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The Hill: 1938

The Hill: 1938

July 1938. "Houses on slum section 'The Hill.' Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania." 35mm nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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One man's slum is another man's neighborhood

I have read that it was still a decent working-class neighborhood in the 1930s, but declined thereafter. In the summer of 1956, some 1,300 structures were razed, displacing 8,000 residents, most of them Black. The Civic Arena and acres of parking rose of the site, making possible a concert by the Beatles (1963) and hockey by Mario Lemieux (1984-2006).

Object in the upper left

Does anyone have any idea what sort of device that collection of metal looking things is in the upper left? Antenna?

[Bean vines. - Dave]

Long Gone

My best guess is that we are in the area that was cleared for the new Civic Arena in the 1950s. The street (alley?) we're looking down runs south down the hill, toward downtown, and then bends slightly to our right and there were a few streets that bent slightly like this. The Civic Arena is gone now too and may be redeveloped into residential housing and retail spaces.

What great co-operation

to allow clotheslines across the street to benefit both sides, and are those kids choosing not to be photographed?

Woman in white heels

I suppose one learns the best way to stand on a slope when one lives on a hill. This young lady has adopted a stance where she leans one shoulder against the wall, while angling her legs away from the wall, like a buttress. I imagine this allows her to avoid leaning backwards against the slope.

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