Back to School with Very Local, History

Don’t wanna crack open a book? Just press play on these Pittsburgh history podcasts

If you fell asleep in history class lectures, we promise these interviews are a bit more exciting

This story is part of our Back to School series. To see more stories like this, check out our History curriculum. Follow Very Local on Facebook & Instagram for updates.


Sometimes, the best learning is the sort that comes easily. If you love Pittsburgh history or you just want to learn some fun facts to up your trivia game, we rounded up some of our favorite podcast episodes. All you have to do is press play.

Want to learn Pittsburgh history while you scroll social media?

Meet Charles Succop, who runs three Instagram accounts dedicated to Pittsburgh history: @pghthenandnow, @pittsburghistory and @hiddenhousespgh.

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South Craig Street in Oakland, from Baum to Forbes, has a wide selection of HiddenHouses in terms of size, style, and age. Today I will focus on 305 S. Craig Street, between Winthrop and Filmore Street. South Craig Street is around 150 years old. The house was built sometime between 1873 and 1881. This development, bounded by Bellefield, Forbes, Fifth, and Boundary Street, was an island surrounded by farm/open land, a large portion of which was owned by the Schenley Estate, until the early part of the 20th century. (Image 2 1882 map) A majority of the large homes from this era in Oakland, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill were broken up and sold off into lots, creating a dense urban landscape. This section of South Craig was already a relatively dense residential corridor before the turn of the last century. Newspaper articles began referencing the house in 1896, with a lost and found ad for a “black shoulder cape, lined with silk; reward if returned.” The McClean family moved into the house sometime around 1890. Susannah R. McClean, widow of Samuel McClean Jr., died in 1902 at 82. After Mrs. McClean’s death, the house was put up for rent, with ads stating that it would make a good home for “four gentlemen” or a family. By 1910 rent was $65 or around $1,800 today. By 1952 the zoning had changed to commercial marking the beginning of a change in this neighborhood. While many former homes retained upstairs renters, the first floors/front of the old homes were transformed into storefronts. One such renter of 305 S. Craig was Maurice E. Michel, who operated the Michel Fur Salon for 41 years before his death in 1979. In 1986 the stand-alone house was sold to Craig Street Commons Association, creating the mixed-use office/retail complex and connecting multiple existing structures. Image 6 through 8 show the HiddenHouse in 1909. The previous year the University of Pittsburgh moved from the North Side to Oakland.

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It’s been 100 years since women received the right to vote.

Meet Eliza Smith Brown, chairwoman of the Pittsburgh Suffrage Centennial Committee. Learn about the suffrage movement in Pittsburgh and the role local women played in furthering the cause.

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On February 29, 1912, the women of the Equal Franchise Federation were given control of The Pittsburgh Sun newspaper for…

Posted by PGH Suffrage 100 on Thursday, March 5, 2020

Love old houses?

Meet Justin Greenawalt, president of the East Liberty Valley Historical Society and a member of Preservation Pittsburgh. He’s passionate about historic houses and is currently rehabbing his own Bellevue home.

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From Allegheny Arsenal to an infantryman’s “Night of the Living Dead” appearance

Meet Rich Condon, who researches and shares our city’s 1860s history via Civil War Pittsburgh.

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This photo, taken at City Point, Virginia during the latter half of the Civil War, shows an African American soldier, possibly from the 1st, 22nd, or 37th United States Colored Troops, guarding a U.S. Model 1857 12-Pounder Napoleon. . . Notice “From Allegheny” stenciled in below the elevating screw, indicating that the cannon’s stock was likely produced at Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Arsenal. . . Ulysses S. Grant’s Headquarters at City Point is a unit of @petersburgnps. . . . (Library of Congress) . . . . . #africanamericanhistory #americancivilwar #civilwar #civilwarhistory #history #pennsylvania #tourism #visitpittsburgh #pennsylvania #pittsburghpa #LovePGH #visitpa #pittsburghbeautiful #nextpittsburgh #pittsburghhistory #historymatters #pittsburgh #battlefields #publichistory #union #civilwarpittsburgh #penncivilwar

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📸 Header photo credit: Library of Congress via CivilWarPittsburgh’s Instagram. Click here to learn more about this photo.