The First Newspaper West of the Alleghenies
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette began as a four-page weekly called The Pittsburgh Gazette. The first edition was printed on July 29, 1786 by Joseph Hall and John Scull, using a Ramage handpress in the back room of the Post Office. It was the first newspaper published west of the Allegheny Mountains.
In 1820, the name was changed to Pittsburgh Gazette and Manufacturing and Mercantile Advertiser, then back to it's former title two years later. Neville B. Craig was the editor of the paper from 1829 to 1841, and under his leadership the Gazette became the city's first daily paper, issued every afternoon (except Sunday) beginning on July 30, 1833.
Expanding further, the Gazette acquired the rival Advocate and switched its daily issue time to morning in 1844. After consolidating with the Commercial in 1877, the paper was renamed as the Commercial Gazette. Then, in 1900, George T. Oliver acquired the paper, merging it six years later with The Pittsburg Times to form The Gazette Times.
In 1915 the Gazette-Times and Chronical Telegraph, both owned by Oliver, moved into a new headquarters building at the corner of Grant Street and Second Avenue. All printing and distribution were handled through the downtown facility.
The 1920s were a time of consolidation in the long-overcrowded Pittsburgh newspaper market. In 1923, local publishers banded together to acquire the Dispatch and the Leader. Four years later, William Randolph Hearst purchased the morning Gazette Times and its evening sister, the Chronicle Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Paul Block bought out the owner of the morning Post and evening Sun. After swapping the Sun in return for Hearst's Gazette Times, Block owned both morning papers, which were combined to form the Post-Gazette. Hearst, in turn, united the evening papers, creating the Sun-Telegraph. Both new papers debuted on August 2, 1927.
By 1960, Pittsburgh had three daily newspapers: the Post-Gazette in the morning, the Pittsburgh Press in the afternoon and Sundays and the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph in the evening and on Sundays. That year the Post-Gazette bought the Sun-Telegraph and moved temporarily into the Sun-Telegraph's small Grant Street offices.
The Post-Gazette attempted to continue publishing a Sunday paper to compete with the Press but it was not profitable. The former Chronicle-Telegraph building at Grant Street and Second Avenue was torn down to make way for the Public Safety Building.
In a move to streamline the operations of the two daily papers, in November 1961 the Post-Gazette and Press entered into an agreement to combine their production and advertising sales operations. The Post-Gazette owned and operated its own news and editorial departments, but production and distribution of the paper was handled by the larger Press office.
The Post-Gazette now had a new home in the Press building, located at 34 Boulevard of the Allies. The building had been constructed for the Press in 1927 and it was expanded in 1962 after the Joint Operating Agreement to accomodate the enlarged workforce.
On October 2, 1992, due in large part to union labor difficulties and a prolonged strike, the Pittsburgh Press company was put up for sale and purchased by Block Communications, leaving Pittsburgh with just one daily newspaper. The final edition of the Pittsburgh Press had been published on July 28 of that year.
The loss of the Pittsburgh Press led to the rise of the Tribune-Review, based in Greensburg. Beginning in November 2011, due in large part to public sentiment, the Pittsburgh Press name was revived as an online P-G publication. Unlike most online publications, this version was presented in the look and format of a traditional newspaper. The online Pittsburgh Press met with only mild success and was discontinued on September 25, 2015.
On February 12, 2014, the paper purchased a new distribution facility in suburban Findlay Township. A year later the paper moved their operations into a new, state-of-the-art office building on the North Shore on a portion of the former site of Three Rivers Stadium. This move ended fifty-three years in the former Press building and over two centuries as a presence in downtown Pittsburgh.
Under increasing financial difficulties in a market now dominated by online viewing, in August 2018, the Post-Gazette ceased publishing daily. It began publishing online editions on Tuesdays and Saturdays and print editions the rest of the week. In October 2019, the paper eliminated the Monday and Wednesday editions, publishing paper editions three days a week.
The former Press/Post-Gazette building near Point State Park was sold in 2020 to a development firm out of Ross Township that plans on renovating the existing structure and constructing a new building in the adjacent lot for office and commercial use.
Read the Post-Gazette online at www.post-gazette.com.
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