Pittsburgh has a rich history.  During the 1940’s, the country was embroiled in the largest global conflict in history.   Pittsburgh played a very important role in America’s industrial endeavors, especially during this time.   Here is a look at just a few of the important historic Pittsburgh moments in America during the 1940’s.


  • United Steelworkers were headquartered in the city in May, making them 77 years old in 2019. They are a general trade union with 860,294 members across North America. They represent workers in a large array of industries including chemicals, glass, rubber and more.

1943 –

  • Due to manning shortages in relation to WWII, the Steelers merged with the Eagles. Over 600 players were drafted into the war, so the Steelers and Eagles became the Steagles for the 1943 season.
  • The Homestead Grays win the 1943 Negro World Series baseball contest. They beat the Birmingham Black Barons four games to three with one tie. The games were played in seven cities across the U.S.

1944 –

  • Once again, due to manning shortages, the Steelers merge with the Chicago Cardinals for the season. Their team was known as Card-Pitt for the year. The change was due to keeping professional football alive during World War II.

1946 – 

  • The Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera was established on February 20th. It premiered at Pitt Stadium in June where outdoor performances were featured until 1958. In 1961, the Civic Arena was built to house the operation. It was the world’s first retractable roof designed so guests could enjoy theater under the stars. In 1973, the company headed to Penn Theatre, which is now Heinz Hall. Finally, they moved to the Benedum Center in 1988.

1947 –

    • On September 9th, the riverboat Island Queen was destroyed when it exploded while docked along the Monongahela River. It had just come from Cincinnati three days earlier for a week of moonlight dance nights. Around 1 p.m., over half of the boat’s crew was ashore. Others were working on the decks or napping in bunks when an explosion rattled the boat. It was one of the most chaotic days in 1940s Pittsburgh.

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