For a brief time in the early 1960s, Post-Gazette reporters worked in a cramped newsroom in an eight-story building near Grant Street. It was not a good experience. The building, previously home to the Sun-Telegraph, was unairconditioned and at times became so unbearably hot that staff members would break windows to admit cooler air.
The newsroom itself was a dump with dingy, uneven pine floors and rattling windows, wrote Clarke Thomas in his book, “Front Page Pittsburgh.” Pictures in the Post-Gazette archives show a room crammed with ancient wooden desks, manual typewriters, rotary telephones and office chairs that look like torture devices. Coffee stains (or ink stains) stream down a steel file cabinet. Paper is strewn everywhere, piled helter-skelter on desks and crammed into overstuffed trash cans. Shards and strips of clipped paper litter the floor.
Newspapers had occupied the building since its completion in 1915. It was home to the Chronicle-Telegraph and the Gazette Times until a series of business deals in 1927 resulted in the creation of the Sun-Telegraph, which remained in the building, and the Post-Gazette.
In 1960, the Post-Gazette bought the Sun-Telegraph and moved from its home at Second and Grant to the “Sun-Telly barn,” as it was known. You may remember the old Post-Gazette building, which was transformed into the city’s Public Safety headquarters. Now the site is home to a small park in front of PNC’s Firstside Center.
By the fall of 1961, the PG and The Pittsburgh Press had agreed to combine their production and advertising departments, and the Post-Gazette newsroom was moved to the Boulevard of the Allies. More than 30 years later, in 1992, the PG purchased The Press.
Newsrooms like the one at the Sun-Telegraph were places of incredible noise — clattering typewriters and wire service machines, ringing telephones, crackling scanners and two-way radios, growling editors, reporters and photographers hollering over the din. We remain amazed that, under these conditions, people toiling to meet impossible deadlines produced work that, at times, contained great beauty and grace.
The Sun-Telegraph building was demolished in the fall of 1963. Today, the U.S. Steel Tower occupies the spot.