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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE MIAMI: c. 1960s

Gateway Center: 1952

Gateway Center: 1952

        UPDATE: Our astute commenters have identified this as Pittsburgh's Gateway Center, circa 1952.

This is by far the most unusual photo (from a stereo slide) that my grandfather ever took. To this day it still does not look real to me but more like an artists rendering of what the building will look like when completed. I have no idea where it was taken but a good guess would be Pittsburgh, as that is the nearest city to where he lived (Titusville) and ran a camera shop for 32 years. I would guess the year is the late 1940's or early 50's judging from what I can see of some cars that appear to be taxis lined up in front of the building on the right side. I tried to estimate just how many sides and windows there would be in this building complex but gave up after still not being convinced it was real. View full size.

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Oy Vey

"Oh the commission I could have gotten if I'd closed the deal on that building", said the retired awning salesman upon first viewing this building.

Counting floors

I count only 20 floors on the two outside buildings and 24 floors in the center one.

Okay, let's run the numbers

Looks like three X shaped buildings.

Assuming they are symmetrical, then 24 X shaped floors per building, with 12+12+7 = 31 windows in each leg of the X.

Two floors in the central tower (elevator workings?) with eight windows each, front and back.

(24×31×4)+(8×2) = 2992 windows per building, so 8976 in total, less whatever window slots on the ground floor are occupied by doors (too obscured to get an accurate count).

There has to be some Shorpyite who is a downtown yinzer. Please count the doors for me so my OCD can rest easy!

Pittsburgh at Midcentury

Hey, I recognize this view! Last year, I made a book of Pittsburgh photographs with Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt. He shot them in 1950 after being invited to the city by Roy Stryker. Stryker wanted to document Pittsburgh as it redeveloped the Point and Hill, including the area around Market Square. Elliott took a number of pictures of this site during construction:

https://www.magnumphotos.com/newsroom/society/elliott-erwitt-pittsburgh/

Mystery Solved

Thanks to all who commented and solved a long standing mystery for me with one of my grandfather's many photos. I can now label that slide with a title instead of a " ? ".

Also thanks to "Scooter_B" for the window count. One less thing to think about.

Modern Art

This photo reminds me of a mid-century abstract painting.
It might be called Red Rectangle or Arrangement in Red and Grey.
The photographer had a good sense of composition.

Still impressive

Gateway Center remains eye-catching today. When it was built in the early '50s, Pittsburgh's Point was a grimy old industrial neighborhood. The shiny new complex must have stood out like a diamond.

If you don't count the first floor

The number of windows on the second through the twenty-fourth floor of the three buildings is roughly 8572.

Pittsburgh Gateway Center

Opened in the early 1950s. Can read all about it in Wikipedia. Still a going complex.

HAD To Find This

Guessing Pittsburgh’s Gateway Center Construction 1950 – 1953

https://www.google.com/search?q=Pittsburgh%E2%80%99s+Gateway+Center+Cons...

Downtown Pittsburgh, near the Allegheny River

After searching Pittsburgh with Google Earth and Google Maps, I think this set of buildings is Gateway Center in downtown Pittsburgh, The buildings are not far from the eastern edge of Point State Park. They are bounded on three sides by Liberty Avenue, Stanwix Street, and Fort Duquesne Boulevard. The grounds of the buildings appear not to extend as far west as Commonwealth Place. An article with the title "Gateway Center (Pittsburgh" in Wikipedia says that the development "was announced as fully financed on September 21, 1949," which fits with construction circa 1950.

Gateway Center

This is Gateway Center in Pittsburgh. The complex was built in 1952. This picture looks like it was taken from approximately 354 Liberty Avenue.

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