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Encyclopedia > Western Pennsylvania

Long recognized as a powerhouse of American industry, Western Pennsylvania is a large geophysical and socio-economic entity within the state of Pennsylvania, roughly the western third of the state. It encompasses that portion of the state to the west of the Appalachian divide and included within the Mississippi drainage system of rivers. It is centered around the large city of Pittsburgh. State nickname: The Keystone State Official languages None Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Governor Ed Rendell (D) Senators Arlen Specter (R) Rick Santorum (R) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 33rd 119,283 km² 2. ... City nickname: The Steel City Location in the state of Pennsylvania Founded 1758 Mayor Tom Murphy (Dem) Area  - Total  - Water 151. ...


The largest rivers in this area are the Allegheny River, which flows southward from the New York border, and the Monongahela River, which flows northward from West Virginia. These two rivers meet at the city center of Pittsburgh and join to form the Ohio River, which from that point flows an additional 981 miles southwest to the Mississippi River. The juncture of the Allegheny and Monongahela was historically regarded as strategic and the gateway to the interior of the continent from the east. At various times this junture has been called the Forks of the Ohio, Fort Duquesne, Fort Pitt, the Golden Triangle, and today, at its apex, Point State Park. Incredibly, after several decades of border war and 150 years of high-rent city-center urbanization, the original 1764 blockhouse from Fort Pitt still stands here and is one of the oldest buildings in the region. Other notable rivers are the Youghiogheny River, flowing north from West Virginia and western Maryland and which was the early route of penetration into Western Pennsylvania, and the small Oil Creek in the north, where slicks gave an indication of petroleum reserves and in whose watershead the first oil well in the USA was drilled. The Allegheny River (historically, especially in New York state, also spelled Allegany River) is a principal tributary of the Ohio River, which it forms with the Monongahela River at the downtown Pittsburghs Golden Triangle point. The river is approximately 325 mi (523 km) long, in the U.S. states... The Monongahela River is a river on the Allegheny Plateau in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. ... State nickname: Mountain State Official languages English Capital Charleston Largest city Charleston Governor Joe Manchin (D) Senators Robert Byrd (D) Jay Rockefeller (D) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 41st 62,809 km² 0. ... Carl D. Perkins Bridge in Portsmouth, Ohio with Ohio River and Scioto River tributary on right. ... This page is about the river in the United States; there is also a Canadian Mississippi River (Ontario). ... An artist’s rendering of Fort Duquesne Fort Duquesne was a fort established by the French in 1754, at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in what is now downtown Pittsburgh in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. ... The Youghiogheny River (pronounced yah-kuh-GAIN-ee) is a tributary of the Monongahela River, approximately 135 mi (217 km) long, in the U.S. states of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. ... State nickname: Old Line State; Free State Official languages None Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Governor Robert L. Ehrlich (R) Senators Paul Sarbanes (D) Barbara Mikulski (D) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 42nd 32,160 km² 21 Population  - Total (2000)  - Density Ranked 19th 5,296,486 165/km² (5th) Admission into...


The highest point in Western Pennsylvania is Mount Davis at 3,213 feet, where the Appalachian Mountains enter Pennsylvania from the south. To the west and north of this point lies the Allegheny Plateau, a dissected plateau so eroded that it appears to be an interminable series of high hills and steep valleys. The peaks in the area are among the lowest in the East Coast highlands, but what they lack in height they make up in wide extent of land covered, which forms a vast formible barrier for mile upon mile to overland travel from the coast. A rainy day in the Great Smoky Mountains, Western North Carolina The Appalachian Mountains are a vast system of North American mountains, partly in Canada, but mostly in the United States, extending as a zone, from 100 to 300 miles wide, running from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, 1500 miles south... The Allegheny Plateau is a large, dissected plateau area in southern New York, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio. ... Shaded relief map of Cumberland Plateau and Ridge and Valley Appalachians on the Virginia/West Virginia border A dissected plateau is an area that has been uplifted, then severely eroded so that the relief is sharp. ...


