As I drive thru the town of Braddock past USS Edgar Thompson Plant there is a statue to Joe Magarac The Legendary Steel Worker who could bend railroad rails with his bare hands and allowed himself to be consumed by the flames of a steel ladle to make the steel strong and pure to build a new steel mill in late 1800's.
|Joe Magarac Statue at Edgar Thompson Works|
But While Joe Magarac is a made up legend
Mike Fink the king of the Keel Boaters is based on a real life person .
Before the system of locks and dams where put in place to make the rivers navigable they used keel boats which where meant for a one way trip from Pittsburgh to points south where they where then disasembled and used to build new structures. Powered by powerful men with long wooden poles which sank into the river mud and provided the push. Among these men was Mike Fink.
A marksmen Indian scout and brawler who they said could take on a whole boat full of men by himself .and shoot the feather off a Indians head at a 100yards.
On the other hand Johnny AppleSeed's Tales are real
He was a well known nurseryman who planted Apple trees thru out Ohio, Pa , Indiana and other states and said to have lived in Pittsburgh on grants Hill at one time . while the legend has him just randomly throwing and planting trees he instead formed small nursery's where trees where properly and carefully raised.
Yes Western Pa. is full of Tall tales and legends and these are just 3 of them.