Everyone has an April Fool’s Day memory or two they’ll never forget. We all know how trivial the holiday is,but it’s universally one of the more lighthearted days of the year. Granted, none of us are off of work for the “holiday”, but a tradition of jokes, parties, and even bizarre weddings, have given the Hallmark Holiday a unique and fun identity of it’s own.
Like any other time of the year, there’s always history that can be found. Ask Andy Van Slyke and Tony Peña. In normal Pittsburgh style, April Fool’s Day was the beginning for two major city staples: the building now known as 525 William Penn Place, and on the other end of the city’s iconic spectrum…the Pirate Parrot.
In 1949, The 41 floor, $274 million US Steel-Mellon Tower broke ground. Now known as 525 William Penn Place, the building was one of the first skyscrapers built in Pittsburgh as part of longtime Mayor David Lawrence’s “Renaissance I Building Initiative”. The initiative hoped to rebuild downtown Pittsburgh from the ground up, and help give the city a more modern and vibrant feel. The building was built by then Pittsburgh Pirates owner John W. Galbreath, with loans from the Mellon National Bank and additional financing from insurance companies.
The original plan for the building was to construct the ground floors in the same architectural design as the Mellon National Bank on Smithfield Street located adjacent to the skyscraper, and to allow open flow of Mellon employees between the two buildings (Mellon occupied the first eight floors). This plan was later modified during construction to give the entire building its own modernist style, and an open shared lobby with three elevator banks and multiple passages between the skyscraper and the Mellon National Bank on Smithfield Street.
Fast forward thirty years later. Pittsburgh would be welcoming in what would become another larger than life figure. A mascot for the city. In the season of “We Are Family”, and the team winning it’s fifth World Series title, the Pittsburgh Pirates hatched a parrot that would steal our hearts forever. Literally.
The Pirate Parrot, if you didn’t know, was originally “hatched” on April Fool’s Day 1979 out of an egg. If there was ever a picture or video I’ve wanted to use for one of my blogs, this is it. I can’t express in one paragraph how I wish I had anything visual from the original “hatching”. But alas, I wasn’t able to find any at the time of this writing. So, as my own form of April Fool’s, here’s this fantastic picture of the original Pirate Parrot. A true masterpiece. My personal favorite. 😉
Have a great weekend, and Happy April Fool’s!
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