The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission installs plaques to commemorate significant individuals, events and landmarks throughout the state. The guidelines require that the "person, event or site to be commemorated have had a meaningful impact on its times and be of statewide or national rather than only local significance." Below are just a few of the historical markers in Allegheny County. View a complete list of markers in the Western PA region on the PHMC website.
Plaque at 617-623 E 8th Ave., Homestead
"Completed, early 1892. Through that summer it was headquarters for the strike committee of the Amalgamated Association of Iron & Steel Workers. Telegraph lines installed here transmitted the news from journalists who were covering the Homestead Strike."
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
Plaque at Carnegie Library, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland
"A poor Scottish immigrant, Carnegie became a millionaire steel magnate and proponent of the 'Gospel of Wealth.' Seeing to benefit society with his fortune, he built over 2,500 libraries and endowed institutions advancing education and peace."
Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
Plaque at Pittsburgh St. (SR 1001, old PA 28) at Colfax St., Springdale
"Scientist, naturalist and writer. Born 1907 at 613 Marion Avenue, died 1964. Her 1951 book 'The Sea Around Us' was followed in 1962 by 'Silent Spring.' This book focused the nation's attention on the dangers of pesticides and helped launch the environmental movement."
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926)
Plaque at Allegheny and Ridge Avenues, North Side, Pittsburgh
"Born near here, Cassatt studied art in Europe. She lived in Paris, befriended by the Impressionist painter Degas. She was an innovative painter, printmaker, and etcher and is noted for her works depicting women and children."
Martin R. Delaney (1812-1885)
Plaque at 5 PPG Place, 3rd Ave. & Market St., Pittsburgh
"A promoter of African-American nationalism, Delaney published a Black newspaper, The Mystery, at an office near here. He attended Harvard Medical School, practiced medicine in Pittsburgh, and was commissioned as a major in the Civil War."
Plaque at Roberto Clemente Dr. near S. Bouquet St., by remaining Forbes Field wall, Pitt campus, Oakland (Pittsburgh)
"The first all steel and concrete ballpark in the nation, Forbes Field was home to the Pirates, site of four World Series in 1909, 1925, 1927, + 1960 and two All-Star games. Hosted the Homestead Grays, Steelers, and Pitt Panthers, as well as political rallies and boxing matches. Site of Bill Mazeroski's game seven, ninth inning, World Series winning home run on October 13, 1960 and Babe Ruth's last 3 home runs. Damaged by fire; razed 1972."
Stephen C. Foster (1826-1864)
Plaque at Forbes Ave. just E of Bigelow Blvd., Oakland (Pittsburgh)
"Tribute to Pittsburgh's beloved writer of songs and ballads, including 'Oh Suzanna,' 'Old Folks at Home,' and 'My Old Kentucky Home.' Born in 1826 and died in 1864."
Martha Graham (1894-1991)
Plaque at California Ave. & Brighton Rd., North Side (Pittsburgh)
"Born near here, dancer, choreographer, and teacher Martha Graham created a modern and unique movement style. In 1927, she founded her school of Contemporary Dance, revolutionizing the art of modern dance with innovative works such as 'Frontier' and 'Appalachian Spring.'"
Henry J. Heinz (1844-1919)
Plaque at 16th St. Bridge, North Side, Pittsburgh
"From a start in 1869 selling bottled horseradish, Heinz built an international firm by 1886. He pioneered innovative advertising, quality control, and benevolent employee policies and transformed modern diets.
Lewis and Clark Expedition
Plaque at 10th St. Bypass & Waterfront Dr. intersection, Pittsburgh
"On Aug. 31, 1803, Capt. Meriwether Lewis launched a 50-foot 'keeled boat' from Ft. Fayette, 100 yards downriver. This marked the beginning of the 3-year expedition commissioned by President Jefferson, which opened America to westward expansion."
John A. Roebling (1806-1869)
Plaque at corner of Smithfield Street Bridge and West Carson Street
"Here in 1846, Roebling built the first wire rope suspension bridge to carry a highway over the Monongahela River. He also designed a bridge across the Allegheny River, a railroad bridge at Niagara Falls, and the Brooklyn Bridge."
Birthplace of Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
Plaque at 850 Beech Ave., North Side, Pittsburgh
"Allegheny West. Birthplace of Gertrude Stein. In this house on February 3, 1874, Gertrude Stein was born to Daniel and Amelia Stein. Author, poet, feminist, playwright, and catalyst in the development of modern art and literature. 'In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is. This is what makes America what it is.' Allegheny West Historic District."
William "Billy" Strayhorn (1915-1967)
Plaque at 1101 N. Murtland St., at Westinghouse High School, Homewood (Pittsburgh)
"Jazz composer and arranger. Collaborator with Duke Ellington. Billy Strayhorn's "Take the Train" became the Ellington orchestra's theme song. A graduate of Westinghouse High School, Strayhorn had his musical talent nurtured here."
Birthplace of August Wilson (1945-2005)
Plaque at 1727 Bedford Ave., Pittsburgh
"Co-founder of Pittsburgh's Black Horizon Theater and the author of a cycle of ten plays that have been hailed as a unique triumph in American literature. The plays cover each decade of the 20th century and most focus on African American life in the Hill District. Two of the plays, 'Fences' and 'The Piano Lesson', won Pulitzer prizes for best drama in 1987 and 1990; 'Fences' also won Broadway's Tony Award. This site is Wilson's birthplace."