Distinctiveness

Western Pennsylvania is distinctive from the rest of the state due to several important and complex factors, such as:

  • The initial difficulty of transportation access from the east across miles of seemingly endless parallel ridges of the Appalachian Mountains, and then the broken hills and valleys of the Allegheny Plateau. Indeed the initial method of access was to go out of Pennsylvania altogether, follow the Potomac River northwest through Maryland and Virginia, and then re-enter the state in its southwest corner. Various methods of more direct transport were later tried, including, weirdly, a canal system over the Appalachians and then, later, extension of the railroad system west. Perhaps the best known transportation innovation to simplify access to this area is the famous Pennsylvania Turnpike.
  • The initial problem of economic marketing of a limited number of goods that could stand such high freight costs. The insensitivity of the new U.S. Federal Government to the marketing problems in the west led to the Whiskey Rebellion in Western Pennsylvania, an event which seriously challenged the political viability of the new American nation. Later marketing arrangements turned to access via the Ohio River, with Pittsburgh a barge and steamboat center of the mid-continent. Today, Pittsburgh is still strongly oriented to the rivers; the port of Pittsburgh ranks No. 13 by tonnage in the USA and even surpasses the Port of Philadelphia in tonnage, thanks to the heavy shipping of bulk coal by barge inland on the rivers ( Source: US Corps of Engineers, Waterborne Commerce by Tonnage, 2002). Locally, a system of agriculture arose suitable to Western Pennsylvania's rugged terrain, emphasizing animal husbandry and dairying but with few exportable vegetable crops. The search for some sort of exportable agricultural specialty perhaps also encouraged the rise of the sauce industry and its first location at Sharpsburg in what was later to become the large H.J. Heinz Company.
  • The search for exploitable resources first resulted with the development of huge soft coal deposits in the area for use in an growing iron foundry sector. It was not until the realization by Andrew Carnegie, however, that Western Pennsylvania possesed an optimum location for a very large scale American steel sector that this area, and especially Pittsburgh, became known for the industrial specialty that characterizes them today. The rise and subsequent decline of the American steel industry at Pittsburgh introduces a host of complex economic concepts necessary to understand why that particular activity centered in this particular place, including the notions of classical Weberian location analysis for more than one input, the Pittsburgh Plus system for maintaining advantageous freight costs to ship to the market, vertical integration and supply innovations such as the development of the Mesabi Range, the ore freighter as a transport vehicle, and the construction of the Soo Locks. Other necessary economic concepts for description could well include economies of scale, diseconomies of scale, monopoly (or cartel) price equilibrium, and " dumping". Labor relations problems historically were frequent in the earlier steel sector, and mention should be made of the United Steel Workers of America, as well as the contemporary issue of " legacy costs" arising from heavy entitlements to a large retired labor force after sharply downziing to today's level of employment.
  • Other exploitable resources in Western Pennsylvania were also distinct. One was the drilling of the first oil well in the USA at Titusville and the rise of the US petroleum industry. Another was wide-spread deforestation of the outlying areas and their subsequent reforestation under Gifford Pinchot, who instituted the first large scale government sponsored timber management effort in the USA. During this time of intensive exploitation of forests a whole new sector, the wood chemistry industry, appeared and then later vanished. Finally, mention should also be made of management in the forested areas of a large animal population which supports the famous " Pennsylvania deer-hunting" cultural ethos. Indeed, the first day of deer-hunting season is a de facto unofficial holiday in much of the central and northern regions of the state, when absence from work or school is generally tolerated with no explanation necessary.
  • After the decline if the American steel industry in Western Pennylvania, a partial renaissance occurred in the development of cultural institutions and abatement of pollution. The effects of this increase in liveability are particularly apparent in the Golden Triangle district of downtown Pittsburgh, which at one point had been plagued with so much industrial haze that drivers used their headlights in mid-day. However, this social improvement has not always been accompanied by a serious plan of regional economic development to assess what, precisely, should fill the income void after the departure of steel. In addition, the city of Pittsburgh continues to become de-populated and has recently been put under state supervision of its finances.
  • Culturally, the distinctiveness of Western Pennsylvania is underlined by the existence of a unique Pittsburgh English local dialect, sometimes affectionately termed the "yinzer" dialect, due to its use of the term "yins" as the plural form of "you".
  • Near Sharpsburg, Somerset County, is the site of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, the " Let's Roll" flight which occurred on 9/11 after passengers attempted to overpower the plane's hijackers. The site is an informal patriotic shrine with many hand-made momentos voluntarily gracing the area. There is a movemont to add the site to the National Park System. It is a startling coincidence that the Sharpsburg site is comparatively close to the other centuries-earlier locations of military engagements in Western Pennsylvania, such as Fort Duquesne and the area of the Whiskey Rebellion. This can in part be explained by the fact that all these locations were on a strategic, direct tranport route from Washington, D.C to the west.
  • Although not strictly within the limits of this area, North-western Pennsylvania, together with its "stove pipe" extension to Lake Erie (see Erie Triangle), can well be included with a brief description, given the function of the city of Erie as a port for the western part of the state. In the Erie region mention should be made of its dinctinct and fertile agriculture centered around grapes and other fruit, the narrow band of usually moderating climate influence from the Great Lake, and the existence of small commercial fresh-water fisheries with a catch of yellow perch and walleye.

