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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/435

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THE WHITER PITTSBURGH

THE WHITER PITTSBURGH

By JOHN F. CARGILL

PITTSBURGH, PA.

IT has very happily been said that the location of the city of Pittsburgh was decided in the Carboniferous age of our planet. Equally true it is that, uncounted ages before the primal granite was clothed in verdure which "the creeping centuries" drew from surrounding air, some happening in far-away nebular space—some law of gravitation or propulsion determined the soft coal deposits, and the three branching rivers of later age. These things influenced and prearranged the site of the Iron City. If the widest range were given to imagination, perhaps it might be argued, too, that the all-enfolding laws shaped even the course of modern industry—declaring what manner of people should become the city's builders. But it is not the purpose of this article to raise any question of law versus foreordination.

The early settlers in the Pittsburgh district were largely composed of Scotch-Irish; a stock rugged and honest, that has, individually and collectively, assisted in the making of more world history within the past three hundred years than any nationality has ever done within a similar period. The unleavened Scotch-Irishman can hardly be described as of fascinating or lovable personality; but empires have never been founded or perpetuated by qualities sweetly lovable. Strength and determination are the essentials; and "rugged and honest" is a fair designation. Many another people might well covet one so good.

He has usually been punctilious in his dealings, reliable and moral: a considerate husband and father, religious, Calvinistic, opinionated, self-sufficient, blunt and austere. He is little interested in literature, or in science except in so far as it might contribute to his immediate business interests. The Bible is, in the main, he thinks, sufficient for literature and the conduct of life. (The reference is not so much to the comparatively modified and composite man of to-day as to the generation that is passing.) In character and temperament he is radically different from the New Englanders who settled some of our other bustling cities to the north and west; but no man is in position to say that, so far as material results are concerned, the Pittsburgher has not availed himself to the utmost of his opportunities.

Before the war of the rebellion, Pittsburgh was of comparatively little consequence. There was a town here, which had called itself a city for more than fifty years. Situated at the junction of three rivers, the waterways furnished the means of traffic. But there was