Roadside America

South of the Border

BY Pete Marovich

You can see the 200-foot tall Sombrero Tower from over a mile away as you cross the border on interstate 95 from North Carolina into South Carolina, but billboards have been announcing its sighting from as far away as Virginia. When you get closer you see Pedro, an almost 100-foot tall statue of a Mexican bandito and your host at South of the Border.

Economy

Searching for Dream Street – Clairton

BY Pete Marovich

Clairton, a city in Allegheny County, Pa., along the Monongahela River, is home to the United States Steel Clairton Works, the largest coke manufacturing facility in the United States. The city is still trying to recover from the decline of the steel industry.

Economy

Rankin – Searching for Dream Street

BY Pete Marovich

The nation’s only touring African American rodeo, the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo has brought bulldogging, roping, bareback bronco riding, bull riding, barrel racing and other events to cities across the nation for 27 years.

Economy

Searching for Dream Street

BY Pete Marovich

The suburban towns along its iconic three rivers, helped make Pittsburgh an industrial powerhouse, driven by an influx of foreign-born workers at the turn of the 20th century. Immigrants filled jobs in the mills, where steel was forged for the aircraft and battleships that helped win two world wars.

But as you drive through these towns today, it’s clear they have been largely forgotten. Once bustling shopping corridors are all but empty. The company homes where mill workers raised their families are showing their age, and residents still reminisce about the “good old days” before the mills shuttered.

Culture

Legacy of the Black Cowboy

BY Pete Marovich

The nation’s only touring African American rodeo, the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo has brought bulldogging, roping, bareback bronco riding, bull riding, barrel racing and other events to cities across the nation for 27 years.

Economy

Searching for Dream Street – Aliquippa

BY Pete Marovich

In 1909, Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation (J&L), which already had a mill on the south side of Pittsburgh, wanted to expand, so it purchased land along the Ohio River near the town of Woodlawn about 25 miles downriver from Pittsburgh. The company expanded the town, building homes and businesses to accommodate the workers of what would become the largest steel mill in the world, stretching for 7 miles along the riverfront.

Culture

The Old Order

BY Pete Marovich

The farmlands of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Ontario are among the most productive in North America. Many of the farmers in these areas are different, but different by choice. They are Old Order Mennonites, sometimes called the “Plain People,” and they trace their heritage back hundreds of years.

Culture

Big Top Dreams

BY Pete Marovich

The Cole Bros. Circus was the oldest, American Circus performing under the Big Top. W. W. Cole, who inaugurated the Cole Bros. Circus title in 1884, began his circus career in 1871, amassing fortune and fame by bringing to cities and villages the most astounding marvels of the day. Cole Bros. stopped touring in 2016.

Culture

Shadows of the Gullah Geechee

BY Pete Marovich

When slavery was abolished in 1863, the Gullah Geechee people of the Sea Islands settled in the lands they once worked as slaves when plantation owners abandoned their property. They continued their traditions and created their own communities steeped in religion and African traditions. They are known as Gullah in North and South Carolina and Geechee in Georgia and Florida.