Here to return to
AN INDUSTRIAL METROPOLIS
PITTSBURG was discovered by George Washington. In other words, Washington first suggested the spot as a desirable site for a fort, while it was still untamed wilderness. This suggestion was made in January, 1854, after he returned to Virginia from an adventurous journey over the mountains to demand that the French, who were beginning to establish themselves in the region, should withdraw. Hitherto the angle where the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers unite to form the Ohio had been neglected, though it was scarcely less important than Niagara as a key to the great West. A band of backwoodsmen was promptly dispatched to start a fort there. They had been at work on it about two months when they were interrupted by the arrival of a swarm of bateaux that came down the Alleghany bringing half a thousand Frenchmen from Canada. The latter soon compelled the English to abandon their project. They then demolished the unfinished fort and began a much larger one to which they gave the name of Duquesne, their governor.
The next year General Braddock arrived in Virginia with troops from England. More troops were raised in the colonies, and in June the little army entered the wilderness on its way to the Ohio. Three hundred axmen went on ahead to cut and clear the road, and in the rear followed the train of packhorses, wagons, and cannon, toiling over the stumps, roots, and stones of the narrow forest track. Squads of men were thrown out on the flanks, and scouts ranged the woods to guard against surprise. The French were well aware of this hostile expedition, and a few of them and some of their Indian allies hovered about the English, and now and then scalped a straggler.
On the seventh of July the main body of the English, consisting of twelve hundred soldiers, besides officers and drivers, forded the Monongahela from the southern to the northern bank about eight miles from their destination. They were beginning to move along a rough path in the dense woodland toward Fort Duquesne when the head of the column encountered the enemy. About three hundred French and six hundred Indians had come forth from the fort to oppose them. The place of meeting was at the foot of a steep and lofty hill where now is the busy, smoke-belching manufacturing city of Braddock. There was no ambuscade, and at first the advantage was with the English. But their opponents soon scattered and fought from behind the trees, while the English regulars remained in huddled ranks, greatly disconcerted because they could see no enemy to shoot at. A charge on the lurking Indians would have been useless, for they would have scattered and eluded pursuit and quickly returned to the attack.
The Virginians at first fought effectively in the Indian fashion and might have saved the day, had not the brave but injudicious Braddock, furious at such apparent lack of discipline and courage, ordered them with oaths to fall into line. Some of the regulars, who in a clumsy way imitated the provincials, he beat with his sword and compelled them to stand with the rest in the open. Braddock had four horses shot under him, and he dashed to and fro like a madman. Washington, then a youth of twenty-three, who was one of Braddocks aids, had two of the horses that he rode killed, and four bullets passed through his clothes.
In the end Braddock was fatally wounded, and the mob of soldiers, after being three hours under fire, and their ammunition exhausted, broke away in a blind frenzy and ran back to the ford. About three-fourths of the force had been killed or disabled. The fugitives were not pursued, yet they hurried on all night, nearly overcome with fear and despair. During the days that followed, the retreat continued with a good deal of disorder, and the abandonment or destruction of much baggage. On the thirteenth day Braddock died. He was buried in the road, and the men, horses, and wagons passed over his grave, effacing every sign of it, lest the Indians should find and mutilate the body.
The losses on the French side in the battle were probably scarcely a tenth of those suffered by the English. After the conflict ended, the field had been abandoned to the savages, who made it a pandemonium of pillage and murder. Later they returned to the fort laden with plunder and scalps and escorting about a dozen prisoners. These captives were tied to stakes and burned to death that night on the banks of the Alleghany opposite the fort, with the Indians dancing about and yelling like fiends.
