200th Anniversary Pittsburgh Logo

Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial – 2016

In 2016, Pittsburgh will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its incorporation as a City. Mayor Peduto would like everyone in the City to celebrate this historic occasion, and is inviting community organizations to become Bicentennial Partners.

Whether you are an institution, community organization, business or resident, we want to you to join with us! Let us know your idea and help celebrate Pittsburgh's Bicentennial by sending an email to pgh200@pittsburghpa.gov.

Pittsburgh Incline

Something About Pittsburgh

On March 18, 1816 Pittsburgh was incorporated as a city by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh set about forming its municipal government, and selected our first Mayor, Ebenezer Denny, who took the oath of office on July 9, 1816.

Engraving: Pittsburgh in 1859

Engraving: Pittsburgh in 1859

Courtesy of Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

Throughout Pittsburgh’s first two centuries the residents continually demonstrated an unshakeable work ethic, and the will to “make it work”. Regardless of the difficulties faced - from the hilly terrain to market driven changes - Pittsburghers have always stepped up to meet the challenges.

During 2016 we will honor Pittsburgh’s rich history and the people whose efforts shaped our city; we will also turn our thoughts towards shaping the next century for future generations.

Before he became President George Washington picked out the site that became Pittsburgh. On November 22, 1753 Washington first visited our region, and remarked:

“As I got down before the canoe, I spent some time in viewing the rivers, and the land in the Fork, which I think extremely well situated for a fort, as it has the absolute command of both rivers. The land at the point is twenty, or twenty-five feet above the common surface of the water; and a considerable bottom of flat, well-timbered land all around it, very convenient for building.”

Writings of George Washington

The Writings of George Washington: pt. I. Official letters relating to the French war, and private letters before the American Revolution: March, 1754-May, 1775

The Library of Congress

In 1941 Ebenezer’s great, great grandson, Harmar D. Denny, made an unsuccessful run for mayor of Pittsburgh.His middle initial, D, stands for Denny, making him Harmar Denny Denny. Wonder if they ever called Harmar ‘Denny Squared’?

Harmar Denny Vote Card

Harmar D. Denny vote card

Courtesy of John Chapman

Pittsburgh’s first seven "Mayors" were chosen by the council, not elected by the people. Our seventh Mayor, Samuel Pettigrew, was the last one‘selected by council’ in 1831. By the time he was up for re-election the law had changed allowing the people to vote for Mayor. It was another first for Pettigrew who became the first Mayor elected by the people.

From 1816 to 1857 our Mayors served for one year, gradually terms were increased to two, three and the current four years.

Mayor 1 - Ebenezer Denny (1761-1822)

Mayor 1 - Ebenezer Denny (1761-1822)

Term in office: 1816-17

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis

Courtesy of Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

The painting Surrender of Lord Cornwallis hangs in the Rotunda of the US Capitol. The image depicts the 1781 surrender of the British at Yorktown, Virginia, which ended the Revolutionary War.

George Washington is in the background on the right side of the painting, on a brown horse; to his left, holding the Stars & Stripes, is a 20 year old red head named Ebenezer Denny, who went on to become Pittsburgh’s Mayor.

Denny's Post Gazette Subscription

In 1793 Denny subscribed to the Pittsburgh Gazette:

Courtesy of James McQuiston

Whether you are an institution, community organization, business or resident, we want to you to join with us! Let us know your idea and help celebrate Pittsburgh's Bicentennial by sending an email to pgh200@pittsburghpa.gov.

Upcoming Bicentennial Events

  • July 8, 2016
    Pittsburgh's Bicentennial Birthday Bash

    Honorary chair Mayor William Peduto and Andrew Masich, President and CEO of the History Center and Chair of the Pittsburgh Bicentennial Commission, invite all guests 21+ to experience a party 200 years in the making at the Heinz History Center on Friday, July 8.

    Bicentennial Birthday Bash.