A rainy day in the Great Smoky Mountains, Western North Carolina The Appalachian Mountains are a vast system of North American mountains, partly in Canada, but mostly in the United States, extending as a zone, from 100 to 300 miles wide, running from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, 1500 miles south... The Allegheny Plateau is a large, dissected plateau area in southern New York, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Whiskey Rebellion was uprising that had its origins in 1791 and culminated in an insurrection in 1794 in the Monongahela Valley in western Pennsylvania by Appalachian settlers who fought against a federal tax on liquor and distilled drinks. ... Carl D. Perkins Bridge in Portsmouth, Ohio with Ohio River and Scioto River tributary on right. ... Self propelled barge carrying bulk crushed stone A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. ... H. J. Heinz Company, commonly known as just Heinz, famous for its 57 Varieties slogan, was founded in 1869 by Henry John Heinz in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania. ... Coal is a fossil fuel extracted from the ground by underground mining or open-pit mining (strip mining). ... Andrew Carnegie (November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish-American businessman and major philanthropist and the founder of the Carnegie Steel Company which later became U. S. Steel. ... The old steel cable of a colliery winding tower Steel is a metal alloy whose major component is iron, with carbon being the primary alloying material. ... The Rust Belt, highlighted in red The Rust Belt, formerly known as the Manufacturing Belt, is an area in the northeastern and upper midwestern United States, roughly between Chicago and New York City, whose economy was formerly based largely on heavy industry, manufacturing, and associated industries. ... ... Economists have long understood economies of scale, the forces which enable larger firms to produce goods and services at reduced per-unit costs. ... The United Steel Workers of America (USWA) claims over 1. ... Gifford Pinchot (August 11, 1865 – October 4, 1946) was the first Chief of the United States Forest Service (1905-1910) and the Republican Governor of Pennsylvania (1923-1927, 1931-1935). ... Pittsburgh is the linguistic center of a dialect region within Midland American English, covering most of western Pennsylvania as well as parts of northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio, and a small area of western Maryland. ... United Airlines Flight 93 was a flight that regularly flew from Newark International Airport (now known as Newark Liberty International Airport) in Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco International Airport. ... An artist’s rendering of Fort Duquesne Fort Duquesne was a fort established by the French in 1754, at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in what is now downtown Pittsburgh in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. ... The Whiskey Rebellion was uprising that had its origins in 1791 and culminated in an insurrection in 1794 in the Monongahela Valley in western Pennsylvania by Appalachian settlers who fought against a federal tax on liquor and distilled drinks. ... Lake Erie, looking southward from a high rural bluff near Leamington, Ontario Lake Erie (ee ree) is is one of the five large freshwater Great Lakes in North America, among the worlds largest such lakes. ... Black line indicates southern border of Erie Triangle within Erie County The Erie Triangle is a tract of American land that was the subject of several competing colonial-era claims and which was eventually acquired by the U.S. federal government and sold to Pennsylvania so that the state would...

Politics

Western Pennsylvania is known to be more conservative, especially socially conservative, than Eastern Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area. Despite it being more conservative, it still tends to vote for Democrat candidates. This is probably from the large population of labor union members who vote Democrat. The politics of Western Pennsylvania have more in common with the Democratic states in the Midwest, such as Wisconsin, than it does with the rest of Pennsylvania.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Western Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1542 words)
Western Pennsylvania is widely considered to be made up of the western half of the state of Pennsylvania in the United States.
The highest point in Western Pennsylvania is Mount Davis at 3,213 feet, where the Appalachian Mountains enter Pennsylvania from the south.
Culturally, the distinctiveness of Western Pennsylvania is underlined by the existence of a unique local dialect called "Pittsburghese" or Pittsburgh English, sometimes affectionately termed the "yinzer" dialect, due to its use of the term "yins" (also spelled "yunz, "yinz", "youns", etc.) as the plural form of "you".
Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3571 words)
The center of population of Pennsylvania is located in Perry County, in the borough of Duncannon [2].
Pennsylvania is home to many professional sports teams, including the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, and the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League.
Among the regional foods associated with Pennsylvania are the cheesesteak and the hoagie, the soft pretzel, Italian water ice, scrapple, Tastykake, and the stromboli.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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