Arrested for using a false name while attempting to register at Letsche School in the Third Ward, William Ott tried to hide his identity with a handkerchief. (Pittsburgh Press photo) The Pittsburgh Press published a series of pictures showing where ghost voters had been found. (Pittsburgh Press photo) The Pittsburgh Press published a series of pictures showing where ghost voters had been found. (Pittsburgh Press photo) The Pittsburgh Press published a series of pictures showing where ghost voters had been found. (Pittsburgh Press photo)

Sept. 9, 1931: Pittsburgh’s great voting scandal

Poor Clayton Swisher. He had the misfortune of being broke and hungry in 1931, one of the worst of the Depression years. Swisher was hanging around outside the Pittsburgh Association for the Improvement of the Poor when he thought his luck had changed. He met a “big-hearted” man who gave him 10 cents for a meal.

There was a catch. The man was a ward politician and wanted Swisher to vote in the primary election scheduled Sept. 15, less than a week away. He handed Swisher a small piece of paper. Register using this name, Swisher was told.

So Swisher dutifully went to a polling place and stood in line. Then things went bad. Swisher was arrested by state police and sent to jail. He had company — man named William Lapinska was arrested at the same location. He gave authorities four different names before coughing up the real one.

The next day, Swisher’s picture ended up on the front page of the newspaper. “A 10-Cent Vote,” the headline snickered.

His was a small part of a much bigger story the investigators and newspapers had been unpeeling for months. Padding of voter lists in the early 1930s was so widespread as to be laughable. The Pittsburgh Press indicated 50,000 illegal tax receipts had been issued in preparation for the 1931 primary election.

Sometimes political gangs stole votes by paying taxes in the names of unsuspecting citizens and then securing a receipt to register. The citizen would discover the fraud, only to be told duplicate receipts were not allowed. No vote for you, they were told.

“Ghost” voters were commonly registered at false addresses — vacant houses, parking lots, boiler yards, hotels. Eleven thousand more people were assessed for taxes than the total population of Pittsburgh.

The primary that year was a mess of riots, kidnappings, voting machine failures and arrests. It made great headlines, if not great democracy. “Stop This Wholesale Election Steal!” pleaded The Pittsburgh Press.

Pittsburgh at the time was awash in corruption. Mayor Charles H. Kline would prove to be one of the city’s most dapper and dirty politicians. Indicted, tried and convicted of malfeasance, he’d escape jail only by dying of ill health before he could be sent to the pokey.

And poor Clayton Swisher? He was charged with conspiracy to violate the registration laws and held on $1,000 bail. The newspaper story failed to indicate whether he got his 10-cent meal.

— Steve Mellon 

The loading docks at Smallman Street in the early evening of Oct. 9, 1978. (The Pittsburgh Press/Michael Chikiris) A March 1924 caption reads: At the produce yards, streets are littered with refuse, a mute reminder of the daily business. (Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph photo) A May 11, 1948 view of the terminal. (Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph) Fully loaded cars, ready to be unloaded on Nov. 20, 1949. (The Pittsburgh Press) An owner of Paskoff Bros. & Co., founded in 1912, stands among thousands of potatoes in the terminal on Oct. 4, 1966. (The Pittsburgh Press) Dick Battaglia and Alan L. Siger, leaders of Pittsburgh's produce industry. In 1982, the city announced plans to renovate the terminal. (James Klingensmith/Post-Gazette) A Nov. 23, 1982 view of the terminal. (Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette) The produce terminal on a Saturday morning earlier this month. (Ethan Magoc/Post-Gazette)

"The long view of the Produce Terminal"

Pittsburghers know that a visit to the Strip District on a Saturday morning means fresh food, jaywalking, witty t-shirts and street musicians.

Often, it also means paying for parking on the southern side of the Produce Terminal, whose future has been in doubt for quite a while.

The latest reporting by PG’s Mark Belko puts three developers in the mix to define the future of the Produce Terminal in the Strip: Ferchill Group, McCaffery Interests and Rubino Partners. Buncher Co. wants to buy it from the city, tear down a portion and spend $20 million to rehab the rest. Mayor Bill Peduto is not in favor of that plan.

A brief history of the Produce Terminal reveals that it opened in 1929 and cost about $10 million (about $130 million today) to build, according to old  clippings from The Pittsburgh Press.

For much of the 20th century, it was the entry point for fresh produce that would feed thousands of Pittsburghers. Seventy wholesalers once operated inside its brick walls.

Mark Belko wrote this past fall: “…it appears that only two produce wholesalers remain — Premier and Coosemans — and they are at the mercy of month-to-month leases. That’s down from seven just three years ago.”

Judging from these photos from the 1900s, it was a thriving place. The heaps of trash attested to that in the ’20s.

What do you think should become of the structure?

