1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pittsburgh

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PITTSBURGH (see 21.678) had, according to the U.S. census of 1920, a pop. of 588,193. The increase over 1910 was 54,288 or 10.2%. After the 1920 census was taken the township of Chartiers, with a pop. of 5,000, was annexed, petitions were filed for the annexation of the borough of Homestead with a pop. of 20,452, and a movement was on foot for the merger of the boroughs of Wilkensburg (24,403), Ingram (4,000), Grafton (5,934) and others. Within the metropolitan district of a 10-m. radius, but outside the city limits proper, there was a further population equal in number to that within the municipality itself. In Allegheny county, of which Pittsburgh is the county seat and business centre, there were in 1920 1,184,832 persons, 13.6% of the total pop. of Pennsylvania.

The sesqui-centennial of Pittsburgh, elaborately observed in 1908, marked the beginning of a new period of corporate, educational, social and material development. By legislative enactment (1911) the former Common and Select Councils gave way to a small council of nine members, elected by general vote of the entire city. The mayor continued to appoint the heads of departments (safety, works, health, charities, supplies, property, water, treasury). The comptroller also was elected as formerly by popular vote. The expanding of public business in the city and county, exceeding the capacity of the city hall and the court-house, led to the erection by joint action of a new City-County Building, a fine structure of nine stories. The county in 1920 was completing a twin tunnel under Mount Washington to connect the southern hill district with the city by a high level bridge over the Monongahela river, which will bring that district within 15 minutes' transit of the centre of the city. In 1919 the taxable valuation of Pittsburgh was $1,113,667,425, and the tax rate in 1921 was, for the city, 20 mills on land, 14 mills on buildings and 8.50 mills for school purposes. In 1919 a bond issue of $22,500,000 was voted by the people for subway, boulevards, playgrounds, bridges, parks, etc.

The value of Pittsburgh's products in 1919 was $602,582,300, compared to $246,694,000 in 1914. In 1920 it held sixth place in bank clearings ($8,982,887,399) and first place in per capita deposits (total $817,013,249) and in the manufactured products iron, steel, glass, electrical machinery, steel cars, tin-plate, air brakes, fire-brick, white lead, pickles and preserves, corks and aluminium. The production of pig iron in the city in 1919 was 31,015,364 tons and in the surrounding district 7,440,746 more, a total of 38,456,110 tons. Metal and metal products were valued at $324,261,900; chemical products $2,045,800; clay, glass and stone products $4,345,500; clothing manufacture $7,122,800; slaughtering and meat-packing $21,134,700; confectionery $6,490,500; leather and rubber products $5,589,700; cork-cutting $4,016,500; oil-well supplies $3,678,100. The production of radium in 1920 (18 gr.) probably exceeded that of the rest of the world. The sum of $970,072,700 was invested in 2,580 industrial plants, mills, foundries and furnaces, in which were employed 221,621 men, with a daily pay-roll (1920) exceeding $2,500,000. The annual tonnage of Pittsburgh is 2½ times the combined tonnage of New York, London and Hamburg. As a port of entry the value of imports in 1918 was $6,391,960. The city's contribution to the Liberty and Victory loans was $625,429,600, to the Red Cross $10,194,765, and to the seven relief agencies $13,909,000, making a total of $649,533,365.

In 1911 the Legislature adopted a new school code for the entire commonwealth, coming into operation Nov. 11 1911. Under this code a Board of Education, consisting of 15 members appointed by the Common Pleas judges, took control. Separate school districts were abolished; a new city superintendent, with associate superintendents, was appointed; the scattered and unrelated school agencies were consolidated; new high schools and junior high schools established and buildings erected, such as the Schenley high school, built in 1916 at a cost of $1,500,000 and accommodating 2,000 students. New ward schools of modern construction were established. The teachers numbered in 1920 2,015 in 133 grade schools and 494 in 11 high schools, and the enrolment of pupils in grades was 74,654 and in high schools 12,169. There were in evening grades 198 teachers and 6,245 pupils, and in evening high schools 148 teachers and 5,090 pupils. The public-school system was supplemented by parochial schools which had in 1920 650 teachers and 33,000 pupils. In addition to the high schools there were a number of academies and other schools, 77 in all, on private foundations. The development of higher education during the decade was notable. The Holy Ghost College became Duquesne University, and in 1920 had 2,129 students, including department of law, 86 students, and evening school of accounts and finance, 1,120 students. The Carnegie Institute in the decade increased the extent of its service to the community; its central library, with 464,313 volumes, had 8 branches, 16 stations, 128 school stations, 10 club stations and 8 playground stations, with a circulation of 1,363,365 books; both the scientific museum and the art department added greatly to their collections; in the school of technology the enrolment grew from 2,102 students in 1909 to 4,982 students in 1920, including those in the departments of science and engineering, arts, industries and the Margaret Morrison school for women. The university of Pittsburgh, established in 1908 by assembling the scattered departments of what was the Western University of Pennsylvania, and taking over 43 ac. near the Carnegie Institute for a campus, grew rapidly in its new location, and in 1920 numbered 4,979 students. In the same year there were in the city 227 social, health, religious and welfare agencies.

After careful study of playground systems a bond issue of $800,000 was voted (1919) to initiate a constructive development of parks and playgrounds at public expense. Another civic improvement was the plan that a permanent committee of citizens should be engaged in the solving of the housing problem, and that the chamber of commerce, coöperating with the state, should employ a director in charge of the Americanization programme in which the public schools and corporations coöperate. The Society for the Improvement of the Poor, constructed and opened (1921) the Wayfaring hotel to accommodate 500 men. The 20 hospitals, modern in construction and equipment, with 4,500 beds, included special hospitals for children, eye and ear, maternity, tuberculosis, and contagious diseases. The Magee hospital, established by legacy of $3,500,000 under will of the late C. L. Magee, by agreement the maternity hospital of the university of Pittsburgh, is perhaps the most modern and complete maternity hospital in America.

(S. B. Mc.)