1897: Popular Bicycle Route No. 2 – De Haven and Bakerstown

27 Feb

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According to this article, “the first country run that the new bicycle rider attempts is to Bakerstown, on the Butler plank…The Butler plank has been familiar to wheelmen ever since there was such a thing as wheelmen.”

This ride was apparently so popular that “there is not a bright day during the entire riding season that does not see anywhere from ten to two or three hundred wheelmen at the cozy hotel at Bakerstown for dinner.”

One of my favorite parts of this article, written on May 2, 1897, is this little phrase about the weather: “if the weather is fair enough, which seems doubtful at this writing.”

The struggle is real.

Also mentioned were several clubs such as the Lawrenceville Cyclers, the Allegheny Cyclers, and the Keystone Bicycle Club. The idea of the Lawrenceville Cyclers, in 1897, brings me much joy as one lazy way to make fun of the neighborhood today is to refer to the imaginary “bearded bicyclists in Lawrenceville.” Ironically, this is code for the newer residents from the older residents, but the even older residents formed bicycling clubs.

Since this one is pretty hard to read, I’ve left some of the local bicycle advertisements on the image for your pleasure.

This one includes the Duquesne Manufacturing Company with a bicycle factor on Third and Penn, and a retail location at 518 Wood St. Free riding lessons for all customers.

 

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Streets aligned with the sunrise and sunset at the solstice, just like Stonehenge

27 Feb

Someone decided to map hundreds of cities around the globe and show which streets are aligned with Summer solstice sunrise/winter solstice sunset and the winter solstice sunrise/summer solstice sunset, just like Stonehenge.

Here’s the link for Pittsburgh.

“Unfortunately I don’t know whether these alignments are intentional or just happen to be such on statistical basis. If you know the story of a such street, please send me a quick email and I will add this information.”

 

White Collar Crime Risk Zones

25 Feb

White Collar Crime Risk Zones uses machine learning to predict where financial crimes are mostly likely to occur across the US.

A project of New Inquiry Magazine, the map uses machine learning to predict where financial crimes will happen across the United States, based off of incidents of financial malfeasance since 1964.

From the project team:

“Predictive policing apps are designed and deployed to target so-called “street” crime, reinforcing and accelerating destructive policing practices that disproportionately target impoverished communities of color. Unlike typical predictive policing apps which criminalize poverty, White Collar Crime Risk Zones criminalizes wealth.”

Here’s another screen shot for Pittsburgh.

To really get the full picture, it’s important to go to the full map and click around.

Allegheny County establishments that still allow smoking

25 Feb

Another great map from the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (WPRDC).

This is a list of all the businesses and social clubs who have received an exemption from the Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act, which technically bans indoor smoking, but establishments are allowed to apply for an exemption if they meet certain requirements.

See the full interactive map here.

Pittsburgh 1889 – A Union Trust Company Map from 1939

25 Feb

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Here’s a beautiful full color hand drawn map of Pittsburgh in 1889, but created by the Union Trust Company in 1939.

Some notable things include a covered 9th St Bridge, a canal tunnel, and that Herron Hill was important enough to have a marker. Also, City Hall was on Smithfield St?

I find the orientation of the map interesting as well, as I’ve frequently heard that the Mon Wharf was considered the “front” or entrance to the City, as people often arrived via boat. When you think of it in this way, downtown’s grid makes more sense, with Penn and Liberty comprising the “back” of the City.

I really don’t have much more on this, but found it here.

1897: Popular Bicycle Route No. 13 – Wilkinsburg to New Center

25 Feb

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During the first bike boom of the 1890s, the Pittsburg(h) Press produced a weekly Sunday series of popular bicycle routes around Pittsburgh. All are accompanied by a map, some images, and a description that provides a delightful snapshot into the pre-auto era Pittsburgh.

Published July 25, 1897, this route follows a road race from Wilkinsburg to New Center, or what appears to be Plum Boro near Boyce Park, where there are now places called Center Tavern, Center Elementary School, and the Center Club.

A couple of these “Popular Bicycle Route” articles have been sexist, but this one includes racist elements. While not overtly racist, the description and accompanying caricature is a sad and unfortunate characteristic in newspapers of this era.

The route takes you from Wilkinsburg up Wood St to Franskstown Ave. Continue on Frankstown “through a prosperous farming district” to the Samson farm “with its ever welcome buttermilk.” Wheelmen then take Saltsburg Road past a large farm house with a windmill in the yard, then past “a grading camp of negroes employed on the new Bessemer railroad,” into Center, the “turning point of the race.”

The article ends with mention of some of the faster racers in the area.

1897: Popular Bicycle Route No. 12 – Pittsburg to Freeport and Indiana

25 Feb

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During the first bike boom of the 1890s, the Pittsburg(h) Press produced a weekly Sunday series of popular bicycle routes around Pittsburgh. All are accompanied by a map, some images, and a description that provides a delightful snapshot into the pre-auto era Pittsburgh.

Just a simple ride, published on July 18, 1897, out to Tarentum and Apollo to see the Kiski River. The article gives a description to avoid Sharpsburg, “about a mile and a half of the worst road in western Pennsylvania.”

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