The Story of Pittsburg

“By a steady and prosperous growth the town soon became a city.”

An old photo shows a street car traversing past 4th and Broadway in Pittsburg, Kansas.

At the corner of 4th and Broadway, the city began. Pittsburg’s first four buildings were constructed at this intersection. It was the 1870s, and this land in the southeast corner of Kansas was rich in coal and zinc and the people with the drive to mine it. The town flourished and grew in all directions. 

Two of those four original buildings still stand and were recently renovated by the same dedication and grit that built this city, and that same energy flows throughout the community. 

Dreamers, doers, thinkers, makers. Buildings come back to life. Doors reopening. Businesses expanding. Ideas flowing. Hopes reviving.

"Couldn't wait to get out of Pittsburg."

Like all small towns, Pittsburg has had its ups and downs. There were times of great prosperity and times of worry and despair. After a roaring beginning and expansion, things changed. The coal mining days came to a close. The city’s identity evolved. 

Downtown went quiet. Shops closed. Some people left for Kansas City and Wichita and anywhere they could find opportunities.

An old sign is attached to Otto's Cafe, hanging high above Broadway Street in Pittsburg, Kansas.
A copper statue of a miner represents the rich mining history of Pittsburg, Kansas.
Maybe things can work here. Maybe we don’t have to leave.
Watco Companies building is shown, their sign attached to a long brick facade.

But those who stayed kept after it. They went to their garages to think. They started businesses in their living rooms. They had ideas and the determination to try. Year after year, they grew. Across the state, across the country, around the world. 

Pitsco, Watco, Miller’s. Names and Numbers … just to name a few. They became the new pillars of the community.

Those leaders inspired others. Maybe things can work here. Maybe we don’t have to leave.

“It just felt like something was happening.”

Little by little, things started changing … again. 

People came back. People came home. People came for school and never left.

Talk to the shop owners and diners and business leaders and entrepreneurs. They all have unique stories, of course, but the common theme in all of them is trust. Trust in themselves and in this place they call home.

Work hard, and you can make it here. Dream big, and you can make it here. 

What do you want your Pittsburg to be?

Block 22 at 4th and Broadway is shown revitalized and in its current form today in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Imagine Pittsburg

On the pages of this website, we’ll share stories of the people working hard every day to build the Pittsburg they want. From artisans and chefs to builders and fixers. From doctors and dentists to teachers and police officers. From business owners and executives to axe throwers and runners. 

The goal here is to tell the story of our city, to instill pride in those who live here, and to spread the word to those who don’t. We want our readers to learn about their hometown, to meet each other, to understand and appreciate one another. 

We want to entertain and inform and educate. We want to have a conversation about this city we love. Where are we today? Where do we go from here? What do we need to make this a better place for all who live here? What can we do to attract others to visit and move here? 

The story of Pittsburg is one of grit and hope and hard work and ideas. That story is ongoing and ever changing. 

It’s a story worth sharing.

Read the Stories 

Now that you have a feel for what this initiative is all about, go check out the stories of the people helping Pittsburg thrive! We’ll regularly update this site with more stories and photos featuring this great city!