Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Flemish Pittsburgh?

It turns out I am in Brussels for a few days. I had hoped I could find some unique Pittsburgh connection here in Belgium, but it is proving difficult. So I will resort just to summarizing some of the Belgian connections in Pittsburgh where you can eat Belgian Food, or drink Belgian Beer for sure. Belgium has two parts: Wallonia (French-Speaking) and Flemish (Dutch) regions. For those who really want to obsess, the Carnegie Library has a reference on French Pittsburghers that includes some of Belgian descent. I have not found any known source for Flemish Pittsburghers, but I am sure some are out there. I am here in Brussels becasue the bulk of the EU Bureacracy is here. For those who did not catch it at the time, the Presdient of the EU visited Pittsburgh in February.

Not really a Pittsburgh-Belgium connection but its impossible to not mention Belgium Chocolate. Without meaning any disrespect for any of the other chocolate makers in Pittsburgh, seeing all the chocolate makers here reminded me that the great days of Bolan's in East Liberty are closer to the end than their beginning. Probably the only tenuous Pittsburgh-Belgium connection are some of the older streets. Though most call them cobblestone, the unpaved streets in the city are actually usually made of "Belgian Blocks", though I am sure none were imported from here.


Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I toured a museum of the Belgian royal family the last time I was in Brussels, and it includes a map of all the places in the world where Belgians settled or colonized. Among the places on the map was Charleroi in Washington County (I think it is in Washington County). (A town in Belgium bears that name as well.) That is, I believe, a French-speaking town.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 9:55:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

you know, after I posted that entry I saw signs for the Belgian town of Charleroi and wondered whether there was a connection to our Charleroi. According to the Charleroi, PA web page: (www.charleroipa.org) says that in fact "Charleroi, Pennsylvania was founded in 1890 and named after Charleroi, Belgium the largest glass manufacturer in the world at the time. One of the members of the Charleroi Land Company, Dr. A. F. Chandler, a pioneer in the glass industry, had made a number of visits to the Belgian Community. It was he who suggested the name of the new town. A large number of Belgian immigrants came from the old Charleroi to the new Charleroi, bringing their much needed expertise to the new enterprise. "

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 10:07:00 PM  

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