July 19 is Pittsburgh’s “H” Day

July 19 is Pittsburgh’s “H” Day

How many times have you come across “Pittsburg, Pennsylvania” rather than “Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania”? That’s exactly what the city celebrates every year on July 19 during “H” Day – a day recognizing the letter “H” at the end of the city’s name.

Pittsburgh is one of America’s most misspelled cities with many people leaving the final – “h” off at the end. It’s a common mistake as most U.S. cities end in -burg rather than -burgh. Even cities named after the steel city leave it off like Pittsburg, Kansas!

There was a time in the city’s history when it was renamed without the -h, a decision supported by a decades-old typo in copies of the city’s charter. In 1891, the United States Board on Geographic Names supported renaming the city “Pittsburg” by citing the city’s charter with the same spelling. Here’s where things get interesting: the city’s original charter said “Pittsburgh” but copies of this charter said “Pittsburg.” Renaming the city was a mistake to begin with.

Many people in the city resisted this new spelling, and places like The Pittsburgh Gazette and the University of Pittsburgh refused to acknowledge the new spelling, too. Even official city documents used the old spelling, and after two decades of resistance, the “H” was finally returned on July 19, 1911.

Happy 111th birthday to Pittsburgh’s “H”!