Monday, July 18, 2011

We haven't been 'Pittsburg' for an entire century now

Slightly off topic (as if we had one) but interesting-

It was 100 years ago today that the federal government last held Pittsburgh's "H" hostage.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names stripped the city of its last letter in 1890 as part of an effort to standardize the spelling of places across the country. The board dictated that places pronounced "berg" would be spelled "burg," sans an H. A lobbying effort won the letter back on July 19, 1911, when the board relented under pressure from the city's postmaster and U.S. Sen. George T. Oliver.

"It's an interesting, quirky thing about us," said Craig Davis, vice president of sales and marketing for VisitPittsburgh, "and I think most people who live in Pittsburgh are very protective of their 'H.'"

News of the official spelling change made the front page of the Pittsburgh Post a few days later, squeezed next to a report of screaming passengers aboard a runaway trolley car that scattered "cows, horses, chickens and other domestic animals" as it tore through a Bucks County barnyard.

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