The Pothole Dwellers: A Journey To Pittsburgh's Past

By Dr. Jane N. Erin
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The Pothole Dwellers: A Journey to Pittsburgh’s Past, by Dr. Jane N. Erin, is a fictional work rooted in actual events in the history of Pittsburgh, PA. Anna, the main character, is a ten-year-old girl who encounters mysterious, fluffy creatures that locals call pothole dwellers. She follows them into their holes and unknowingly travels back through time with the creatures as well. The story unfolds through scenes of the past and gradually uncovers the role of the pothole dwellers and their place throughout time. Anna also discovers some long-forgotten family history. While Anna’s curiosity leads her to search for and befriend the dwellers, it also teaches her to trust her own judgment in an uncertain world. It is Dr. Erin’s hope that young readers will gain an understanding of how their own families have changed over many generations, as well as how the efforts of their ancestors have shaped the present for many young people.

About the Author

Dr. Erin has, as a university professor, spent many years preparing teachers of students who have visual impairments in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Arizona. Professional writing has always been part of her career, but after her retirement, she looked forward to writing a completely fictional tale. It seemed natural that the setting should be Pittsburgh, given that she lived in the city for the first half of her life. Her memory still holds strong images of houses clinging to the hillsides above the rivers, the sounds of trolleys on the tracks, and the damp smell of dirty in city backyards – these are memories that motivated her to explore the mystery of time through Anna’s story.

Since her retirement several years ago, she and her adventurous husband, Ken, enjoy exploring the country in their camper van.


Dr. Erin also spends her time volunteering to help children with disabilities from Mexico. This is a regular reminder of how diverse families are. The retirement experience is, to her, almost like returning to childhood – every step might lead down an unexpected path.

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Published: 2022
Page Count: 180