July 2, 1989: Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff waves goodbye to residents of the Garfield Senior High Rise after hearing tenant complaints. Ms. Masloff brought a unique sense of style to the mayor’s office when she ascended to the post in 1988. Who couldn’t love a grandmotherly politician who proudly spoke “Pittsburghese” in a voice that sometimes morphed into a hair-raising screech (remember her imitation of Mike Lange’s “Scratch my back with a hacksaw” during a 1992 Pens rally?) and once mistakenly referred to the legendary rock musician Bruce Springsteen as “Bruce Bedsprings?”
For all her folksy, unpolished charm, though, Ms. Masloff was a determined civic leader. She was elected to city council in a 1976 special election, and was reelected three times. When the city’s popular mayor, Richard Caligiuri, died in 1988, Ms. Masloff was 70 years old and serving as council president — a post that put her in line to assume the city’s top office. Ms. Masloff became Pittsburgh’s first female and first Jewish mayor. She was elected to a full term in 1989 but four years later decided against seeking another term and retired to her home in Squirrel Hill.
(Photo by Melissa Farlow, Pittsburgh Press)
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