Monday, April 23, 2018

The Long and Short of the Letter S in Olde English Printing and Script

The origins of the long s,[ſ] can be traced all the way back to old Roman cursive, a script used in Rome for everyday, informal writing from the first century AD to about the third century. In this script, the letter s was written as a vertical down-stroke with a small curve at the end of it, and a diagonal upstroke at the top. It looked almost like a check mark, with an added diagonal line on top
of it. In new Roman cursive, which developed between the third and seventh century AD, s was written almost as we write the lowercase r today: a vertical down-stroke, followed by an upstroke with a curve. This was the type of s that found its place in the Carolingian script, which was developed in the court of Charlemagne in order to provide a uniform and legible form of writing. It’s in this script that the r-like form evolved into the long s we see in the Bill of Rights.

If you’re wondering what the s we know and use today was doing during that time, don’t worry, it was there. It’s just that it was used as the uppercase S, mostly, up until the eleventh or twelfth century. Around that time, the long s started to be used when the letter appeared at the beginning or in the middle of a word, and by the fifteenth century, this practice seemed to become established. So, the word “sound” would have been written as “ſound,” and the word “rest” would have been written as “reſt.” The short s (also known as the round s) was used at the end of a word, or after a long s which appeared in the middle of a word. That’s why the word “processes” would have been written like this: “proceſses.”

So what is the appropriate usage of the Long S and the Short S?


  • short s is used at the end of a word (e.g. his, complains, succeſs)
  • short s is used before an apostrophe (e.g. clos'd, us'd)
  • short s is used before the letter 'f' (e.g. ſatisfaction, misfortune, transfuſe, transfix, transfer, succeſsful)
  • short s is used after the letter 'f' (e.g. offset), although not if the word is hyphenated (e.g. off-ſet)
  • short s is used before the letter 'b' in books published during the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century (e.g. husband, Shaftsbury), but long s is used in books published during the second half of the 18th century (e.g. huſband, Shaftſbury)
  • short s is used before the letter 'k' in books published during the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century (e.g. skin, ask, risk, masked), but long s is used in books published during the second half of the 18th century (e.g. ſkin, aſk, riſk, maſked)
  • long s is used initially and medially except for the exceptions noted above (e.g. ſong, uſe, preſs, ſubſtitute)
  • long s is used before a hyphen at a line break (e.g. neceſ-ſary, pleaſ-ed), even when it would normally be a short s (e.g. Shaftſ-bury and huſband in a book where Shaftsbury and husband are normal), although exceptions do occur (e.g. Mansfield)
  • short s is used before a hyphen in compound words with the first element ending in the letter 's' (e.g. croſs-piece, croſs-examination, Preſswork, bird's-neſt)
  • long s is maintained in abbreviations such as ſ. for ſubſtantive, and Geneſ. for Geneſis (this rule means that it is practically impossible to implement fully correct automatic contextual substitution of long s at the font level)
  • Compound words with the first element ending in double s and the second element beginning with s are normally and correctly written with a dividing hyphen (e.g. Croſs-ſtitch, Croſs-ſtaff), but very occasionally may be wriiten as a single word, in which case the middle letter 's' is written short (e.g. Croſsſtitch, croſsſtaff).

The Demise of the Long S


The long s was used in the vast majority of books published in English during the 17th and 18th centuries, but suddenly and dramatically fell out of fashion at the end of the 18th century, reflecting the widespread adoption of new, modern typefaces based on those developed by Bodini and Didot during the 1790s.

The intentional exclusion first occurred in a major publication in 1785 with Englishman John Bell's printing of Shakespeare. In the Prolegomena to the Dramatick Writings of Will Shakespeare (1788), Bell explains why he omitted the long s. This was the aim of many printers of the late 18th century, when texts were commonly leaded. It also helped to avoid the confusion of long s with f. Over the next two years, the English Chronicle and the World which Bell published also made the change. The London Times followed suit in 1803, and the conservative Gentleman's Magazine had made the switch by 1808.

The first American work which intentionally eliminated the f has not yet been pinpointed. However, it is known that T. and W. Bradford, Philadelphia printers and booksellers, had adopted Bell's technique by 1798. The evidence for this is a copy of a Spanish grammar book printed in that year. It is probably safe to assume, therefore, that the unknown first work was a slightly more glamorous topic and could have appeared some years before 1798

Although throughout most of the 1790s the vast majority of English books continued to use long s, during the last two or three years of the century books printed using modern typefaces started to become widespread, and in 1801 short s books overtook long s books.

