Our Dear Oakland

I’ve mentioned on here before that I grew up right on the fringe of both the Pitt and Carnegie Tech (now CMU) campuses. Our house was at the top of Negley Hill so we actually lived in Squirrel Hill just above Shadyside. Also, as said before the Kohberger side of the family has a connection to Oakland that goes back generations – at least in the very early 1900’s when my Grandfather was on the staff of the new Pitt Medical School.

That connection goes through all the Kohbergers (in our clan) attending and then, most, working for the University – up to my oldest brother just receiving Librarian Emeritus status upon his retirement a few years ago.

The reason I mention the above is because we have always been grounded in Oakland and pretty much grew up on Pitt’s campus (my parents were married in Heinz Chapel) so there has always been a special place in my heart for that area. Whenever I go back to Pittsburgh I always make it a point to walk the campus and get a bite to eat and a drink somewhere.

While the campus has changed (rather dramatically from 1974 when I was a freshman) I believe the spirit of Pitt’s connections to the immediate area and surrounding neighborhoods remain as strong as ever.

So – when I got an email from the Pitt News with an article about Oakland I read it right away. But the real gem in the article was a bit about their production of a 60 minute audio tour of the campus.

“There was a time when you could ride a rollercoaster in the spot that is now residential North Craig Street. Luna Park, an amusement park built in 1905, once stood at the intersection of North Craig Street and Centre Avenue.

Oakland trivia like this is exactly what you would learn while on a guided, one-hour audio tour of the neighborhood, called Appalachian Paris, a production by Pitt’s theater arts department.”

This tour is really for walking point to point in Oakland then using your cell phone to listen to the audio portion for that specific spot. Well, we ain’t in Oakland are we? I listened to it anyway and was so impressed I wanted to share this so we Pitt people can be transported back in time if only for awhile. It sure did that with me…

Let’s try to make this easy for us to enjoy. This is the website for Appalachian Paris (and yes – Pittsburgh has been dubbed that for many decades. There has even been a book written about it.). Also, please remember this website and production was done by the undergrad of Pitt’s Theater Arts Department students so it is as much fun as fact and has some funky intros to each piece.

If you click the “HOME” at the top of the page you’ll see this drop down menu:

There is a lot there and I urge everyone to spend some time exploring those links, but here are the tracks themselves as they correspond to this map (here is the link to the actual maps):


  1. The “O”


3. Schenley Quad

4. William Pitt Student Union

5. The Cathedral of Learning

6. Dippy the Dinosaur

7. Carnegie Library

8. Schenley Lock Bridge

9. Flagstaff Hill

10. Phipps Conservatory

11. Columbus Statue

12. Schenley Lock Bridge (South)

13. Schenley Fountain

14. Forbes Field Wall

15. Carousel

It will be interesting to touch base with this site later on to read other’s “Your Own Oakland Stories“.

As a POV Bonus here is a great look at the Cathedral of Learning by our favorite beer drinker:

Enjoy my friends… Reed