About the Book

The Point of Pittsburgh: Production and Struggle
at the Forks of the Ohio

Charles McCollester

The Point of Pittsburgh

This book tells an epic story. The Point of Pittsburgh is about how one city was the key to the industrial development that made the United States a world power and how the struggle of the region’s people for democratic rights and a decent standard of living was central to the creation of the American middle-class.

Many books have been written about Carnegie, Mellon and Frick, their ambitions and contributions, and no history of Pittsburgh could be told without them. But most of this book tells a story that has not been told. It is about the Indians and the workers, not the generals or the titans of industry. It is about those who first stood at the Forks of the Ohio, those who dug the coal, tended the furnaces, wrested the iron, steel, glass and aluminum from raw material, who built the boats, the bridges, the rail equipment and the generators, the skyscrapers, the highways, built the homes and raised the families - about the unsung heroes and heroines whose lives burned with the light of genius, as well as those who built the organizations and communities that made life tolerable and fruitful.

Labor's Rise 1933-1940

Three plus years of deep economic depression had undermined whatever weak labor standards existed and wiped out most of the meager gains that workers had achieved. . .
from Chapter Ten summary

The following chapter outline provides a sense of the scope of the story. The book ends with Bill Mazeroski’s home run in 1960 when Pittsburgh was at the height of its happiness, its industries strong and vital, its people generally prosperous and optimistic. The near half-century that brings us to the present 250th anniversary of the city’s founding has changed Pittsburgh irrevocably. That is a story for another book. That recent history resides in the memories of hundreds of thousands here in the region, around the nation and even the globe. This book will touch people at the Forks of the Ohio and across the Steeler Nation, in the neighborhoods and out among the post-industrial diaspora, and explain to the wider world why this town holds such a place in the hearts of those who love it. May this epic tale provoke the memories of the old and stimulate the curiosity of the young.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Land and Waters
Chapter Two: Natives at the Forks, 14,000 BC – 1740

Chapter Three: Invasion and Resistance, 1741 – 1790
Chapter Four: Gateway to the Heartland, 1791 – 1850
Chapter Five: Civil War and Industrial Might, 1851 – 1875
Chapter Six: Dominance and Resistance, 1876 – 1894
Chapter Seven: The Triumph of Capital, 1895 – 1909
Chapter Eight: The Americanization of Labor, 1910 – 1919
Chapter Nine: Mellons’ Rule and Capital’s Crash, 1920 – 1932
Chapter Ten: Labor’s Rise, 1933 – 1940
Chapter Eleven: Victory and Division, 1941 – 1949
Chapter Twelve: The Flowering of the Mill Town, 1950 – 1960

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