Ethan Magoc

Top photo caption: The loading docks at Smallman Street in the early evening of Oct. 9, 1978. (The Pittsburgh Press/Michael Chikiris)

1986: ”Washington’s Landing”

Almost thirty years ago, as developers and officials clashed in discussions over the future of Herrs Island on the Allegheny River, the Post-Gazette wrote, “it is crucial that development of Herrs Island be done right with close attention to the best land use. Because of its location within sight of Downtown two miles away, Herrs Island can be a jewel in Pittsburgh’s crown if things are done right.” 

Maybe not everything was done right, but since the 1980s the sight of what was previously known as Herrs Island has changed dramatically. A former brownfield site has been turned into an exemplary project of urban redevelopment and luxurious riverfront living. Not far from where a foul-smelling factory used to grind up the remains of dead animals, people now park luxury boats. Instead of soap works and saw mills, the island hosts parks, town homes and a marina. 

The name changed in 1987. Herrs Island became Washington’s Landing to honor a story that during the French and Indian War George Washington himself slept on the island after his raft capsized on the Allegheny River.

The development of old Herrs Island into shiny, new Washington’s Landing was a long process, with lots of setbacks. The discovery of hazardous wastes threatened plans for a riverside marina and a residential complex, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Buncher Corp. negotiated over terms of the agreement and the price. Estimates for the cleanup costs were enormous and no one wanted to be responsible. The cleanup was eventually completed. 

In 1999, the final parcel of land on the island has been sold to a developer, the Rubinoff Co., that planned to have its corporate offices along with several small high technology companies. In 1999, the Post-Gazette wrote, “A few years ago it seemed as if no one wanted to be on Washington’s Landing, then known as Herrs Island, because of the smelly animal-rendering plants there. But for the past several years, the small island has become hot <…> Companies located on the island include Sports Technology Group, Silicon Graphics, Automated Healthcare and the Three Rivers Rowing Association.

"There also are 88 new housing units on the island, with prices from $249,350 to $580,000." That was almost 15 years ago. 

— Mila Sanina

Burke in 1976. (Post-Gazette photo) At age 92, Burke worked with children from East Hills Elementary School in an art class. (Peter Diana/Post-Gazette) This bronze relief, created in 1975 by the Burke and titled Together, was installed in an outdoor courtyard of the Kaufmann Center. (Bill Wade/Post-Gazette)

Jan. 17, 1976: Sculptor Selma Burke

Selma Burke, one of the 20th century’s most prolific artists and sculptors, went to the White House in 1943 to draw President Franklin Roosevelt. The semi-classical image she created showed the nation’s leader with his head held high, prominent cheekbones and a taut jaw.

The likeness was intended for a new Recorder of Deeds building in Washington, D.C.  but was later adopted for the dime. First, however, all of the Roosevelts had to approve it.

Eleanor Roosevelt dropped by Burke’s New York studio on Jan. 10, 1945. While Mrs. Roosevelt liked the drawing, she felt the artist had made her husband look too young. But Ms. Burke replied that she wanted the presidential profile to be timeless.

Born into poverty in Mooresville, North Carolina, Ms. Burke dug her fingers into riverbank clay as child. She was one of 10 children born to an Episcopal minister and a mother who did clerical work and lived to be 103. The family moved to Washington, D.C.  and Philadelphia.

Ms. Burke arrived in Harlem for that neighborhood’s famous cultural renaissance during the 1920s. She earned her living as a nurse but continued to study art during the Depression.

She married Claude McKay, a poet and one of the older Harlem Renaissance figures. The couple’s social circle included the witty Dorothy Parker, novelist Sinclair Lewis, the playwright Eugene O’Neill, poet Langston Hughes, singer Ethel Waters and artist Max Eastman.

The couple had a stormy marriage and later divorced.

In the 1930s, Ms. Burke traveled to Europe, where, along with photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, she studied drawing with Henri Matisse in Paris.

After World War II broke out, Ms. Burke joined the U.S. Navy, driving a truck at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  While on the job, she injured three discs in her back and was hospitalized. Doctors told her she would not walk again.

Regardless, she entered the nationwide competition to draw President Roosevelt and won.

Her other work included likenesses of Booker T. Washington, abolitionist John Brown and President Calvin Coolidge. Her sculpture also can be seen at Hill House in the city’s Hill District.  

Ms. Burke taught art in Pittsburgh for 17 years and operated her Selma Burke Art Center in East Liberty from 1972 to 1981.

In 1979, Ms. Burke was 78 when she was honored for her contributions to visual arts at the White House by President Jimmy Carter. He praised her as a “shining beacon” for aspiring artists.

Ms. Burke retired to New Hope, Pa., where she died at age 94 in 1995.

