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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NAVY NEEDS YOU IN THE WAVES

Wabash Bridge: 1908

Wabash Bridge: 1908

Circa 1908. "Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Wabash Bridge, Monongahela River." Back when Pittsburgh was sans H. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.

 

Wabash Bridge Piers

The two piers that were left after the Wabash Bridge was demolished was purchased for a very fair price by a local politician who lived in Mt Lebanon by the name of Jim Corbett.
Then later became part of the busway system that traveled from the Airport to downtown by entering the existing and renovated tunnel next to McArdle Roadway near the intersection of Route 51 (Saw Mill Run Blvd) that ran under Mt Washington and crossed the Mon River over the new bridge built using the same piers seen in the photo. I hope my memory is serving me well here. At 87 years young it can be a little unstable at times. I just found this site and really love it.

Hausman & Wimmer

What a fantastic story!! I live in the suburbs and our library systems have been adding photos just like these to their website for everyone to enjoy. I have seen an inferior photo of this but nobody is alive to remember those type of details. Thanks!!

+103

Below is the same view from July of 2011.

Pier Today

Always love when Pittsburgh is on Shorpy!


View Larger Map

Fort Pitt Boulevard

Many of the row-buildings to the sides of the Trolley Pole Company are still standing on what is now Fort Pitt Boulevard. Including one of my favorite buildings in the city -- every day on my way home in traffic I marvel at the intricacy of the fire escape. It might be the one that is fourth over from the trolley pole factory. It's a shame downtown isn't really a "downtown" any more (the place shuts down at 5pm and all the action moves to the various outlying neighborhoods); it's such an underrated architectural gem.

Sternwheelers

It's striking to me how low the river-level is compared to present times and construction of the modern lock-and-dam system. Of course, during flood, I'm sure the residents were appreciative of those tall banks.

Of the pictured sternwheelers, I could find information, and additional photos, on three:

  • M.D. Wayman: built 1891 in Pittsburgh; 125 feet long; could be hired for $50/day as tender for dredging operations in 1909.
  • Isaac M. Mason: built in 1893 for the Mason Line; ran Belle Vernon-Morgantown on the Monongahela River; 122 feet long; burned Mar 4, 1913 Cooks Ferry, Ohio River.
  • Keystone State: Built 1890; converted in 1913 to the excursion boat Majestic.

Extant Examples

A number of the buildings shown here still exist. The Century building in the back, the Union Bank building, and many on the rightmost block along Fort Pitt still exist. The Conestoga building is the one cut in half.

I would not be surprised if the twin stacks across the river belonged to the Heinz plant. Up the hill a bit on the North Side should be the old Allegheny Hospital.

http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bo/?id=102614

Thank you!

I grew up in Pittsburgh. My grandparents would be born about five years after this was taken, so it's fantastic to look on the city as they knew it as children (and to realize that I recognize essentially *nothing* here.)

The piers for the old Wabash are still there -- you can see them in Google maps, near Station Square (now a mall, but then a train depot connecting to the tracks in the picture)

That would make the large street on the right side of the picture Market, most likely. So the center of the picture, right around the sign for "A.J. Logan & Co" would be the modern PPG Place, and the void that's behind and to the right of that building would be Market Square, which goes more or less back to the founding of the city itself.

I wonder if the Buhl in "Buhl & Boggs" is the same Buhl in "Buhl Planetarium" that was around when I was a kid. And the Frick in "Frick & Lindsay" is probably the same Frick in "Frick Park"

What a lovely photo.

What's in a name

What strikes me is that the vast majority of business signs you see in these pictures are people's names, or the name of a recognizable location, often coupled with a real product - Boggs & Buhl, Glesenkamp's Carriages, Pittsburg Trolley Poles. Even the bank building is labeled in full "The Diamond National Bank", not "DNB" or (worse yet) "DiNat."

Not a contraction or acronym to be seen.

Wabash Bridge

The railroad bridge is long gone but some of the stone piers remain at the bank.

Drill, baby, drill!

Also to be seen on the river bank just past the River Coal barge (right hand side of the pic) is the Oil Well Supply Company. Even though Pennsylvania oil production was already declining, business must have been pretty good. The name stretches across two buildings.

Built in the U.S.A.

What continues to amaze me about urban Shorpy shots is the enormous industrial activity one sees. You can almost feel the urban industrial power of the U.S. taking shape, at least in the North. By comparison, Canada was still a fairly quiet, predominantly agricultural country, except for Montreal and Toronto, which were still comparatively small urban centres. Of course WWI changed all that. Canadians went straight to the front in 1914, and supporting the war effort resulted in a huge wave of industrialization.

A New Wonderment

The need for such an elaborate lightning-rod installation on such a huge conductor? They sure are pretty though!

Boggs & Buhl

The Boggs & Buhl building on the far left was an upscale department store that catered to the wealthy and upper middle class who lived on the North Side or The City of Allegheny as it was known before it merged with Pittsburgh.

Where's Heinz?

Did this picture predate the dominant presence H J Heinz has had along the Allegheny River? Unless I have my bearings wrong, it would have appeared in the back right of the picture along the bend in the river.

Only the supports left now

It's interesting to get to see this bridge whole. I've never seen it. The supports are still left, and I always wondered about the bridge that used to be on them.

Three Rivers

Indeed that is the Allegheny in the background, and the warehouses and depots to the left where the cityscape starts to narrow is now what is Point State Park, where the Mon and the Allegheny join at the "Point" to create the Ohio.

Three Rivers was almost directly across from the Point, between the Pirates PNC Park and the Steelers current home, Heinz Field.

Now You Know

where trolley poles come from.

Hausman & Wimmer

Oh my gosh!

My mother was just telling me that, before my great grandfather started W.F. Wimmer Company, he had another business with his cousin, whose name was Hausman. I'd never heard this story before two weeks ago and now here is a photograph of their building! How exciting!
-----------------------------------------------------------
[Hausman to Wimmer: "Tarnation! Where in blazes are these confounded mice COMING from?" - Dave]

Are you ready for some football?

If that is the Monongahela in the foreground, then does that mean that in the background I see the Allegheny? If that is the case, then the Ohio river should be just to the left and this is the spot where they would someday build Three Rivers Stadium. I learned that from watching Monday Night Football. You see, you can learn something on TV!

I see my apartment!

Well, okay I see the area that was razed where my apartment building stands now, but still *sweeeet*!

I'm working on finding a present view, but I stink at google-mapping. Hopefully someone can do it better than I, but I'll keep trying.

 
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