Grab a basement pop… It’s time for another edition of Uncle Jerry’s Points of Interest.
The Point in Pittsburgh is like the “Stocks” app that comes standard on your iPhone. Hear me aht here: It’s always there, we always see it, but how much do we really know about it?
Sure, it’s Point State Park, Ya Gotta Regatta, the fountain is pink in October and the Black Eyed Peas played a concert there one time to kick-off the NFL season after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in the prior Super Bowl, but what else do you really know about The Point?
Well, that’s where Uncle Jerry steps in with some random trivia for you to spit aht when someone tries to aht-yinzer you dahn at the corner bar.
1) The Official Name Is The “Forks Of The Ohio”
Not be confused with the Jags of Ohio, also known as the Browns and Bengals. Now that I think about it, I can’t remember a single time I used an actual fork while eating ‘round Pittsburgh: Primanti’s, Mike & Tony’s and The O - all food I manhandle (especially at 2:30 AM) with just my bare hands.
2) Jags Were Always Fighting Over It
As you can imagine, having access to that much river traffic can be beneficial, even back when they were trading pelts n’stuff. Yinz seen that movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and that bear? Yup, same time period.
The French built Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War and played pretty good D, until General Forbes came in and stripped the ball aht and built Fort Pitt.
If we’re staying with the football analogy, Leo was Colt McCoy and the bear was James Harrison.
3) It Was Once Owned By Virginia
Now, this is before those hoopies were burning couches dahn Morgantown. We’re talking way before West Virginia was even a state! The British didn’t need Fort Pitt after the war, so they gave it over to the locals. You know, kinda like the Pirates just gave up Mark Melancon. WHY?!
After a power struggle, Virginia owned it in the early 1770’s and named it Fort Dunmore. Wanna know why it’s not called the Fort Dunmore tunnel? ‘Cause Dunmore was a jagoff. End of story.
4) There Used To Be A Roller Coaster On It
In the early 1900’s, around the same time the old Point Bridge was being built, there was structure dahn there called the “Exposition Building.” Think of this place as a Discovery Zone without a ballpit! They had a merry-go-rahnd, music hall, ice skating rink and outside of it, yep, a roller coaster. I doubt it had the same appeal as the Jack Rabbit at Kennywood, and it was probably held together by soot and chewing tobacco, but how cool is that?
5) It Used To Be The Slums
You know how your grandpa used to say, “We used to eat dandelion sandwiches and bathe in the crick… and THEN the Depression hit.”? When the mills were cookin, Pittsburgh got nicknamed “Hell with the lid off.” That wasn’t just because the EPA wasn’t a thing yet. It was because living conditions weren’t as clean as Fred Roger’s language. The Point was the site of many run-down housing units interconnected with clotheslines and Polish accents.
6) I’m Too Sad To Continue
Look, Uncle Jerry needs to get real with you one second. I began writing this blog before news broke that Dan Rooney passed away. At first, I didn’t know quite how to react. I wasn’t going to go crying like some Blue Jackets fan when they blow a 3-1 lead in Game 3, and I wasn’t going to fight Parkway traffic to put flowers at the memorial. So I did what any self-respecting Pittsburgher did. I put on my Bettis jersey, I went dahn to the den, I grabbed an Iron City and watched Super Bowl XL on VHS. It’s the same tape actually that your aunt tried to tape the series finale of Days of Our Lives on before I dove at the TV like Polamalu’s fingertip interception versus the Chargers.
Mr. Rooney was a fantastic human being. That’s not something I really say about any human being. I never met the guy, but I haven’t heard a single person say anything bad about him. His father, the Chief, started something remarkable. Any Steeler fan can tell you that the black and gold is not a team, it’s a lifestyle. It’s as much a part of you as your twirling hand. Dan took that brand and nurtured it into the juggernaut it is today.
His connection with fans, coaches, players and Steigerwalds has been well-documented in recent days, so I don’t want to repeat something you’ve already heard. I will, however, thank him for everything… because to Pittsburgh, the Steelers are everything. I’ll stop this list at six because that’s how many trophies Mr. Rooney hoisted for us in his lifetime.
P.S. Your aunt wanted me to end this with: “Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives,” but I thought that was lame.