photo essay

On the Road to Prosperity

Prosperity means different things to different people. But to the residents of a village by that name in Washington County that’s been significantly affected by fluctuations in the coal and Marcellus Shale gas industries, Prosperity is home. Some of the 1,105 residents have made a lot of money. Some are working hard to just get …

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Life on the Monongahela

In the last Ice Age—10,000 to 110,000 years ago—what is now the Monongahela River flowed north across Pennsylvania into the St. Lawrence watershed. At some point, an ice dam gave rise to Lake Monongahela, which was 200 miles long, 100 miles wide and hundreds of feet deep. Now, a series of locks and dams largely …

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Start Your Engines

Pittsburgh’s Vintage Grand Prix is celebrating its 33rd year, making it the longest-continually-running vintage road race in America. The 10-day event attracts some 250,000 visitors to Schenley Park, and, since it began in 1983, the Grand Prix has donated more than $3.5 million to the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Valley School. From …

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Faces of the Marcellus Shale

In the past several years, ancient organic matter trapped more than a mile beneath the surface of the earth has changed life in Greater Pittsburgh. The vast deposits of natural gas deep in rock are known collectively as the Marcellus Shale. The Marcellus has softened the Great Recession and brought a cash infusion to previously …

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Bridges of Allegheny County

Whether they’re crossing chasms, spanning rivers or connecting communities, bridges have always been the metaphoric heart of Pittsburgh. Their architects and builders— from 18th-century military pragmatists to the best design firms in the world—have expanded the art of the possible, from the humble to the magnificent, from arch to suspension to truss. Presented here is …

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A Gordian Knot: Haiti

Port au Prince, Haiti — A band playing Carribean music greeted us as we entered Toussaint Louverture International Airport. Quite a change from our last trip five years ago, when twin SUVs with dark-tinted windows met us at a special airport door and armed guards hustled us into the vehicles. On that trip, returning to the …

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Millvale Vista

Tucked in a valley off the Allegheny River along Route 28, Millvale teems with homes, churches and stores that follow the contours of the flood plain along Girty’s Run. Long before its 1868 incorporation, the land marked the beginning of the Venango Trail, which led to Erie. One of the earliest white inhabitants of the …

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Portrait of Penn Avenue

Whether the cultural district or the Strip District, Garfield, Point Breeze or Wilkinsburg, Pittsburghers know Penn Avenue as the heart of every neighborhood that grew up along it. Photographer John Beale, also a professor of photojournalism at Penn State University, has spent a year capturing images of life along Penn, and a portion of that …

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Pittsburgh’s Three Seasons

Forget about winter, spring, summer and fall. For Pittsburgh’s most faithful sports fans, there are only three seasons: hockey, baseball, and football. They tattoo their bodies with the names of their favorite teams and paint their cars and homes black and gold. They plan their vacations to accommodate a trip to Steelers training camp, and …

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Great Allegheny Passage

On May 21, 1975, a small train rolled out of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station in Pittsburgh. At the head was a yellow, red and blue Chessie System locomotive, #6600 with asleeping kitten on the side. It was followed by a gleaming stainless steel Amtrak Silver Dome, #9401, and a vintage blue, white, red …

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Zoo View

As creative director and volunteer photographer of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Paul A. Selvaggio has photographed animals for the past 17 years. But it’s not quite a matter of point and click. Unlike Annie Leibovitz, when Selvaggio photographs his subjects, he has to worry about becoming their lunch. The animals’ keepers have been …

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The River Starts Here

For the Allegheny River, a journey of 352 miles begins with a single drop of water. Emerging from a hillside in rural, wooded Potter County, in northern Pennsylvania, the trickle swells to a river that provides drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people, 72 miles of navigable waterway for barges and industry and a …

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