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Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial Year Celebrates Much More

Published: 03/18/2016

PITTSBURGH – Exactly 200 years ago today, Pittsburgh was officially incorporated as a city. At today's Incorporation Day Celebration in Downtown Pittsburgh, the original 25-page charter document — dubbed the city’s "birth certificate" — was placed on display for the public to see the "Act to Incorporate the City of Pittsburgh," which passed March 18, 1816. With bicentennial festivities continuing throughout 2016, much is to be celebrated as Pittsburgh remembers its past and embraces its future.

Many other special anniversaries stand out this year, which are monumental in the development of the arts, public services, and community—together synthesizing the culture of Pittsburgh.

  • The eldest of the group, The Pittsburgh Symphony, celebrates 120 years. The world-class orchestra returned to the Carnegie Music Hall, the site of their very first concert in 1896.
  • The elegant Omni William Penn Hotel commemorates its centennial year with 100 years of service to the city of Pittsburgh. The Omni William Penn Hotel, originally the William Penn, has hosted every president since Theodore Roosevelt to Barrack Obama.
  • The iconic Noah's Ark in the traditional amusement park of Kennywood is currently being revamped for its 80th anniversary to bring back long-missed original features. Park visitors will reminisce while entering through the original giant whale’s tongue and splendor in the award- winning funhouse for all ages.
  • Story Book Forest in Idlewild Park is celebrating 60 years of creating smiles and lasting memories. The classic kids' attraction lets visitors step through the pages of their favorite storybook to visit a land of imagination, with the likes of Little Miss Muffin, The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, and Humpty Dumpty.
  • The anniversaries of the local arts are honored in Downtown, The Strip District, and Millvale. Croatian immigrant Maxo Vanka adorned the walls of St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale with tales of immigrant injustice in America. The church is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the murals this year. In addition, the Three Rivers Film Festival turns 35 and the Society for Contemporary Craft in the Strip District celebrates 30 year of providing sanctuary for cutting-edge artists.
  • On July 9, the city celebrates the anniversary of the swearing in of Ebenezer Denny, Pittsburgh's first mayor. A parade and festival at Point State Park will represent Pittsburgh's past, present and future. A special fireworks display is planned along with the opportunity to meet and greet the descendants of former Pittsburgh mayors, who will return to Pittsburgh from across the nation to honor their forebears.
  • On July 8, the Senator John Heinz History Center will launch its new core exhibition focusing on the history of the region. Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation recognizes the impact of Pittsburgh innovators who helped change the world.

Celebrate Pittsburgh's Bicentennial in 2016. Visit for more information!

VisitPITTSBURGH is the official tourism and promotion agency of the Pittsburgh region. The organization is dedicated to generating conventions, trade show and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.