As might be expected, the demise of long s in France seems to have occurred a little earlier than in England generally from the mid 1780s, and long s had been almost completely displaced by 1793.

The ominous sign of death for long s was took place on September 10th 1803 when The Times newspaper quietly switched to a modern typeface with no long s or old fashion ligature, reforms instituted by John Walter the Second who became joint proprietor and exclusive manager of The Times at the beginning of 1803.

Over the next decade, a widespread transition was achieved both in the colonies and abroad. The transition was only hindered by the cost of replacing old fonts and arguing of the esthetic appeal of the short s. Benjamin Franklin wrote to Noah Webster in 1789 complaining:

... And lately another fancy has induced some Printers to use the short round s instead of the long one, which formerly served well to distinguish a word readily by its varied appearance. Certainly omitting the prominent letter makes the line appear more even; but renders it less immediately legible; as paring all Men's Noses might smooth and level their Faces, but would render their Physiognomies less distinguishable.

He went on to express a hope -that American printers would "avoid these fancied improvements," thereby making their editions "more agreeable to Foreigners in Europe and to the great advantage of our Bookselling Commerce."

Franklin and the other traditionalists were ignored, for the popularity of the short s continued to grow. There was a resurgence of the f's popularity during the 1830's.But by the second half of the 19th century long s had entirely died out, except for the occasional deliberate antiquarian usage. The literature available on orthography is extensively researched and detailed.

Source: Research & Text by Bryan Wright

Remembering When Americans Picnicked in Cemeteries

For a time, eating and relaxing among the dead was a national pastime.

BY JONATHAN KENDALL APRIL 20, 2018


A small group picnics on ledger-style tombstones in Historic St. Luke’s Ancient Cemetery. The photo is not dated but is believed to have been taken prior to St. Luke’s 1957 Pilgrimage Service. COURTESY HISTORIC ST. LUKE’S

WITHIN THE IRON-WROUGHT WALLS OF American cemeteries—beneath the shade of oak trees and tombs’ stoic penumbras—you could say many people “rest in peace.” However, not so long ago, people of the still-breathing sort gathered in graveyards to rest, and dine, in peace.

During the 19th century, and especially in its later years, snacking in cemeteries happened across the United States. It wasn’t just apple-munching alongside the winding avenues of graveyards. Since many municipalities still lacked proper recreational areas, many people had full-blown picnics in their local cemeteries. The tombstone-laden fields were the closest things, then, to modern-day public parks.

In Dayton, Ohio, for instance, Victorian-era women wielded parasols as they promenaded through mass assemblages at Woodland Cemetery, en route to luncheon on their family lots. Meanwhile, New Yorkers strolled through Saint Paul’s Churchyard in Lower Manhattan, bearing baskets filled with fruits, ginger snaps, and beef sandwiches.



A historic image of the Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. COURTESY WOODLAND CEMETERY AND ARBORETUM

One of the reasons why eating in cemeteries become a “fad,” as some reporters called it, was that epidemics were raging across the country: Yellow fever and cholera flourished, children passed away before turning 10, women died during childbirth. Death was a constant visitor for many families, and in cemeteries, people could “talk” and break bread with family and friends, both living and deceased.

“We are going to keep Thanksgivin’ with our father as [though he] was live and hearty this day last year,” explained a young man, in 1884, on why his family—mother, brothers, sisters—chose to eat in the cemetery. “We’ve brought somethin’ to eat and a spirit-lamp to boil coffee.”

The picnic-and-relaxation trend can also be understood as the flowering of the rural cemetery movement. Whereas American and European graveyards had long been austere places on Church grounds, full of memento mori and reminders not to sin, the new cemeteries were located outside of city centers and designed like gardens for relaxation and beauty. Flower motifs replaced skulls and crossbones, and the public was welcomed to enjoy the grounds.


Enjoying a book and a snack in a Lower Manhattan cemetery. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS / LC-DIG-GGBAIN-19433

Eating in graveyards had—and still has historical precedent. People picnic among the dead from Guatemala to parts of Greece, and similar traditions involving meals with ancestors are common throughout Asia. But plenty of Americans believed that picnics in local cemeteries were a “gruesome festivity.” This critique, notably from older generations, didn’t stop young adults from meeting up in graveyards. Instead it led to debate over proper conduct.

