Yesterday, in Part I of this historical photo essay, we learned about the Pittsburgh Blockhouse that's now being used as a storage shed for Zambelli Fireworks; We learned how the Pittsburgh River Patrol eliminated the need for having a fort here at all; We learned about the origins of the Pittsburgh flag, the Black & Gold and the mysterious William Pitt letter; We learned about "smoky" Pittsburgh as well as intriguing statistics about our bridges. In short, this was priceless information that you should scroll down and read if you didn't do so yesterday!
But once again, we must advise you that, "This information is so important that you should print it out and save it with your other important papers. Some day you can impress the grand kids with your keen insight into all things Pittsburgh as they gather round you in your rocking chair. You'll be saying then, "I'm glad I'm a loyal "P.B.& G." reader, otherwise these kids would think I'm a complete idiot!!!
Today, we're going to examine some of the things that Pittsburgh has become famous for:
Pittsburghers have become known as "Yinzers" because of their propensity for butchering the English language. In the "New York Times" an article once appeared that described the speech of Pittsburghers as being, "The Galapagos Islands of American dialect". For those international readers enjoying this blog today, let me explain further. Instead of a true Pittsburgher saying "Are you folks going downtown with us today?", the true "yinzer" routinely would say, "Are yinz goin' dahntahn with us tuhday?
But in typical Pittsburgh fashion, rather than being ashamed of their strange speech, Pittsburghers seem to celebrate, yea, embrace it. In fact, the term, "yinzer" has now come to take on a life all its' own. For example...
Above: This is a classic example of a "yinzer". Notice the mullet, dirty Steeler jacket and jeans. Perfect for "jaggin' arahnd", another phrase for "goofing off".
Left: We probably all remember seeing a car with a decal that says "OBX" (Outer Banks) drive past us. Pittsburghers now have their own identification with the "YNZ" window decal. This won't get you on the turnpike or a even into the parking lot at Heinz Field for that matter. Fortunately, though, none of the city's 400+ bridges is of the toll variety anyway.
Our final piece of some of our "modern-day history" that we're going to study today is the Pittsburgher's propensity to improvise and work with what little they may have, just like the founders of Pittsburgh always managed to do.
Above: The spirit of our pioneer forefathers lives on! The yinzer above used the tools at his disposal, the cardboard from two empty cases of Yuengling Lager and some duct tape to seal his covered wagon from the elements. You can almost imagine this very vehicle driving around the blockhouse at the point 300 years ago patrolling for Indians and having around a hundred arrows stuck in it!!!
TOMORROW: We're back to Pittsburgh sports coverage as we'll be getting ready for the Panthers heading into the NCAAs. Next week we'll have Part III of our history lessons plus a Pittsburgh Pirates season preview, coverage of our surging Penguins and (hopefully) coverage on Pitt's second round opponent.
Thanks for reading!