Pittsburgh celebrates its 250th birthday

Pittsburgh is no longer the smoke-filled place of its industrial heyday. But it was a smoky place from its inception, 250 years ago this week.

On the evening of Nov. 24, 1758, a Native American scout entered the British camp about 15 miles to the east to inform them that a "Cloud of Smoke" stood above the Point. Another scout arrived shortly to report that Fort Duquesne had been burnt and abandoned by the French. Henry Bouquet ordered cavalry to advance immediately in the hope of extinguishing the fires; the remainder of the army arrived at 6 p.m. on the evening of Nov. 25.

The smoke marked the end of a bastion of New France on the Ohio River.

The French had occupied this site on "la Belle Rivière" for more than four years. During that time, they had compelled George Washington to surrender his small force in the Great Meadows in the summer of 1754.

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