Where the great modern city now stands, the wilderness had only been subdued at the extreme point of the peninsula. The fort had the water close on two sides, and it frowned down on the river with a massive stockade of upright logs, twelve feet high, mortised together and loopholed. Facing in the other directions were ramparts of squared logs, filled in with earth and fully ten feet thick. There was an open space within surrounded by barracks for the soldiers, officers’ quarters, the lodgings of the commandant, a guardhouse, and a storehouse, all built partly of logs and partly of boards. The forest had been cleared away to a distance of more than a musket shot from the ramparts, and the stumps were hacked level with the ground. In this cleared space, close to a protecting ditch that adjoined the fort, bark cabins had been built for such of the troops and Canadians as could not find room within. The rest of the space was covered with Indian corn and other crops.
Three years later the English again made an attempt against Fort Duquesne. At their approach the French blew up the fortifications and withdrew. Soon afterward, on the same spot, Fort Pitt was begun. It was substantial and costly, but it is all gone now with the exception of one little blockhouse. This blockhouse was erected when there was fear of trouble with the Indians at the time of Pontiac’s Conspiracy. On the landward side of the fort at that time was a moat, but the moat was perfectly dry when the river was low, and the savages could crawl up the ditch and shoot any person who might show his head above the parapet. The blockhouse was built to command the moat and frustrate that sort of approach.
The sturdy little brick and timber structure, loop-holed as of old for the discharge of muskets, is almost swallowed up now in the great city. It occupies a secluded nook with the buildings of the town encroaching close on one side, and numerous railway tracks on the other. Pittsburgers are reputed to be too busy making money to think about the history of the place, but they have provided for the permanent preservation of this blockhouse.
Until recently the caretaker was an elderly woman who had been at the blockhouse a long, long time keeping it tidy, selling souvenirs, and recounting its story to visitors. But one day, when she had finished eating dinner, she very calmly remarked to her daughter: “Oh! what’s the use of it all? Let’s take the butcher-knife route to get away. I’m so tired of this world! There’s nothing in life but just saying one thing over and over and over again.”
Then she caught up a big knife and made a grab at her daughter, but the latter took refuge in flight and escaped out of the house. When she returned with help she found that her mother had hung herself with the clothesline.
A new caretaker was installed in the blockhouse, and her reticence is said to have been quite monumental for a time. Visitors naturally concluded that her predecessor’s tragic end had made her solicitous lest much repetition in the imparting of information should craze her also.
The neighboring waterways have been the scene of many interesting and curious incidents, and among the rest I would recall the fact that in 1777 a ducking-stool was established where the Alleghany and Monongahela unite to flow on as the Ohio. A visiting Virginian writing of the Pittsburg of that time says, “The homes were miserable huts, and the inhabitants as dirty as in the north of Ireland or Scotland itself. The place was unblessed by the gospel and infested with dogs.”
About the same time another gentleman, in giving his first impressions of the place, wrote of how surprised travellers were to find here “elegant assemblages of ladies and a constant round of parties and public balls.” Which was the truer view of the town? Very likely the observers simply came into contact with different phases of the local life, and doubtless there were various grades of society. As for the ducking-stool its use was not confined to punishing a too free use of the tongue on the part of the lowly. Women of position were numbered also among its victims.
Imagine the scene when a ducking was to take place. Here were the unsullied streams and a frontier village amid the virgin forest. All work was suspended and a crowd had gathered. Some of the men wore cocked hats and laced ruffles and buckles and swords, and there were Indian stragglers gay with paint and feathers looking on to see how the pale-face managed his squaws. Fine ladies had come in their silks and satins, and gaping lads and lasses in coarse attire of fustian and woolen, and stolid hunters and woodsmen, slatternly women of the humble class, and swarms of dirty children.
All were gazing at the unhappy victim suspended ready for her plunge. Our forbears thought the punishment plainly fitted to the crime, for as they said it was “to drown the noise that is in a woman’s head.” The ducking-stool was hung at the end of a pole which worked on a horizontal bar supported by two uprights. A sousing, at least temporarily, always had the desired effect, and the woman would beg for mercy and promise in future to control her unruly tongue.
