Pittsburgh is often associated with coal and working class roots. Yet within the boundaries of this hard working city is a breathtaking view to be found within the Mount Washington neighborhood, which includes a steep hill that overlooks the city’s skyline. This breathtaking view is just one of the many amazing parts of this vibrant district.
The neighborhood is also home to Autumn House Press, one of the United States’ foremost literary publishers. Thus, while the first thought of Pittsburgh is coal, there is also more to Pittsburgh and its neighborhoods than meets the eye. Yet, the coal was also found right within Mount Washington, so veins were worked right below this neighborhood. While today, those veins are no longer in use, the tunnels are still part of the unique culture of the area. But how did residents reach their homes when dealing with such steep pathways?
The various incline plane railroads that make up this district were built during the mid- to late-1800s, in response to requests by the workers who were climbing switchback trails to get home from the river each night. These primarily German immigrants who had used a similar design in their home territories. The result was cars that functioned for walkers, horses and carts or wagons. By the 1960s, almost all the inclines had been closed but the Monongahela Incline and Duquesne Incline. Both have been refurbished. The Monongahela is part of the Pittsburgh Transit System and can still be used by commuters today. The Duquesne is cared for by a non-profit and is now one of the top tourist attractions within the city.
Upscale restaurants make their homes on the crest of Mount Washington, but so do many other businesses, including entertainment and shopping. The district is also home to several tunnels that provide passage through the mountain for the light rail and other trains.
Chatham Village was constructed in the early part of the twentieth century, a garden community that is comprised of gardens and townhomes. This community is geared to the middle class working class, while providing amazing views to the residents. These were urban planned communities were meant to incorporate all the benefits of a city with the beauty of a country setting. They were also a way to put the focus on the need for urban planning to continue throughout the following decades for various city centers and their expansions.
During the 1930s, the Pittsburgh sign was put up
It is a large neon sign which appeals to advertisers for its prime location. One of the advertisers, Miles Laboratories, moved there from Elkhart, Indiana, during the early 1990s. Eventually, they were absorbed by Bayer AG, letting go of their spot on the sign in 2014.
This south side of the city gives some incredible views of both the city and the countryside. The residents can still enjoy the views from the inclines but also feel slightly removed from the city itself. Photographs of Pittsburgh’s skyline are always taken from the Mount Washington district to provide the best overall landscape shots. No matter where you are in Pittsburgh, the best views can only be found in Mount Washington.