Upcoming Events

Last updated: June 17, 2017

Events are held on the second Tuesday of each month,
FREE at 7:30 p.m.,

Meeting location:
The Church of the Redeemer,
located at 5700 Forbes Avenue

If you have any suggestions or ideas for speakers or topics to put on our agenda, please email us at historysqhill@hotmail.com.

YEAR 2017

Because of an emergency, we have rescheduled from original June 10 date.

JULY 8, 2017 (Saturday)

Tour of "Schenley Park" held in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Schenley Park

TOUR TIME: 9:45 am to 12:30 pm

$ 5 for Members, $8 for Member Couples,
$10 for Non-Members

Maximum group size limited to 30

STARTING LOCATION: 101 Panther Hollow Road,
Schenley Park Cafe and Visitor Center
Cafe Visitor Center

Print "Reservation Form" and mail, or call Mike 412-417-3707 to make reservation.

Information from Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Situated in the heart of Oakland, Schenley Park has come to be Pittsburgh’s civic park. Created in 1889 with land donated by heiress Mary Schenley, the park now contains 456 acres of trails, woods, and attractions.

From wickipedia Schenley Park

Schenley Park features a grand entrance, Schenley Plaza, and several miles of hiking trails and a large lake in Panther Hollow. Across from the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is Flagstaff Hill, a popular place to watch outdoor movies in the summer.

In the early days of Schenley Park, the area known as "The Oval" was used for horse racing. Today, it has 13 tennis courts, an all weather running track, and a soccer field. There is also an ice skating rink, public swimming pool, and an 18-hole disc golf course nearby.

Schenley Park also contains the Schenley Park Golf Course. The golf course includes an indoor practice facility where golfers can play a "virtual" round on Pebble Beach and other famous courses.

July 11, 2017 (Tuesday)

"Her Deeds Sing Her Praises:
Profiles of Pittsburgh Jewish Women"


Speakers: Eileen Lane, Eric Lidji, Lois Michaels

From the Chronicle:

A new book is telling old stories with the intent to spawn fresh work. “Her Deeds Sing Her Praises: Profiles of Pittsburgh Jewish Women” relates 21 brief biographies of local Jewish women spanning nearly 150 years.

“We made a huge list of women and established some criteria,” said Lois Michaels, one of the book’s three editors. “They could no longer be living, had to have made a significant contribution in some field, and there had to be archival material so we could base what we were writing on facts.” The project began roughly two years ago, when Michaels, a longtime donor to community causes, and Eileen Lane had proposed writing a book on Jewish women’s organizations that the two had been involved in. After beginning their research, the pair encountered a problem.

“There were big gaps in archival material about [the organizations], so we thought maybe we should write about women, which is what we wanted to write about anyways,” said Lane, daughter of a Holocaust survivor and a longtime member of the local chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women. They again hit the books, and computers, in search of material for their project.

They turned to the Jewish Women’s Archive, a national organization self-described as “dedicated to collecting and promoting the extraordinary stories of Jewish women.” Unfortunately, or fortunately for readers of their new book, Michaels and Lane found little regarding Pittsburgh’s Jewish women.

“I thought that was a terrible injustice and told Eileen, and she agreed, and we decided that was terrible,” said Michaels. “There’s such interesting stories about women here and the accomplishments that they had,” echoed Lane.

The duo consulted the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section’s Oral History Project. The trove of more than 500 oral history interviews, taken between 1968 and 2001, focus on the Pittsburgh Jewish community, its growth and specific contributions from its members.

But while reviewing the interviews, which are available online at the University of Pittsburgh’s Digital Research Library, Lane and Michaels encountered a difficulty.

“Many more of the stories that they recorded were about men than women, which is surprising for a women’s organization. We wanted to rectify that as well,” Lane explained.

So along with Eric Lidji, a researcher at the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Heinz History Center, Lane and Michaels convened a group dedicated to promoting the history of Pittsburgh Jewish women.

Writers, researchers and educators identified 21 deceased Pittsburgh Jewish women and began working.

Lidji assisted each writer with finding and digitizing relevant documents related to the subjects. Rachel Kranson, an assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Religious Studies, advised the group and authored the book’s introduction.

The resulting book, which was published only recently, takes on a unique place within Pittsburgh Jewish history, said Lidji. “I feel like maybe in Pittsburgh we are getting to a point where maybe a lot of the big topics have been covered well and maybe the next step would be to look at the smaller topics,” he said. “This takes one particular portion of the story, Jewish women, and goes much deeper than you could go in a [broader work].”

“This is an area that probably hasn’t had as much attention to it, but so much of our history and community owes a great deal to the women that were a part of it and we need to celebrate that,” added Lane.

