HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForumSkyscraper Posters

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Photography Forums > My City Photos


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old Posted Dec 24, 2012, 10:41 PM
geomorph's Avatar
geomorph geomorph is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Newport Beach
Posts: 1,330
Pittsburgh - Downtown - Historic Era

Pittsburgh's Downtown is a compact area of the city formed by the confluence of the Allegheny River with the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River. This peninsula is constrained on the land side by the steeper elevations of the Hill District, although thin neighborhoods (Strip District and Bluff) stretch along the riverfronts at lower elevations similar to Downtown. 11 bridges (1 is rail-only) link the neighborhood to the North Shore and the South Side across the rivers. The triangle of mostly flat land composing Downtown is fairly densely developed, and organized with a primary grid street pattern that meets a smaller grid street pattern at an approximately 45-degree angle along a major street, Liberty Avenue. The city was laid out in 1784, but little of the 18th century development remains; instead, the majority of development is an impressive array of late 19th to early 20th century buildings, combined with a considerable amount of mid-to-late 20th century highrises. Recent developments of the past decade tend to be low-to midrises with a lesser impact on the skyline, but undoubtedly there will be much larger contemporary highrises for this lively city with a bright future. This thread will focus on the developments from the city's beginning to the Art Deco period.

Fort Pitt Block House, 1764:
This is the only surviving structure from Fort Pitt (1761), the British fort that was built to replace the French Fort Duquesne (1754) that was established on the point of land at the confluence of the rivers. Today, it is within the 36-acre Point State Park.

Fort Pitt Museum, 1969:
This small museum interprets the early European history of the founding of the city and is located in a structure built in part of the original Fort Pitt bastion footprint.

Fort Pitt Outline and Plaque in Point State Park:

Senator John Heinz History Center:
This excellent historical museum (not affiliated with the condiment company founded in the area) is the parent organization that runs the Fort Pitt Museum as well; it also interprets the early European history of the founding of the city, but focuses more on the region's story since then. Located at the edge of Downtown and the Strip District, it has been housed in the former Chautauqua Lake Ice Building since 1996, with an adjoining modern wing opened in 2004.

Penn-Liberty National Register District:
This area comprises many blocks along two parallel streets and has a high concentration of commercial structures from the 1870-1915 time period.

View down Sixth Avenue:

Midtown Towers (built as Keenan Building), 1907:
This is the domed tower in the background of this photo.

Duquesne Club on the right, 1889 (with a 1902 addition on right side); Granite Building on the left (built as German National Bank), 1890:

Allegheny County Jail, 1888:
Henry Hobson Richardson designed this jail, which was used until 1995 and then converted to a court and museum. It connects by an enclosed bridge to the much larger building across the street by the same architect.

Allegheny County Courthouse, 1888:
This grand structure by H.H. Richardson is still used for its original purposes and is a hallmark of his style.

Richardsonian Romanesque:
Several other more modest examples of this style, or related to it, can be found Downtown.

Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel (built as Fulton Building), 1906:
The lobby of this renovated building was given a rather contemporary spin with an irreverent furnishing and lighting scheme set within a reverent restoration.

The Pennsylvanian (built as Union Station), 1903:
This railroad station and tower was designed by Daniel Burnham for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1988 it was converted to offices and apartments (the city's Amtrak station is in a utilitarian building behind it).

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Station, 1898:
This building is actually NOT Downtown, it is across the Monongahela River from Downtown; but it is fun to compare and contrast these two competing railroads' stations. This one is no longer used for its original purpose either - a large restaurant called Grand Concourse occupies it and is connected to the adjacent Station Square dining and entertainment development.

Heinz Hall (built as Loew's Penn Theater), 1926:

White Glazed Terra-cotta:
Many ornate examples of this architectural treatment abound in Downtown.

Fourth Avenue Historic District Highrises:
Several blocks along and near this street compose a concentrated area of former banking structures, dominated by a fine collection of highrises mostly from 1900-1915.

William Penn Hotel, 1916 and 1929:

Union Trust Building (built as Union Arcade), 1917:
This structure once housed 240 shops and 700 offices before being converted entirely into offices in its early years.

First Presbyterian Church, 1905:

Trinity Cathedral, 1872 (in shadow), Henry W. Oliver Building (designed by Daniel Burnham), 1910:

Frick Building (designed by Daniel Burnham), 1902:

City-County Building, 1917:

Federal Courthouse and Post Office, 1934:
Art Deco's zig-zag moderne style largely bypassed the city; instead, the more somber classical moderne of Depression-era Art Deco favored by the Federal government is prevalent.

Detail on Art Deco building:

Gulf Tower, 1932:

Koppers Building, 1929:

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Pittsburgh Branch, 1931:

All photographs taken in May 2012 by geomorph.

