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'50 Cities' book shines a spotlight on Pittsburgh

Stephanie Traeger
| Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, 9:42 a.m.
'50 Cities of the U.S.A' by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrator Sol Linero.
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'50 Cities of the U.S.A' by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrator Sol Linero.
'50 Cities of the U.S.A' by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrator Sol Linero.
Google Images
'50 Cities of the U.S.A' by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrator Sol Linero.

Author Gabrielle Balkan and illustrator Sol Linero, the team that brought us the book “50 States,” bring us the companion children's book “50 Cities of the U.S.A.” And yes, the 'Burgh made the list.

Published by Wide Eyed Editions, this 112-page book contains more than 2,000 nuggets of fun facts and illustrations, including those of famous (and not-so-famous) people, events and places.

Each of the cities is featured on a two-page spread and include “A Day in...,” where Balkan outlines a day in the city. For Pittsburgh it all starts with breakfast at Pamela's Diner.

Keeping the spotlight on Pittsburgh, here are five fun facts that are featured.

• Pittsburgh is named for British Prime Minister William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham.

• With approximately 446 bridges, we know our beloved city of Pittsburgh is known as “the city of bridges,” but did you know the Smithfield Street Bridge opened in 1883 and was one of the first in the U.S. to be made from steel?

• Each year, the Dirty Dozen Bike Race challenges cyclists to climb Pittsburgh's 13 steepest hills, including Canton Avenue (located in Pittsburgh's Beechview neighborhood), one of the steepest urban streets in the country.

• In the 1930s, children donated 10 cents to “buy a brick” for one of the tallest educational buildings in the world, the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.

• You can visit the Center for Postnatural History and meet a BioSteel goat named Freckles, that was genetically modified to produce milk containing spider-silk protein for use in bulletproof vests.

Whether you know a child who loves adventure, or are an adult who loves fun facts, “50 Cities of the U.S.A.” lets the reader explore both best-loved and lesser-known cities in the U.S.

Stephanie Traeger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-4050 or

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