Cover image for The Allegheny River: Watershed of the Nation By Jim Schafer and Mike Sajna

The Allegheny River

Watershed of the Nation

Jim Schafer, and Mike Sajna

BUY

320 pages
8.5 " × 11"
1992

Keystone Books

The Allegheny River

Watershed of the Nation

Jim Schafer, and Mike Sajna

“The book’s strength is simplicity—in purpose, tone, and graphic design—and it is brimming with crisp, straightforward historical narratives of famous people and their relationship with the river. It would be hard to imagine a more attractive book about a river for popular audiences.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Subjects
Of all the rivers in the country, few can claim as long, diverse, and colorful a history as the Allegheny. Jim Schafer and Mike Sajna take us on a trip from its mouth to its headwaters, charting the Allegheny River’s history from its creation during the Ice Age to the present. Using historical records and accounts, interviews, personal experiences, and over 150 contemporary and historical photographs, Schafer and Sajna vividly portray the mighty Allegheny.

The Allegheny played a key role in the French and Indian War, and after the Revolution it was the main thoroughfare for immigrants heading west to settle America from Ohio to the Northwest Territory, thus earning Pittsburgh the title "Gateway to West." Part of the river's story includes its role in the Industrial Revolution, for it once bore the environmental scars of unrestricted industrialization. Today it has rebounded to become one of the best fisheries in the state and home to a diverse collection of flora and fauna, including several endangered species. It is also now one of the most heavily used rivers for recreation in the country.

Throughout the text, Sajna weaves vignettes with the famous figures and interesting character who have encountered the river, from George Washington, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and Andrew Carnegie, to Seneca Chief Cornplanter, John Wilkes Booth, "Johnny Appleseed," and Rachel Carson. He also interviews contemporary people who live, work, or take inspiration from the river, including a woodcarver, a riverboat captain, and vacationers and naturalists. Through words and photographs, Schafer and Sajna depict the ever-changing face of the river.

“The book’s strength is simplicity—in purpose, tone, and graphic design—and it is brimming with crisp, straightforward historical narratives of famous people and their relationship with the river. It would be hard to imagine a more attractive book about a river for popular audiences.”
“Sajna’s clear accessible text is more ambitious than that of the typical, popularly-oriented river book. Eschewing the standard source-to-mouth down-river sojourn, the author strives to present the Allegheny from many different perspectives.”

Jim Schafer is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in Pittsburgh Magazine, Women's Day and Scientific American. His first book of photography, Lehigh Reflections, was published in 1988.

Mike Sajna is the outdoors columnist for Pittsburgh Magazine and author of Pennsylvania Trout and Salmon Fishing Guide (1988) and Buck Fever: The Deer Hunting Tradition in Pennsylvania (1991).

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