sirvalkyrie: (Default)
I forgot to include this yesterday when talking about names. I obviously already explained where the "Pitt" part of the name comes from, but that still leaves the "burgh" part. Using "burgh" in a city name is very uncommon for American cities.

There used to be a French fort here called Fort Duquesne. It was captured by General John Forbes. He sent a letter to William Pitt saying that he had named it Pittsbourgh, as in rhyming with Edinburgh. In the city charter it became Pittsburgh. However, we do not pronounce it like the Scottish -burgh. We pronounce it like the German -burg.

At one point the United States Board on Geographic Names tried to change the city's name to Pittsburg. The backlash was very strong.  The Pittsburgh Gazette, University of Pittsburgh and even official city documents refused to use Pittsburg.  After twenty years the decision was rescinded and Pittsburgh got its H back. 

There are multiple cities named after Pittsburgh in various states, but most use the Pittsburg spelling.

In reference to this a local amusement park named one of their rides the Pittsburg Plunge.

sirvalkyrie: (Default)
Well, I was going to do my first journal entry about Pittsburgh today.  I was going to cover our Ren Faire... and then we got there and the camera batteries were dead.  It is an hour and a half drive back home from it so we weren't about to turn around and head back to get new ones.  It was fun.  I bought lots of presents for others.  There are jousts there and four knights.  The fan favorite is of course the knight in black and gold, the champion of Pittsburgh.

Actually, how about I talk about the names today.

The city is of course called Pittsburgh.  The "Pitt" part comes from William Pitt, the 1st Earl of Chatham.  He is also called William Pitt the Elder.  The city crest and our colors of black and gold both came from Pitt's family crest.  I could talk about him a lot, but that is a whole different topic.

The county is Allegheny, named for the Allegheny River.  Allegheny is itself a Lenape word of uncertain meaning but wikipedia tells me it is usually translated to mean "fine river."  So don't write any essays based on that.  Allegheny is the first county in Pennsylvania to have a Native American name.

Pennsylvania is the state name.  It's name actually comes from a typo.  It also isn't actually a state either.  Pennsylvania's proper name is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Charless II granted the land to William Penn who meant for it to be called Sylvania (which means woods) or New Wales.  Charles II instead granted it as Pennsylvania, or Penn's Woods.  It is called the Keystone State because of the original thirteen colonies it was the one that connected the northern and the southern states.


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