Sept. 24, 1959: Nikita Khrushchev and Pittsburgh warmed to each other during the Soviet premier’s visit in the midst of the Cold War. “Mr. K,” as the Post-Gazette dubbed him, was jovial and mellow as he rode through Downtown in the back of an open convertible and waved at some of the estimated 100,000 people who jammed the Golden Triangle to get a glimpse of him. The deterioration of this photograph of Mr. Khrushchev’s visit is most likely the result of the print being rushed through the development process to meet deadlines.
During a 17-hour visit, Mr. Khrushchev met with workers at Mesta Machine Co. in West Homestead, where he famously gave his wristwatch to a worker in return for a cheap cigar, and addressed civic leaders at the University of Pittsburgh. At the Carlton House, the premier appeared at his hotel window on the eighth floor, looked down at the throng of Pittsburghers on the street below and clasped his hands over his head “as though he were an American boxer acknowledging the plaudits of fans,” the PG wrote. Of course, no visit to the city is complete without a trip to Mt. Washington. The view, Mr. Khrushchev told reporters, was the “finest thing seen in America.”