Although she and Michaels are satisfied that the book is now in print, they hope that it generates future efforts. “One of the things we would love to see happen is wouldn’t it be great if people did other profiles,” said Lane. “We’d really like to get more people involved in doing oral histories of women, Jewish women, contemporary Jewish women. Some of these people really made significant contributions.”

July 29, 2017 (Saturday)

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
Squirrel Hill Bus Tour: The Presence of the Past
Saturday, July 29, 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

PH&L: Squirrel Hill Bus Tour

Squirrel Hill

Advance paid reservations required by Friday, July 21 Contact Mary Lu Denny at marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext. 527

Members of PHLF, the Squirrel Hill Historical Society, and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy: $30.00 per person; Nonmembers: $50.00 per person (includes one-year membership in PHLF).

The bus tour is limited to 25 people.

Bring a snack to eat on the bus if you like, wear comfortable walking shoes, and dress for the weather.

Participants will be getting off the bus from time to time to walk and tour.

Meeting location: Frick Environmental Center, 2005 Beechwood Boulevard, Pittsburgh PA 15217

(Please arrive by 12:45 P.M. The tour will begin promptly at 1:00 P.M.).

You can park in the lot or along the street.

Ending location: same

Join Louise Sturgess, PHLF’s executive director, and Helen Wilson, editor and one of the authors of Squirrel Hill: A Neighborhood History, written by members of the Squirrel Hill Historical Society and published by The History Press (June 2017). You’ll see the presence of the past in Squirrel Hill today and hear how one of Pittsburgh’s most popular neighborhoods developed.

Participants will:

––peek inside the Frick Environmental Center, visit the restored gatehouse, and hear a brief history of Frick Park;

––admire the exterior of the former St. Philomena’s Church, now Community Day School, designed by John T. Comes, Pittsburgh’s leading architect of Roman Catholic ecclesiastical buildings, and see the Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt Keeping Tabs on the Holocaust sculpture;

––enjoy a view along Beechwood Boulevard of the Monongahela River valley, including the Summerset development;

--tour several rooms in the Arts & Crafts home that John T. Comes designed in 1906-10 for his family;

––see the beautiful stained glass windows in the historic Mary S. Brown-Ames UM Church and stroll through Turner Cemetery, the second oldest in Pittsburgh;

––drive through Squirrel Hill’s vibrant commercial district, through several historic neighborhoods, and into Schenley Park, where the carousel and zoo once were and where the Vintage Grand Prix is held, passing by the George Westinghouse Memorial, Carnegie Mellon University, and the public golf course; and

––travel along Murray Hill Avenue, Squirrel Hill’s only City-designated Historic District, famous for its connections with author Willa Cather.

August 1, 2017 (Tuesday)

Note: Original June 13 meeting canceled due to power outages in Sq.Hill.

“History of Giant Eagle”

Speaker: Josh Shapira,
Member of One of the Giant Eagle Founding Families
Manager, City of Pittsburgh Stores

See History of Giant Eagle on their website for more information.

Following from Wikipedia.

After World War I, three Pittsburgh-area families--the Goldsteins, Porters, and Chaits--built a grocery chain called Eagle Grocery. In 1928, Eagle, now 125 stores strong, merged withKroger Company. The three families agreed to stay out of the grocery business for at least three years.

Meanwhile, the Moravitz and Weizenbaum families built their own successful chain of grocery stores named OK Grocery. In 1931, OK Grocery merged with Eagle Grocery to form Giant Eagle, which was incorporated two years later. Giant Eagle quickly expanded across western Pennsylvania, weathering the Great Depression and World War II.

September 12, 2017 (Tuesday)

"KDKA and the History of Radio"


Speaker: Michael Young, Senior Vice President and Pittsburgh Market Manager, KDKA Radio.

From: Explore PA History
RADIO STATION KDKA Marker -- Marker Location: KDKA Headquarters, 1 Gateway Center, Pittsburgh

"World's First commercial station began operating November 2, 1920, when KDKA reported Harding Cox election returns from a makeshift studio at the East Pittsburgh Works of Westinghouse. Music, sports, talks, and special events were soon being regularly aired."

"On the afternoon of Friday, August 5, 1921, Harold Arlin sat down in a box seat behind home plate to watch the Pirates defeat the Phillies, 8-5. He wasn't there just to watch, though; he was also there to tell fans beyond the ballpark what he was seeing. When he opened his mouth to speak into the telephone he was holding, Arlin changed the way Americans would enjoy baseball, and indeed, every other sport, forever."

About the Speaker: Michael Young -- from KDKA Radio website

Michael Young currently serves as the Senior Vice President and Pittsburgh Market Manager for CBS Radio Pittsburgh, where he oversees all facets of the four CBS Pittsburgh radio stations; News Radio 1020 KDKA, KDKA-FM/Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan, WBZZ-FM/100.7 Star, & WDSY-FM/Y-108.

