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Fast Facts about Pittsburgh That You Probably Didn’t Know!

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We may be biased but Pittsburgh is ridiculously awesome. From its strategic role in the American Revolutionary War, to its advancements in industry and technology, Pittsburgh is truly one of the most significant cities in the United States. The city that produced raw material and steel throughout the 19th and 20th century has since transitioned into a leader for technological and medical advancements, amongst other important achievements. 

Combine the city’s history with its modern advancements and the fact that it’s home to iconic championship sports teams, you really couldn’t ask for a better place to live. 

Whether you’ve called Pittsburgh home for your entire life or you’re trying to learn your new city, here are 30 facts about Pittsburgh that yinz probably didn’t know! 

1. Pittsburgh is dubbed the “City of Bridges” and rightfully so. It has 446 bridges, more than any other city in the world, including Venice, Italy.

2. The Burgh should also be called the “City of Steps.” There are more than 700 sets of public stairs within the city limits.

3. Speaking of topography, Beechview is home to the steepest street in the entire United States! Canton Avenue is 630 feet long with 37% grade!

4. Not only is Pittsburgh home to the steepest street in the country, it’s also home to Gravity Hill. If you put your car in neutral at the intersection of McKinney Road and Kummer Road in North Park, your car will appear to roll uphill! Is it an optical illusion or the Earth’s gravitational field? 

5. Dating back to 1764, the Fort Pitt Blockhouse in Point State Park is the oldest structure in Western PA.

6. The iconic fountain in Point State Park pumps out nearly 17,000 gallons of water per minute, using an aquifer under the rivers. 

7. Mount Washington is famous for its two inclines but at one point, there were as many as 15 operating inclines around the city. 

8. Few people know that Pittsburgh was officially spelled without the “h” from 1891 to 1911. 

9. Technically, the country of Czechoslovakia was created in the Burgh! Representatives from Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, and Czech signed the Pittsburgh Agreement in May 1918.  

10. Pittsburgh has many nicknames but none more notable than the “Steel City.” Steel produced here was used to build infamous structures like the Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge and many of the ships built during World War II. 

📷 Carnegie Museum of Natural History

11. You can thank a local Pittsburgher for all of your childhood memories on a ferris wheel at the local fair! Native Pittsburgher George W. Ferris invented the first Ferris Wheel and displayed it at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. He also has a connection to the Duquesne Incline

12. Yinzers love their sports and their booze! Pittsburgh has more bars per capita than any other city in the country (12 per 10,000 residents). 

13. The T-Rex on display at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a holotype – the original specimens upon which their species are based. 

14. Opening in 1895, the Carnegie Museum of Art is the world’s first modern art museum! 

15. Speaking of museums, Bicycle Heaven is the world’s largest bike museum and admission is free! 

16. Scott Fahlam, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, invented the emoticon in 1980.  🙂

17. The Polio vaccine was developed in Pittsburgh by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1950. 

18. Furthering the advancements of medicine, the first simultaneous heart, liver and kidney transplant was completed at Presbyterian University Hospital in 1989. 

19. Oh hey, by the way, The Poison Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh invented the iconic Mr. Yuk sticker in 1971. 

20. We can thank our neighbors in Uniontown for inventing the famous Big Mac! Jim Delligatti, a McDonald’s franchisee launched his creation in Fayette County in 1967. There’s even an entire museum dedicated to the menu item, perfect for a day trip

📷 Bicycle Heaven

21. After eating a Big Mac for dinner, make sure to grab a Klondike Bar for dessert! Sam Isaly (yes, that Isaly) invented the Klondike Bar in 1929.

22. If Klondike Bars aren’t your thing, no worries, grab a banana split! Invented by Dr. David Strickler, a pharmacist, the first banana split went on sale in 1904 at Strickler’s Drug Store in Latrobe. 

23. In 1905, Pittsburgh became home to the first Nickelodeon, aka, the first modern movie theater. 

24. The city is also proudly home to the first ever commercial radio station! KDKA gave its first broadcast on November 2, 1920, providing live election results to its listeners. 

25. WQED first aired in 1954, becoming the first public television station in the US! 

26. The first radio station, the first public television station…and the first gas station! Located on the corner of Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in East Liberty, the first gas station opened in 1913. 

27. While we’re on the topics of firsts, we HAVE to mention that Forbes Field was the first baseball stadium in the United States (1909). Chicago, Cleveland, Boston and New York soon followed suit with their own stadiums. 

28. And speaking of sports, the Civic Arena had the world’s first ever retractable dome stadium used by a major sports team. 

29. Oh, the first pull-tab on cans was developed by Alcoa in 1962. Iron City Brewery was the first to use the pull-tabs. 

30. BINGO! The very first Bingo game was played in Pittsburgh in the 1920s and quickly become a nationwide phenomenon. 

More Things to Do in Pittsburgh

How many facts about Pittsburgh did yinz learn?! Hopefully a good bit! If you have a fact  that we didn’t include, we want to hear it. Send us a message on Facebook or Instagram and we’ll gladly at it to this list! We love learn new things about the Steel City so please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

But Wait, There's More!

References

Britta Moletz

Britta Moletz

Britta is a City Manager for UNATION and author of the Stuff to Do in Pittsburgh City Guide. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Pittsburgh area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinPittsburgh on Instagramand Facebook.

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