See my other Pittsburgh threads:

Downtown - Modern Era : http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=203090

Oakland - Part 1 : http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...01#post5951301

Oakland - Part 2 : http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=203218

North Shore : http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=201890

Last edited by geomorph; Dec 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 25, 2012, 12:35 AM
toyota74 toyota74 is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1,739

Nice photos...its a pity the fort didnt survive...we have a similar Engish
fort over here in Kinsale Co.Cork.

Photography Facebook page
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 25, 2012, 1:18 AM
jboy560's Avatar
jboy560 jboy560 is offline
Cap ou pas cap?
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chicago, baby!
Posts: 190
Great photos. I had no idea downtown Pittsburgh had so much spectacular architecture. I knew there were some beaut's, but damn!
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 25, 2012, 7:30 AM
fflint's Avatar
fflint fflint is offline
Triptastic Gen X Snoozer
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 22,213
Great thread, you're really raising the bar.

Pittsburgh is awesome.
"You need both a public and a private position." --Hillary Clinton, speaking behind closed doors to the National Multi-Family Housing Council, 2013
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 25, 2012, 3:55 PM
mstem58 mstem58 is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: albany ny
Posts: 91
great old buildings in pittsburgh! thanks for the show, and boy does that william penn hotel remind me of the statler in buffalo.
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 25, 2012, 4:01 PM
glowrock's Avatar
glowrock glowrock is offline
Becoming Chicago-fied!
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Chicago (Lakeview East)
Posts: 19,077
Every time I see people's wonderful photos from Pittsburgh, I'm reminded of why I'm so very happy to have lived here for the last year and a half!

Great shots, geomorph!

Aaron (Glowrock)
"The three most beautiful cities in the world are Paris, St. Petersburg & Pittsburgh. If Pittsburgh were situated somewhere in the heart of Europe tourists would eagerly journey hundreds of miles out of their way to visit it." The New Yorker Jan. 9, 1989
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 25, 2012, 4:03 PM
volguus zildrohar's Avatar
volguus zildrohar volguus zildrohar is offline
Flat Top Is My Enemy
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The City Of Philadelphia
Posts: 15,883
Glorious! Good thing that Pittsburgh retained much of its period commercial architecture - they are treasures. Philadelphia thought little of the buildings located here and thusly where there are numerous underutilized buildings of the era or bland banal boxes where they once stood, The Iron City's downtown streets are lined with them

Thanks for the tour!
je suis phillytrax sur FLICKR, y'all
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 25, 2012, 11:09 PM
TXLove's Avatar
TXLove TXLove is offline
$$Money on my Mind$$
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Austin,Texas
Posts: 1,729
Oldies but goodies! Beautiful architecture!
3rd coast born Texas Raised
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 26, 2012, 10:49 AM
Austinlee's Avatar
Austinlee Austinlee is online now
Chillin' in The Burgh
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Spring Hill, Pittsburgh
Posts: 12,820
Impressive to see some of the best architecture in the burgh side by side to compare. I like your idea of exterior pics and then a few interiors to show the detail. You also could have taken a couple inside Heinz Hall, in the lobby of the Frick building (Awesome white marble) and the Carnegie museum in Oakland which has similar amazing staircases and architecture as the county courthouse and city county building.

Great work!
The new Pittsburgh development thread is up.
Pittsburgh Rundown III

"Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam"
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 26, 2012, 4:13 PM
Ex-Ithacan's Avatar
Ex-Ithacan Ex-Ithacan is online now
Old Fart Forumer
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Live in DC suburbs-Maryland
Posts: 21,782
Wonderful tour. I love the Fourth Avenue buildings. Pittsburgh is too cool. Thanks for the pics and info.
Get off my lawn you whippersnappers!!!!!
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Dec 30, 2012, 9:30 PM
xzmattzx's Avatar
xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
Registered User
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Wilmington, DE
Posts: 4,811
Nice pictures. Thanks for the information. Splitting your Downtown pictures into historic and modern architecture is a nice little change from the way most people, including myself, make threads.
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Jan 5, 2013, 7:24 PM
TinChelseaNYC TinChelseaNYC is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: New York City
Posts: 803
That was great. Pittsburgh is so special.
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Jan 9, 2013, 2:20 AM
gtbassett's Avatar
gtbassett gtbassett is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 287
So it's decided. I'm moving to Pittsburgh at some point in the not too distant future.
Reply With Quote
Old Posted Jan 10, 2013, 5:41 PM
MplsTodd MplsTodd is offline
Registered User
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Columbus & Mpls
Posts: 580
The older buildings of downtown Pittsburgh are amazing! The richness of the detailing never gets old to me. Your photos did an excellent job of capturing the character of this great downtown.
I was in Pittsburgh on a Saturday last June and there was a lot going on then. I have to believe all the new residential conversions are increasing the streetlife.
Every City has something worth seeing!
Reply With Quote

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Photography Forums > My City Photos
Forum Jump

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 7:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.