Historic South Side

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While the media are persistently portraying the South Side as a present-day Sodom and Gomorrah, I would like to point out that there are many of us who actually live here, lead normal lives and are not part of the bar scene.

The South Side is one of the oldest and most historic sections of Pittsburgh.

In 1811, Dr. Nathaniel Bedford laid out what later became the South Side but was then called Birmingham after his hometown in England. By 1816, it had more than 50 houses mostly constructed of brick.

In 1832 my ancestor, William O'Leary, a glass cutter from Ireland, came to Birmingham and established the Birmingham Flint Glass Company.

Gradually the town expanded to take up the whole side of the Monongahela River and became known at the South Side.

Until 1895, most of the glass used in the United States was made right here. Bakewell Pears and Company glass, made in its factory at Ninth and Water streets, was so famous that a set of its glassware is in the White House.

The steel that helped win World War II was made here, and the men who worked day and night in those mills lived -- and still live -- here.

Residents would like the South Side to be known for its historic importance and not for drunken college students who do not know how to behave in public.

MARY ELLEN LEIGH
South Side


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