Government of Pittsburgh
The Government of Pittsburgh is composed of the Mayor, the City Council, various boards and commissions. Most of these offices are housed within the Pittsburgh City-County Building; the Government of Pittsburgh receives its authority from the Pennsylvania General Assembly pursuant to Part III of Title 53 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, relating to Cities of the Second Class. The Mayor of Pittsburgh is elected every 4 years; the current mayor is Bill Peduto. Since the 1950s the Mayor's Chief of Staff has assumed a large role in advising, long term planning and as a "gatekeeper" to the mayor; the Pittsburgh City Council is a nine-member city council. City council members are chosen by plurality elections in each of nine districts; the mayor appoints the position of Pittsburgh Police Chief. The city and its immediate suburbs are served by the four-year elected Allegheny County District Attorney to prosecute criminal offenses and the congressionally appointed U. S. District Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania for federal offenses.
The city and its residents are served by the elected four-year term Allegheny County Sheriff and the County council-appointed Allegheny County Police Department Chief. Pittsburgh finances are subject to the Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, the city's state-appointed financial oversight body. Many governmental functions are carried out by boards and commissions; these organizations include: Allegheny County Sanitary Authority Allegheny Regional Asset District Board Pittsburgh Parking Authority Sports and Exhibition Authority Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Stadium Authority Government of Pennsylvania Official website Pittsburgh Code and Charter from Municode
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is the public library system in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its main branch is located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, it has 19 branch locations throughout the city. Like hundreds of other Carnegie libraries, the construction of the main library, which opened in 1895, several neighborhood branches, was funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie; the Pittsburgh area holds the distinction of housing the first branches in the United States. The Pittsburgh Photographic Library is a photography repository held by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh of over 50,000 prints and negatives relating to history of Pittsburgh; the City of Pittsburgh was home to eight Carnegie libraries constructed at the turn of the 20th century. In 1881, Andrew Carnegie offered a US$250,000 grant to the city for the construction of a public library on the condition that the city provided the land and annual funding for the maintenance of the property; the city declined Carnegie's initial offer out of concern that a publicly funded library was not a state-sanctioned use of public tax funds.
With the passing of several years and the state legislature's endorsement of the project, the city reconsidered the offer and reached out to Carnegie in the interest of accepting his grant. In 1890, the City of Pittsburgh accepted an expanded grant of $1 million for the building of the main library in Oakland and five branches in the neighborhoods of Lawrenceville, West End, Wylie Avenue, Mount Washington, Hazelwood. While the initial plan only called for those five branches, the Pittsburgh would go on to receive another three Carnegie libraries in the East Liberty, South Side, Homewood neighborhoods. Construction on the main library was finished in 1895 while the branch libraries were constructed over the following fifteen years, ending with the completion of the Homewood branch in 1910. Six of the original Carnegie library branch locations continue to serve as public libraries in their respective neighborhoods: Lawrenceville, West End, Mount Washington, South Side, Homewood; the East Liberty branch was demolished in the 1960s as part of a redevelopment plan, the Wylie Avenue branch was moved to a new location in 1982.
Allegheny Beechview Brookline Carrick Downtown and Business East Liberty Hazelwood Hill District Homewood Knoxville Lawrenceville Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Main Mt. Washington Sheraden South Side Squirrel Hill West End Woods Run For decades the CLPgh has partnered with suburban area branches, in 2014 talks were started seeking innovative ways to combine some services; the Our Library, Our Future voter initiative was a campaign spearheaded by the library and community supporters to increase funding for the library by raising local property taxes. The voter initiative would raise the millage rate in the city of Pittsburgh by a quarter of a mill. On November 4, 2011, city voters voted in favor of the referendum by a 72% majority; the increase in taxes gives the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh an additional three million dollars a year. In 2018, it was reported that nearly 320 rare books, maps and other items were stolen from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's main branch in Oakland, which houses the system's rare book collection.
