Lest we forget, this isn’t the city of Pittsburgh’s first ‘bicentennial.’
The curious thing about the City of Pittsburgh’s bicentennial this week is that
is not the city’s first bicentennial celebration. In fact it isn’t even the 2nd.
The biggest celebration the city ever held was in 1958
first bicentennial celebrating the nominal founding of Pittsburgh as a place on
the English colonial map and an outpost for the Ohio Company by Royal Charter
as Virginian gentry looked to extend their interests. Really it was the de facto
founding of Upper Yohogania as Virginia
would name the land underneath us later on.It would be decades before the best cartographers and lawyers of the era settled a lingering debate whether the forks of the Ohio rested within the boundaries of Virginia or Pennsylvania.
1958 was a period of
immense change across the city, far more than today no matter how you slice
Take a look at this Pittsburgh
Bicentennial Redevelopment Map
(below) also produced for the celebration. Look at all
we now think of what defines modern Pittsburgh (some good and some bad) that was in construction, or even just in planning,
at the time.
Then there was the 2nd
a 'little known bicentennial for the city
' was pushed as a reason to celebrate again. The nominal excuse was the anniversary of when Pittsburgh was formally incorporated as a Borough.
The city tried to make a big deal of it but even back then editorials
were opining that there was No Point in Celebrating the Bicentennial Again
. Still it sparked a yearlong celebration of sorts.
So here we are, again celebrating a bicentennial of sorts.
This third bicentennial now celebrates the conversion of the tiny Borough in to
a newly defined city of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I am sort of surprised we didn't make a bigger deal of Pittsburgh's first sestercentennial which ought to have been in 2008. We could be doing this every few years if you get just a little more creative.