Monday, August 1, 2016

Postal Service to Change Spelling of Pittsburgh?

Members of the United States Postal Service Carrier Division have petitioned the City of PIttsburgh and the United States Census Bureau to drop the “H” at the end of the name of that city. According to papers filed with the Pittsburgh City Council and the Mayor’s Office, carriers across the United States are arguing that the extra letter inhibits them in fulfilling their duties in a timely and safe fashion.

“Every day, millions of pieces of mail are delivered, and they all have that extra letter. It genuinely makes those bags heavy. Ink ain’t weightless, you know,” said Adam Lombardo, a USPS employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
City of Pittsburgh
By Dllu - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

President of Carrier’s Local 446, Lawrence Applewood stated, “These carriers are hard working men and women who want what’s best for their customers, the American public. It is our duty to support them as they endeavor to make postal delivery the most expedient, safest, and enjoyable experience ever.”

This is not the first time that Pittsburgh has been faced with the spectre of losing the “H.” In 1891, the United States Board on Geographic Names adopted a series of resolutions which included the uniform dropping of “h” at the end of all cities ending with “burgh.” It was an attempt to standardize names across the country. They also argued that a misspelling on the original charter for the city meant that the correct name was “Pittsburg” all along.

The change did not win over the residents of the city. The Pittsburgh Gazette, Pittsburgh Stock Exchange, and the University of Pittsburgh all refused to acknowledge the change. Even the city, on official governmental documents continued to use the old spelling. At a special meeting of the Geographic Board, the 1891 decision was reversed, and Pittsburgh was allowed to keep their “H.”

When asked about the recent request, Pittsburgh mayor, William Peduto, claimed, “We are proud of our “H.” It is an integral part of our history, and every resident of Pittsburgh is fiercely protective our “H” and the City of Pittsburgh.”

Will the City of PIttsburgh keep its cherished “H?” Can the Postal Carriers triumph in their quest? In a city that is known for its hills and valleys, this seems like a steeper uphill battle than the typical postal route in this Pennsylvania metropolis.

Craig Bacon is the co-founder of Niagara’s Watercooler. He hopes you have a sense of humor.