The items, which included a 1787 document signed by Thomas Jefferson, are valued at more than $8 million. In July 2018, a former library archivist and a Pittsburgh-area bookseller were charged with the thefts, which took place over a period of two decades, it is one of the largest rare-book theft cases in history. According to the criminal complaints detailing alleged scheme, the archivist said that he "often removed items from the Oliver Room at the library's main branch in Oakland by carrying individual plates maps in manila folders, or for books or larger items, by brazenly rolling them up and walking out." The archivist is alleged to have turned the rare items over to the bookseller, who would sell them through his store. Allegheny Regional Asset District Pennsylvania Library Association Toker, Franklin. Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5434-6. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Works by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh at Internet Archive
Economy of Pittsburgh
The economy of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is diversified, focused on services, higher education, banking, corporate headquarters and high technology. Once the center of the American steel industry, still known as "The Steel City", today the city of Pittsburgh has no steel mills within its limits, though Pittsburgh-based companies such as US Steel, Ampco Pittsburgh and Allegheny Technologies own several working mills in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Pittsburgh was chosen for the 2009 G-20 summit as its transformation is an example of a 21st-century economy. On September 8, 2009, President Barack Obama stated, "Pittsburgh stands as a bold example of how to create new jobs and industries while transitioning to a 21st century economy."On the list of best cities for job growth in 2009, created by Tara Weiss, a writer for Forbes magazine, Pittsburgh secured its spot because of its strength in the health care and education industries with healthy foundations in technology or robotics and banking industries.
The 2009 list of all cities places Pittsburgh as the 169th-best city for job growth. Pittsburgh has ranked in the top five most livable cities in four of the seven multi-year rankings of Places Rated Almanac. During the mid-18th century, the economy of the Pittsburgh region was focused on agriculture and trade. After the American Revolutionary War, the government placed a tax on whiskey in order to pay off national debt. In 1794, the Whiskey Rebellion occurred in Pittsburgh and was the first challenge to the government.“The fledgling Federal government had decided to levy its first tax against whiskey, but the farmers argued they didn't have cash to pay taxes on bartered goods, marched in protest. Washington had to send troops to squelch the protest and enforce the tax laws.”During the 18th century, large coal deposits were discovered throughout Pittsburgh. Mount Washington called "Coal Hill", the “most valuable deposit of bituminous coal in the entire United States, was discovered there in 1760”.
Along with the natural resources of the area, Pittsburgh was located at the intersection of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, that is, along the major trade routes of the United States, thus making Pittsburgh "one of the world's leading industrial powerhouses". “The first and largest industry emerging in the 1800s was boat building—both flatboats to transport waves of pioneers and goods downriver, keelboats, which a strong crew could propel upstream as well.” The second biggest industry in the region was glass production. The first glass factory was built in 1795 by Isaac Craig. Pittsburgh’s wealthiest industrialists during the 19th century all lived in a single neighborhood known as East Liberty; the major list of industrialists includes H. J. Heinz, George Westinghouse, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Mellon, Andrew Mellon, Henry Clay Frick and Philander Knox. All of these men shared similar ideas in the system of capitalism and utilized their skills to net the world’s highest income per capita during the 19th century in this single neighborhood.
Andrew Carnegie was known as a philanthropist to the region. “In 1889 he wrote "The Gospel of Wealth", in which he asserted that all personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one's family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community”. Subsequently, the Carnegie Library, free to the public, opened in Pittsburgh in 1890 and is still open presently. Overall, Carnegie donated over $350 million for the establishment of organizations that benefit the public. Wealthy industrialists founded the Duquesne Club in 1873 and the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce in 1874; the Pittsburgh Stock Exchange was formed in 1864 as the "Oil Exchange" before becoming the "Coal Exchange" in 1870 and back to the "Oil Exchange" in 1878 until opening for all general stocks by 1894. The stock exchange closed its Fourth Avenue "financial district" doors in August 1974 after computerization had consolidated trades in New York and other global centers but not before a 1966 response from the New York Stock Exchange board of relocating their trading floor to the city's facilities.
