City Paper's Coloring Issue: Pittsburgh Fun Facts illustrated by local artists | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

City Paper's Coloring Issue: Pittsburgh Fun Facts illustrated by local artists

Cover illustration by Abbie Adams
Pittsburgh has a lot to brag about: The polio vaccine was invented here, our city was the first to have a public television station, and we get to claim the first commercial radio station too.

click to enlarge First Robotics Center 1979
First Robotics Center 1979
There’s a reason why we’re often called The City of Champions, as our football team is tied for first when it comes to Super Bowl rings; the Penguins have taken home Lord Stanley five times; the Pirates have a really pretty stadium. And we have other nicknames too: the City of Bridges, The Paris of Appalachia, and, because of all of the movies filmed in the city, The Hollywood of the East. (Remember when Pittsburgh transformed into Gotham City for The Dark Knight Rises? That’s the one that really put us on the map, according to VisitPITTSBURGH’s chief marketing officer Tom Loftus.)

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.

click to enlarge First U.S. Public TV Station 1954
First U.S. Public TV Station 1954
There seems to be something for everyone in Pittsburgh’s history, whether you’re interested in food, arts, science, or culture. Just last week, as Loftus was introducing the city to a group of elder law attorneys, he found they were surprised at how bicycle-friendly the city was, especially excited by the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile rail-trail bike tour connecting Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.

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.

Illustration by Abby Winkler

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.

Illustration by Jerome Charles

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.

Illustration by Xiola Jensen

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. :)

Illustration by Maggie Negrete

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.

Illustration by Lizzee Solomon

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.

There's even more artwork to color in this week's print issue. Pick up a copy, color your favorite page, and tweet us a pic of your masterpiece!

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