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):

AUDIO TRACKS:

  1. The “O”

2. UPMC

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

74 thoughts on “Our Dear Oakland

  1. Excellent production

    So when I think of Pitt, I don’t think of Pittsburgh. I think of Oakland and the surrounding neighborhoods. That’s Pittsburgh to me.

    Pitt might be the city’s flagship school but it really represents Oakland. And Oakland still to this day is a cultural Mecca. It is the center of entertainment. The center of medicine. The center of education.

    I think of Oakland as Pittsburghs soul. I know that’s very Russian. Why soul and not heart. If you took Russian classes at Pitt like I did, you’d understand why it’s the soul.

    Pitt is Pitt. Pitt is not Pittsburgh. Oakland is Pitt.

    Hail to Pitt
    And Hail to Oakland.

    Tex who used to live on north Craig right up from the Luna and chiefs.

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  2. Ближний сосед лучше дальней родни

    A close neighbor is better than a distant relative

    Век живи – век учись

    “Live for a century; learn for a century.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Was great atmosphere at the Nassau Coliseum last night. Those fans deserved the big win.

      Rangers fans at MSG also really show up and create a great atmosphere.

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          1. Told a big burgh hockey fan the Isles would beat the Bruins, after they beat the Pens. My other prediction, the Isles will win the Cup this year.

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  3. Reed, thanks for posting the PITT/ Oakland Tour. I will take the tour this week-end. Looks like it will be time well spent. In all honesty, I did not get around to very many of the local attractions as a student… between class and work there was not enough time to explore the area back in the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved Oakland. Lived in Shadyside on Howe St JR SR years than across from the Elbow Room for two more years. My Aunt Helen owned a mansion old brick house there.

    I bet Reed served me many a drink back in the day in Shadyside as I didn’t miss many bars.

    Still cherish every moment back when I come home for games from Baltimore.

    Pitt’s campus also awesome. Got to sing many times in Heinz Chapel w the Heinz Chapel Choir. There was no Pitt Glee Club then.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Drank at all three…. a lot! This is why I miss an OCS. I would spend at least 2 extra days in Shadyside and walking around campus, Pre and post game.

        Now I come in stay at Marriot Airport and leave.

        Brought first wife, daughter, girlfriends and second wife (still married… amazingly enough).
        All loved Campus. Walnut St hasn’t changed much, just different names on the bars.

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  5. Lived on the corner of Ellsworth and Bellefonte and also Walnut St above a clothing store…good times.
    Will take the tour tomorrow.
    Thanks Commander.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We may mock our Hoopie cousins or in my case my wifes mother’s side of the family, but Pittsburgh is part of Appalachia. I do miss playing our toothless inbred rivals.

    City schools are where it’s at.

    The Pitt force is strong in my family. I have it. My brother has it. My uncle has it. And my sister has it.

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  7. I think you should add the Police Station #4 on Forbes Ave. I can still smell the pee from the inside of their holding cell… And I probably met a few of you guys there!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I do not wish to soil this thread with scandalous, off-topic news, so putting something on the last post in case anyone wants to read it and comment.

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  9. Commander – love that photo of you. Your expression makes me think you just got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, so to speak…

    Good info about the campus tour.

    Used to love studying – or just passing some time between classes – in the magnificent atmosphere of the nooks and crannies of the Cathedral…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved Oakland since I was a little kid, from the times my dad took me to Carnegie Tech and my visits to Doctors in the Medical Arts Building. The Cathedral is so Majestic that it mesmerizes and does something to the soul. I didn’t work hard enough to get into CMU, to be honest family could not have afforded it, so Pitt was always it. Never had thoughts of anywhere else.

    Loved my six years in Oakland and Shadyside, they were really the place to be.

    But times change some for the better some for the worse. We rarely left the confines of Oakland and Shadyside. Our nostalgic view is just that, students today have cars, Pittsburgh is dramatically changed.
    Students now go to SouthSide, NorthSide, East Liberty, Downtown for fun. Unlike our celebrations for the Pirates and Steelers in Oakland, more recent ones for the Pens were on the SouthSide.

    Students have been going to Heinz and players have practiced on the SouthSide for 20 years, pretty much a whole generation.

    Their college experience is much different than ours was, in some ways much better, I would have loved to have experienced the Zoo as a student, or even better as a player.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I had better experiences at Fitzgerald and old Pitt stadium.