Railroad networks reached the Pittsburgh area in the mid-19th century. The Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad opened in 1851, which allowed passengers to travel through Allegheny and New Brighton while the Pennsylvania Railroad established "Pittsburgh service" as close as Turtle Creek from their Philadelphia hub that same year. A year in 1852, the Pennsylvania Railroad was completed to Downtown Pittsburgh. In 1856, the Allegheny Valley Railroad was built. Andrew Carnegie was one of the first to capitalize on the railways. In 1892, the economy of Pittsburgh faced the Homestead Strike between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers and the Carnegie Steel Company. After the workers' previous wage contract expired in 1892, a new negotiation was not reached, a violent conflict ensued leaving several dead and wounded; the Carnegie Steel company won and had avoided union formation in Pittsburgh. After Carnegie Steel was reorganized as U. S. Steel in 1901, it and J&L Steel dominated the local economy.
Several secondary players contributed to the capacity of the metro area such as Cyclops Steel in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania from 1908 until 1987, Mesta Machinery in West Homestead, Pennsylvania from 1898 until 1983, Dravo Corporation at Neville Island, Pennsylvania until 1984, National Steel Corporation until 1992, Wean United as an independent until 1993, Harbison Walker Refactories as an independent until 1967 (while stil
Pittsburgh is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States, is the county seat of Allegheny County. As of 2018, a population of 308,144 lives within the city limits, making it the 63rd-largest city in the U. S; the metropolitan population of 2,362,453, is the largest in both the Ohio Valley and Appalachia, the second-largest in Pennsylvania, the 26th-largest in the U. S. Pittsburgh is located in the south west of the state, at the confluence of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers. Pittsburgh is known both as "the Steel City" for its more than 300 steel-related businesses and as the "City of Bridges" for its 446 bridges; the city features 30 skyscrapers, two inclined railways, a pre-revolutionary fortification and the Point State Park at the confluence of the rivers. The city developed as a vital link of the Atlantic coast and Midwest, as the mineral-rich Allegheny Mountains made the area coveted by the French and British empires, Whiskey Rebels, Civil War raiders. Aside from steel, Pittsburgh has led in manufacturing of aluminum, shipbuilding, foods, transportation, computing and electronics.
For part of the 20th century, Pittsburgh was behind only New York and Chicago in corporate headquarters employment. S. stockholders per capita. America's 1980s deindustrialization laid off area blue-collar workers and thousands of downtown white-collar workers when the longtime Pittsburgh-based world headquarters moved out; this heritage left the area with renowned museums, medical centers, research centers, a diverse cultural district. Today, Apple Inc. Bosch, Uber, Autodesk, Microsoft and IBM are among 1,600 technology firms generating $20.7 billion in annual Pittsburgh payrolls. The area has served as the long-time federal agency headquarters for cyber defense, software engineering, energy research and the nuclear navy; the area is home to 68 colleges and universities, including research and development leaders Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. The nation's eighth-largest bank, eight Fortune 500 companies, six of the top 300 U. S. law firms make their global headquarters in the area, while RAND, BNY Mellon, FedEx, Bayer and NIOSH have regional bases that helped Pittsburgh become the sixth-best area for U.
S. job growth. In 2015, Pittsburgh was listed among the "eleven most livable cities in the world"; the region is a hub for Environmental Design and energy extraction. In 2019, Pittsburgh was deemed “Food City of the Year” by the San Francisco-based restaurant and hospitality consulting firm af&co. Many restaurants were mentioned favorable, among them were Superior Motors in Braddock, Driftwood Oven in Lawrenceville, Spork in Bloomfield, Fish nor Fowl in Garfield and Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette in Bloomfield. Pittsburgh was named in 1758 by General John Forbes, in honor of British statesman William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham; as Forbes was a Scot, he pronounced the name PITS-bər-ə. Pittsburgh was incorporated as a borough on April 22, 1794, with the following Act: "Be it enacted by the Pennsylvania State Senate and Pennsylvania House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania... by the authority of the same, that the said town of Pittsburgh shall be... erected into a borough, which shall be called the borough of Pittsburgh for ever."
