Crawford Grill No. 2

The Sochatoff Building sits at the corner of Wylie Avenue and Elmore Street in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood. This three-story building was constructed in 1917 and would later hold the nationally renowned jazz club Crawford Grill No. 2 between 1945 and 2003. The club, which occupied the entire first floor of the building, was established by African American businessman William Augustus...
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Dorothy Mae Richardson, Community Activist

In the 1960s older intercity neighborhoods in Pittsburgh were being demolished as part of an urban renewal program called the “Pittsburgh Renaissance.” Many lower income residents, primarily African Americans, were forced out of their homes. Some were relocated into public housing, but others were left without a plan for affordable living. Additionally, financial institutions began “redlining”...
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The Spirited History of Pennsylvania Saloons

In 1905 and 1906 Charles and Linnie Ross of Stroudsburg traveled throughout Pennsylvania, photographing residents and buildings in communities they passed. Hoping to sell their prints for a handsome profit, they made sure to shoot the most popular spots in each town. Unsurprisingly, the Rosses photographed dozens of saloons in their travels, including this one in Williamsport. By 1851 saloons...
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Making Industrial Pittsburgh Modern by Edward K. Muller and Joel A. Tarr

Making Industrial Pittsburgh Modern Environment, Landscape, Transportation, Energy, and Planning by Edward K. Muller and Joel A. Tarr University of Pittsburgh Press, 504 pp., hardcover $40 Discussions of “modern” Pittsburgh often begin and end with the Renaissance, the rightfully lauded postwar effort to spruce up the city’s tarnished image and clear its smoky skies. But there is so much more to...
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Lois Weber, Film Pioneer

The Pittsburgh region has been home to many remarkable women over the years, including journalist Nellie Bly, abolitionist Jane Grey Swisshelm, and environmentalist Rachel Carson. Less known among them is Lois Weber, the first American woman film director. During cinema’s silent era in the 1910s and 1920s, she held a unique position in Hollywood. She was not only one of a small handful of women...
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Editor’s Letter

The features in this edition focus on Pennsylvanians who strived for a more equitable, pluralistic America. The articles cover a period from the mid-19th century into the early 20th, a time when movements for civil rights were emerging and new barriers were being broken in several social and cultural realms. The story of Octavius V. Catto reflects a key moment in the history of the struggle for...
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KDKA, Pittsburgh

For those of us living in the 21st century, it is hard to imagine a world without radio, television and the internet. The free flow of information, music and entertainment programming across the country and the world is taken for granted in modern society but was a revolutionary development 100 years ago, when KDKA made communications history with a radio broadcast from Pittsburgh in 1920. The...
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After Suffrage: Pennsylvania’s Inaugural Class of Women Legislators

“For one born and reared as this writer was in hidebound Pennsylvania, it is startling to find eight women in the Legislature of that State. Moreover, to learn from their men fellow-members of the natural way they take their place and do their work.” – Ida Tarbell, 1924 “I believe these eight women are going to make an impression. I believe they are going to ask themselves on...
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Ahead of Her Time: Pennsylvania Aviator Helen Richey

It was the era of plucky barnstorming aviators. Charles Lindbergh had flown across the Atlantic in 1927 and in the ensuing decade the romance of the skies was in full flower. Flight records were being chased and broken with regularity. Faster, sleeker airplanes were being introduced. Air races with cash prizes were in vogue across the country. The public, fed by an eager press, was fascinated....
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Pittsburgh’s Wood-Paved Roslyn Place

It’s not often that architectural historians look down — we usually leave that to the archaeologists — but on Roslyn Place, one of Pennsylvania’s newest National Register–listed historic districts, we turned our heads to the ground to consider something that is rare in America: a wood-paved street. Roughly 26,000 oak blocks make up the 250-foot-long cul-de-sac surrounded by 18 houses in...
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