    The Pete is nice and modern but Fitzgerald is like the movie Hoosiers.

    Old Pitt stadium was unique and on campus

    I also went to walnut street, south side and some bars outside Oakland. But t I knew where campus was and wasn’t.

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  12. Pitt is engineering grunts CMU is kids on brains.
    In football, what are the chances we ever get into the 12 team playoff? is it possible to have odds less than zero?

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  13. Off-topic: A couple of my kids went to Rice, so I follow Rice athletics some. My son covered Rice athletics for the student newspaper. Rice just hired Jose Cruz Jr. – a first round MLB draft pick in 1995 – to Coach the baseball team.

    Wayne Graham retired as Rice’s Coach a few year’s ago after a very impressive career there. Check this out:

    Wayne Graham took over Rice baseball in 1992. He inherited a program that had tallied only seven winning seasons in 78 years of Southwest Conference play and had only finished above fourth place once. As at San Jacinto Junior College, Graham turned the program into a national powerhouse. A program that had never before qualified for the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament made 23 consecutive tournament appearances (1995–2017) and won 20 consecutive regular-season or tournament conference championships (1996–2015) in three different conferences (Southwest Conference, Western Athletic Conference, and Conference USA). Rice has also been to the College World Series seven times (1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008). Graham’s crowning achievement was the 2003 College World Series, in which Rice won its first national championship in any sport in its 91-year history.

    Rice has had a couple of down years since Graham left. I expect Cruz Jr. will recruit well and bring the Owls back.

    Terrific school.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rice like vandy are great academic schools. Rice I believe is in a similar neighborhood like SMU is in Dallas. It would be like if pitt was located in Shadyside/highland Park. Not the Oakland ghetto.

    I still can’t believe how bad South Oakland is after all these years. It’s embarrassing. My first view of Oakland was getting off the parkway and coming in through south Oakland…bates Street? It kind of scared me as a kid from a small rural town.

    I’m assuming all the football and basketball recruits get a tour of Oakland and campus?

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  15. No competition. The Pete when it’s rocking is one of the best venues in the sport and Old Pitt Stadium was one of the worst venues in the sport, rocking or not.

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    1. I had some good times at Fitzgerald. That place was loud in my day…Sean miller time.

      Pitt stadium on campus made a huge difference from a students perspective. I never minded the walk up cardiac hill. I rolled down it.

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      1. I was at the top of the hill so going to Pitt Stadium was never an issue … I usually stumbled in after pre-gaming beforehand so I give it an A in convenience … That track around the field and the troughs for urinals and how far you were from that generic turf field … just horrible … not to mention the teams that played on it … I would hit golf balls into the stadium at night from our Fraternity house … that was the most fun experience with the stadium … You obviously never went to a Georgetown or UCONN game at the Pete during Dixon’s golden years … The atmosphere was off the charts … and I was at some good games at the Field House too. I was there when Khalid from UCONN jumped on the scorer’s table … But, the Field House is among the best in the country when Pitt is good. During our sellout streak … one of the best venues in the sport and there wasn’t really much competition. The Pete has character even if it didn’t show on TV … because of the dumb decision to not put the student section on TV … but man, that student section was lit.

        Should the Pete have been built instead of football stadium is another argument for another day but the Pete is a very legit basketball venue.

        Liked by 2 people

  16. Don’t want to ruin this thread, but is anybody surprised at the revelations about Bo Schembechler?? What is it about the BIG 10?3 scandal-ridden schools!! Want to take bets that a statue in front of the Big House will be coming down soon?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Penn state, Michigan state, michigan and Ohio state. All of them didn’t protect student athletes. All schools focused on winning. All schools very protective of their brand. All schools without nearly enough oversight. These are insulated institutions playing by their own rules, protected by local police and bureaucrats, and don’t give a damn about student safety.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Like I said before, when the athletic departments start running the university, college sports are in serious trouble. In each of these cases, head coaches had become bigger and more powerful than the university presidents. At the very least, there was no oversight of the AD programs. And there was a growing trend of successful coaches becoming Athletics Directors. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The Bo stuff just goes back to me reminding everyone that schools do not have the best interest of the athletes in mind … and if any of those molested athletes wanted to transfer they would have had to sit out a year. This is what happens when employees don’t have proper representation. Whether it be legal, agent or a dreaded union. The entire model is just a sham. Selfishly, it’s been great but it’s just not a fair system for the athletes.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. psu, Michigan and plenty other higher profile football programs can get away with the most diabolical lies, coverups and criminal acts for years and PITT gets busted for having a ball-boy simulating a long snap to the punter.