From 1891 to 1911, the city's name was federally recognized as "Pittsburg", though use of the final h was retained during this period by the city government and other local organizations. After a public campaign, the federal decision to drop the h was reversed; the area of the Ohio headwaters was long inhabited by the Shawnee and several other settled groups of Native Americans. The first known European to enter the region was the French explorer/trader Robert de La Salle from Quebec during his 1669 expedition down the Ohio River. European pioneers Dutch, followed in the early 18th century. Michael Bezallion was the first to describe the forks of the Ohio in a 1717 manuscript, that year European fur traders established area posts and settlements. In 1749, French soldiers from Quebec launched an expedition to the forks to unite Canada with French Louisiana via the rivers. During 1753–54, the British hastily built Fort Prince George before a larger French force drove them off; the French built Fort Duquesne based on LaSalle's 1669 claims.
The French and Indian War, the North American front of the Seven Years' War, began with the future Pittsburgh as its center. British General Edward Braddock was dispatched with Major George Washington as his aide to take Fort Duquesne; the British and colonial force were defeated at Braddock's Field. General John Forbes took the forks in 1758. Forbes began construction on Fort Pitt, named after William Pitt the Elder while the settlement was named "Pittsborough". During Pontiac's Rebellion, native tribes conducted a siege of Fort Pitt for two months until Colonel Henry Bouquet relieved it after the Battle of Bushy Run. Fort Pitt is notable as the site of an early use of smallpox for biological warfare. Lord Jeffery Amherst ordered blankets contaminated from smallpox victims to be distributed in 1763 to the tribes surrounding the fort; the disease spread into other areas, infected other tribes, killed hundreds of thousands. During this period, the powerful nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, based in New York, had maintained control of much of the Ohio Valley as hunting grounds by right of conquest after defeating other tribes.
By the terms of the 1768 Treaty of
Theatre in Pittsburgh
Theatre in Pittsburgh has existed professionally since the early 1800s and has continued to expand, having emerged as an important cultural force in the city over the past several decades. The heritage of theatre in Pittsburgh stretches back to at least 1765, when it was recorded that "balls, plays and comedies" were being performed at the British military installation at Fort Pitt. Subsequently, amateur "thespian societies" emerged, including the Thespian Society, organized by students of the Pittsburgh Academy in 1810, the forerunner of the University of Pittsburgh, in order to stage popular comedies and musical entertainment; these students included Henry Marie Brackenridge, the son of university founder Hugh Henry Brackenridge. S. Congressman and Senator William Wilkins; this club was mentioned by travelers commenting on the early culture of Pittsburgh, however it was disbanded by university faculty in 1833 because, according to Agnes Starrett's 1937 history of the university, "instead of Shakespeare, the members had begun to produce vulgar modern comedies".
Throughout the 1800s, Pittsburgh was home to various stock companies, beginning with the Theatre on Third Street, Pittsburgh's first free-standing playhouse, in 1813. These companies were composed of eight to ten local actors, a stage manager and prompter, a stage carpenter, a properties master, an orchestra leader. An important milestone in the creation of indigenous Pittsburgh theatre occurred when William Henderson took over the lease of the Old Drury in 1859 and produced plays by Pittsburgh playwrights in the theatre's season. Other theatres followed Henderson's lead, including the Pittsburgh Opera House, which held the first productions of nationally regarded playwright Bartley Campbell. In the early 1900s, Pittsburgh became a key location for productions handled by the Theatrical Syndicate due to its strategic location, abundance of playhouses, excellent rail service, established audiences. Sam Nixon and Fred Zimmerman's building of the Nixon and the Gayety attracted touring productions of successful Broadway plays as well as international ballet and opera companies.
