Pittsburgh Meeting Overview
Pittsburgh, 15 – 18 October, 2009
“Hell with the lid off,” the “Smoky City,” the “Iron City,” the “Steel City,” the “City of Bridges,” the “Renaissance City”–Pittsburgh has been known by all of these appellations at one time or another.� Today, however, Pittsburgh is often called “America’s most livable city.”� It’s a place that has reinvented itself numerous times in its 250-year history, from frontier outpost to human organ-transplant pioneer.� It has a great industrial past and a promising high-tech future.� It is a city with a long tradition of technological, industrial, scientific, and medical innovation. �It’s a gritty but friendly city of especially strong neighborhoods and a city of European and Asian immigrants and of Southern African-American migrants who retain its ethnic traditions.� It is a city distinguished by world-class cultural institutions, world-class universities, and “world champion” sports teams.� It is a city that still faces many of the same problems that other post-industrial American cities confront – declining population, fiscal issues, and deteriorating infrastructure.� It is thus a real “All-American” city but one that faces its future with confidence and a record that its problems can be overcome.
Pittsburgh is all of these things and more.�Defined by its complex geography, Pittsburgh is above all a welcoming community that values its traditions while striving to be at the cutting edge where it can. Even if you have never been to Pittsburgh, you’ll learn quickly that the region’s three rivers–the Allegheny, the Monongahela, and the Ohio–define the city’s most important features.� These rivers have been important transportation routes since the 18th century.� During much of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, the rivers also served as convenient dumps for sewage and industrial wastes that helped give Pittsburgh a bad reputation for its public health infrastructure.� Today, as once-abandoned industrial “brownfields” are being transformed into new communities and new sites of post-industrial commerce, Pittsburgh’s rivers are being reclaimed as natural assets that define the community’s well-being.� At the same time, the region is now honestly seeking to reclaim much of its history that planners in the mid-20th century literally sought to bury.� Pittsburgh’s history–rise, decline, and renewal–is rich and waiting to be explored by you.
On behalf of our major co-sponsors at Carnegie Mellon University and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania and all members of “Steeler Nation,” the Local Arrangements Committee welcomes SHOT members both old and new.� We have sought to put together a rich and varied program of tours and events that will expand your knowledge of Pittsburgh’s past and present while also entertaining you.� SHOT’s Program Committee has, of course, forged a scholarly program worthy of the Iron City and its people.
As native Pittsburghers would express it, “Yinz have a good time.� We’ve redd up for yunz!”
The Local Arrangements Committee
Attendees of the 2009 SHOT Annual Meeting enjoyed Pittsburgh-area tours of sites relating to the history of technology as well as a variety of social acitivities.