Pittsburg’s three rivers were vital channels of traffic in the old days, but now they are far less important than the railroads. This is partly because they are not dependable. In winter they are icebound, and in summer there are times when the Pittsburg boys play baseball on the dry sandbars in the bed of the streams. Many steep bluffs and rude, lofty hills border the rivers in the Pittsburg neighborhood and the region above. They give an enlivening touch to the scene, and, before the industrial period, must have been wildly beautiful. At their bases, beside the streams, is a constant succession of manufacturing villages whence the smoke never ceases belching forth from the tall chimneys and keeps the valleys forever grimy, and the atmosphere dim and sooty. Pittsburg itself with its numerous iron furnaces and busy factories is of course the monarch of this industrial realm; and as seen by night, when the furnace flames leap and glow amid the gloom along the watersides, it has been likened to hell with the lid off. Here is produced one-half the steel and glass that is manufactured in the United States. It has more millionaires than any other city on the globe, and the finest residences and grounds in America. Aside from the fact that it is an important gateway to the West, the chief secret of its growth lies in its position in the center of a region exceedingly rich in bituminous coal, iron, oil, and natural gas. So general was the use of this gas at one time that the city emerged from its smoke cloud, but the period was short, and the factories and furnaces resorted again to coal and coke. Nevertheless, except for the big manufacturing plants, it is natural gas that lights and heats most of the big town. I was informed that the gas is so cheap that the poor people, who in any other city would eagerly carry off the wood rubbish resulting from building operations, here disdain such stuff, and men have to be paid to cart it away.
A toll bridge
Formerly Pittsburg had a reputation for being superlatively healthful. It is related that the three first churches were on adjacent corners and employed a single sexton, who was once known to remark complainingly that the times were very hard — for he had had no person to bury for three months. As late as 1845 a physician on a tour visited Pittsburg and published the affirmation that he never before was in such a healthful place. He especially recommended it to persons suffering from dropsies, dysentaries, and cholera. Its beneficial qualities he attributed to its remoteness from the swamps of the Mississippi Valley, and to the gases which filled the air from the bituminous coal that was burned.
At a somewhat later period deaths became rather numerous, but this was no reflection on the healthfulness of the situation. It was the result of the influx of foreign laborers, “who used to kill each other every Saturday night after they got their wages.”
Among its other assets this thoroughly modern city has a ghost story. There was formerly a pack peddler who went about the adjacent region, and he was sufficiently aristocratic to have his packs carried by a negro servant. One day the peddler was found dead. His throat had been cut, and his valuables stolen. The negro was suspected. He was caught and bound and hung on Pittsburg’s highest hill. Since then that hill has been haunted. For a long time its crest was an amusement park. This became rather tough in character, and those of its patrons who came home late at night with the gifts of visions imparted by liberal draughts of booze often saw the negro’s eerie figure stalking through the gloom with his hands tied behind his back.
One of the city’s sources of excitement is its floods. The frequency and height of these very likely have some relation to the deforesting of the headwaters of the streams, but the encroaching of the manufactories on the banks has doubtless narrowed the channels, and dams back the water. “We had one of our greatest floods in 1832, the year I was born,” an elderly citizen said to me. “It submerged the whole lower part of the town. An immense amount of driftwood used to come down in those old-time floods. That was due to the lumbering done up above. A good many people here went out in boats to catch the best of it. Some of it floated near enough to shore so you could catch it with a pole. You could get a supply of firewood and some good sawlogs.
“Freight went and came over the mountains in long, heavy wagons with bowed tops covered with canvas. Each wagon was drawn by four or six horses. There was a good deal of rivalry among the drivers to beat each other in the time they made. A driver who got here from the east within a specified number of hours was privileged to suspend some bells over the harness of his horses at a certain point outside of the town, and their jingle heralded his arrival as he drove into the streets. There used to be strings of these wagons on the turnpike coming and going as far as you could see.