Harry Davis, another theatrical entrepreneur in the early 1900s, founded the Family Avenue Theater and the Pittsburgh Opera House, which produced melodramas and standard plays as well as showed films. In the early 1910s, concern over the lack of serious or "legitimate" theatre in Pittsburgh led to an "art theater movement" that involved the establishment of the Pitt Theatre Company of Pittsburgh in 1913, the Drama League of Pittsburgh in 1912, in 1914, the establishment of the nation's first bachelor of arts degree in theater at Carnegie Tech. In the 1920s, vaudeville became popular in Pittsburgh, the Little Theatre Movement was represented by many independent, noncommercial theater companies such as People's Playhouse of the North Side, the Suburban Theater of the South Hills, the Tarkington Theater, the Pitt Players, the Duquesne University Red Masquers. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, noncommercial theater became more culturally important and political in nature, exemplified by the New Theater of Pittsburgh, organized in 1935.
Black theater became a more important cultural force at this time, most notably with the Olympian Players. The Negro Drama League was formed in 1932 to support the vibrant theatrical activity of African-Americans in Pittsburgh. Jewish theatrical activity became more prominent in Pittsburgh at this time, notably with the Irene Kaufmann Settlement Players. German and Catholic theatre developed a presence as well. Civic theaters devoted to a sense of civic theatrical identity grew in popularity. Of the theatre companies in Pittsburgh in existence, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera was one of the first to be established. Over the years, the company has moved to various locations throughout the city and holds productions in the Benedum Center. University of Pittsburgh Stages emerged from various performance troupes at the school in the early 20th century to become the formal company of the school's theatre arts performance training program of the university in the 1960s; the university company became professionally oriented in 1981, continues to stage several productions throughout the year in their primary facility, the historic Stephen Foster Memorial.
Saint Vincent Summer Theatre, another major fixture of the Pittsburgh area, began in Latrobe in 1969. The theatre has staged many different kinds of productions over the years, now produces light farces for a summer theatre audience. Mountain Playhouse, one of the oldest professional theatres in the Pittsburgh area, made its debut in nearby Jennerstown in 1939. Similar to St. Vincent, Mountain Playhouse stages light summer stock fare, including comedies and musicals. Apple Hill Playhouse in nearby Delmont stages light comedies and musicals as well as children's theater. Pittsburgh Playhouse home to Point Park University's conservatory students and resident professional theatre company Playhouse Rep, opened its doors in 1934 as a community theater. Stage Right was established in the mid-1960s and continues to produce theatre in the Fox Chapel area of Pittsburgh. Other important theatre companies of the mid-twentieth century include Black Horizon Theater, an Af
Downtown Pittsburgh, colloquially referred to as the Golden Triangle, the Central Business District, is the urban downtown center of Pittsburgh. It is located at the confluence of the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River whose joining forms the Ohio River; the "triangle" is bounded by the two rivers. The area features offices for major corporations such as PNC Bank, U. S. Steel, PPG, Bank of New York Mellon, Federated Investors and Alcoa, it is where the fortunes of such industrial barons as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, Henry J. Heinz, Andrew Mellon and George Westinghouse were made, it contains the site where Fort Duquesne, once stood. In 2013, Pittsburgh had the second-lowest vacancy rate for Class A space among downtowns in the United States; the Central Business District is bounded by the Monongahela River to the south, the Allegheny River to the north, I-579 to the east. An expanded definition of Downtown may include the adjacent neighborhoods of Uptown/The Bluff, the Strip District, the North Shore, the South Shore.
