Lansing, MI, United States
McKeesport, Pa., Nov. 27 1903.
This week's institute work is in the "Tube City' 15 miles out of Pittsburg on the Monongahela river. It is a thrifty, lively, busy, dirty, smoky, jolly, knobby city of 40,000 people. It makes more gas and sewer pipes than any other city in the world. It's immense factory in this line employs 2,000 men. Then there are tin plate mills, wire works, steel mills and all such things, so that the sun is even darkened, and the blasts from the furnace constantly illume the night clouds of smoke and vapor. The bulk of the city lies in the forks of the Youghingheny (Yock-y-gang) and Monongehela. It has outgrown the bottoms and spread out over the hills and valleys collateral thereto. Here Washington crossed to the famous Braddock fight. What a change in the land since that stirring time! What wealth here! Last week a fleet of barges took advantage of high water in the river and started on their long trip down the Mississippi valley with five and one-half million bushels of soft coal. Youngsters, get out your pencils and figure out how many tons this would make at 28 pounds to the bushel. They do say that this same Monongahela has the greatest tonnage of any river of the world of equal length.
The city is unique in its irregularity, famous in its industrial achievements, and up to snuff generally. It has some large and handsome churches. The First Presbyterian cost $85,000; the Baptist are just completing a $75,000 one. The high school cost $168,000, and is a very complete and substantial building. Its halls are tiled, its stairways are of slate and steel. Its beautifully decorated auditorium accommodates 1,000 or 1,200 people and its acoustic properties are simply perfect
The institute here is a city institute, simply for the 143 teachers of this city. It will cost about $600; the school board votes nearly half of the amount and the teachers pay $2 each as their share.
The workers at this institute are Dr. Preston J. Search, author of the Ideal School, and a very celebrated educator and student of pedagogical problems. Dr. S. D. Fess of Chicago is the most popular lecturer on history that we have ever heard. These two gentlemen with the writer constitute the corps for day work. At this institute as at few others in Pennsylvania, the day instructors give evening lectures. Gen. Z. T. Sweeney of Indiana gave one evening lecture also. These evening meetings were free to the public, and the large auditorium was crowded. Special solos were given by a fine pianist, Mr. Heminggray [sic] Hemingray, and by a celebrated vocalist, Miss Gertrude Clark of Allegheny City. One could not ask for better attention nor more responsive audiences. 'Tis not true that one has to amuse a Pennsylvania institute in order to interest it. We have yet to find one, large or small, that is not ready to hear a message properly presented.
Thanksgiving day the institute.work was from 8:30 to 10:30, then church services. Yours truly had three invitations to eat turkey in McKeesport homes, as luck would have it all were for the same hour, and we contented ourselves with one. Dr. Fess and your scribe stretched their legs under the Baptist parson's table. You may imagine the rest. 'Twas a jolly home, superb cooking, and delightful time.
In the afternoon we attended the dedication of a new ward school of huge proportions and fine appointments.
County Supt. Samuel Hamilton made a strong, logical and eloquent dedicatory address. City Supt. Pickey followed with an urgent practical appeal for a liberal education. Both men made it plain that McKeesport's prosperity and chance were based on the public schools. In Mr. Pickey's address he paid a fine tribute to the University of Michigan, where it transpired he was a student once for two years.
On going back to the hotel the writer found a somewhat diminutive imitation of a baked turkey stuffed with candies, a joke from home. We devoured the stuffing only, and thoroughly enjoyed the joke. Several boat loads of real turkies had reached Pittsburg, so that the markets were well supplied with fine birds at 20c per pound. As artificial gas costs but 18c per 1,000 here, the high price of meat, butter, eggs, etc., is somewhat tempered. Gas is thus cheap because of the great quantities of coke manufactured and the by-products thus utilized.
A $5,000 Carnegie library stands on one of the hills; we found the librarian and her assistant reading to a company of children that had come in for the hour in response to invitations-published in the press and through the schools.
The press of the city was unusually liberal in the space and position given to institute proceedings. The reports were very discriminating and given prominent position. If, as is usually assumed, these papers are in touch with the public taste, we got a good impression of their constituents.
This week closes the present engagement in Pennsylvania and we take a home run for a fortnight in Michigan, before returning to the final week at the immense institute in Greensburg.
H. R. P.
|Researcher notes:||This is likely Samuel Hemingray|
|Date completed:||April 2, 2014 by: Bob Stahr;|