Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Gateway to the Smithfield Street Bridge


[Updated, with many thanks to “Mercator” for a helpful comment.] The 1915 gateway of the 1883 Smithfield Street Bridge, as seen through the snow of a January afternoon. The Pauli or lenticular truss is unusual; in Pittsburgh, with its more than 500 bridges, this is the only one. The oldest steel bridge in the United States, this was designed by Gustav Lindenthal, who knew a thing or two about bridges. The original span was half the width; for the better part of the twentieth century, the bridge carried automobiles on the downstream side and streetcars on the upstream side. In the 1990s (after the streetcars had been rerouted into the subway by way of the Panhandle Bridge), the bridge was refurbished and painted in bright Victorian colors to replace the utilitarian gray that had coated it for decades. This is our most popular bridge for pedestrians; it connects downtown with the shops and restaurants at Station Square.

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0 responses to “Gateway to the Smithfield Street Bridge”

  1. The current portal is post-Victorian. It was designed by in 1915 by City Architect Stanley Roush after the upstream portion of the bridge was widened. The current paint scheme is a combination of the original (1883) blue and cinammon for the main structure, while the buff paint of the portals reflects their original color. The grey paint was actually aluminum paint, and was originally applied in 1934, when the deck and railings were replaced with aluminum components.

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