In some parts of the country, such as Denver, the congregations of grave picnickers grew to such numbers that police intervention was even considered. The cemeteries were becoming littered with garbage, which was seen as an affront to their sanctity. In one report about these messy gatherings, the author wrote, “thousands strew the grounds with sardine cans, beer bottles, and lunch boxes.”

Though the macabre picnics were considered “nuisances” in some communities, they did give participants a sort of admired air. One reporter lauded the fact that the picnickers looked “happy under discouraging circumstances,” and even said it was a trait “worthy of cultivation.” The fad of casual en plein air dining among the crypts would soon come to an end, though.


A reproduction of an admittance pass to Woodland Cemetery from 1926; it notably prohibits bringing in refreshments. COURTESY WOODLAND CEMETERY AND ARBORETUM

Cemetery picnics remained peripheral cultural staples in the early 20th century; however, they began to wane in popularity by the 1920s. Medical advancements made early deaths less common, and public parks were sprouting across the nation. It was a recipe for less interesting dining venues.

Today, more than 100 years since Americans debated the trend, you’d be hard-pressed to find many cemeteries—especially those in big cities—with policies or available land that allow for picnics. Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, for example, has a no picnic rule.

But the fad isn’t entirely dead in the United States. The country’s immigrant population includes families carrying on traditions that call for meals with departed loved ones, and cemeteries will hold occasional public events in the spirit of this era. There are still scattered graveyards where you can picnic among tombstones, too, particularly if you know someone with a sizable family lot. In those cases, all you need is a picnic basket filled with treats, and you and your undaunted party can partake in an old American tradition. Just remember to clean up after yourselves. The penalties for doing otherwise may be grave.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Derailment of The Duquesne Limited Passenger Train - Connellsville, PA

SEVENTY PERSONS KILLED IN DUQUESNE LIMITED WRECK
PASSENGERS SCALDED TO DEATH IN A CROWDED SMOKING CAR.

Big Atlantic Type Engine Struck Pile of Lumber and Terrible Disaster Followed at Laurel Run.

The Dead and Injured.

DEAD.
                                                                            Charles Langford, Wilmerding, Pa.
The list of dead, as identified at the             J. Edgerly, Butler, Pa.
  morgues of J. E. Sims, J. S. Stader             Richard D. Ducett, Baltimore, Md.
  and Morris & Co. at 2 o’clock this             Charles M. Grey, Baltimore, Md.
  afternoon are as follows:                             J. Twilly, Brooklyn, N. Y.
C. A. Wilson, Connellsville, Pa.,                     Herbert Homes, Emelton, Pa.
  identified this morning.                             C. L. Heater, Assistant Division
Leo Wubbeler, Beaver Falls, Pa.                     Engineer, Hazelwood, Pa.
Prospera Francesko, Allegheny                    A. G. Protzman, residence unknown.
James W. Coakley, Rochester, Pa.                   Gesso, an Italian.
M. Myerowitch, Johnstown, Pa.                   Unknown Chinaman
T. J. Farman, Philadelphia, Pa.                   Jesse Hines, Tarbora, N. C.
Walter Stewart, Camden, N. J.                   F. B. Nolker, Eldridge, Md.
Geo. F. Rhein, Baltimore, Md.                  Chas. M. Wagner, Berkeley Springs,
John K. Powers, Cumberland, Md.            W. Va.
M. K. Smith, E. S. Goldsmith and                  John H. Willis, Pittsburg, Pa.
 C. A. Feinnello, Connellsville.                  Charles K. Stendorf, residence
W. A. Gaed, Agent C. V. R. R.,                 unknown.
  Martinsburg, W. Va.                                 Charles M. Zepler, Philadelphia, Pa.
Harold B. Morrison, 131 Flowers                 W. A. Kalp, Mt. Pleasant, Pa.
  street, Pittsburg.                                         S. S. Roush, B & O employee
J. Wade Shupe, Mt. Pleasant, Pa.                Alfred C. Bannard, Pittsburg, Pa.
G. J. Winkler, a member of the fire        J. W. Martin, Hancock, Md.
  department, Westmont, Pa.                John Adams, Addison, N. J.
William Sheedy, Patterson Creek,                John Simon, Hungarian, New York.
  W. Va. Unknown Slav.
Carmine M. Mitchell, Rochester, Pa.        J. W. Keczner, Cumberland, Md.
Joseph Grey, Brooklyn, N. Y.                        James Fox, residence unknown.
E. Reynolds, York, Pa.                                Joseph ------, residence unknown
S. E. Good, McKeesport, Pa.                       Fifteen dead still unidentified
Joseph Shelhaus, Rochester, Pa.
J. W. Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.                   INJURED.
G. W. Biser, Berkeley Springs,               Edward Keffer, Somerset, Pa.;
  W. Va.                                                fatally.
B. Murray, Pittsburg, aged 12 years.       Harry Devlin, Connellsville and
Joseph Cook, fireman, Glenwood, Pa.           Cumberland; serious.
Louis Helgroth, conductor,                        John Brownlee, North Braddock;
 Cumberland, Md.                                slight; left for New York last night.
William Thornley, engineer,                        Thomas Dom, baggagemaster; head
  Glenwood, Pa.                                         cut; went to home in Pittsburg.


