Travel to U.S.: East: Pittsburgh
Despite its history and reputation, Pittsburgh is shrinking. It's one of the few big American cities to do so: between 1990 and 2000, the city lost 35,000 people, about 10 percent of its total population. Allegheny County, of which it is part, registered a similar decline.
Looking west, toward the Westend Bridge (U.S. 19), which crosses the newly hatched Ohio River. The Monongahela is visible at the left; the Allegheny has to be imagined, just to the right of the Point Fountain.
Periodically, the fountain erupts in the breeze. The view here is from the other side, looking east, toward the city center.
The Point State Park is not as welcoming as a visitor might like.
But things could--and do--get worse. Here we're walking upstream, along the last few hundred feet of the Allegheny River. Can you feel the vibration from the traffic on the Fort Duquesne Bridge?
We could arrive by train. Heres, almost a mile to the east of the last picture, is the entrance to the old Pennsylvania Railroad station. It was designed by none other than Daniel Burnham, who inspired Chicago with his "make no little plans" exhortations. Alas, the Pennsylvania Railroad is gone, and passengers catching the Amtrak train go in from a side entrance, out and around the left corner here. Hold your breath.
Can you imagine what Burnham would say?
We can wander around downtown.
Not every tower is so anonymous. Here's the USX Tower. United States Steel sounded a lot more impressive, but steel sounded too "Old Economy." Still, there the steel is, cladding the building.
Another case: the headquarters of PPG, known until 1968 as Pittsburgh Plate Glass Industries.
The glass-wrapped entrance.
The city's most famous building, however, is H.H. Richardson's Allegheny County Court House.
The tower from the courtyard.
Just inside the north entrance. Despite the Romanesque gravitas, the offices are worn.
Honesty is a rare architectural commodity. Here's a dose: a warehouse in the Strip District, along the Allegheny.
A cathedral of commerce needs to be dressed up, like Kaufmann's Department Store.
Kaufmann's medieval attic.
Speaking of cathedrals: here's the University of Pittsburgh's modestly named "Cathedral of Learning." Pray for a "B."
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