Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

On our adventure day last week, Tom and I ventured into Pittsburgh.  Tom still had a couple of French and Indian War history sites to check off his list.  We are not fans of big cities, especially since we drive a very large truck.  Finding a parking space for the truck is especially challenging in cities.  Our first destination was the Heinz History Center in downtown which, fortunately, had a large parking lot next to it.

The Heinz History Center tells the history of Pittsburgh from its humble beginning as a fort at the confluence of the Monogahela and Allegheny Rivers.  I will write more about these humble beginnings tomorrow.  They are just one floor of the Heinz History Center.  Because I was already very familiar with this story, I was more interested in other areas of the museum.

Specifically, I wanted to know more about the Heinz Company.  Heinz Ketchup is absolutely the best ketchup everywhere and I have always loved their commercials (an older one and a newer one).  For me, Heinz products have always been quality products that stand the test of time.  So I wanted to learn more about the company that makes them.  Unfortunately the display on the third floor of the Heinz History Center was long on looks and short on content.  I did learn that that the label on Heinz is the Pennsylvania keystone symbol.  I also learned that Heinz made a lot more than 57 varieties but Henry John Heinz, the founder of the company, liked the way that the 57 sounded.

Westinghouse air brake

The Heinz History Center had a floor dedicated to innovation in Pittsburgh.  Besides the Heinz Company, Pittsburgh is also home to Westinghouse and several other leading edge companies.  Bessemer steel was first made in Pittsburgh and John Roelbing manufactured the first steel ropes in Pittsburgh.  Andrew Carnegie made his fortune in steel in Pittsburgh.  Because coal mining is important in Pittsburgh history, lots of advancements in mining safety came out of Pittsburgh.

One floor of the Heinz History Center is dedicated to the 90 neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.  Each of these neighborhoods is largely ethnic in origin.  This floor of the museum had a small section with artifacts from each of the neighborhoods:  Jewish, Slovenian, Russian, German, Hungarian, etc.  This floor of the museum also houses a small exhibit dedicated to Fred Rogers, who grew up in Pittsburgh.  We saw several sets and a sweater from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

Collection of spinning wheels

Tom and I enjoyed exploring the beautiful Heinz History Center.  It was a great way to learn more about the Pittsburgh area and its history.  The cost is $18 per adult and $15 for seniors.  Tom now qualifies for a Senior rate most places, which saved us the parking fee.  If you are visiting Pittsburgh, this is a great place to visit.

  • Brenda Ferguson

    Loved learning about the Heinz Ketchup history….I always liked Mr. Rogers. You must have enjoyed seeing those spinning wheels.

    • revkaren54

      I enjoyed seeing the spinning wheels but I always want to use them. Tools are made to be used, no matter how old they are. They are more beautiful when they are useful.