Young has spent his entire professional career (nearly 33 years) in radio, and has been with CBS for over 28 years. He joined CBS in 1985, where he was a part of CBS Radio Representatives in New York City, the company’s in-house national sales firm. Young held various sales and sales management positions at CBS Radio Representative before he moved to the CBS Radio Network as Eastern Sales Manager.

In 1996, CBS moved Young to Pittsburgh where he has spent the past 17 years; first serving as General Sales Manager for KDKA-AM, then Vice-President & General Manager of KDKA-AM, and currently holds the position of Senior Vice President & Pittsburgh Market Manager for all of CBS Radio’s Pittsburgh properties and operations.

Prior to joining CBS, Young worked in sales as an Account Executive at two radio stations (WGRQ-FM & WKBW-AM) in Buffalo/New York.

Young is a native of Western Pennsylvania. He was born and raised in Bradford, and attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in communications media and worked at the University’s radio station (WIUP-FM).

Young, his wife Barbara, and three sons reside in Pine Township, north of Pittsburgh.

October 10, 2017 (Tuesday)

"Homestead Steel Strike" by Frick Art & Historical Center"

A seminal event of the era, the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892 changed the face of labor for decades. Examine the events and the players in this drama of American industrial history: Henry Clay Frick, Andrew Carnegie and the union laborers of the Carnegie Steel Company.

See more information on Frick Art & Historical Center website.

The Frick Art and Historical Center is a fascinating complex of museums and historical buildings located on over five acres of lawns and gardens in Pittsburgh's residential East End. The Center is devoted to the interpretation of the life and times of industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick. Exhibitions of fine and decorative art are also presented at the Center.

Visitors will enjoy the Frick Art Museum; the Car and Carriage Museum; Clayton, the restored 19th-Century Victorian home of Henry Clay Frick; the Cafe at the Frick; the Greenhouse; and the Visitors' Center which once served as the Frick children's playhouse. .....from VISIT PITTSBURGH website.

November 14, 2017 (Tuesday)

"History of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust"

Speaker: J. Kevin McMahon,
President and CEO The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

From: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust website:

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has helped to transform a downtrodden section of Downtown into a world-class Cultural District that stands as a national model of urban revitalization through the arts. Touring Broadway, contemporary dance, family events, education and community engagement programs, and cutting-edge visual arts are among the variety of arts and entertainment the Trust presents and exhibits. Hundreds of artists, thousands of students, and millions of people expand their horizons in our theaters, galleries, and public art environments.

For over three decades, the Trust has led the cultural and economic development of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District by:

•presenting high-quality performing arts events and visual arts exhibitions
•providing comprehensive education and community engagement opportunities
•supporting and collaborating with Cultural District resident companies and hundreds of local arts organizations and artists
•maintaining superior venues for resident companies, community organizations and promoters
•attracting 2 million people to the Cultural District annually to over 2000 annual events and activities
•managing over 1 million square feet of real estate
•creating and curating public art parks and gallery spaces
•and by cultivating the city’s largest arts neighborhood

Lauded as “the single greatest creative force in Pittsburgh because of its spirit of reinvention” by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Trust is the catalyst behind Pittsburgh’s thriving Cultural District that continues to enrich the region’s vibrancy and prosperity.

December 5, 2017 (Tuesday)

This date changed from original Dec. 12 due to scheduling conflict.

"Refugees and Resettlement in Pittsburgh"


Barbara Burstin, SHHS Member and faculty member of both Pitt and CMU

and Michael Ehrmann, SHHS President

This talk will include a personal story of flight by Squirrel Hill Historical Society president Michael Ehrmann and some perspective on resettlement in Pittsburgh by refugees and World War II survivors by historian Barbara Burstin

About Dr. Burstin:
SHHS Member Dr. Burstin teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, including Osher classes. Her courses deal with the American Jewish experience, the U.S. and the Holocaust, and now a new course on the history of Pittsburgh. In addition to Jewish Pittsburgh, Dr. Burstin is the author of Steel City Jews, a history of Pittsburgh and its Jewish community from 1840 to 1915, and its sequel, Steel City Jews in Prosperity, Depression and War, published in 2015, looks at the community in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. She has also produced a film, A Jewish Legacy: Pittsburgh.

About Michael Ehrmann:
Michael Ehrmann has been President of the SHHS since 2003. He was a real estate appraiser for nearly 30 years before his retirement in 2013. His specialty was historic properties, and he has appraised historical buildings throughout the country. Michael will talk about his family’s experience in fleeing the Nazis from Germany.

May 8, 2018 (Tuesday)

"A History of the State University"

Speakers: Jackie Esposito, Penn State Archivist

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