public Is Entitled to Know”: Fighting for the Public Memory of Henry Clay Frick

On Saturday, July 23, 1892, Russian immi­grant and New York anarchist Alexander Berkman burst into the office of Henry Clay Frick in down­town Pittsburgh, stabbed him three times, and shot him in the ear and neck. Frick fought back and, with his secretary’s assistance, eventually subdued his assailant. Although he had sustained several serious wounds to his legs and chest, Frick insisted...
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Letters to the Editor

Homestead Revisited Thank you for the contribution by Brent D. Glass in the winter 1992 issue, “‘The Public is Enti­tled to Know’: Fighting for the Public Memory of Henry Clay Frick.” Many Pittsburgh resi­dents with three generations of local family knew that his reputation was built on the backs of coal miners and steel workers whose wretched lives he ignored. An...
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Bookshelf

Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architec­ture by David Bruce Brownlee and David G. De Long Museum of Contemporary Art and Rizzoli International Publications, 1991 (448 pages, paper, $34.95) Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974) had strong ties to Philadelphia during his internationally acclaimed architectural career. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1906, and was encouraged by the Graphic Sketch Club, Central...
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