A Pittsburgh Visit – The River City

A Pittsburgh visit may not be the first destination that comes to mind for tourists, but if you are presented with the opportunity, it is a pleasant place to spend a little time.

Pittsburgh Visit
City pano

I recently visited the city for family business and captured some images that give a macro view of the city and its environs.

The topography of the area was the defining character of my Pittsburgh visit. Hills and rivers have molded the city into what it is today. The physical and economic history of the city are largely a result of the topography. The Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers form the boundary of the downtown triangle.

The confluence of the rivers was the site of multiple forts. During 1753–54, the British constructed Fort Prince George. The French followed with Ft. Duquesne and eventually the British drove out the French. Fort Pitt was built from 1759 to 1761 during the French and Indian Wars. It was a gateway for settlers moving west from the source of the Ohio River. Ft. Pitt offered protection from Native American raids in the area during the period following the French and Indian Wars. 

Rivers provided the highway in the wilderness in the early settlement of this area. While they are no longer the most important mode of transportation, there is still a significant amount of barge traffic moving bulk materials. Pittsburgh may have more bridges than any city in the world.  It is estimated that there are 440 within the city alone. The landscape is very hilly, with some of the steepest streets in the country. Canton Avenue is the steepest officially recorded public street in the United States.

Spring weather is very unpredictable and my Pittsburgh visit started with wind and snow flurries. After checking into my hotel near the University of Pittsburgh, I shot this view of the cold afternoon. My visit ended with sunny skies and 70 degree temperatures. 

Pittsburgh Visit
Cold Spring day

A quick drive north of the city led me to a visit to the elementary school from my youth. Although the building looks unchanged, it is no longer a public school. The school opened in 1939 and closed in 1983. It now is a private Christian Academy.

Pittsburgh Visit
I was in elementary school here

Pittsburgh has a large Italian community so a quick trip to an Italian grill took care of dinner. One of the perks of being in the Northeast!

Yuengling – From the oldest operating brewing company in the United States

Later the weather cleared near sunset and made for a cold and crisp night. This image, again from the hotel, shows the city under clear skies.

Pittsburgh Visit
Downtown from Oakland

I visited Station Square that was previously a station on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad. Built in 1898-1901, it served as the main station for the railroad. It is now a multi-use retail, hotel and restaurant facility. The Grand Concourse is fine example of lost craftsmanship. French-style bronze lighting fixtures, mahogany moldings and stained-glass panels in the ceiling are highlighted in the images below.

Pittsburgh Visit
Grand Concourse
Pittsburgh visit
Grand Concourse Ceiling

No visit to Pittsburgh would be complete without a trip to Mt. Washington. Overlooking the city from the south bank of the Monongahela river, the views of the city are superb. Especially at night. 

Pittsburgh Visit
Three Rivers

One of the best ways to get to Mt. Washington is to park at the bottom and take an incline to the top. More than a dozen inclines once existed, but today only two remain. We chose to travel up the Duquesne Incline. The incline opened in 1877 and is 800 feet  long and 400 feet high It travels at a steep 30-degree angle.

Pittsburgh Visit
The Duquesne Incline


Pittsburgh Visit
Upper Station
Pittsburgh Visit
City Lights from Mt. Washington

A polar projection of the city.

Polar Coordinates
Planet Pittsburgh

And finally, the flight home to Houston, Texas. This view of downtown shot just minutes before landing at Houston Hobby Airport.

Pittsburgh Visit
Final Descent into Houston

Although it was a very short trip, it was enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again.


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