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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • POUR IT ON: WWII POSTER

Cold-Rolled: 1941

Cold-Rolled: 1941

January 1941. "Mill district of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Long stairway in a working class section." Acetate negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

 

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Taking a Chance

This is intersection of the short Chance Way, ambling off to the left at the bottom of the wooden stairs and Tullymet Street diving steeply down to Irvine and the Coal/Coke plants, now gone. In a modern view the only feature left are some newer concrete stairs with metal railings and that house in the left foreground, still very recognizable.

Burgh Stairs

This brings back memories of out-of-town drivers being confounded by streets suddenly turning to stairs, even though a through street showed on a map.

Another Fine Mess

Somehow, I can't help but envision Laurel and Hardy trying to move a piano up this stairway.

Jack Delano

I really appreciate all the Delano photos you have been posting. Many I have not seen before. We have all seen this one; if it's not his greatest photo it's his greatest landscape.

[This is a "new" photo that we have not seen before, although similar to the one posted earlier here. - Dave]

He loved shadows, dirty snow, night cityscapes, old buildings, locomotives and, mostly, workers and ordinary people in general. He goes past the pathos so abundant in those years and gets to the dignity of workers and poor people. My favorite is of a young black woman wearing her best suit and a tilted white hat while leaning on a rail and waiting for a bus to the next agricultural job. He was born in the Ukraine, grew up in N.Y.C. and spent the last half of his life in Porto Rico, which he loved. He would probably have considered himself a musician (composer) first and a photographer second. His autobiography "Photographic Memories" is worth finding.

Slippery

Look at those women further down the hill, linking arms. With the slope and the packed snow, I can imagine the grip underfoot was precarious.

It looks like a stairway, but it’s a street

Pittsburgh has hundreds of stairways like these, many of them categorized as city streets. They’re one of the things that make the city unique.

Ernie Pyle wrote of the steps of Pittsburgh: “Oh Lord, the steps! I was told they actually had a Department of Steps. That isn’t exactly true, although they do have an Inspector of Steps. But there are nearly 15 miles of city-owned steps, going up mountainsides.“

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