Last year, we found about 300 photos in archive folders labeled “Pittsburgh Airviews and Skylines.” They were segmented by decade and provided era-by-era glimpses from above of the city’s evolution.
We posted just seven of them here at The Digs, and the collection became one of our most popular.
Let’s take a look at nine more, chosen for the scenes they depict that have changed so drastically in the years since. The 1930s parking lot near Penn Station full of the sort of automobiles not seen in these parts today except in a wedding or antique car show. The dramatic skeletons of Gateway Center and U.S. Steel Tower going up and changing the Pittsburgh skyline during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
Then there are those classic sports and recreation areas before there was much recreation happening there. The Hill District in 1954 showed no sign of the Civic Arena soon becoming a dominating force in the Lower Hill. What about the 1950 “North Shore” of the Allegheny River? Few would have guessed — in the years before even the Fort Duquesne Bridge had a presence there — that the entire strip of riverfront property would become home in the 21st century to America’s most beautiful baseball park and golden-seated Heinz Field. Back then, it appeared from above to be just a collection of barges and industrial yards.
Can you imagine trying to park now inside Point State Park? And if you floated above the city on an October night in recent years, you were obviously going to see a different stadium illuminated than the circular Three Rivers Stadium.
Finally, in a nod to Pittsburgh’s new economy, take a look at the areas near Bakery Square and SouthSide Works. In 1976, baking was actually still being done at that area near Penn Avenue, and in 1984 some amount of hot metal was still making its way across the Hot Metal Bridge.
We learned much about the city’s 20th century development, crash and rebirth in these photos, and we hope to soon share the complete collection with you here.