PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – How do you leave a legacy for the future?

Some donate money, while others try to teach future generations. David McCullough spent his life pouring over history and teaching what he learned.

Now, the native Pittsburgher will be forever remembered.

Not only did McCullough celebrate his 80th birthday Sunday and cut the cake, but he learned the 16th Street Bridge had been named in his honor — and there was more.

“David McCullough Day in Allegheny County. David congratulations on all you have done,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.

The ceremony to honor an historian was held at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District, which is less than a mile from where the David McCullough Bridge crosses the Allegheny River.

“There’s something magical about a bridge. Something about a bridge, and I think it’s an expression about an aspiration and it’s completed and it’s what it should be it’s an expression of accomplishment of very high order,” McCullough said.

McCullough loves the fact that it crosses the Allegheny. He was born at Allegheny Hospital. His parents are buried in Allegheny Cemetery and while attending Shadyside, he crossed it twice a day for five years.

“No pat on the back, no sense of approval has ever touched me to the heart, to the depths of what I am, the way this announcement of a bridge named in my honor ever has,” McCullough said.

McCullough knew the bridge was designed by the same architects who did Grand Central Station and was engineered by the man who did the Empire State Building and Cathedral of Learning. Clearly, history has been his life.

“I try to tell students this. Don’t worry is this going to make me rich? Is this going to make me notable, celebrated? No. The reward is the work, and if you love your work you will want to get up out of bed every morning,” McCullough said.

And for generations to come the name David McCullough will be attached to the bridge.


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