Most of us likely have fond memories of our childhood years and undoubtedly some of those memories are rooted in our hometown. Those of us who grew up in the 1980s remember our parents watching the final episode of M*A*S*H, the devastating January day when the Challenger blew up, and listening to “We Are The World,” the anthem of 1980s. Let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane and revisit 13 things you’ll remember if you grew up in Pittsburgh in the 80s.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. High Hair
Flip back through any high school (or junior high, for that matter) yearbook and you'll notice a common theme: High hair. Maybe you even followed the trends back then and teased and hair sprayed your hair to see just how high it could go.
2. Leg Warmers & Sweater Dresses
Okay, so maybe it wasn't just a Pittsburgh thing, but two of the biggest fashion statements back in the 80s had to be sweater dresses and legwarmers, both of which are making a comeback in the 21st century.
3. Super Bowl Champs!
The Steelers pretty much cemented their legendary status with their 31-19 Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams in 1980 as they became the first NFL team to win four Super Bowls. They still hold that record with six Super Bowl wins.
4. Cabbage Patch Kids
Most of us who were kids in the 80s had to have a Cabbage Patch Kid but they were pretty hard to come by. Hands up if your parent or family member ran to the store when a new shipment of those dimpled dolls came in?
5. April Fools?
Any Buccos fan from the 80s likely remembers the day the stunning news came out that the Pirates had traded beloved catcher Tony Pena. Surely it was just an April's Fool's Day joke. But, the April 1, 1987 trade sent Pena to the St. Louis Cardinals for Andy Van Slyke, Mike LaValliere, and Mike Dunne.
6. A Star Is Born
Mario Lemieux made his debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1984 and would soon become a superstar. In his 22 year career, Lemieux played in 915 games, scored 690 goals, and tallied 1,033 assists.
7. Downtown Shopping
Back in the 1980s, when trolleys still zipped through the downtown streets, Pittsburghers headed downtown to go shopping - visiting such iconic stores as Kaufmann's (who remembers the Tick Tock Restaurant?), Horne's, and Gimbels, all of which are now but a memory.
8. Pittsburgh Press versus Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Today, Pittsburghers can pick up the Post-Gazette or the Tribune Review but back in the 1980s, when we visited the news stand, we chose between the Press and the Post-Gazette. The Pittsburgh Press ceased publishing in 1992. (Photo above is from even further back in Pittsburgh Press history.)
9. Ice Skating At The Mall
Suburban malls were the place to be - especially for teens - back in the 1980s. Pittsburghers from all over, however, flocked to Monroeville Mall to go ice skating at the Ice Palace. Much to the chagrin of many, the Ice Palace lost its home to the Food Court in 1984.
10. Tragedy Strikes At The Regatta
The future of Pittsburgh public safety - and the Pittsburgh Regatta - changed forever when, in 1988, the driver of a Formula One boat lost control and slammed onto the shore, killing a seven-year-old boy and injuring 24.
11. Century III Mall
Today, Century III Mall is merely a skeleton of its former self. But, back in the 1980s, it was the cool place to shop with a large food court and popular stores like Montgomery Wards and Kaufmann's.
12. Slush & Popcorn
So...Hills might not have been the coolest place to go shopping with our parents but one thing made it worthwhile: The snack stand at the front of the store. Most of us probably begged and bribed our parents for a slush and maybe even popcorn or a soft pretzel before we left the store.
13. Medical History Is Made
Pittsburgh's been the center of medical innovation for decades. One of the biggest medical achievements took place in 1989 when doctors at University-Presbyterian Hospital performed the world's first heart, liver, and kidney transplant.
What do you remember of Pittsburgh in the 80s? Share your memories below. Journey back further in time – 100 years, to be exact – with a
look at these vintage pictures.