“Passengers were carried in four-horse stage-coaches. There was always quite a bustle of excitement in the town when the coaches went around to the hotels gathering up passengers before leaving. The larger baggage was strapped on behind, and the smaller baggage was stowed under the driver’s seat. It was natural that the drivers, moving about as they did, should be pretty well informed, and they certainly felt their importance. The coaches travelled day and night, but there were good taverns where the travellers could stop if they wanted to. You found a tavern once in ten miles. Relays of horses were kept at them, and at every one such of the passengers as were thirsty could get liquid refreshments while the horses were being changed. It was a rough kind of journeying, and the rocking of the coach became very tiresome if you were going a long distance.
“Travelling on the canals or rivers was much pleasanter. We had fine river boats that plied between here and Southern ports, and in the spring and fall a packet boat left every day. They were large boats with side-wheel paddles and carried a great deal of freight, and often were just laden with passengers. I’ve seen our wharves so full of freight you could hardly get along there. The low water of summer was a handicap to river travel, but we had boats light enough to float on dew, and those kept going.
“We used to have rafts on the river then — lots of ‘em. Some were of sawed lumber, and some of logs. There’d be a little cabin of boards on each raft for the crew to live in. At night a raft would tie up to a tree. on the bank. Traffic on the river also made use of keelboats and flatboats. The former were much like canal boats. In going upstream a long rope extended from the boat to a horse that walked along on the shore, or perhaps the towing was done by the crew. Where towing was not practical they made use of a sail, or resorted to poling. Such a boat would make one round trip a year to New Orleans. The freight charges were enormous, particularly for bringing sugar, molasses, and other Southern products up the river.
“The flatboats were equipped with an oar at each side of the bow, and a steering oar at the stern. They carried stone and sand, hay, potatoes, cattle, everything. Often they were just oblong boxes of rough planks, so loosely fastened together that they could be knocked to pieces when they finished a down-river journey, and sold for lumber. You could stand on the bank and count a hundred boats and rafts in sight at the same time.
“Yes, there’ve been great changes on the river within my recollection, and great changes here on the land, too. When I was a boy the city was all down to the point, and if you went back a mile or so you found farms and market gardens where now the millionaires’ mansions stand. But I have n’t a doubt that the people who lived in the comfortable old farmhouses were just as happy as the millionaires in their present-day palaces.”
For the most part, the smoky manufacturing villages and towns that are so numerous in the Pittsburg region are utterly devoid of sentiment and charm. But I discovered one exception. That was a little place named Economy a few miles down the Ohio. Here dwelt, until comparatively recently, a peculiar religious sect known as Harmonists or Economites. The sect was founded in Germany by George and Frederick Rapp about 1787, but its adherents were much harassed there by petty persecutions and presently emigrated to America. They made a settlement in Pennsylvania which they called Harmony, and from there they later moved to Indiana and built New Harmony. This in turn was abandoned in 1824 and they came to the vicinity of Pittsburg. At that time they numbered about five hundred.
They taught that the condition of celibacy is most pleasing to God, that the coming of Christ and renovation of the world were near at hand, and that if people would follow the precepts of Christ they must hold their goods in common. As time went on they increased in wealth, but decreased in members. Not only did they have much property in real estate, but they had investments in coal mines, and controlled at Beaver Falls the largest cutlery manufactory in the United States.
The village still presents in many respects its ancient Economite appearance. There are regular rows of simple brick houses, the great assembly hall, the charmingly quaint church with its massive tower, some of the old walled gardens, and several of the mills. Evidently the buildings were put up with memories of Germany in mind, and the result is an old-world village in our new-world surroundings. The houses are snug to the walks, and on the side toward the street their walls rise to a height of two stories, but a wooden leanto slants low down on the other side. No door breaks the street walls, for the houses turn their backs on the public ways, and you have to go through a gate and enter them from the garden. Thus the people avoided having their attention attracted by worldly scenes, and they tried to confine their meditations to things heavenly.
