Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area challenged neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh to document the things that define their community. An exhibit of photographs and stories from each community will be held at the Bost Building from July 9, 2008, to January 31, 2009. Chime into the conversation and submit your own photos and thoughts to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenfield and the Big Snow of 1950
Excerpts from a memoir by Karen Cain
Greenfield Avenue starts on the edge of town at Second Avenue and goes up hill for a mile and a half ending at Calvary Cemetery (as do many Greenfielders). My life in Pittsburgh, all eighteen years of it, was spent living on or near an assortment of points on the avenue. On Deely Street, we played games in the middle of the street. In the summer, the local fire department came by and opened the fire hydrant where we cooled off playing in the gushing water. We stayed outside until the streetlights came on. We moved a few doors down to Delevan Street, where we experienced the "Big Snow" of 1950 (pix below). Winter in Pittsburgh offers plenty of snow but nothing like 1950, five feet as we tell it but it was probably more like three feet, a record for the city and the only time I remember them closing schools. My father had to abandon his car on the Homestead Bridge trying to get home from work. It wouldn't move another inch even with heavy chains. My dad mentally noted its location for retrieval another day and walked the rest of the way home. People hunkered down inside their warm homes, ate comfort food, watched the world turn whiter. When the snow finally stopped, all of the neighbors on our street came out with shovels and began to dig out. My twin brothers made igloos and snow tunnels in the alley that ran along the side of the house. My dad playfully threw them off of the porch and they disappeared where they fell under the snow, hooting with laughter. We took our sleds up to Deely Street and started at the top of Delevan and rode our sleds straight down Delevan Street. We were pretty good at stopping before we got to Greenfield Avenue but if we overshot, we had to tolerate the honking and window opened screaming from the driver that had to break suddenly. Traffic was light enough and the few drivers that ventured out knew to look out for us clueless kids.
The Big Snow of 1950