— Marylynne Pitz

Munhall's Eighth Avenue on Dec. 5, 1929. (Photo credit: The Pittsburgh Press) A house near the source of the explosion in Munhall. (The Pittsburgh Press) Volunteers turned out in droves to assist with rescue and recovery. (Ray Gallivan/The Pittsburgh Press) The wreckage of Eighth Avenue. (The Pittsburgh Press) Munhall following the 1929 post office explosion. (Pittsburgh Press photo) An image of the rescue effort, aided by dozens of men in hats, and transport to the hospital. (Ray Gallivan/The Pittsburgh Press) The Star Drug Store, whose gas line was the source of the Friday explosion. (The Pittsburgh Press)

1929: "Double gas explosions in Munhall"

When the first gas line exploded, Anna Fincisky thought it was just another noisy blast from the nearby steel mill in Homestead.

Fincisky was a store clerk working next to the post office in Munhall on Thursday, Dec. 5, 1929, when a faulty gas line exploded and killed six people. More than 50 others were injured; four of them were in “precarious condition,” including the assistant postmaster and the conductor of a street car that was passing by when the explosion happened.

The aftermath resembled “the sweepings of a carpenter’s shop,” with jagged pieces of wood, metal and glass filling a block on Eighth Avenue. Scores of volunteers went to the streets to help comb through the wreckage.

The explosion caused more than superficial damage. Other portions of the gas line were damaged by the blast, including one that had been patched.

Less than 24 hours later, a line under the Star Drug Store blew when a plumber — investigating the source of the first blast — lit a lamp in the shop’s basement.

Four more injuries resulted.

Equitable Gas Co. owned the problematic lines (and the gas tanks in the 1927 explosion on the city’s North Side). After the second explosion, the coroner ordered all lines in Eighth Avenue’s vicinity to be turned off. Equitable announced the entire main would be replaced.

The town was on edge after the double blast.

After the tragedy, loud pops like tire blasts were cause for frequent calls to the Munhall police department, officers had to reassure residents that things were under control by Friday afternoon.

In the Post-Gazette’s photo archive, there are about a dozen photos from that terrible week in Munhall’s history, including small headshots. These are presumably those of the injured or deceased, it’s hard to tell though: none of them are labeled.

Palmer and other officers found moonshine in this ice cream shop. (Stewart Love/The Pittsburgh Press) No caption accompanied this picture of Palmer searching a man. (Stewart Love/The Pittsburgh Press) Palmer chatted with a business owner.(Stewart Love/The Pittsburgh Press) Palmer and another officer speak with a stabbing victim. (Stewart Love/The Pittsburgh Press)

Feb. 17, 1952:Baby Face” Palmer and the Hill District

Arthur “Baby Face” Palmer had a tough gig. In the course of doing his job, he was shot, stabbed, stoned and beaten. Once he was “kicked black and blue up to the hips by three dope addicts.”

Palmer was a Pittsburgh police officer who patrolled a portion of the Hill District described in a 1952 Pittsburgh Press article as “the city’s toughest, bloodiest beat.”

The article focuses on crime and law enforcement — it is very much an outsider’s view of a complex and often misunderstood minority community. And it is accompanied by a collection of extraordinary pictures that, perhaps unintentionally, hint at a strained relationship between some members of the city’s African-American community and those who wielded so much power over them.

We stumbled upon the file of photographs a few weeks ago. It was an accidental discovery, made possible by the fact that our archives are organized alphabetically. While searching for pictures of golfer Arnold Palmer, we saw a folder labeled “Arthur (Baby Face) Palmer,” and it is our rule at the Digs to always examine folders that include the nickname “Baby Face.”

The pictures show Palmer on the job, patrolling a 78-acre portion of the Hill District that centered on the intersection of Fullerton Street and Wylie Avenue.

Palmer’s beat included 30 “murky streets and trash-filled alleys” and approximately 6,500 residents. It was presented to readers of The Pittsburgh Press as a place of drug dealers, prostitutes and thieves who “preyed on the good people of the Hill.”

The pictures reflect the newspaper’s view — Palmer is shown making arrests and questioning people he finds suspicious. In one photograph, he stands over a stabbing victim. In another, he searches a well-dressed young man whose face reflects both resignation and anger.

History and those who lived in his portion of the Hill District before it was demolished to make way for the Civic Arena tell us another, more complex story of the neighborhood. Residents lived in crumbling tenements, but the area pulsed with activity. It was a place of churches, grocery stores, barber shops, bakeries, book stores, restaurants and schools.

Children played ball or tag in the streets and at night watched a parade of well-dressed and sometimes famous people stroll by on their way to nightclubs. Some of the world’s best jazz musicians cut their chops in Hill District spots like the Musician’s Club, The Savoy Ballroom, the Crawford Grill and The Ritz Club.

According to the Press article, though, the neighborhood exhibited a violent streak. Twelve killings were reported on Palmer’s beat in 1951. “The dead he’s discovered would fill a morgue, the shot and stabbed a hospital,” the Press noted. Each year Palmer jailed at least 1,000 men and women.  