    Bicentennial Birthday Bash Details

  • July 9, 2016
    2016 Bicentennial Parade & Celebration

    On July 9, 1816 Pittsburgh's first Mayor, Ebenezer Denny, took office. To commemorate this occurrence, Mayor Peduto is planning a parade and celebration to be held on Saturday, July 9 starting at 11 a.m. on Liberty Avenue at 11th Street, downtown.

    The Mayor and the Bicentennial Commission are planning a parade that will represent Pittsburgh’s past, present, and future. Organizations and groups that are interested in participating should email pgh200@pittsburghpa.gov.

    A unique feature of this celebration will be the attendance of descendants of past Mayors. During 200 years of incorporation, 56 individuals have served as Mayor. The Mayors’ descendants have enthusiastically greeted the idea of this celebration.

  • Get Involved!: pgh200@pittsburghpa.gov

    Bicentennial Events: Click Here

    Bicentennial Website: pgh200.com

Bicentennial Commission

Doris Carson Williams -African American Chamber of Commerce of Western PA
Dennis Yablonsky -Allegheny Conference on Community Development
Jack Shea -Allegheny County Labor Council
Mary Frances Cooper -Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Lynn Zelevansky -Carnegie Museum Of Art
Mayor William Peduto -City of Pittsburgh
Chris Koch -Design Center
Sylvia Fields -Eden Foundation
Barbara Sieck Taylor -Grantmakers of Western PA
Mitch Swain -Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
Samantha Balbier -Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership
Andy Masich -Heinz History Center
Presley Gillespie -Neighborhood Allies
Lee Anne Pontis -New Pittsburgh Collaborative
Karina Chavez -Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education
Kevin McMahon -Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Jeremy Waldrup -Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr. -Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Fdtn.
Rev. Richard L. Freeman, Sr. -Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network
Meg Cheever -Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Errika Fearbry Jones -Pittsburgh Public Schools
Audrey Russo -Pittsburgh Technology Council
Barney Oursler -Pittsburgh United
Jay Sukernek -Riverlife Pittsburgh
Harish Saluja -Silk Screen Festival
Bob Nelkin -United Way of Allegheny County
Esther Bush -Urban League
Magdeline Jensen -YWCA Greater Pittsburgh
Nathan Darity -Welcoming Pittsburgh
Melanie Harrington -Vibrant Pittsburgh
Craig Davis -Visit Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Incline

