Today’s post in one of our Spotlight Series, which showcases places, projects, and people engaged in different kinds of historic preservation activities in Pennsylvania.
How many times have you walked past a building in your neighborhood and thought, “Gee, I wonder what that looks like inside?”
A Place In Time is a regular feature in Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine, published quarterly by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and available for purchase at ShopPaHeritage.com. A subscription to the magazine is a benefit of membership in the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit partner of the PHMC.
The Fort Pitt Blockhouse in Pittsburgh.
Throughout much of its industrial history, Pittsburgh had an image problem. In 1868 James Parton wrote in The Atlantic Monthly that it was “Hell with the lid taken off.” Later, it became known as “The Smoky City.” Pollution was a big issue, but there were other problems, such as traffic congestion, flooding and blight that made Pittsburgh a less-than-desirable place to live. It was so bad that in 1944 The Wall Street Journal characterized Pittsburgh among cities “that had bleak futures.” One could argue that nowhere were these issues more visible than at the Point, the area of downtown where the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River join to form the Ohio River. Prior to World War II, the Point was a smoky, gritty, blighted area that was home to two railyards, several exposition halls, offices, clubs and hotels. It was also home to the Fort Pitt Blockhouse, a 1764 building owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution and the sole remaining aboveground structure from the Colonial-era Fort Pitt. Continue reading