Circa 1926: This imposing medievel archway once dominated Butler Street between 39th and 40th streets. It served as the entrance to the Allegheny Arsenal, a key military outpost that occupied 38 acres in the city’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.
At one time, the arsenal was a key manufacturing and supply center for the U.S. Army. During the Civil War, girls as young as 10 were hired at the arsenal to assemble cartridges for the Union Army. Barrels of explosive black powder were stored throughout the facility. On Sept. 17, 1862, a spark ignited a series of explosions and fires that killed more than 70 people, many of them young women and girls. Few outside of Pittsburgh took notice. The nation’s attention was focused on the bloody Battle of Antietam, which raged the same day.
The arsenal was decommissioned in 1926. Today, little evidence of the facility remains.
More in this video below. You can view the entire history video series at the PG’s Pittsburgh History page.