The most appalling disaster in the history of the Pittsburg Division of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad occurred at Laurel run, two miles west of Dawson, last evening. Sixty-eight passengers and three trainmen were killed in a mad plunge of the Duquesne Limited on a sharp reverse curve, caused by some heavy timbers falling from a west-bound freight train to the east-bound track, along which the Limited was speeding at the rate of 50 miles an hour. Forty-three passengers met instant death or were cooked by hissing steam escaping from engine No. 1465. Five passengers died on the relief train between the scene of the wreck and the Connellsville station. Eight passengers and Conductor Helgroth died at the hospital.

Harrowing Scenes.
The scenes at the wreck were harrowing. Half a hundred passengers, most of them English speaking, were literally cooked alive in the smoking car. A second disaster was averted by the presence of mind of Conductor Helgroth, fatally burned at the time, Conductor Edward Baker, who was dead-heading over to Cumberland on the Duquesne, and Baggagemaster Thomas Dom. They rushed up the track the instant the wrecked train had come to a standstill and with matches flagged train No. 49, which was stopped by Engineer Mose Johnston only within half a car length of the wreck. Helgroth fell fainting alongside the track after No. 49 was stopped and died at the hospital at 3 o’clock this morning. Dom was bleeding from a wound eight or ten inches long on the head and suffering from internal injuries when he realized the danger of a second disaster after his car had toppled over almost into the Yough river and ran up the track with Helgroth and Baker. The latte was riding in the rear of the train and was not injured.

Engineer William Thornley, a veteran at the throttle, had the big Atlantic No. 1465 doing 50 miles an hour or better on one of the best stretches of running ground on the Pittsburg Division when the accident happened. Fireman Joseph Cook, just a week off the Wheeling Division, was on the other side of the cab.

Running Fifty Miles an Hour.
The train was made up of eight cars, two Pullmans, a dining car, in charge of Conductor F. R. Nichols, three day coaches, a regulation baggage and a sealed express car. Some distance below Laurel run the Duquesne passed the west-bound freight. Thornley hadn’t started to slow down for Dawson; in fact he had his throttle wide open approaching the reverse curve just at the Laurel run bridge. While the curve is a sharp one, the track and roadbed are good at that point and passenger engineers bent on making their schedule do not shut off when taking the curve. There was not an instant’s warning that death was at hand for half a hundred passengers. Before Thornley had time to push back his throttle a notch the mighty Atlantic plunged from the track after striking several 60-foot timbers which had fallen over from the west-bound track. The engine passed over the obstruction, but the ends tilted and caught the tender, throwing it high into the air aver the top of the engine and nearly 100 yards up the track, where it landed sideways, blocking both tracks. The ponderous engine plunged in between the two tracks for a short distance and then caromed over on its side to the right. The sealed express car went clear down to the river, ploughing to the right. The baggage car telescoped the engine and landed down over the bank clear of the tracks. The first day coach followed the baggage, but the momentum of the train by this time was losing force and instead of telescoping the engine the coach veered off the right.

Fireman Cook had the hand of the steam gauge around to the 200 mark. As the smoker, crowded to the full capacity of every seat, ripped along the side of the big passenger engine the steam dome caught it just at the window height. Wrecked and battered open as it was, every ounce of steam from the engine poured forth its hissing messenger of death. From end to end the scalding cloud shot across the interior of the car. Not a single passenger escaped the deadly summons to another world. One inhalation was fatal. Every one of the dead passengers is burned. Some of them are scalded from head to foot.

