But despite all of those fun facts, when VisitPITTSBURGH introduces folks from overseas to the city, Loftus says they’re most excited by two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, and cheese (you know the rest) because it’s something they can identify with. “Even people overseas can pick up a Big Mac,” says Loftus. Yes, the famous fast-food burger eaten all over the world was created right here in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Twenty million visitors had overnight stays in Allegheny County last year, according to Loftus, and the number continues to grow every year. These quirky facts about the region are one of the draws. “Even as a native Pittsburgher, there’s so much I didn’t know,” he says. One of his favorites? Pittsburgh claims the most Catholic relics outside of the Vatican in Troy Hill’s St. Anthony’s Chapel. And the newest fun fact on his pitch? The Steel Curtain, Kennywood’s newest attraction, is the world’s tallest looping roller coaster.
We’ve dedicated this year’s Coloring Issue to Pittsburgh Fun Facts to introduce our readers to some of these lesser-known tidbits about the city. You can peruse the coloring pages below, but the real fun begins when you grab some colored pencils and a pick up a copy of our print issue on stands this week. Have fun coloring, and let us know if you learn something new.
A feminist icon is born
While commonly thought to be a recruitment poster for WWII, the popular image of Rosie the Riveter was actually created in 1942 by Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller as a commission from the Westinghouse Company. It wasn’t until the 1980s that it became part of pop-culture iconography.
Finding a long lost friend
The city was called Pittsburgh in 1758, but the United States Board on Geographic Names ordered that all places ending in “Burgh” had to drop the “H” in 1891. For 20 years, the public argued against the change, and places like Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the University of Pittsburgh refused to adopt the decision. In 1911, the “H” was returned.
Making messages friendlier for over 35 years
How did people indicate sarcasm before the winky face? The next time you end an email with a smile, thank Pittsburgh’s own Scott Fahlman. In 1982, the Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor created the very first emoticon, a smiley face used to communicate on online bulletin boards. :)
The City of Bridges
Most think of Venice, Italy as the city with the most bridges in the world, but that accolade actually goes to Pittsburgh. Today, the city boasts 446 bridges, including the three Sister Bridges — The Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson — all painted “Aztec gold,” connecting Downtown Pittsburgh to the North Side.
A delicious coupling
During the Great Depression, a Pittsburgh staple was born in the Strip District. Joe Primanti assembled an orgy of flavors between two pieces of bread — serving the fries as part of the sandwich instead of on the side, so that workers could eat on the go. Today, Primanti Bros.’ mingling of flavors cheers up hangry folks in 35 restaurants, expanding beyond city limits.