Architecture & Neighborhoods

Song of the North Side

Take a look at Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood through the lens of David Aschkenas in this never-​before published photo collection from our archives.

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.

New Housing, 1951

Photographer Clyde “Red” Hare moved to Pittsburgh in 1950 to work on the Pittsburgh Photographic Library, covering the city’s Renaissance I, with noted editor Roy Stryker. Hare had his own car and camera and Stryker offered to pay him $50 a week to photograph the city.

Looking at Lubetz

Stand at the top of the angles stairs in the entry to the Squirrel Hill Library, and you are cantilevered out and over Forbes Avenue, beyond the facades of surrounding buildings. The way the building creases and folds here, you can see outside and back in at the same time.…

The Unconventional Pays Off

Sometimes a building aims to look as if it has always been there. Frequently, architects match the brick of the surrounding neighborhood and use slightly modernized versions of traditional details to make a structure appear that it’s been there longer than it has. This is not such a bad thing.…

Christmas in Utopia

by Tom Imerito
It’s early morning on Christmas Eve in the town of Economy, Pennsylvania. The year is 1828. Twenty-​seven-​year-​old Catharina Langenbacher awakens to the five o’clock gong of the grandfather clock in the sitting room downstairs. By the time she clambers down the crude staircase, her widowed mother is preparing breakfast. Catharina’s…

Strip Stake

Pittsburgh’s Strip District is the place where everyone comes for everything. With redevelopment occurring on every edge of this one-​half square mile tract, city planners, business owners and residents are looking to strike the right balance. Bring in the new developments and luxury condominiums, but keep the character — the boutiques and…

Molded Tooth Staggered Gear and Worker, 1913

The Mesta Machine Company churned and smoked on more than 20 acres of land along the Monongahela River.

A Monument Then and Now

Did the demolition of the greenfield (really the Beechwood Boulevard) Bridge feel like the passing of an era? The urbane, concrete arch span of 1923 was crumbling far too ominously above the speeding traffic of the Parkway East to be able to stay in place, so it was ceremoniously demolished.…

The Old Ways May Be Best

by Deborah Weisberg
Marino floro plucks a perfectly shaped fig from a tree in his Sewickley yard, opens the door to his chicken coop, and offers the fruit to a chamois-​colored hen, which clucks with enthusiasm.

Once Upon A Tunnel

The calamity began at the stroke of midnight on May 10, 1924, when Pittsburgh Street Railway Company employees walked off the job. The streetcar strike threw commuters into a tizzy, and the following morning South Hills commuters jumped into their cars and headed for the recently opened Liberty Tunnels. Between…

Oakmont Camping, circa 1910

For Pittsburghers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Oakmont offered the next best thing to paradise.

The Story of an Icon

With the completion of the Tower at PNC Plaza, Pittsburgh has yet another generation of skyscraper design in its picturesque cityscape. Though our first tall steel-​frame building — Longfellow, Alden & Harlow’s Carnegie Building of 1895 — was lost in 1952 for the Kaufmann’s store annex, the Frick building of 1902 remains with several…

The City-​County Building

Ask people their favorite downtown Pittsburgh building, and many will tell you Henry Hobson Richardson’s Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail. Pittsburgh’s first really famous piece of architecture has been popular consistently since its 1888 completion.

Wilkinsburg renewal

by Jonathan Barnes
Shortly before he died last year, Korean War veteran Jack Ward stood inside the doorway of the Save-​A-​Lot grocery store in Wilkinsburg’s Penn Avenue business district. Wearing his Marine cap and shirt with service patches, he handed out pamphlets about the proposed sale of alcohol in some borough restaurants. A…
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