Dead Awfully Distorted

The skin came off with their clothes at the morgues in town last night and this morning as the undertakers and their assistants prepared the bodies for burial. The features of the dead were terribly and horribly distorted in many instances. Death came quickly, but its agony evidently was intense. Not a soul escaped from the smoking car. Those who were not killed outright were rescued within a few minutes by passengers from the Pullman cars and the other day coaches which followed the smoker. All of the cars were derailed, but they did not leave the road bed. The tracks were torn up for over a train length and the big timbers responsible for all the damage were splintered into hundreds of pieces and imbedded and tangled in the under mechanism of the cars. In the front portion of the coach immediately following the ill-fated smoker several passengers were killed. One of these was not taken out of the wreck until after daylight this morning. He was Chas. Zepler, who was pinned in by the wreckage close to the roof of the car. He had left his wife and son but a few minutes before the accident, going forward from the day coach to take a smoke. He hardly had time to get to the forward end of the smoking car until the crash came. Mrs. Zepler and her little son came to Connellsville last night, the former hoping against hope that her husband would turn up safe. The recovery of his body was broken to her as gently as possible and today she will accompany the remains to their home in Philadelphia. Another passenger, who stood close to the door of the second coach and the smoker was caught between the bumpers as the two cars crashed together. For 30 minutes he sat with feet dangling down between the bumpers, but held in the death grip about the waist until death relieved his sufferings. To Arthur May, an express messenger on No. 49, this passenger begged piteously either to be released or killed outright. No one could give relief, and strong hearts turned away and wept as the unfortunate man’s life passed away in violent convulsions, irantically pleading with God for mercy and the chance to see his family once more.

No Survivors.

There is not a survivor of the smoking car able to tell the experiences of the few seconds during which the car was filled with steam. Two of the survivors, Edward Devlin and John Brownlee, at the Cottage hospital, may recover. All the balance will die, Dr. T. H. White said to a Courier reporter today.

Edison Goldsmith was sitting about the middle of the smoking car. Shortly after leaving Pittsburg he was invited back into the dining car by Andrew Hans of Connellsville to have dinner on the way up. He declined the invitation, remarking that his upper would be waiting at home and he didn’t want to disappoint his mother.

M. K. Smith, Division Operator of the Connellsville Division of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, was riding well up in the smoking car or the front end of the coach next the smoker, his exact place on the train being unknown. It was not until 5 o’clock this morning that Smith was identified. He had been in Pittsburg Wednesday on railroad business and Mrs. Smith expected him home by 8 o’clock. She was assured by friends that he was not on the train and that he was detained at work by the wreck. None of Mr. Smith’s friends were aware that he was among the dead until his body was taken in charge at Morris & Company’s morgue. There papers on his person gave the startling information that he was among the victims. Friends then made a closer examination and readily identified him. At 8 o’clock, Mrs. Smith was waiting for her husband to drop in for breakfast when the news of his death was broken to her.

J. Wade Shupe, a prominent citizen of Mt. Pleasant, was not identified until about 8 o’clock this morning. Friends came for the remains this afternoon. Mr. Shupe was married and was a son of O. P. Shupe, the well-known flour mill man and capitalist.

Passengers to the Rescue.

The passengers on the Pullman cars were not shaken up much. The dining car was well filled at the time the engine jumped the track. Conductor Nichol was hurled headlong down the aisle and dishes were scattered in all directions. A. D. Soisson and wife and W. H. Marietta and Andrew Haas were in the dining car. They were not injured. Mr. Haas and Marietta were among the first to rescue the dead and injured from the smoking car. Once or twice the wrecked cars were threatened with fire, but the flames were quickly checked. The wreck crew worked clearing up the tracks all night and had them open this morning.

As fast as the bodies were recovered from the smoking car they were laid side by side on a high bank above the railroad. Some of them were covered with handkerchiefs, etc., while other stared in awful hideousness under the glare of many torch lights. Steam blistered the tongues and lips of the victims to an awful size and they protruded in a sickening manner. Fireman Cook was found clear of his engine. Engineer Thornley was under the wheels of the smoking car. The top of his head was crushed in. Otherwise he was not much marked or burned.

The Dead Trainmen.

