Odd Pittsburgh: Duquesne Incline Turns 140 and Pittsburgh's Own Royalty

Pittsburgh was also home to a third MLB league at one time!

Larry Richert and John Shumway
May 18, 2018 - 4:27 pm
Duquesne Incline

Pittsburgh Daily Post Newspaper


The Odd, Mysterious and Fascinating History of Pittsburgh founder John Schalcosky is back with crazy facts about Pittsburgh you probably didn't know!

  • Pittsburgh’s Own Royalty

Harry and Meghan are getting married this weekend in England and that seems to be a big deal to many but did you know Pittsburgh has welcomed the British royals couple times before?

Odd Pittsburgh’s John Schalcosky tells the KDKA Radio Morning News the last visit was in 1988 when Prince Charles came to the ‘Burgh.

Schalcosky says one royal came through 150 years ago incognito.  18-year-old Baron Renfrew who stayed overnight at the Monongahela House on Smithfield Street was actually the future King Edward VII. Everyone knew Renfrew was Edward; it was one of the worst kept secrets at the time.

Pittsburgh also had its own queen. Native American, Queen Aliquippa, who was an important figure during the French and Indian War was the reason George Washington came here as a young man. Did she live inthe town of Aliquippa? Shalcosky says she probably never even stepped close to the area.

“At the time she was living in McKeesport and had nothing to do with Aliquippa [the town>. Aliquippa was just called that after the railroads came through and they named that [town> in her honor.”

  • Duquesne Incline anniversary

The Duquesne Incline celebrated its 140th anniversary Thursday. Along with the Monongahela Incline, Pittsburgh has two left after having over 20 operating at the same time.

“We had little ones like in Belleview and Troy Hill and we had big ones all along Mount Washington.”

Most inclines closed down in the 1950s and 60s and that included the Duquesne Incline.

“In 1962 it went out of business and it sat there empty and not in use until local residents of Duquesne Heights actually formed a fundraiser to try to save the Duquesne Incline and they did successfully and it reopened in 1963 . . . but we were very close to not having any inclines in Pittsburgh,” said Schalcosky.

  • National League, American League and Federal League?!

Did you know a third league existed in Major League Baseball at one time and Pittsburgh was the hub?

It only existed for 2 years in 1914-15 and they paid their players more than the National and American Leagues.

Pittsburgh’s team was called the Rebels. “They named it after one of their players, Rebel Oakes . . . While they were okay, they were nothing to write home about and the Federal League went bankrupt in 1915 and that was that.”


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