A village acquaintance let me into the church. He knew where all the keys to the various doors were kept on dusty beams and in out-of-the way nooks and crannies, and I explored the edifice quite thoroughly. Last of all I climbed the narrow, gloomy stairways in the tower up to where the clock and the bells are, and then went out onto a little gallery whence I could look down on the spreading church roof and the village. On each side of the tower was a clock face equipped with a single pointer to roughly indicate the time. But this indefiniteness was ameliorated by the fact that the clock struck the quarter hours. Moreover, at twelve o’clock sharp, each mid-day, it let loose a peal that lasted for about three minutes — a clamor suggestive of an alarm of fire. This was the “dinner bell.”
When I was in the tower the clock had run down, and the weights that furnished the motive power hung inert at the end of the long ropes. The sexton was supposed to wind it up daily, but he had been called out of town the previous evening and had not yet returned.
Across the road was the “Great House” in which had dwelt the leader of the sect. It was much like the other houses except that it covered more ground. Beyond it was a very large garden where there were grapevines, and a pretentious fountain, and a curious little stone hut or chapel.
The village used to be much more verdant than it is now. On all the house walls there had been trellises to which grapevines clung, and the streets were lined with cherry trees which furnished fruit as well as shade. The grapevines have been neglected, and most of them are dead and gone; and the boys clambered about up in the cherry trees in quest of fruit and broke down the branches, so the authorities finally had the trees removed.
“Before these people came here,” one of the villagers said, “they lived in just such a village as this that they’d built and named New Harmony, in Indiana. At the head of the community was Father Rapp. He was a self-educated man who’d become a religious lunatic. Originally he was a poor weaver. The Harmonists did n’t marry, and they would prove by what St. Paul taught in the Bible that marriage was n’t desirable. I wonder what sort of a fellow St. Paul was. Probably nature had n’t favored him with good looks. I guess he must have been goggle-eyed, splay-footed, humpbacked, and in general so ugly the women would n’t look at him. Otherwise, he would n’t have said such things as he did. But the Harmonists believed in his celibacy doctrine, and it was their idea that they ought to shun all the ordinary pleasures of life and pray unceasingly.
“One time when Father Rapp had been praying all night there in their Indiana town he heard the sound of a trumpet, and he went out in the yard, and down came the angel Gabriel. Near the door was a rock, and the angel alighted on that, and he left the print of his foot in it. He must have come with his foot hot straight from heaven and with a good deal of force, or he would n’t have made such an impression. That footprint has been there ever since. To the Harmonists it was sacred, and some would kiss it. They believed that if they continued in the ways they’d adopted, living abstemiously, and the men keeping clear of the women, that the angel Gabriel would return and take them in his arms up to heaven so they’d escape the pangs of death.
The old church at Economy
“They got their Indiana land for nothing, and they improved it and even acquired wealth, but a good many of ‘em suffered from malaria, and some died. That made the people around them say, ‘Ho, ho! thought you was n’t going to die.’
“Quite a number deserted, and after a while the rest sold out, packed up their goods on wagons, and come here to make a new start. They bought three thousand acres of land and a lot of cattle and sheep, and built big barns, and they had a saw mill, a grist mill, a cider mill — oh! they made the best cider I ever tasted. They were particular about the quality of whatever they made, either for their own use or to sell. Everything was done up in apple-pie order. They had a woolen mill and a cotton factory, and they raised grapes and made wine, and they grew mulberry trees, the foliage of which they fed to their silkworms, and they had a mill where the silk was woven into cloth.
“The silk business was considerable of an industry with them, and they wore various silk garments of their own producing. On Sunday when they came out in all their glory the women would each have a big silk kerchief about their shoulders, and they had silk gowns, and quaint blue silk bonnets, and the men had silk trousers and coats. The fashions did n’t change with them every year as they do with us now, and the clothes were all right till they wore out. A well-cared-for silk gown would last a woman all her life.