Downtown is served by the Port Authority's light rail subway system, an extensive bus network, two inclines. The Downtown portion of the subway has the following stations: T Stations Station Square on the South Shore in the Station Square development First Avenue near First Avenue & Ross Street, Downtown Steel Plaza at Sixth Avenue & Grant Street, Downtown Penn Plaza near Liberty Avenue & Grant Street, Downtown Wood Street at the triangular intersection of Wood Street, Sixth Avenue, Liberty Avenue, Downtown Gateway Center at Liberty Avenue & Stanwix Street, Downtown North Side near General Robinson Street & Tony Dorsett Drive on the North Shore Allegheny near Allegheny Avenue & Reedsdale Street on the North Shore Downtown is home to the Pittsburgh Amtrak train station connecting Pittsburgh with New York City and Washington, D. C. to the east and Cleveland and Chicago to the west. Greyhound's Pittsburgh bus terminal is located across Liberty Avenue from the Amtrak Station, in the Grant Street Transportation Center building.
Major roadways serving Downtown from the suburbs include the "Parkway East" from Monroeville, the "Parkway West" from the airport area, the "Parkway North" from the North Hills, in Downtown Pittsburgh. Other important roadways are Pennsylvania Route 28, Pennsylvania Route 51, Pennsylvania Route 65, U. S. Route 19. Three major entrances to the city are via tunnels: the Fort Pitt Tunnel and Squirrel Hill Tunnel on I-376 and the Liberty Tunnels; the New York Times once called Pittsburgh "the only city with an entrance," referring to the view of Downtown that explodes upon drivers upon exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Traveling I-279 south and I-376, the city "explodes into view" when coming around a turn in the highway. Downtown surface streets are based on two distinct grid systems that parallel the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers; these two grids intersect along Liberty Avenue. Furthermore, the Allegheny grid contains numbered streets, while the Monongahela grid contains numbered avenues. And, in fact, there are cases where these numbered creating some confusion.
This unusual grid pattern leads to Pittsburghers giving directions in the terms of landmarks, rather than turn-by-turn directions. Pittsburgh is nicknamed "The City of Bridges". In Downtown, there are 10 bridges connecting to points south; the expanded definition of Downtown includes 18 bridges. Citywide there are 446 bridges. In Allegheny County the number exceeds 2,200. Downtown Bridges Fort Pitt Bridge carries I-376 between Downtown and the Fort Pitt Tunnel Fort Duquesne Bridge carries I-279 between Downtown and the North Shore Smithfield Street Bridge carries Smithfield Street between Downtown and the South Shore Panhandle Bridge carries the city's light rail transit system between Downtown and the South Shore Liberty Bridge connects the Liberty Tunnel to I-579 Downtown Roberto Clemente Bridge connects 6th Street Downtown to Federal Street on the North Shore at PNC Park Andy Warhol Bridge connects 7th Street Downtown to Sandusky Street on the North Shore at the Andy Warhol Museum Rachel Carson Bridge connects 9th Street Downtown to Anderson Street on the North Shore Fort Wayne Railroad Bridge carries freight and Amtrak trains from Downtown to the North Shore Veterans Bridge carries I-579 from Downtown to the North Side Bridges of Expanded Downtown West End Bridge carries US Route 19 from the West End/South Shore to the North Shore/North Side just west of Downtown 16th Street Bridge carries 16th Street from the Strip District to Chestnut Street on the North Side West Penn Bridge is part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail connecting the North Side to Washington's Landing on Herr's Island 30th Street Bridge connects River Avenue on the North Side with Waterfront Drive on Washington's Landing at Herr's Island 31st Street Bridge connects PA Route 28 on the North Side with 31st Street in the Strip District 33rd Street Railroad Bridge connects the North Side to the Strip District and crosses Herr's Island South 10th Street Bridge connects the Armstrong Tunnel at Second Avenue just east of Downtown with the South Side at South 10th Street Birmingham Br
Christopher "Chris" Hillman is an American musician. He was one of the original members of The Byrds, which in 1965 included Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby and Michael Clarke. With frequent collaborator Gram Parsons, Hillman was a key figure in the development of country rock, defining the genre through his work with The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and the country-rock group Desert Rose Band. Hillman, the third of four children, spent his early years at his family's ranch home in rural northern San Diego County 110 miles from Los Angeles, he has credited his older sister with exciting his interest in country and folk music when she returned from college during the late 1950s with folk music records by The New Lost City Ramblers and others. Hillman soon began watching many of the country-music shows on local television in southern California at the time such as Town Hall Party, The Spade Cooley Show and Cal's Corral. Hillman's mother bought him his first guitar. At age 15 Hillman went to Los Angeles to see the Kentucky Colonels bluegrass band at the Ash Grove, convinced his family to allow him to travel by train to Berkeley for lessons from mandolinist Scott Hambly.
