Shadow (dariaphoebe) wrote,

It's a mess, it's a start, It's a flawed work of art

The South Side of Pittsburgh cut its teeth as the industrialized, working-class boroughs of Monongahela, South Pittsburgh, Birmingham, East Birmingham, and Ormsby. A keen observer will notice discontinuity in street width, grids, and land use at the boundaries.

With coal mines just beyond the edge, inclines connecting both those materials and people above, a river below and eventually 2 railroads passing through, it's little wonder the South Side became the industrial workhorse it did. Iron, steel, and glass were focal industries, but other businesses were scattered throughout. The South Side retains its gritty industrial nature while at the same time settling into a role as a residential community as well as what's being called a hospitality district.

At the start of the day, the sky over the city is bright. The eastern edge of the South Side houses a substation which was part of the original high voltage electrical ring around Pittsburgh, dating from around 1930.

USX Tower, with its recently-acquired UPMC sign, dominates the horizon to the west.

The notary public, in an office a block from busy East Carson St., presents a neat appearance.

Just a block away, morning traffic is making its way into the city, and weary folks are getting their morning coffee before heading into work.

New construction on the site of the former J&L Pittsburgh Works has created a site with offices, retail, and residential space in a variety of buildings.

Real estate continues to be in demand, and some long-time South Side businesses and residents have decided to move on while the demand is there.

Hidden in the new development are public spaces including an interior courtyard accessible via this well-lit passage.

While lacking the historic nature of the long-gone Arcade Theater, the theater at South Side Works has vintage touches to its marquee.

Among the South Side's benefits are easy accessibility to Oakland, at least when the bridges separating the neighborhoods are open.

Just beyond East Carson St., Goodwill is now housed in the former J&L "company store". The South Side Slopes neighborhood is visible just beyond the railroad bridge.

The owners of Zovko's Garage decorate their house for every season.

Election day. The polls are not yet open but there's already a line to vote.

This colorful mural is on the side of the Green Front Inn. Another, new, mural is on a building behind the photographer.

Best pretzels around, if you ask me.

Beyond the library, a building which now houses elderly residents bears reminders of its past as a hospital.

If you're restoring an old home nearby, T&T Hardware no doubt has whatever odd thing you might be missing, and they know where it is, too.

The clock on the former Duquesne Brewery, once the largest single face clock in the world, has shilled for many folks. As recently as 2000, it was broken, its face blacked out.

The former J&L warehouse outlasted the mill by 22 years before finally getting a new face this summer.

In an area with infamously scarce parking, the parking chair is not an uncommon sight.

Among the restored homes a block off Carson St. is the Morning Glory Inn B&B.

The corner of East Carson and South 21st at one time housed meatpackers and a cereal dealer astride the railroad line which ran along the street. A gym and an optician are new tenants in a building whose appearance has changed in just 8 years.

"Uncle John" Brashear was memorialized after his death by Edgar Kaufman and others. He really was my great-great-great uncle, incidentally.

For the moment, the South Side still has a local hospital.

B.M. Kramer's building still features its original gorgeous arched windows.

The occasional empty house does still exist in the neighborhood.

Streets get tighter as you move west toward downtown.

Built by Henry W. Oliver, who owned Oliver Iron and Steel across the street, Oliver Bath House is the city's only indoor public pool.

The Salvation Army's sign contrasts with that of Nicholas K.'s studio.

While Pittsburgh's famous ethnic neighborhoods are much less homogenous, the culture has thankfully stuck around. In the background is Cupples Stadium, home of all the Pittsburgh Public Schools sports teams.

Social clubs of several Eastern European nationalities dot the area.

Seeking the Lord's blessing on the city.

My favorite landmark, the former Duquesne Brewery. The older building is an artists' community. The newer one, with the clock, has had its exterior refurbished but is not yet occupied. In 2000 a small curved building in the area between the railroad track which wrapped around the new building and the corner as well as bridge connecting the old and new buildings still existed.

Touches of the area's industrial past remain, such as the siding under the Birmingham Bridge to serve businesses at the foot of South 23rd St.

In looking to the future, the South Side has embraced its past, reusing everything from churches to gas stations while retaining the character of those structures in sometimes whimsical ways.

I tagged all the photos in the album with locations, incidentally, which means you can use the "view thumbnails in a map" feature here. There are many more photos in the album than I shared in the walk here.
n.b. Yes, Google will help if you don't "get" the title of the post.

Tags: neighborhoodwalk
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.