“Father Rapp had a silk robe that he used to put on every evening and walk up and down his garden among the mulberry trees that grew there praying for the angel Gabriel to come and take him up to heaven. It was a very gorgeous gown of ruby velvet lined with pale blue silk.
“Since Father Rapp died, the Great House in which he lived has been haunted. Strange noises are heard in it at night, and apparitions have been seen, and two Sisters of Charity who slept there had the bedclothes yanked off from them. One of its occupants, when he was dying, shrieked and yelled that a great treasure was buried in the cellar. However, perhaps the influence that made him say so may have been just devilish; and yet a Spiritualist medium has said that he spoke only the truth, but that something dreadful would happen to anyone who knowingly dug in the cellar. If a person found the treasure by chance he would be all right.
“The people were cheerful, comfortable, and kindly. They were old-fashioned and Dutch-like in appearance, and they clung to the use of the German language among themselves. The men and women went out and worked together in the fields or in the different mills, and they all did just as they were ordered. Their labor was not very arduous, and they stopped to rest when they got tired. But they were not always satisfied with the management of their superiors, and there was more or less heart-burning.
“It was a frugal peasant community, and the people fared very simply. Twice a week rations were given out from the general supplies — wine, beer, and cider from the assembly hall cellar, and other things from the company store. They ate five times a day after the manner of the fatherland, beginning with breakfast at six in the morning and ending with supper at half-past seven. They had various feasts, and in the fall one great feast that lasted three or four days when they ate together in the big assembly hall. Their meals were not very sociable. Once I went to dinner in the house of the leader of the society, and I began talking just as I would anywhere else, but I did n’t get any response, and then I noticed that the Father had stopped with his knife upright in one hand and fork in the other, and was looking at me viciously. ‘Shut up!’ he said in German, and I did so. It was their way to eat in silence, except for asking in a low voice for what they wanted, and to get through and get out.
“The old village was perfectly charming — absolute order everywhere, and a sort of peacefulness brooding over it — a Sunday-go-to-meeting quiet. The women kept the houses scrubbed, and there were muslin sash curtains at the windows, and on the wide window-sills were flowers, especially primroses, that bloomed all winter. They were very careful and choice about everything. Neatness and cleanliness were universal.
Even the streets were immaculate, and beyond the houses were such nice little gardens!
“No one was allowed on the street after nine o’clock, and anyone caught later than that was arrested and taken before the trustees. Once a friend of mine came to the place on a late evening train, and he was halted by two night watchmen accompanied by a big dog. They were very gruff, and he was simply scared to death. The watchmen patroled the streets, and every hour of the night, beginning with nine, they stopped right at the church and called out, ‘All’s well, we wait for death!’
“If they found any toughs or tramps they took them to a house set apart for that class of people, and an old couple lived there to take care of the house and of them. The vagrants were n’t exactly welcome, yet such was the treatment they received that this was a favorite resort of theirs. It was against the rules for the villagers to feed them at the houses; so they were compelled to go to their own hotel. There’d be forty or fifty of them some nights in seasons when the tramps were very thick. In the evening or in the morning you’d see the wayfarers sitting on benches along the house walls, and the old man and woman bringing out a big cup of coffee and a chunk of black bread to each man. After breakfast the old couple bid the tramps God speed and sent them on their way.
“The Harmonists had a beautiful old hotel here. It was just such a hotel as you might find in a German village. Everything was neat and primitive, and the dining room floor was sprinkled with white sand. For three dollars a week you could get every imaginable comfort there. It’s gone now. Unfortunately it was torn down by somebody who forgot himself. That was Billy Rice, a fellow who came here as a boy and was employed around the hotel at first as a hostler, and later as bar-keeper. He married a nice sort of girl who had money, and then he bought the hotel.
