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National Park Service recognizes Pittsburgh as American World War II Heritage City


Last updated 12/20/2022 at 11:59am

The National Park Service has officially recognized the City of Pittsburgh as an American World War II Heritage City. The Federal Designation recognizes the inexhaustible contributions of Pittsburghers who supplied steel, iron, coal, munitions, and critical materials during the war.

The WWII Heritage City program was established by Congress in 2019 to "recognize and ensure the continued preservation and importance of the history of the United States involvement in World War II."

"Pittsburgh has a long and rich history of providing the materials and manpower to change the world," said Mayor Ed Gainey. "During World War II, Pittsburgh served as one of the nation's crucial defense manufacturing centers. In the decades since local organizations and residents have preserved this critical legacy in museums, memorials, and local programing. Understanding and honoring our history is vital to building a better Pittsburgh, and a better world, for all of our children. I thank the National Park Service for recognizing the importance of Pittsburgh and bestowing this WWII Heritage City designation."

While many Pittsburghers were deployed overseas – their civilian counterparts transformed and converted facilities shuttered during the Great Depression into round-the-clock operations. The federal government contributed more than $500M to factory expansions producing airplane blades, torpedoes, anti-craft guns, tanks, and food from canning facilities. Taking advantage of its location through rivers and an extensive railway system and the hub of the steel and iron industry – Pittsburgh exceeded the demands and challenges of the war.

Council President Theresa Kail-Smith congratulated and thanked the Records Management Division of City Council for their "dedication to preserving and archiving Pittsburgh history."

"It's no secret that Pittsburgh had a major influence on the war effort, but this recognition is also a testament to the many local historians, curators and preservationists who work to share and preserve that legacy. They should be proud of their work," says Nick Hartley, manager of Records Management Division.

This designation was granted to the city after a committee of city staff, local historians, and preservationist submitted a nomination narrative uplifting the importance of Pittsburgh during WWII in August 2021.

More information about American World War II Heritage City Program can be found at


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