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Oakland: History


In 1774, what was the selling price of the land that is today Schenley Park?

"$1.21 an acre." (1)

When was Oakland first known as "Oakland?"

"The name 'Oakland' first appeared, in 1839, in a local paper called Harris' Intelligencer." (2)

Why is Oakland known as "Oakland?"

"This area derived its name from the abundance of oak trees found on the farm of William Eichenbaum, who settled here in 1840." (3)

What may have happened to these numerous oak trees?

According to remarks published in 1904 of James J. Booth, select city councilman and chairman of the Oakland Board of Trade's committee on ore dust, "This ore dust is destroying everything, too." (4) "The ore dust has killed my flowers and trees. Before we had this ore and this smoke from the Junction railroad we had hundreds of fine oak trees hereabouts. Now we have none." (5)

According to Mr. Booth, what was the source of the "ore dust"?

The Jones & Laughlin company. (6)

What spurred Oakland's growth in the nineteenth century?

"Oakland developed rapidly following the Great Fire of 1845 in Downtown, with people moving out to what was then suburban territory." (7) "By 1860, passenger rail service had encouraged residential growth as far as Bates and North Bellefield Streets, and commercial development along Fifth Avenue." (8)

When was Oakland Township incorporated?

Oakland Township was incorporated in 1866. (9)

When was Oakland Township annexed to the City of Pittsburgh?

Oakland Township was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh in 1868. (10)

How did Mary Croghan Schenley affect the City of Pittsburgh?

"In 1889, Mary Croghan Schenley gave the city 300 acres in Oakland for a park. Officials bought another 100 acres from her for Schenley Park. Schenley later gave another gift, land for Schenley Plaza." (11)

When can a bridge be a bridge and yet not be a bridge?

When it's been buried.

What was Andrew Carnegie's gift to Oakland and to Pittsburgh?

At Schenley Plaza "Andrew Carnegie built a library, museum and concert hall complex which opened in 1895." (12)

What were the predictions for Oakland at the beginning of the twentieth century?

In 1904, Arthur A. Hamerschlag, Director of Carnegie Technical School, "said that in his estimation Oakland [was] bound to become the institutional center of Pittsburg." (13) "Leading business men and property owners in Oakland agree[d] with the talented, energetic head of the big Carnegie school and...believe[d] the district wherein they [had] settled [was] bound to enjoy a future of great prosperity." (14)

What are the origins of Carnegie Mellon University?

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is the result of a merger in 1967 of "Carnegie Institute of Technology, founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie to train skilled persons for industry" (15) and "Mellon Institute, founded in 1913 by Andrew W. Mellon and Richard B. Mellon to conduct industrial research." (16)

When was Forbes Field built?

Forbes Field was built in 1909. (17)

How old is the University of Pittsburgh?

The University of Pittsburgh is heir to Pittsburgh Academy, incorporated in 1787. (18)

When did the University of Pittsburgh take up residence in Oakland?

The Western University of Pennsylvania relocated from Allegheny to Oakland in 1907, becoming the University of Pittsburgh. (19)

What are the origins of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning?

"The University of Pittsburgh's expansion dates to 1921 when, after scrubbing an 'Acropolis' plan to construct on a hillside, Pitt decided to build its main facility straight up. A site was chosen on Frick's Acres, and in 1925 work began on [at that time (20)] the world's tallest educational building, the 42-story Cathedral of Learning." (21)

When the University of Pittsburgh acquired Forbes Field in 1958, what were the expectations reported at the time?

"With the elimination of sports events at Forbes Field, the biggest generator of traffic congestion will be removed. The area will be free to develop as a center of educational, cultural and medical activities." (22)

When was the final game played at Forbes Field?

According to the plaque accompanying the old home plate, now inside Forbes Quadrangle, a part of the University of Pittsburgh, the final game played at Forbes Field was between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs on June 28, 1970.

How may the relationship of the University of Pittsburgh to its home in Oakland be described?

"The University of Pittsburgh moved to Oakland in 1908, forever changing the neighborhood, forever changing the city. Though many of its accomplishments have received national and international attention, the University's everyday impact is far more telling, if subtle. The relationship between Pitt and its environment moves forward by quiet, almost immeasurable inertia, unnoticed until the next research breakthrough or next commencement or neighborhood tiff." (23)

How was Oakland dealing with issues of development, growth and planning in 1993?

"In an overall process called 'Oakland 2000,' the neighborhood [was] planning for the future through task forces discussing Pitt's long-term construction plan, participation in a rewrite of Oakland's zoning regulations by the city, and an update of a 1980 guideline for the neighborhood's development." (24)

What, among other plans, have been proposed for Junction and Panther Hollows?

"There had been talk for years about doing something useful with, or to, the hollows on the periphery of Schenley Park, such as filling them in with slag or using the sides of the ravines as a natural amphitheater and stadium." (25)

What is the significance of "the neon-lit corner of Forbes Ave. and Bouquet Street in Oakland?" (26)

"Site of 'The O' [The Original Hot Dog Shop] and the Wall [in front of the University of Pittsburgh's Law School], an unofficial rallying point for college students and local teenagers, every weekend, year 'round." (27)

What are some of the major institutions that make their home in Oakland?

Carlow College, Carnegie Mellon University, Children's Hospital, Falk Clinic, the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Magee-Womens Hospital, Phipps Conservatory, the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, Pittsburgh Blind Association, the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, the University of Pittsburgh (including the School of Information Sciences), the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (consisting of Montefiore University Hospital, Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Presbyterian University Hospital and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic), Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children and The Carnegie.

What is one view of Oakland's importance?

"Oakland is one of the region's hubs. Like the Golden Triangle and the airport corridor, Oakland's economic growth provides capital and creates jobs for residents of Allegheny County and beyond. Over the last 25 years, Oakland's educational and medical institutions have grown and become internationally competitive." (28)

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