For his efforts, he was paid $345 each month. And his nickname? It was the result of genetics — “his chubby face with its ruddy cheeks and smiling, gray eyes.”

— Steve Mellon 

Milliones with Mayor Richard S. Caliguiri in 1978. (Albert French/Post-Gazette) Milliones relaxed by playing a bass at his home. (Jim Fetters/The Pittsburgh Press) Milliones was a Pittsburgh School Board member when he led a demonstration against South Africa and its Apartheid policies in 1984. (Bill Wade/The Pittsburgh Press) Barbara Burns, left, took over for Milliones as school board president in 1988. (Robin Rombach/The Pittsburgh Press) Milliones toured the Ammon Recreation Center in the Hill District in 1990.(John Beale/Post-Gazette)

March 3, 1991: Jake Milliones in the Hill District

During the 1960s, Jake Milliones was a soldier in the local civil rights movement before he became the city’s most respected black leader. He believed in helping those who were willing to help themselves.

He grew up in the predominantly white city neighborhood of Beechview and graduated from Westinghouse High School. Between 1966 and 1973, he earned  bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. He was a clinical psychologist at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic.

A foe of South Africa’s apartheid, he was arrested while leading local picketers who urged people to stop buying kruggerands, a South Africa coin minted to promote that country’s gold.

His wife, Margaret, an activist and member of the Pittsburgh Board of Education, suffered a stroke and died in 1978. As her campaign manager, Mr. Milliones knew how hard she had fought to win that seat. He also was a grieving widower with four young children. Reluctantly, he entered public life and embraced it.

Appointed to fill his late wife’s seat on the school  board, he carried on her efforts to desegregate Pittsburgh public schools. He was elected president of the school board for five consecutive years and became a skilled conciliator. He advocated for regular evaluations of teachers and administrators, recruitment of blacks to fill those roles and elimination of the racial achievement gap.

He quit the school board in December 1988 to run for City Council. As the first black City Councilman elected from a district, he represented the Hill District plus parts of Downtown and  the North Side. He pushed for the development of Crawford Square, a $20 million housing complex in the Hill District for low and moderate-income residents.

He emerged as the city’s pre-eminent black political leader without the traditional promises of patronage or contracts in return for support. Earnest and multi-faceted, he loved the music of John Coltrane and bebop.  Later in life, his afro was streaked with white and he wore glasses, a look that gave him a professorial air. But when he glowered, people paid attention.

Mr. Milliones once led a reporter on a tour of Ammon Recreation Center on Bedford Avenue in the Hill District. There was open garbage, peeling lead paint, dank and dirty locker rooms plus cracked basketball and tennis courts. The attendant publicity spurred a blitz clean-up of city parks and pools.

Mr. Milliones suffered a heart attack on Jan. 2, 1993 and he died at age 52.

In an editorial, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette praised him as “a public servant who promoted the city’s general well being. If anyone, in the short history of City Council’s by-district system, had mastered how to balance representation for his constituents with leadership for the entire city, it was Jake Milliones.”

— Marylynne Pitz

Top photo: Councilman Jake Milliones walks along Tannehill Street in the Hill District. (Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette)

1964: Advertising Week in Pittsburgh, celebrated with Mayor Joseph Barr, Paul Sheldon, Barbara Bucar of Crucible Steel Co., and Carl Cummings of the Advertising Club of Pittsburgh. 1961: Alan L. Hornell of Pittsburgh-based Advertising & Public Relations Consultants, Inc. (Contributed photo) 1965: Jacques Kahn, a well-known partner in a Pittsburgh ad agency, once brought a 150-pound puma and Go-Go Girl Dottie Lucas to help persuade businessmen to sign on with his firm. (Pittsburgh Press) 1977: Ann C. McFadden, vice president of Ketchum, MacLeod and Grove.  (Contributed photo) 1977: Rita A. Frankel, vice president of Ketchum, MacLeod and Grove Inc. (Contributed photo) 1962: Victor Boero, vice president and director of art for Fuller Smith and Ross. 1989: The three owners of the St. George Group ad agency, which was formed by a 1980s merger: Stan Skirboll, Herb Burger and George Garber. (Andy Starnes/Pittsburgh Press)

"Mad Men of Pittsburgh"

Pittsburgh was never New York City, and none of these former ad industry players could be confused for Don Draper, Roger Sterling or any other “Mad Men” characters.

Still, it’s virtually impossible to look through the folder labeled “ADVERTISING MEN” in the PG’s photo archive and not imagine Pittsburgh’s own smoky ad agencies of the era. The two-part final season of “Mad Men” premieres Sunday night, so we decided to give you a flavor of “Mad Men” characters,  Pittsburgh edition.

