Heinz attracts tourists

Brian Carr, West Hills Writer

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The Heinz History Center in downtown Pittsburgh is a booming tourist attraction for Pittsburghers and travelers as well. People can learn about all of Pittsburgh›s history and treasures. This two-story exhibit features immersive spaces, hand-on activities, touch screen interactives, and audio-visual displays that detail Pittsburgh›s definitive story.

Some of the must-see exhibits are the life-like figures Queen Aliquippa, Andrew Carnegie, and Rosie the Riveter. People can interact with George Westinghouse and ask him questions about his many achievements, from the invention of the air brake and alternating current, to his rivalry with Thomas Edison.

Tourists can see a model of the casting process at Fort Pitt Foundry or step inside Pittsburgh’s premier jazz club, the Crawford Grill, and listen to music from some of history’s most prominent jazz musicians, such as George Benson, Billy Strayhorn, Stanley Turrentine, and Mary Lou Williams.

People can learn about the origins of the Big Mac, the Ferris wheel and the Banana Split there. There’s something for everyone at the History Center. Whatever you may be a fan of, they most likely will feature.

Just some of the many facts that people can discover there are those such as the oil industry started here in Western Pa. in 1859 when Edwin Drake successfully drilled the first well north of Pittsburgh near Titusville, allowing black gold to flow to a ready market.

By the end of the Civil War, the Pennsylvania petroleum industry produced four-and-a-half million barrels of oil a year. Samuel Langley developed standardized time for the railroads while at the Allegheny Observatory.

Meriwether Lewis began his journey west from Fort Fayette in August 1803. The epic Lewis & Clark expedition to the Pacific began here in Pittsburgh/On May 30, 1918, representatives of several Slovak and Czech organizations gathered in Pittsburgh to discuss, draft, and sign the Pittsburgh Agreement.

Written by Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, it represented the first time Slovaks and Czechs issued a public, written document expressing the intention of forming a single common state, Czechoslovakia. When Charles Martin Hall discovered an inexpensive means to produce aluminum, he came to the Mellon family in Pittsburgh for financing.

In 1967, Jim Delligatti created the Big Mac at his Uniontown, Pa. franchise, one of a dozen stores he operated at the time. Introduced nationwide the following year, the Big Mac remains a favorite.

Those are just a few of the thousands of cool things to learn about and do at the Heinz History Center. So come on down and see for yourself why it is one of the best tourist attractions of not only Pittsburgh, but the entire world!