Union Trust Building
The Union Trust Building was built from 1915 to 1916 by the industrialist and millionaire Henry Clay Frick. The building, originally named the Union Arcade, was a shopping center with some 240 shops spread over four of its fifteen floors. Today the entire building houses various offices, but the interior's circular rotunda is amazingly beautiful. The roof has some features that resemble a cathedral, because the building sits on the site of one of Pittsburgh's Roman Catholic churches, and the architect retained some religious design elements.
Henry Clay Frick was born and raised in Westmoreland County, who earned his fortune by age 30 by making coke, a key ingredient in steel, from coal. Andrew Mellon loaned him the money to buy his company, and he later became a business partner with Andrew Carnegie in the Carnegie Steel Company, the predecessor to the US Steel Company which still exists today. After almost being assassinated, he created the St. Clair Steel Company, which boasted the largest coke works in the world. Andrew Frick is also credited with forming the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club whose dam failed in 1889 causing the Johnstown Flood. In Pittsburgh, Frick funded construction of the Union Trust Building, the William Penn Hotel (1916), the Frick Building (1902), and the Frick Annex (now Allegheny Building, built in 1906). Frick's name can also be seen in the Frick Collection, an art gallery in New York, and Frick Park, the city of Pittsburgh's largest park.
Address: 501 Grant St., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Iron City Beer & the Pittsburgh Brewing Company
Iron City Beer was first brewed in Pittsburgh in 1861 and the Pittsburgh Brewing Company was formed in 1899 through a merger of 21 local breweries. This company was one of just 725 US breweries to survive the prohibition period, and by 1977, it was one of only 40 breweries remaining in America. IC Light was introduced in 1977 and is known as the first light beer brewed from scratch as a light beer. The Pittsburgh Brewing Company has made several innovations in the industry including the first snap top can, the first resealable twist off cap, first beer to use sports scenes on the label, and the nations first light beer. Their latest ploy is the aluminum bottle, long a staple overseas in places like Okinawa, Japan, but new on the scene in America.
After years of tough sales due to increasing competition from major brewers and craft beers, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company declared bankruptcy in 2007. In 2009 the company shuttered the historic brewery in Pittsburgh and moved to the old Rolling Rock Brewery in Latrobe, PA. This is a good fit for the Pittsburgh beer, as Latrobe is also home to Steelers Training camp.
But how does it taste? Well, I may be a bit biased...my first beer EVER was an Iron City, way out in Colorado Springs with some friends from Pittsburgh. Later, I lived on IC Light anytime I was home, partly because the local bar had it on tap for 85 cents a glass. In my personal opinion Iron City isn't all that great of a beer, but IC Light is damn good.
Others may disagree...here's a good quote from Otto on Pubcrawler.com: "Tired of the usual crap and looking for something a little less crappy? Here you go. What the hell, you'll be supporting the little guy. Plus a trip to the brewery is really worth it . A big leftover of some past industrial age. Very cool."
In Pittsburgh, the summer is HOT and HUMID, the winter is COLD. Spring lasts about a week in May and Autumn lasts about a week in September. In winter, dress in layers because most indoor places will be well-heated. Pack accordingly. Sunglasses and an umbrella. Go figure.
Historic Episcopal Trinity Church - Downtown
Trinity Church was founded in 1787 and originally constructed two blocks from the present location at Sixth and Liberty Avenues, in 1805. The location of the current church was long a burial ground for local Indian tribes, French settlers, and British soldiers, because it is just above the flood plain. The second Trinity church was constructed on this site in 1824, and is thought to have been Pittsburgh's first Gothic building. This church building lasted only 45 years until it was demolished in 1869, with the present structure built on the same site in 1872. In 1928 Trinity Church became Trinity Cathedral.
Some of the interior stained glass dates back to 1872 and the carved stone pulpit was created in 1922.
Today, the cemetery at Trinity Church is known as "Pittsburgh's Oldest Unreconstructed Landmark." Some remaining graves include Indian chief Red Pole of the Shawnee nation, Pittsburgh's first doctor Nathanial Bedford, and Revolutionary War veteran General William Butler.
General Braddock's Grave
Following the French takeover of Ft Necessity, the British Empire struck back. An army led by Major General Edward Braddock entered the Monongahela Valley, intent on driving the French out once and for all.
Braddock was by all accounts a very fine officer and a gentleman. He would have been great on any European battlefield. Not so here in the wilderness of America. French and Indian soldiers ambushed and decimated Braddock's army, killing him.
The General's body was buried in a carefully hidden location, to prevent desecration. In 1804, his remains were uncovered. Eventually, they were reinterred here. In 1913, this marker was erected in his honor.
From Ft Necessity, follow Hwy 40 west toward Uniontown. The site is a few miles away in the right.