Today in 1911, a big day for the city of Pittsburgh.

After an effort that lasted decades, the city won back the H at the end of its name!

The area now known as Pittsburgh has been settled for thousands of years, including by the Seneca Nation.

The name Pittsburgh dates back to the 1750s and the city charter was granted in 1816.

So how was it that more than a century later that someone was changing the way the city spelled its name?

Partly because of a national movement and partly because of a typo.

In the late 19th century, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names was trying to standardize place names.

They created thirteen principles to help reach that goal, and one of them was that any place with a name ending in “burgh” should drop the silent H.

In Pittsburgh’s case, they also said they’d obtained a copy of the city charter from 1816 where the city’s name was spelled “Pittsburg.”

So the feds dropped the H, but those in Pittsburgh had other ideas.

The University of Pittsburgh kept the longer spelling.

So did the Pittsburgh Stock Exchange, the Pittsburgh Gazette and other businesses and institutions, not to mention people who lived and worked in the city.

As the pro-H public opinion grew, there was another development.

It turned out the city charter the Board had used to make its decision was not an original version.

The first generation charter spelled out very clearly Pittsburgh with an H, while copies of the genuine document had dropped the final letter.

So the Board on Geographic Names reversed course, and Pittsburgh got to keep its H.

And in case you’re wondering, the U.S. never quite streamlined the names of its many Pittsburg(h)s.

The big one in Pennsylvania has its H, and so does the considerably smaller Pittsburgh, North Dakota.

But there are H-less Pittsburgs in Kansas, California and New Hampshire, among others.

It was today in 1982 that shortstop Luke Appling hit a home run.

That’s not a huge surprise, since he was a Hall of Famer.

But Appling played in the 1930s and 40s.

He hit this home run in an old timers’ game at age 75!

THE PITTSBURGH “H” (Visit Pittsburgh)

Most Unlikely Homerun Ever! 75 Year Old Luke Appling’s Home Run in Old Timers Game in D.C. 1982 (via YouTube)

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Photo by Matt Evans via Flickr/Creative Commons