Welcome back to the latest game show craze overtaking the country – Who want to be a Millionaire and a 5th Grader?!   That’s the working title for now.  Before we get to today’s questions, let me first give a plug for the book that I’m stealing all these questions.  The book is called Ultimate Pittsburgh Trivia by Dane Topich and it is awesome.  We actually used questions from the book when we did our “Is Pittsburgh Smarter than a 5th Grader?” show.  And, if you wanted a copy of this book for your very own, we just happen to offer it on the WQED website.  How’s that for cross-promotion baby!?!  Click here to check it out – http://www.wqed.org/genl/shop/pgh_books.shtml

Ok, time to get on with the show.  Here are 5 more questions to test your knowledge of Da Burgh.

1.  What does WPIAL stand for?

Answer:  You know I’ve seen these initials all my life and never even thought about it.  I actually guessed at this one but I was wrong.  The answer is not “women playing in a lake” or “worldly people in atrocious leggings.”  The real answer actually is Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League.  Yeah, that makes sense.  It was formed in 1906. 

2.  Why are all the fire hydrants within the city of Pittsburgh painted either red, yellow or green?

Answer:  I never noticed this before so I decided to ask my dog Jake since he pays closer attention to fire hydrants than I do.  He knew the answer but I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  The colors indicate the size of the main waterlines that feed the hydrants.  That way, firefighters know instantly how much water pressure is at a particular hydrant.  For example, green indicates a 24-inch line.  How about that?  My dog was right.

3.  In what year did Pittsburgh have its highest population?

Answer:  We are constantly bombarded by the media telling us how much our city is shrinking and how everyone is moving away.  On the positive side, the lines at the Penn Brewery are a lot shorter now.  Pittsburgh was most populated in 1950.  There were 676,806 people who lived here back then.  In 2000, that number was down to 369, 879.  By now it’s probably like 26.

4.  How many stories tall is Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning?

Answer:  Before we get to the answer, construction of the building began in September of 1926 and wasn’t finished until 1937.  Apparently, Frank Lloyd Wright thought the building was hideous, but who’s he?  One other thing, the building is missing a floor.  Apparently it has no 39th floor.  Man, it would be fun to tell some freshmen on their first day of class that their classroom in on the 39th floor.  Anyhoo, the answer is 42 stories tall.  That’s a lot of stories.  Here’s another fact about the Cathedral – I haven’t been to any of those stories and I work about 3 blocks away.  I really have to get out more!

5.  Which university has the largest endowment?

Answer:  Ok, the question should be who had the largest endowment in 2004, because I’m sure with the economy the way it is, their endowment probably sits around 10 bucks now.  The answer is Pitt which had $1.4 billion in their endowment in 2004.  CMU was 2nd with $815 million.  So why do they raise tuition every year and why is a text book $50 bucks?!?  One last question, does this mean that Pitt is well-endowed?  I’m jealous.

Once again, a big thanks to Dane Topich and his book Ultimate Pittsburgh Trivia.   Did I mention you can buy this book by simply clicking on the following link?!?  http://www.wqed.org/genl/shop/pgh_books.shtml.  Isn’t technology wonderful?  Tomorrow, it’s the grand finale of my 10 blog posts in 10 days.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can hear the crowd at the finish line.  I can see fireworks…well, it’s Pittsburgh, of course I can see fireworks.

No Pittsburgh steel barons were harmed in any way during the writing of this blog.  It’s probably because they’re all dead, but I’m just sayin.

- Dave R