Pittsburg was purposely located in the center of the Cherokee-Crawford coal field of southeastern Kansas in 1876. The city's founders intended for the new mining camp to serve as a convenient shipping point for the tons of bituminous coal that would be extracted from the region. Little did the founders anticipate how quickly Pittsburg would become the dominant city in the rapidly industrialized southeastern corner of Kansas and one of the most populous cities in the state. Immigrants from over 50 ethnic groups came to Pittsburg to provide the necessary labor for the deep-shaft coal mines, the railroads, and many other industries. Pittsburg State University, established in 1903 as a manual training school, is one of the most significant features of modern-day Pittsburg and is widely recognized for excellence in academics and athletics.