The folder contains at least three decades’ worth of players in the city’s advertising business: hundreds of white male faces employed by dozens of agencies.

And, yes, plenty of skinny black ties and crisp white shirts.

Notably absent, of course, are women and any racial diversity. In the inch-thick folder, there are but two small headshots of women. Ann McFadden, vice president at Ketchum, MacLeod and Grove Inc., was one. Both she and another Ketchum executive, Rita Frankel, didn’t become vice presidents until the late 1970s.

McFadden was featured prominently in an excellent Pittsburgh Magazine feature about the show.

“For its size, Pittsburgh was a major advertising town,” she told the magazine.

“Back then, Pittsburgh was still the Steel City and the nation’s third-largest corporate headquarters, which made it a nexus for advertising agencies (a City Directory of the time lists more than 70),” Mike May wrote.

Firms like Ketchum and Burson-Marsteller were then — and remain today — major firms, though the city’s hard times of the 1980s brought mergers that swallowed others.

As for the puma, we at “The Digs” scratched our heads, let’s put it this way: we are just glad no one in that advertising office was swallowed.

—Ethan Magoc

The dark patches are water, January 2, 1988 (Post-Gazette photo) The collapsed Ashland tank in a pool of diesel fuel (Mark Murphy/Post-Gazette) Ashland oil tank site with the remains of the tank that disintegrated (Post-Gazette photo) Workers at Braddock Lock pump oil from the river (Tony Tye/Post-Gazette)

1988: ”Monongahela oil spill”

It was the second largest oil spill in the history of Western Pennsylvania and one of the worst inland oil spills in the nation. According to Coast Guard statistics, as reported by the New York Times, only a 14 million gallon spill into the Delaware River in 1975 and a 2 million gallon spill after an explosion in Brooklyn the next year involved larger quantities. 

At the time U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter called the Monongahela oil spill “a super, major spill.”

On January 2, 1988, a 3.8-million gallon diesel oil tank collapsed and failed, dumping an estimated 1 million gallons of diesel fuel into the Monongahela River in Floreffe, Pa., 18 miles south of Pittsburgh; 2.5 million gallons were trapped by retention dikes around the riverside storage area, forming a pool of oil. River traffic on the busy Mon stopped.

The tank burst at 5:10 p.m. at the Ashland Oil Inc. storage area as it was being filled, threatening wild life and drinking water supplies for about 1 million people in more than 80 communities across three states. After the rupture, “the tank looked like someone stepped on a marshmallow.”

The 6-inch-thick slick, spreading bank to bank had grown to 33 miles long as it flowed past Pittsburgh’s Point State Park and 10 miles up the Ohio River.

The spread of the fuel was unstoppable; foot by foot it moved forward, conquering the water surface of the Mon and carrying it all the way to the Ohio River, reporters described the asphyxiating smell of diesel fumes in the air. 

As the Associated Press reported at the time, “approximately 23,000 suburban Pittsburgh residents lived for a week without tap water while the river carried the pollution past their water intakes.”

Federal agencies in collaboration with local authorities used 20,000 feet of boom and barges to contain the spill and deflect the fuel. Cold January temperatures impeded the cleanup process by not only creating the mechanical issues with the equipment but also causing hypothermia and increasing the probability of contamination because oil emulsified faster in the cold.

Following a federal investigation which concluded that Ashland violated the industry standards when they had reconstructed the tank in Floreffe the Federal Government made Ashland pay $2.25 million in fines and cover cleanup fees, which together with compensations to the distressed communities, amounted to $18 million. 

— Mila Sanina

Top photo: Two workers of the pumping crew place a hose in the pool of diesel fuel at the Ashland site (Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette)

Arnold in 1947. (Pittsburgh Press photo) Deacon and Arnold Palmer in Pinehurst, N.C., in 1963. (Photo credit: Unknown) Arnold in the driveway of his home in 1958. (Pittsburgh Press photo)

Sept. 28, 1960: Arnold Palmer at Oakmont

Arnold Palmer was born in September 1929. A month later, Wall Street imploded and times got tough. For Arnold’s father, Milfred “Deacon” Palmer, that meant taking on two jobs at the Latrobe Country Club — greenskeeper and golf pro.

Young Arnold rode on the tractor his dad drove on the country club’s golf course. Deacon couldn’t afford fancy toys, so when Arnold played, it was on the links, whacking a ball with a club cut down to his size. He was pretty good at it.

By age 8, Arnold was hanging out at the water hole, waiting for struggling golfers warily eyeing the ditch 120 yards up the fairway. For a nickel, Arnold would hit the ball over for them.

As a freshman at Latrobe High School, Arnold wanted to play football but he was too small — no uniform would fit him. He went home to tell his dad. By then World War II was raging. Deacon had taken a third job, working nights in the melt shop of the Latrobe Steel Co. Deacon came home at night exhausted and bearing scars that would stay with him until his death. Arnold would later recall his dad coming up the steps at home after a shift. “He couldn’t walk,” Arnold said. “He crawled.”

