Pittsburgh – Then and Now

I have always been a fan of old photographs of cities, especially Pittsburgh. Since we had lived near there much of our lives, I always found it fascinating to see what was once there, so one day I took a bunch of old photos I found online (Pittsburgh History website), printed them out, and tried to line up the ‘today’ shot.

Given that many of the old buildings are still there I had hints to getting the correct angle and size. The ‘today’ photos are actually from 2009 so I am certain there have been  a few changes, but I recently rediscovered this post and realized it needed edited.


Then – Forbes Field   Now – University of Pittsburgh Law Library

2009 04 19 2 Forbes Field 2009 1909.jpg




Mon Wharf – note a few of the smaller buildings along the river are still there. 

2009 04 19 3 Mon Wharf 2009 1912.jpg




Kaufmanns – Sadly since 2009 this venerable store has closed

2009 04 19 4 Kaufmanns 2009 1912.jpg





6th Street – you can still get lunch on the corner, only now it is a 7-11.

2009 04 19 5a 6th Street 2009 1915.jpg



Another 6th Street view closer to the bridge

2009 04 19 5b 6th Street 2009 1915.jpg




Smithfield Street Bridge

2009 04 19 6 Smithfield Street Bridge 2009 1917.jpg




7th and Smithfield

2009 04 19 7 7th Smithfield & Liberty 2009 1929.jpg




Smallman Street in the Strip

2009 04 19 8 Smallman Street 2009 1929.jpg




The Mon Wharf from the Smithfield Street Bridge – They still park on the Wharf and the cars still do occasionally get flooded.

2009 04 19 9 Mon River 2009 1932.jpg




Liberty and Grant – The train station is still the large building on the right, only now it is a small section on the side. 

2009 04 19 10 Penn Station 2009 1936.jpg





Fort Pitt Boulevard and Smithfield Street – The large building in the old photo was another train station, long torn down.

2009 04 19 11 Smithfield & Ft Pitt Blvd 2009 1936.jpg




Forbes Avenue in Oakland – The large building in the background is the Cathedral of Learning – built in the late 1920s early 1930s.

2009 04 19 12 Forbes Ave Oakland 2009 1937.jpg




Boulevard of the Allies & Smithfield Street – amazingly little change here.

2009 04 19 13 Smithfield & Blvd of Allies 2009 1939.jpg





Forbes Avenue near Pitt – no 15 cent gas now.

2009 04 19 14 Forbes Ave Oakland 2009 1940.jpg




Boulevard of the Allies ramp to the Liberty Bridge

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Boulevard of the Allies 2009 1962.jpg




Civic Arena – Sadly too this one of a kind building was torn down, yet to be replaced by anything other than a lame parking lot. Tearing this down was the equivalent of taking down the original Penn Station in Manhattan.

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Civic Arena 2009 1959 Construction.jpg




Fort Duquesene Boulevard and the Allegheny River Bridges

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Duquesne Wharf Hotel 2009 1940.jpg




Fifth Avenue in Oakland

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Fifth Avenue 2009 1933 looking east from Atwood Street.jpg




Forbes Avenue towards Market Square. This too has changed significantly since 2009. 

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Forbes Avenue 2009 1960 Smithfield Street.jpg




Fourth Avenue & Smithfield

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Fourth Avenue 2009 1937 Smithfield Street.jpg




The Point from Mount Washington – Pittsburgh has had one of the most impressive transformations in the world, from an old steel town to a center of education and research.

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Gateway Center 2009 1945 Before Demo.jpg


Penn Avenue

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Gateway Center 2009 1951 Penn Avenue.jpg




Gateway Center – This was the start of the Renaissance of Pittsburgh.

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Gateway Center 2009 1952 Demolition of last building in point area.jpg




Liberty Avenue

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Liberty Avenue 2009 1910.jpg




PJ McCardle Roadway and Grandview Avenue

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh McCardle Roadway top 2009 1937 3.jpg




Craig Street in Oakland

2009 05 31 Pittsburgh Oakland 2009 1930 Craig & Forbes.jpg





Staten Island, NY – May 2018 – Island Life

After Coney Island we headed to Staten Island for the rest of the afternoon. To get there we crossed the impressive Verrazano Bridge.

2018 05 29 107 Staten Island NY Ft Wadsworth & Verrazano Bridge.jpg



At one time the longest span suspension bridge in the world, it is still an impressive structure with 8 lanes on each of the two decks.

2018 05 29 109 Staten Island NY Ft Wadsworth & Verrazano Bridge.jpg



We arrived at the other side and went to Fort Wadsworth.

2018 05 29 129 Staten Island NY Ft Wadsworth & Verrazano Bridge.jpg



Being on a hill at the narrows entering New York Harbor, this site has been a military post since the 1600s with the Dutch. The existing structure was built in the mid 1800s.

2018 05 29 111 Staten Island NY Ft Wadsworth & Verrazano Bridge.jpg



As we continued our hike we had a great look at the underside of the bridge.

2018 05 29 132 Staten Island NY Ft Wadsworth & Verrazano Bridge.jpg



When the Verrazano Bridge was being designed the community insisted they bypass both this fort and Forth Hamilton on the Brooklyn side. They did bypass it, but not by much.

2018 05 29 142 Staten Island NY Ft Wadsworth & Verrazano Bridge.jpg



Just south of the fort is South Beach, a bit of tropics in Staten Island. The view in the distance is Brooklyn.

2018 05 29 156 Staten Island NY.jpg



Our final view was of a large cargo ship passing under the bridge.