When he was 16, Hillman's father committed suicide. He became known in San Diego's folk music community as a solid player; the band lasted two years, recording only one album. When the band broke up in late 1963 Hillman received an invitation to join the Golden State Boys, regarded as the top bluegrass band in southern California and featuring future country star Vern Gosdin, his brother Rex and banjoist Don Parmley. Shortly thereafter the band changed its name to The Hillmen; when the Hillmen folded, he joined a spinoff of Randy Sparks' New Christy Minstrels known as the Green Grass Revival. At this point a frustrated Hillman considered quitting music and enrolling at UCLA when he received an offer from The Hillmen's former manager and producer, Jim Dickson, to join Jim McGuinn, David Crosby, Gene Clark and Michael Clarke in a new band, The Byrds. Hillman was recruited to play bass guitar. Thanks to his bluegrass background, he developed his own melodic style on the instrument; the Byrds' first single, a jangly cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man", was an international hit and marked the birth of folk rock.
During the mid-1960s the Byrds ranked as one of the most successful and influential American pop groups. Turn! Turn!", "Eight Miles High" and "So You Want to Be a Rock'n' Roll Star". Hillman kept a low profile on the band's first two albums, on which McGuinn and Clark shared lead vocals with Crosby adding high harmony and singing the bridge on "All I Really Want to Do". However, Clark's departure in 1966 and Crosby's growing restlessness allowed Hillman the opportunity to develop as a singer and songwriter in the group, he came into his own on the Byrds' 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday, co-writing and sharing lead vocals with McGuinn on the hit "So You Want to Be a Rock'n' Roll Star". Hillman wrote the minor hit "Have You Seen Her Face", "Thoughts and Words", "Time Between" and "The Girl with No Name", the latter two demonstrating his bluegrass and country roots. Hillman's prominence continued with the Byrds' next album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, on which he shared songwriting credit on seven of the album's eleven songs.
Internal strife dogged the Byrds, by the beginning of 1968 the band was down to two original members, with Hillman's cousin Kevin Kelley on drums. They hired Gram Parsons to replace Crosby. Hillman and Parsons changed the Byrds' musical direction, helping to usher in a new genre known as country rock when they recorded the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Once again Hillman seemed to recede into the background, leaving most of the vocals to Parsons and McGuinn and concentrating on bass and mandolin. Parsons left the band shortly thereafter. Hillman convinced Whisky A Go Go to give Buffalo Springfield an audition recording. Hillman teamed with Gram Parsons again to form the Flying Burrito Brothers. Further honing their pioneering country-rock hybrid sound by combining the energy and attitude of rock and roll with the issues and themes of country music, the Burritos recorded the landmark The Gilded Palace of Sin followed by 1970's Burrito Deluxe. Parsons was out of the lineup by June 1970 when the band toured Canada as part of the Festival Express tour, with Hillman reverting to bass guitar.
Hillman stayed with the band for two more records, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Last of the Red Hot Burritos. Before the Flying Burrito Brothers disbanded, Hillman joined Stephen Stills' band Manassas