Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Pannier Disaster

No, I didn't have a mishap with my bike bag, as the title of this post might lead you to believe.

One day last week, Yale and Vannevar were having a conversation about Panniers and the Latin root, Panis. Panniers means 'Bread Basket' literally... as they explained.
Perhaps that's where Panera Bread got its name? If it did, it's rather redundant.
The conversation drifted off to speak of a company on Pittsburgh's North Side, the Pannier Corporation. While they have nothing to do with bread baskets or bicycle accessories, I noted to Yale and Vannevar that I remembered reading about a horrific and historic fire that took place at that very building in the early part of the last century. I sometimes have a Cliff Claven-esque moment and provide obscure trivia. The conversation re-triggered my interest in the disaster that took the lives of 13, mostly women and girls, almost 100 years ago that sparked changes in the way fires are fought and building safety.

The building on GoogleMaps as it appears today

Ruby pays a visit to the Pannier Corporation:

The Brown Building (as it was called then the fire broke out)

A Post-Gazette piece on the fire:

The Pannier Brothers Stamp Company moved into the restored Brown Building 2 years after the fire and have been there ever since.

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