William Thornley, the engineer who lost his life in the wreck of the Duquesne Limited last night, was one of the best known men in the railroad service about Pittsburg. Mr. Thornley was first engaged in the B & O service as engineer of September 15, 1882, when he began running as freight engineman from Pittsburg on the local division to Connellsville. He knew every inch of the road, and was regarded form his first week of service as one of the most careful men in the service. He followed his freight work several years and then was assigned to passenger runs on local trains, then to through runs. When the Duquesne Limited was instituted by the B & O between four and five years ago, just after the reorganization was begun, one of the enginemen selected for the responsibility of seeing that the train was run on schedule time was Thornley. He had served continuously since in this service.

Mr. Thornley’s home is at 4905 Lytle street, Hazelwood. He was 52 years old and leaves a wife, one son and three daughters. For a number of hears he lived in Connellsville.

Fireman Cook was recently married and has been connected with the B & O since 1900, when he came from Baldwin, Tenn. He was also regarded as a first-class man in the service, this accounting for his promotion form a minor passenger run to the place with Thornley on the limited engines about a week ago. He was a member of Iron City Lodge No. 18, Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen.

Conductor Helgroth was a popular passenger man. He ran extra on the through runs and had a wide acquaintance among the patrons of the B & O. He is married and leaves a wife and family at Cumberland.

Baggagemaster Thomas Dom for a number of years made his home in Connellsville, having runs out of here. He is not dangerously hurt. He is at the Cottage hospital. Dom lives in Pittsburg and has a wife and several children.

Arrival of the Dead

After the arrival of the relief train and the disposition of the dead and injured the crowd at the depot waited for the arrival of the morgue train. Forty-three bodies were unloaded from the train and taken to City Hall, which Burgess C. W. Patterson had thrown open. Prisoners were released from the cells to make room for the corpses. From City Hall, Undertakers Morris & Co., J. E. Sims and J. L. Stader took charge of all the bodies they could handle. Thirty-seven bodies are at Sims’ morgue, 15 at Morris & Co.’s and 16 at Straders’. All the nearby undertakers were telephoned for and came to lend their assistance in the work of cleaning up the bodies. It was a hard, long task, but under the circumstances it was very well handled.

Today the town is in a state of intense excitement. The morgues are crowded with visitors, viewing the unidentified dead. Rumors of identifications are rampant on the streets, each new name added to the list bringing with it a new aftermath of heart-rending sorrow. Early this morning, people from all over the country flocked into town, uncertain regarding the safety of their friends known to be in Pittsburg yesterday. In spite of a drizzling rain great crowds are about the morgues, some morbidly inclined, others searching for news of missing friends. S. E. Good of McKeesport, one of the dead, was on his way to New York where he was to be married tomorrow. His brothers identified his remains this morning.

Article continues with the history of the Duquesne Limited.


The Courier, Connellsville, PA, Thursday Evening, December 24, 1903, page 1, columns 1-4

Pittsburgh’s Chinatown and How It Disappeared

Pittsburgh’s Chinatown was a small but a lively downtown feature and Boulevard of the Allies was the burgeoning force that slowly squeezed the life out of it.

Chinatown in Pittsburgh began to coalesce in the late 1800s, a stop in the trail of those scrambling to California to take part in the Gold Rush, according to the Post-Gazette. By the early 1900s small grocery stores, gift-shops and restaurants had popped up. They supplied the community with Chinese goods. A quaint park sat between Ross and Grant Streets, a meeting space for Chinese immigrants to catch up on the latest news and play mah-jongg. Racism of that era made it difficult for Chinese to assimilate in Pittsburgh and they found community in Chinatown, which the Post-Gazette in 1979 labeled a “ghetto-like area.”

The heart of Chinatown was on Second and Third Avenues between Ross and Grant streets, bussed by two rival Chinese fraternities: the On Leong Labor and Merchants Association and the Hip Sing Association.

They were the unofficial rulers of this small Chinatown, with occasional gang confrontations in the 1920s and 30s to assert power.

With the construction and expansion of Boulevard of the Allies the presence of small Chinese population downtown Pittsburgh was short lived. When the construction was first dedicated in 1921, it extended from Grant Street and Second Ave to Oakland. The Boulevard and other infrastructure projects grew more expansive with time, and the Chinese community was slowly squeezed out.

Parking lots replaced Chinese goods shops. The Yee Haim store at 519 Second Ave. was one of the few stores left, according to a Post Gazette article from 1942.

By 1959, only three Chinese families remained.