Deacon didn’t want to hear his son complain about football uniforms or limitations. “Quit bellyaching,” Deacon said. “Play it as it lies.”

So Arnold focused on golf. And he was remarkable. He won the Western Pennsylvania junior title three times.

At the country club, though, he was still the son of a club employee. That meant Arnold couldn’t swim in the club pool or enter the locker room without his father.

Sometimes Arnold played golf with guys who worked with his dad in the melt shop. These were men with names like Scootch Goodman and Pickles Vilk. Years later, he’d have other golf buddies with names like Dwight Eisenhower and Bob Hope.

Arnold turned pro and transformed golf in the way that Babe Ruth transformed baseball. He played the game with what seemed like great ease and gusto and was superb. He was cool and comfortable and relaxed and confident. He had fun.

Crowds loved him and followed him around the course. To them, he was not just a man struggling to put a tiny ball into a small hole. He was somebody they recognized.

Bob Drum, a Pittsburgh Press writer who followed Arnold through his peak years, put it like this:

“Arnold looked like he just came from the mill. Now, the masses had somebody to root for.”

Golf would never be the same.

Top photo: Arnold at the Caddie Invitational Tournament in Oakmont in 1963. (Harry Coughanour/Post-Gazette)

— Steve Mellon 

The Pittsburgher Hotel on April 6, 1961. (Post-Gazette photo) Duddy, left, directed the removal of bar stools at the Pittsburgher Hotel when state legislators legalized the art of standing and drinking in 1936. (Pittsburgh Press photo) Duddy ordered removal of the Pittsburgher neon sign in 1960 to make way for a canopy. The sign was first installed in 1928. (Pittsburgh Press photo) Duddy packs up some of his pictures before leaving the Pittsburgher Hotel. (Pittsburgh Press photo)

March 2, 1941: Joseph Duddy and the Pittsburgher Hotel

As manager of the 400-room Pittsburgher Hotel at Forbes Avenue and Cherry Way, Joseph Duddy greeted many important guests and he had a knack for remembering names and faces.

During his career in the hotel industry, Mr. Duddy met aviator Charles Lindbergh, crooner Bing Crosby, prizefighter Jack Dempsey and King Albert of Belgium. He also catered to a series of U.S. Presidents, including Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft. (Lindbergh gave $5 to the bell boy who carted his luggage up and down to his room while President Taft gave out 10-cent tips, Mr. Duddy told a newspaper columnist.)

The South Side native, born in 1894, may have acquired his people skills as a 6-year-old boy when he began selling newspapers in the morning and afternoon on the South Side. At that tender age, he wore a special badge and cap so he could ride the trolleys through the Mt. Washington tunnel. He ran a profitable stand at Carson and Smithfield streets and his customers called him “Little Joe.” In between his day job, he made it to class at Monongahela School, too.

At age 13, he became a bell boy at the Duquesne Hotel. In 1916, he joined the staff of the William Penn Hotel and rose to the rank of service manager. He held similar positions at the Monongahela House and the Roosevelt Hotel.

In 1935, when the state Legislature made it legal for Pennsylvanians to drink while standing at a bar, Mr. Duddy supervised removal of seats from the Pittsburgher Hotel’s bar. In 1936, when football fans packed local hotels to attend the Notre Dame-Pitt football game, Mr. Duddy gave his own suite to Alfred E. Smith, who had campaigned on the Democratic ticket for the U.S. presidency.

Mr. Duddy never forget his start as a newsie. Every year, he asked all of his friends to contribute to The Press Old Newsboys Fund, a charity that raised money to pay for medical care that poor patients received at Children’s Hospital.

In 1945, the 24-story Hotel Pittsburgher, which had been built by a Mellon family interest and opened in 1928, was sold for $1.1 million to the Knott Corp.

But Mr. Duddy stayed on as manager.  His new employer sent him to Ireland on a scouting mission to see if it was a good idea to build a hotel in Dublin.  In 1955, he was the guest of honor at a party here before flying to England to open the Westbury Hotel in the upscale London neighborhood of Mayfair.

As 1960 drew to a close, the neon sign that said “Hotel Pittsburgher” came down after 33 years to make way for a canopy. In 1961, Mr. Duddy packed up the many photographs of famous people that decorated his office. He spent two years managing a hotel near the airport, then retired in 1963. He died a year later at age 70.

Today, the former Pittsburgher Hotel is known as the Lawyers’ Building.

Top picture: Joseph Duddy with his pet scottish terrier, Mr. MacGregor. (Pittsburgh Press photo)

— Marylynne Pitz

1967: Pittsburgh’s Skybus

A story of Skybus, as the Transit Expressway Revenue Line became known in the 1960s, is a chapter of shattered dreams in Pittsburgh’s public transit saga. 

