University of Pittsburgh
May 11, 1998



Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, May 12 -- The University of Pittsburgh will receive an important piece of the region's railroading heritage when the remaining archives of the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad are shipped from McKees Rocks to the Pitt campus on Wednesday, May 13th.

Hundreds of boxes of employee job applications, labor union agreements, maps and other records -- some dating back to the 1870s -- will be loaded onto trucks beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the railroad's Storehouse A on Bell Avenue in McKees Rocks. These records tell the history of the operations and personnel of P. & L.E. Railroad -- which played an important part in the development of the region's steel industry.

"This is a very rich collection. These records show where the P. & L.E. employees were born, their wages, and the railroad's employee turnover," said Ruth Carter, head of the University Library System's Archives Service Center. "The materials are a significant addition to the Archives of Industrial Society, which already has an extensive P. & L.E. photo collection, heavily used by researchers."

Jack Polaritz, who obtained the documents two years ago through the Coraopolis Economic Revitalization Center (CERC), is donating them to Pitt. Polaritz is director of CERC's Western Pennsylvania Interactive Railroad Learning Center Project, an effort to make the railroad industry history available to the public.