Today, the only physical trace left of this community is the Chinatown Inn restaurant. The Inn is located in the former On Leong Labor and Merchants Association building and the ornate red pagodas trimmed with pale green carvings are the only remnants of its former function.

Still, it only tells a small part of the tale of Pittsburgh’s Chinatown, a history now faded into a distant memory.


– Grace Kelly (The Pitt News)
    March 4, 2015




11 Fascinating Facts about the Victorians


Health professionals in the Victorian era were constantly innovating and suggesting new and interesting ways to fight illnesses. In 1875 one recommendation was to cover oneself in sheets of newspaper, providing a warm and comfortable night’s sleep while reducing the onset of pneumonia.







1)  Read All About It 

The Victorian period was a time of discovery, rebellion and exploration for those who lived through it. It was also a prosperous time for Sudeley, which saw many improvements under the watchful eye of owner, Emma Dent. As we prepare to host our annual Victorian May Day celebrations, read on find out 11 interesting things you probably didn’t know about the era.




2) An Everyday Poison 

Toxic arsenic was widely consumed by Victorians. Women believed it had qualities which made skin appear younger, and so it was a major ingredient in many cosmetics – whereas men would consume arsenic pills as a way of stimulating their libido. Unsurprisingly, these products caused extreme sickness and lead to many fatalities before people understood the true power of the substance.




3)  Curious Collections 

Many Victorians would specialise in collecting objects, from zoological and botanical to geological and archaeological. People devoted cabinets and spaces for their prized collections, which would often take up entire rooms in their home. During the era many towns and villages had a curiosity shop which sold an array of weird and wonderful objects to avid collectors.



4) Widow of Windsor

It’s well documented that when Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861, she went into mourning and wore black until her death 40 years later. During this time she secluded herself from the rest of the world and was rarely seen in public, earning herself the name of the ‘Widow of Windsor’. But did you know, Victoria disliked black funerals and at her own funeral in 1901, ensured the streets of London were decorated in purple and white.


5)  Walk Like an Egyptian 

In the Victorian era, people were fascinated by ancient Egypt. Many historians believe this was down to the parallels that could be drawn from their relationships with death. In fact, Egyptian influences can be found in women’s mourning jewellery from the era. This obsession led to an unusual phenomenon whereby experts would unwrap mummies for an auditorium of curious men and women.


6)  The Penny Black 

The Victorian era has often been described by historians as the ‘Golden Years’ as it was a hugely important time for innovation. One of these innovations was the concept of the postage stamp, which first became available for purchase on 1 May 1840. The first stamps, The Penny Black and the Two Pence Blue, included the image of a young Queen Victoria, and to this day, the UK is the only country which uses the reigning monarch’s head for national identification rather than the country’s name.




7) Sprechen sie Deutsch? 

The British royal family is German in origin – in fact Queen Victoria’s mother, Victoria of Saxe-Coburg, was a German princess. The Queen was brought up by her German governess, Baroness Louise Lehzen, from Hanover, and as such, Victoria spoke only German until she was three years old. Even as an adult, German was spoken in Buckingham Palace and at all private occasions, with many of Victoria’s courtiers, including her husband, Prince Albert, being German.


8)  50 Shades Of Black

As well as mourning loved ones, there was another, more practical reason, why so many Victorians wore a lot of black – it was all down to pollution. Industry was booming in the Victorian era, and as such pollution was rife – particularly in the cities – meaning that women who wore light colours would find their dresses turn shades of grey, and so opted for darker clothing.



9)  Look Into My Eyes 

Victorians were big advocates of spiritualism and believed in the afterlife. Public events involving hypnosis, séances and fortune telling were popular occasions during the era, and it was big money for the people performing these acts. However, unsurprisingly many of these professionals were simply good actors maximising on peoples gullibility.




10)  Hostess With The Mostess 

If a lady was at home in the day she was expected to be properly dressed and prepared for visitors between the hours of 3pm and 5pm. The time visitors could arrive was dependent on how familiar an acquaintance they were, with closer friends and family permitted to visit later in the day. It would have been seen as poor taste for anyone to arrive earlier than 3pm.



11) Say My Name

Queen Victoria wasn’t actually called Victoria – she was in fact named Alexandrina after her godfather, Tsar Alexander I of Russia. Victoria was a middle name which she shared with her mother. However, until her coronation in 1838 she was known as Drina and many of the public at the time were never certain of her official name.





Article by Holly Jones ~ Castle & Gardens
April 26, 2017