Oct. 27, 1933: By the time it cruised over Pittsburgh, the Graf Zeppelin had earned worldwide fame. It had circled the globe, made a ground-breaking research trip to the North Pole and had been a star attraction at the Chicago World’s Fair. The airship was monstrous — it measured 776 feet in length (think of a structure nearly as long as the height of the USX Tower hovering over the city, and you get the general idea).
The Graf Zeppelin had just completed its trip to Chicago and was on its way to Spain, by way of Akron, Ohio. It followed the Ohio River, passed over the Point, then veered slightly to follow the line of the Monongahela River on its way to the East Coast.
The airship passed low over the city. Office workers and pedestrians at the Point had the best view, according to the Pittsburgh Press, and could clearly see the Swastika emblazoned on the dirigible’s tail, for it had become an early took of Nazi propoganda. The Graf Zeppelin’s nine-year career ended in May 1937, shortly after the explosion of the Hindenburg shattered public faith in hydrogen-filled airships.