March 6, 2024

March ACS Book Club Meeting: “Pittsburgh Rising”

Wednesday, March 6th, 2024  Allegheny City Society Book Club

6:30PM at The Parador Inn, 939 Western Ave

Pittsburgh Rising: From Frontier Town to Steel City, 1750-1920  by Edward K. Muller & Rob Ruck

Over 170 years, Pittsburgh rose from remote outpost to industrial powerhouse. With the formation of the United States, the frontier town located at the confluence of three rivers grew into the linchpin for trade and migration between established eastern cities and the growing settlements of the Ohio Valley. Resources, geography, innovation, and personalities led to successful glass, iron, and eventually steel operations. As Pittsburgh blossomed into one of the largest cities in the country and became a center of industry, it generated great wealth for industrial and banking leaders. But immigrants and African American migrants, who labored under insecure, poorly paid, and dangerous conditions, did not share in the rewards of growth. Pittsburgh Rising traces the lives of individuals and families who lived and worked in this early industrial city, jammed into unhealthy housing in overcrowded neighborhoods near the mills. Although workers organized labor unions to improve conditions and charitable groups and reform organizations, often helmed by women, mitigated some of the deplorable conditions, authors Muller and Ruck show that divides along class, religious, ethnic, and racial lines weakened the efforts to improve the inequalities of early twentieth-century Pittsburgh—and persist today.