It had a grand vision for superior rapid transit service that would move large crowds day and night, year in and year out. Call it a commuter’s dream.

The opportunities it presented promised a break-through in public transit technology. The system developed by Westinghouse used a dedicated elevated concrete track, rubber-tired cars and driverless operation — all were innovative concepts in 1960, the year it was conceived. 

In 1964, federal money poured in to build a demonstration track in South Park that would be 1.77 miles long. In 1965, the Transportation Systems Group unveiled the demo system for the Allegheny County Fair. According to the Post-Gazette, more than 30,000 people paid the ten-cent fair for a chance to take an air-conditioned Skybus ride around the loop during the several days of the fair. Even Walt Disney came to South Park to evaluate the Skybus system, many thought it would serve as a prototype for Disney World. 

"The system was originally named Skybus until it was discovered that Skybus was a trademark for one of the airlines," according to the Post-Gazette. "The name was then changed to Transit-Expressway and later to People-Mover when it finally evolved into a special purpose transportation system."

But People-Mover never quite moved to Pittsburgh. It was too controversial and too  ambitious, too big for the Port Authority and political factions on the city and state levels to stomach: a 92 mile long trolley line, 460+ cars at the cost of $295 million. The system was meant to connect suburbs with downtown. The Skybus route would originate in South Hills and would follow a streetcar route through Mt. Lebanon and Beechview before reaching Downtown Pittsburgh through the unused Wabash Tunnel.

Evaluations were made, papers were written and the work began, the plan was revised several times in the process. In 1976, it died because of the political stalemate and a recommendation to withdraw support from the project.

We may not have Skybus in Pittsburgh, but we do have internet to dream. Want to live commuter’s dream for a minute and take a ride on Skybus?

— Mila Sanina

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette) September 1991: Barry Bonds watching batting practice. He hit 25 home runs and finished second in MVP that season. (Peter Diana/Post-Gazette) Aug. 16, 1990: Bonds flips his hat in disagreement with the umpire. Future Pirates manager Gene Lamont is on the left. (Mark Murphy/Post-Gazette) Sept. 22, 1990: Bonds literally stealing his 50th base of the year. (Post-Gazette photo) April 19, 1988: Bonds batting at the beginning of his third season with the Pirates. (Mark Murphy/Post-Gazette) June 21, 1987: Willie Stargell was good friends with Bobby Bonds, father of Barry. (John Kaplan/Pittsburgh Press)

1990: “Jim Leyland and Barry Bonds”

Few figures in Pittsburgh sports history are as polarizing as Barry Bonds.

Penguins’ fans still begrudge Jaromir Jagr’s 2001 exit and 2011 non-return.

And Ernie Stautner, for a time, rankled Steelers fans as few others have done since.

But Barry Bonds left the Pirates after their 1992 NLCS loss, and the team went on to endure 20 seasons of futility. Those weren’t all his fault, but try telling that to most Bucco fans, especially after his legacy became synonymous with performance-enhancing drugs.

On Friday, the Pirates decided to invite Bonds, former manager Jim Leyland and retired shortstop Jack Wilson back to PNC Park to present last season’s awards.

Reaction, mostly against, is swift and visceral.

But in the Post-Gazette’s photo archive, the images of Bonds as a young draft pick nearly 29 years ago bring different reactions. As a rising star for the Pirates, he seems almost like a different Barry Bonds.

His mercurial attitude is evident — note the helmet flip after a called third strike — but so is his charm, joshing with Willie Stargell in the dugout in May 1987.

Will Pittsburgh fans forgive and welcome him back on Opening Day? We shall see.

UPDATED: Here’s Brady McCullough’s take on the reaction to his return.

— Ethan Magoc

(Top photo credit: Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

Big hair, knee socks and a pothole. Yup, this is Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh Press photo) A five-hubcapper on the Liberty Bridge. (Pittsburgh Press photo) We do not know what is going on in this picture, but it does contain a pothole. (Pittsburgh Press photo) Knee deep in potholes in front of the Duquesne Club in the late 1960s. (Pittsburgh Press photo)

February 1971: The artistry of Pittsburgh’s potholes

We at the Digs see a number of similarities between our city’s potholes and those freaky crop circles found in the English countryside. Both materialize somewhat mysteriously and have brought great fame to specific geographical regions. And each pothole, like every crop circle, possesses unmistakable artistic merit. You just have to squint to see it.

A few weeks ago, while driving along Fort Pitt Boulevard, we squinted at the monster pothole at the Market Street intersection and discovered that it resembled, in both shape and size, a barnacle-encrusted humpback whale. Our vehicle then fell into the hole and everything went dark until we emerged on the North Side.

That particular pothole has since been filled with several tons of asphalt and so now it resembles a Vermont-sized liver spot.