    One for Tex, my surgery is coming up soon and I’ll have the very best Dr working on me. He will carefully send in a robot and guide it to my tumor ladened left kidney where he will carefully work his was around the delicate veins and arteries and remove the tumor expertly. (that’s the plan) But the real news is……… my Dr with 10 years of higher education with some twenty-five more years in the operating room will make around 4 million dollars this year LESS than Narduzzi will make.

    Speaking of my surgery, not this Monday but next, 21st. I will set off for the Cleveland Clinic and spend all day Tuesday being tested. Wednesday surgery, time to be determined…….. Surgery. I thank you all for your kindness and words of encouragement throughout. First time I’ve rooted for Cleveland since the Rolling Stones were there back in the seventies. Again, thank you all very much!

    Your prayers, kind words and thoughts are most definitely heard and felt. ike

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Ike — with all the positive thoughts and prayers coming your way, that tumor doesn’t have a chance. A robotic doctor’s assistant — most excellent. 👍. Sounds like you’re at the forefront of the medical profession – right where you should be!

      I like ike!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Let’s not have a pity party for student athletes just yet. Yes they sacrifice a lot, but they get a lot in return. Ask any of the inner city kids I worked with at my first job. None athletes. They started behind because of their bad high schools and most worked night jobs struggling to afford school. Their single parent, usually a mom, worked multiple jobs. Trust me, they would have all gladly traded places for a free ride and chance to play a game instead of work.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. notrocketscience … a college education is only worth something if that’s what you want. Yes, for some it’s a valuable benefit of being an elite athlete. For a lot of athletes, they are just there to play a sport and don’t value or care about the education. It’s easy to project and say they should appreciate their opportunity but that’s not how youth works. Immaturity, not being prepared, just a disdain for school … lots of variables … but, it’s only of value if the person receiving it sees value in it. You may find that asinine and it may annoy you that there are a lot of folks that would do anything to be in their shoes … but that’s just life. People waste opportunity every day … and most often it’s because they don’t value the opportunity in front of them.

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  22. Tossing, There should be a minor league for football. The fact that the NFL gets away with not having one after all this time is amazing. I always hope the USFL or another start up league would take hold.
    You are correct, kids don’t see or miss opportunities. It certainly isn’t hurting anyone to get an education whether they appreciate it or not. They make easier majors for them and in the case of UNC make up fake classes, lol.
    I get your point, but it is what it is right now.

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  23. Under the radar but Narduzzi and Capel have been getting some pretty strong guys to visit.
    Who knows how many will come, but seems to be a stronger performance than pre-covid.

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    1. — Capel continues to tease us – will he get one of these guys sooner or later or never…

      — Football – I’m surprised at all these offers in California and far away elsewheres. Seems to be a Coach Marion development…

      Go Pitt.

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        1. That Cali kid has probably never been East before. Gets a free trip paid for by Pitt.

          He’ll leave saying flattering things but come signing day will probably stay on the West. Few kids from Texas or Cali work out. It’s culture shock and too far from family and friends.

          I’m shocked at things when I visit. There’s just some things I couldn’t go back to. Some things I miss as well.

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    1. This is what I have been trying to tell you, Oakland and Campus life has changed. A major impact on having dive bars is the cost of rent. When I started at Pitt over 59 years ago, the bars were all pretty much seedy dumps, with low rent. Oakland real estate is now very expensive. This is another reason nightlife has moved to other locals.

      Oakland is no longer a destination that young adults are willing to go to with much competition plus ease of ingress and egress and difficulty of finding a place to park. For example the Waterfront has free parking.

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      1. Real estate is expensive. Oakland has become somewhat gentrified. And students and hospital and education workers demand better foods and drinks. Plenty of good micro beers and spirits in the marketplace now. Plenty of creative chefs and real good cooks focusing on healthy items and freshness. Still wish there were more pitt themed restaurants and bars. Pay homage to Oakland’s great history.

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  24. Pitt just received a verbal from RB Jordan Bailey from Tampa Bay, FL.

    We beat the hoopies out on this 6’1” 180 lb 3 star speedster.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Bailey is interesting. Also interesting is the fact that NOT one of his highlights show him breaking a single tackle.

    A bigger, slightly slower, version of Larod Stephens-Howling who, by the way, was pretty good.

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