When he pulled the hotel down it was with the idea of building something more pretentious, but he could n’t get the cash. So he set up in business as a butcher in a little shop on his property, and lived in some rooms over the shop. Meanwhile he’d been growing very fond of whiskey until he nearly lived on it, and he began to spend more than his income and to be abusive to his wife. Still, he was n’t a bad sort of fellow when he was sober. One day he came into the room where his wife was ironing and said he must have money and told her to get it from her mother. She refused to do so, and he deliberately took out a revolver and blew her head off. She fell, and her body lay under the ironing table. As for Billy, he got into bed and shot himself. There they found him seriously wounded. He was rushed to a hospital, but he only lived a few weeks, and I think he died there practically from the want of liquor.
“Time went on and the Harmonists became few and old, and bedridden and forlorn. They could n’t do their customary work, and many of them had to have caretakers. So at last they sold out and the society came to an end.
“A little outside of the village they had a graveyard. Burials were made in very rough wooden coffins with no handles, and they’d just put a rope around the box and lower it into the grave. Then, when the leader said, ‘Dust to dust, and ashes to ashes,’ the people would drop flowers down on the coffin. Everybody brought a boquet, even if it was only a wizened little flower with a few bits of green. None of the graves were marked. The people tried to live as equals here on earth, and they chose to sleep as equals in the grave with no gravestones to suggest differences or to invite ostentation. Lately a sewer has been run through the graveyard, and inevitably it disturbed many of the grass-grown, unmarked graves.”
The Harmonists certainly made an interesting experiment in living, and some features of the social order they established are quite appealing. Their trials and disappointments were not without compensations, and I wonder which is the more to be envied — that serene little village of Economy in the time of its prosperity, or the strenuous city of Pittsburg with its mingled wealth and poverty.
NOTES. — Pittsburg is certainly not beautiful, but it is a chief industrial center of the continent, and a wonderful wealth producer. The reason for its supremacy in these respects is the fact that it is in the heart of one of the richest coal districts in the world, so that it has the advantage of cheap fuel for its manufactories.
Through the adjacent rivers more than 20,000 miles of inland navigation are open to the steamers of the city, and, owing to the enormous coal traffic, the tonnage of Pittsburg’s river craft is greater than that of New York.
As early as 5804 a line of stages was established between Philadelphia and Pittsburg, a distance of 350 miles. The first railroad across the Alleghanies reached Pittsburg in 1847.
A half day can be spent to advantage visiting one of the great steel works. As a contrast to the big, grimy manufactories along the rivers, one should see the palaces in the residence district on the heights.
Pittsburg’s right to the title of “the Smoky City” has been vindicated by the discovery that the average resident carries in his lungs a quarter of a pint of soot.
Braddock, 7 miles up the Monongahela, deserves attention as the battleground where the British were so dreadfully defeated by the French and Indians.
That charming old communistic village of Economy, 19 miles down the Ohio, should also be seen.
Johnstown, 77 miles east of Pittsburg, is of interest because of the inundation that overwhelmed it on May 31st, 1889. It is an iron-making city at the junction of the Conemaugh and Stony Creek. The valleys here are deep and narrow, which explains the completeness of the catastrophe. Above Johnstown, 18 miles, was Conemaugh Lake, about 3 miles long and 1 mile broad. This was a fishing resort of a club of Pittsburg anglers. The waters were restrained by a dam 1,000 feet long, 110 feet high, 90 feet thick at the base, and 25 feet thick at the top. Violent rains filled the lake to overflowing, and about 3 o’clock that May afternoon a 300 foot gap was broken in the dam. The water swept down the valley in a mass a half mile broad and 40 feet high, carrying everything in its way. In 7 minutes it had reached Johnstown. A little below the city the mass of houses, trees, machinery and other wreckage was checked by a railway bridge. It caught fire and many persons, unable to free themselves from the debris, were burned to death. The estimated total of lives lost varies from 2,300 to 5,000. The property loss was at least $10,000,000.
A coal village with a mountainous culm heap in the background