2018 05 29 161 Staten Island NY.jpg


McKean County, Pennsylvania – May 2018 – Kinzua Bridge

The Kinzua Bridge was a railroad trestle that was constructed out of steel in 1900, replacing an earlier one that was built from wrought iron.

As with many things it was billed as an eighth wonder of the world, as it held the record as the tallest railroad bridge in the world for a few years.

It was in service until 1959, at which time it became part of a state park.





Rising to a height of 301′ above the lowest part of the valley it is an impressive structure.





Unfortunately in 2003 a tornado struck the bridge and took out a large portion of it.





The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania however had preserved it since they first received it in the early 1960s, and they had no intention of letting the rest come down.





When you hike down to Kinzua Creek you get the first up close view of the destruction.





Twisted steel is everywhere.





Huge beams came down, pull the rest of the structure with it.





From the bottom of the valley you get a real sense of how high the remaining structure is.






Taking a different path back up rewarded us with a great view underneath.





From back on top (and using a zoom lense) you get a sense of the impact of the tornado.





With one final look at the twisted steel.





The most impressive piece of the remaining structure is the skywalk – with it’s Plexiglas viewing spot of the valley 300′ below.





The Kinzua Bridge is a great place to visit and explore.



Vancouver – September 2017 – Views of the City

Vancouver is Canada’s 3rd largest city, and with height limits on skyscrapers has numerous fairly tall ones, without the massively tall buildings blocking views of the mountains.

In addition it is a center for cruise ships heading to Alaska. Personally I have no desire to be on a boat with 3000 other people.

2017 09 09 195 Vancouver.jpg




The harbor has steady seaplane traffic

2017 09 09 196 Vancouver.jpg




The harbor front area is lined with condo buildings.

2017 09 09 223 Vancouver.jpg



The Olympic Cauldron

2017 09 09 227 Vancouver.jpg




8 Bit Orca

2017 09 09 231 Vancouver.jpg




One of the cruise ships going under the Lions Gate Bridge.

2017 09 09 269 Vancouver.jpg




An evening view from the ‘Vancouver Lookout’ observation deck.

2017 09 09 292 Vancouver.jpg




Vancouver – September 2017 – Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Capilano Park is a natural area in North Vancouver that has a deep gorge running through it. Since the 1800s a private park, close but not included in the main park, has featured a suspension bridge across the ravine.

Today the park has a number of other attractions, and as a ‘tourist spot’ is well done.

2017 09 08 67 Vancouver Capilano Park.jpg




The park features a nice display of replica Native Totem Poles.

2017 09 08 70 Vancouver Capilano Park.jpg



The ‘Cliffwalk’ is hanging along the side of the cliff on a narrow walkway.

2017 09 08 76 Vancouver Capilano Park.jpg



The “Treetop Adventure” is suspended high above the ground giving interesting views of the canopy

2017 09 08 88 Vancouver Capilano Park.jpg



As well as the activities below.

2017 09 08 92 Vancouver Capilano Park.jpg



The the main attraction is the bouncing, swinging bridge.

2017 09 08 134 Vancouver Capilano Park.jpg









Calgary – September 2017 – Views of the City

Calgary, Alberta was the next stop, where we arrived right as the Pride Parade ended. People were in a festive mood.

2017 09 03 74 Calgary.jpg



2017 09 03 82 Calgary.jpg



There is a bluff just north of downtown Calgary offering a nice view of the downtown skyline.

2017 09 03 89 Calgary.jpg



The river was a favorite rafting spot.

2017 09 03 93 Calgary.jpg



The impressive pedestrian/biking ‘Peace Bridge’.

2017 09 03 109 Calgary.jpg



While there are some older buildings downtown, much has been replaced with new skyscrapers.

2017 09 03 122 Calgary.jpg



Calgary is famous for it’s rodeo, the Calgary Stampede. Part of the grounds is the arena, the Saddledome.

2017 09 03 144 Calgary.jpg



The city has been celebrating Canada 150.

2017 09 03 149 Calgary.jpg









Cleveland – August 2017 – Detroit-Superior Bridge Tour

The Detroit-Superior Bridge in Cleveland (so named because it connects Detroit Avenue on the West Side with Superior Avenue downtown) was opened in 1918. While renamed a few years ago to the Veterans Memorial Bridge, to most it is still the Detroit-Superior Bridge.

When it was opened in 1918 it had streetcars running on the lower level with the cars, buses and trucks on the upper level. (photo below is from about 100 different internet sites). When the streetcars stopped running in the 1950s, the lower level was closed off.



Every once in a while the Cuyahoga County Engineers Office will open the lower level for tours. With the last tour 4 years ago the open house this year was very popular, with an estimated 10,000 people checking it out.

2017 08 19 4 Cleveland - Detroit Superior Bridge Tour.jpg



The outer walkways were only partially open.

2017 08 19 13 Cleveland - Detroit Superior Bridge Tour.jpg



The steel frame allows views down to the river, almost 200 feet below.

2017 08 19 24 Cleveland - Detroit Superior Bridge Tour.jpg



On the west side, the abandoned West 25th Street subway station was open.

2017 08 19 29 Cleveland - Detroit Superior Bridge Tour.jpg



2017 08 19 31 Cleveland - Detroit Superior Bridge Tour.jpg



There have been numerous proposals for use, including bike/pedestrian trails, etc.

2017 08 19 46 Cleveland - Detroit Superior Bridge Tour.jpg