Bicentennial Partners

  • African American Chamber Commerce Western PA
  • Afro-Amer History & Genealogical Society of Pittsburgh
  • Allegheny Cemetery
  • Allegheny Conference on Community Development
  • Allegheny County Airport Authority
  • Allegheny County Mounted Police
  • Allegheny County Sheriff's Office
  • Alliance Francaise
  • Alpha Lab
  • Alpha Lab Gear
  • Amachi
  • American Jewish Museum
  • American Middle East Institute
  • Andy Warhol Museum
  • Antelope Film Festival.
  • Arcade Comedy Theater
  • Art Education Collaborative
  • Arts Greenhouse
  • Asian American Chamber of Commerce Pittsburgh Assemble
  • Associated Artists of Pittsburgh
  • Attack Theatre
  • Auberle
  • Baum Centre Initiative
  • Beechview Area Concerned Citizens
  • Bellefield Area Citizens Association
  • Belzhoover Neighborhood Council
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Bike Pittsburgh
  • Bloomfield Development Corporation
  • Bloomfield Garfield Corporation
  • Bhutanese CAP
  • Bricolage
  • Brightside Academy
  • Brookline Area Community Council
  • Brookline Block Watch
  • Bulgarian Macedonian National Education & Cultural Center
  • Burgh Vivant
  • B-PEP
  • Café Con Leche
  • Campos Research Strategy
  • Carlow University
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Carnegie Museum Of Art
  • Carnegie Museum of Natural History
  • Carnegie Science Center
  • Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
  • Chamber Music Pittsburgh
  • Chatham University
  • Children of Shangri-Lost
  • Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
  • Children's Dabkeh Group
  • Children's Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc.
  • ChoreoNova
  • City of Asylum
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • City Theatre
  • CityLab
  • Clean Water Action
  • C-Leveled
  • COESA Brazilian Association
  • Colombia en Pittsburgh
  • Community College of Allegheny County
  • Conservatory of Performing Arts | Point Park University
  • Coro Pittsburgh
  • Craftsmen's Guild of Pittsburgh
  • Creative Non Fiction
  • Crafton Heights, Westwood, Ridgemont Community Group
  • Debke Children's Dance
  • Delta Foundation
  • Deryck Tines Choir
  • Design Center
  • Destination: Greater Pittsburgh
  • Dollar Bank
  • Dreams of Hope
  • Dress for Success
  • Duquesne Incline
  • Duquesne University
  • East Allegheny Com Council
  • East Liberty Chamber of Commerce
  • East Winds Symphonic Band
  • Eden Foundation
  • Ellis School
  • Engineers Without Borders
  • Family Links
  • Farm to Table
  • Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh
  • French Cultural Center
  • Frick Art & Historical Center
  • Fund for Advancement of Minorities Through Education
  • Fygment
  • Gateway Health
  • Gemini Theater
  • Get Involved! Inc.
  • Global Beats + Arrepia Brasil
  • GLOBAL Business Consulting Program
  • GlobalPittsburgh/li>
  • Grantmakers of Western PA
  • Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
  • Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership
  • Group Against Smog and Pollution
  • Gujarati Samaj
  • Gwen’s Girls
  • HackPGH
  • Handmade Arcade
  • Healthy Start
  • Heinz History Center
  • Highland Park Community Council
  • Hip-Hop On LOCK
  • Homewood Children's Village
  • House of Manna Faith Community
  • IdeaFoundry
  • IDeATe | CMU School of Design
  • Innovation Works
  • International Women's Association of Pittsburgh
  • Iranian Nationality Rooms
  • Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania
  • Jekko Media
  • Jfilm
  • Juneteenth
  • Kelly Strayhorn Theater
  • Kennywood
  • Knights of Columbus
  • La Roche College
  • Lawrenceville United
  • Leadership Pittsburgh
  • L'Union Fait La Force
  • Manchester Bidwell Corporation
  • Manchester Citizens
  • Maronite Church
  • Mattress Factory
  • Mobile Sculpture Workshop
  • Mondo Italiano
  • Moquette Volante
  • Mt Washington Community Development Corporation
  • National Aviary
  • Neighborhood Allies
  • New Pittsburgh Collaborative
  • Oakland BID
  • Oakland Planning and Development Corp.
  • Opera Theater of Pittsburgh
  • Opus One Productions
  • PA Women Work
  • Pakistani American Association of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Pedal Pittsburgh
  • Pinot’s Palette Lawrenceville
  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
  • Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures
  • Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
  • Pittsburgh Cares
  • Pittsburgh CLO
  • Pittsburgh Comedy Festival
  • Pittsburgh Concert Society
  • Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
  • Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation
  • Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
  • Pittsburgh Film Office
  • Pittsburgh Filmmakers
  • Pittsburgh Glass Center
  • Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
  • Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network
  • Pittsburgh Irish Festival
  • Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society
  • Pittsburgh Job Corps
  • Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra
  • Pittsburgh Marathon
  • Pittsburgh Musical Theater
  • Pittsburgh New Works Festival
  • Pittsburgh Opera
  • Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • Pittsburgh Promise
  • Pittsburgh Public Schools
  • Pittsburgh Public Theater
  • Pittsburgh Restaurant Week
  • Pittsburgh Rock 'N Roll Legends Awards
  • Pittsburgh Scottish Country Dance Society
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Pittsburgh Symphony
  • Pittsburgh Taiko
  • Pittsburgh Technology Council
  • Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
  • Pittsburgh Transportation Group
  • Pittsburgh United
  • Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority
  • Pittsburgh Young Professionals
  • Pittsburgh Youth Concert Orchestra
  • Pittsburgh Zoo
  • Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education
  • Point Breeze Organization
  • Point Park Pittsburghgh Playhouse
  • Point Park University
  • Polish Consul
  • Polish Cultural Council
  • Polish Falcons
  • Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise
  • Public Allies Pittsburgh
  • Quantum Theatre
  • Remake Learning Network
  • RIDC
  • Riverlife
  • Robert Morris University
  • Rodef Shalom
  • Royal Tribe Arts
  • Scandinavian Society of Western Pennsylvania
  • SEIU
  • Shadyside Chamber of Commerce
  • Sheraden Community Council
  • Silk Screen Festival
  • Slavjane Folk Ensemble
  • SLB Radio (Saturday Light Brigade)
  • Slovenia Benefit Society
  • Small Seeds
  • Society for Contemporary Craft
  • Sojourner House
  • Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall
  • Somali Bantu
  • Sounds of Pittsburgh Chorus/Sweet Adelines
  • South Oakland Neighborhood Group
  • Southside Chamber of Commerce
  • Southside Slopes Mosaic Steps
  • Spaces Corners
  • Spigno Saturnia and I Paisani
  • St. Patrick's Day Parade
  • Stanton Heights Neighborhood Association
  • StartUptown
  • State Farm - Agent Grace Robinson
  • Station Square and Forest City Enterprises
  • Strong Women Strong Girls
  • SV Temple
  • The Beauty Shoppe
  • Three Rivers Adoption Council
  • Three Rivers for Independent Living
  • Three Rivers Regatta
  • Three Rivers Youth
  • Thrill Mill
  • Turkish Cultural Union
  • United Way of Allegheny County
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work
  • UPMC's Dignity and Respect Campaign
  • Uptown Partners
  • Urban Innovation21
  • Urban League
  • Venture Outdoors
  • Vibrant Pittsburgh
  • Virtual Information Processing
  • Weather Permitting
  • Welcoming Pittsburgh
  • WISE Women
  • Women and Girls Foundation
  • World Affairs Council
  • Yemaya
  • Young Non-Profit Professionals Network
  • Young Preservationists Association
  • YWCA Greater Pittsburgh