Back at the PG archives, we checked our clipping files and found 21 folders labeled “Potholes.” While this isn’t a record (the Steelers clippings consume more than 200 folders), it certainly qualifies as an obsession. Pittsburgh newspaper reporters love writing about roads resembling swiss cheese.

The first file we opened dated from the mid 1970s. This was our city’s “Golden Age” of potholes. Some were so large a reader suggested building bridges over them. In 1972, one article noted, the 3700 block of Bigelow Boulevard was declared a “disaster area.”

Then, in 1976 came an age of enlightenment, at least for one Pittsburgh Press writer. “It’s pothole blossom time!” he cheered.

Newspapers soon developed a pothole rating system. On Ohio River Boulevard, a reporter spotted a “six-hubcapper,” which meant that six lost hubcaps littered the immediate area. Roads at the time were choked with Chevy Vegas and Ford Pintos and AMC Gremlins, cars so loosely bolted together that they geysered auto parts when encountering even the shallowest of potholes.

Late in the decade, a mean-spirited and maniacal pothole on William Penn Highway in Monroeville flattened the tire of a Pittsburgh optometrist. He pulled into a nearby gas station and found five other motorists waiting to get their tires repaired. Enraged, the optometrist formed an organization called Pothole Victims of Pennsylvania. Potholes would finally face justice.

And in February 1977, experts discovered a possibly bottomless pothole on Friendship Avenue. “Granddaddy,” it was labeled. In an effort to determine the hole’s depth, Scientists dropped a Dodge Omni into the abyss. Eerily, the vehicle was never heard to hit bottom. Perhaps the hole was a window into another universe.

Top photo: A young girl discovered potholes made excellent “wading ponds” on Babcock Boulevard in Pine Township. (Pittsburgh Press photo)

— Steve Mellon 

Bobo Rockefeller in the early 1950s. (Photo credit: Unknown) Bobo lived in a third-floor apartment in this New York Tenement before marriage to Rockefeller. (ACME photo) Bobo and Winthrop Rockefeller occupied a 15-room duplex atop 770 Park Ave. in New York. (Photo credit: Unknown) Bobo and Reno hotel owner Charles Mapes in 1954. (UPI photo)

Feb. 14, 1948: Bobo Rockefeller, coal miner’s daughter

The coal miner’s daughter many people think of is Loretta Lynn, the country music singer whose autobiography inspired a memorable movie in 1980.

But Western Pennsylvania has its own famous coal miner’s daughter and her name was Barbara “Bobo” Rockefeller.

On Valentine’s Day of 1948, she won the marriage lottery when she wed Winthrop Rockefeller  at the Palm Beach estate of Winston Guest, a socialite and polo player. Guests included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The beautiful blonde bride wore a simple dress, a square-cut diamond set in platinum and a wide smile. The groom, a grandson of John D. Rockefeller, a founder of Standard Oil, was one of the richest men in America.

Here’s how the daughter of a Lithuanian immigrant went from a gritty existence in a mine patch to living la dolce vita in a six-story New York City duplex with 15 rooms on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Her parents divorced when she was a child and while her father, Julius Paulekas, continued mining coal, she grew up with her mother, Eva Neveckas near the Chicago stockyards. At age 17 in 1933, she won the beauty pageant  title of Miss Lithuania.

Born with the hard-to-pronounce name of Jievute Paulekiute, she changed it to Eva Paul by the time Montogmery Ward hired her to model for its catalog. That was her stage name, too.

In a touring production of  the play “Tobacco Road,” she met Richard Sears Jr., a man from a prominent family in Boston’s Beacon Hill. After they married in 1941, she changed her name to Barbara Paul Sears and landed in Boston’s Social Register. For awhile the couple figured prominently in the cafe society of Paris, where Mr. Sears served as third secretary at the American embassy. By 1947, the couple divorced.

With her sister, Mrs. Sears began sharing a fourth-floor walk-up apartment in a tenement building next to New York City’s Third Avenue train tracks. In those far from genteel surroundings, Winthrop Rockefeller’s arrival in a chauffeur-driven limousine caused neighbors to stare. The couple met at a dinner party.

After the 1948 wedding, the couple had a son in 1949. They separated after less than two years of marriage. Mrs. Rockefeller pawned her large diamond ring for $30,000, living off the proceeds for five years as she waited for the divorce settlement. When it arrived, it was a record-setting $5.5 million.

Winthrop Aldrich Rockefeller served as governor of Arkansas from 1967 to 1971. His son, Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, served as Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas from 1996 until his death in 2006. Two years later, Barbara Paul Sears Rockefeller died at age 91 at her home in Little Rock, Ark.

(Top photo: Winthrop and Bobo Rockefeller talk with the Rev. Winslow S. Drummond after the clergyman performed their marriage ceremony Feb. 14, 1948.)

— Marylynne Pitz