Tags: neighborhoodwalk


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.
Collapse )

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.


ride all night, we ride all day; Some may come and some may stay

In 3 days, I'll be participating in the neighborhood walk. But the story of how it ended up my neighborhood is an interesting one.
In a great sense, I owe ending up here to my friend Elden.

In early 2000, on a mailing list I participate in, a simple question came. It began: Hi all, I was wondering if any Pittsburgh-familiar folks know anything about the PRR's "Allegheny and South Side Railroad". What little I know is that by the 40's it was a single-track running from PRR's 21st Street Yard adjacent to the P&LE tracks on the South Side west to the Pittsburgh Terminal Warehouse Transfer operation near the Liberty Bridge. We've had an ongoing dialog about it since then, and I wrote a wikipedia article on the subject. But at the time, it harkened back to my high school days, when my high school's home football field was South Stadium and the closest ice for the hockey team other than Civic Arena was Neville Ice Arena. I visited the South Side Giant Eagle just after opening, and traveled up S. 21st St when the center of the street was still dirt from the rail line which had been located along it.

It took a couple months before Elden managed to hook me, but once he did, the neighborhood became a second passion for me. I started doing research, looking at maps, pictures, anything I could lay my hands on. In 2006, disheartened by the amount of time I spent in a typical day traveling from Trafford to Pittsburgh and back, and looking for a less sedentary, more participatory lifestyle, I made my move. It's been just 2 years since.

The idea of a photo walk here is actually an old one: I've done it before (and drew a map to boot). The difference now is it's actually *my* neighborhood.