Get Involved!

Please provide the following information, we'll be in touch with you shortly on ways in which you can become involved with Pittsburgh Bicentennial!


Leave this empty:


This year, 2016, Pittsburgh is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its incorporation as a City. The Bicentennial Commission is inviting the entire City to celebrate this historic occasion. The Bicentennial Parade and Celebration are scheduled for Saturday, July 9, 2016.

The Bicentennial Parade route begins at Liberty Avenue and 11th St. in downtown Pittsburgh, and continues on Liberty to Point State Park. The tentative start time is 11 a.m.

Why July 9th? On this date in 1816 Pittsburgh’s first Mayor, Ebenezer Denny, took the oath of office.

We want to ensure that this parade represents the diverse community and cultural groups found throughout Pittsburgh. If you or your group is interested in marching to celebrate the bicentennial, please fill out the application form below. There is no cost to participate in this parade. We just ask for your commitment and enthusiastic participation. Participants are responsible for arranging all transportation for drop-off from the staging area and pick-up from Point State Park. No transportation will be provided.

We would also like to emphasize that this is a friendly family event geared toward a multi-generational and multi-cultural audience. If selected to participate in the parade, you will be required to agree to the parade rules and regulations, which are geared toward safety and respect for everyone in the City.

The deadline to apply to be a Bicentennial Parade participant is May 20, 2016. Please note that the submission of this application does not guarantee your group’s participation in the parade. All selected applicants will be notified by June 1, 2016.

If you have further questions, please email pgh200@pittsburghpa.gov.

Leave this empty: