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View Pittsburgh & Its People From The 1850s Through Today

#pixburgh: A Photographic Experience features images from the Sen. John Heinz History Center vault, which contains close to 1 million images. The show features a sampling of 400 images from the 1850s through today — including landmarks, fun, folly and floods.



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William and Pauline Frank and their children, early 1850s
German immigrants William Frank and Pauline Wormser, who married in 1843, were among the first Jewish families to settle in Pittsburgh. Active in both the business and philanthropic communities, William operated a dry-goods store and later a glass factory and was among the founders of Rodef Shalom congregation. Pauline founded the Jewish Ladies’ Relief Association, which assisted with fundraising to aid Civil War soldiers.
 

Dr. George and Mary Turfley and family, c. 1900
George Turfley, the first registered African-American physician in Allegheny County, had his home and general practice in the Hill District. The beloved doctor attended patients for 56 years.
 

South Side Saloon, c. 1900
A small group of patrons poses for the camera along with two bartenders in this image of the interior of a South Side saloon at the turn of the century. Seeing a child among them was not surprising; many saloons were also family-run businesses, with relatives sometimes living in the upper floors of the same building. Saloons outside Downtown also catered to the preferences of specific ethnic groups. For some of these groups, a family trip to a public space such as a saloon would naturally involve children.
 

Advertising department at Heinz, c. 1910
 

Collins Tigers, c. 1912
James Dorsey (front row, second from right) was well known locally for his athletic prowess, and formed his own basketball and football teams. After taking physical-education classes at the University of Pittsburgh, he served as recreation director at Washington Park, the Crawford Bath House, Centre Avenue YMCA, and the Ammon Center. He also won local renown as the only African American to pass the examination required to join the English Folk Dancing Society.
 

Men play traditional instruments in Chinatown, 1912
Remnants of a now-vanished Downtown community, these musicians were part of Pittsburgh’s Chinatown. By the early 1900s, the community featured a park, multiple stores and two competing Chinese fraternal organizations. The community was never very large, and when construction on the Boulevard of the Allies started in 1921, the new roadwork eventually crowded out most of the stores and businesses. By the 1950s, only three families remained.

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