Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Point Park: An Error Corrected


The Pittsburghers have committed an error in not rescuing from the service of Mammon, a triangle of thirty or forty acres at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela, and devoting it to the purposes of recreation. It is an unparalleled position for a park in which to ride or walk or sit. Bounded on the right by the clear and rapid Allegheny rushing from New York, and on the left by the deep and slow Monongahela flowing majestically from Virginia, having in front the beginning of the great Ohio, bearing on its broad bosom the traffic of an empire, it is a spot worthy of being rescued from the ceaseless din of the steam engine, and the lurid flames and dingy smoke of the coal furnace. But alas! the sacra fames auri is rapidly covering this area with private edifices; and in a few short years it is probable, that the antiquary will be unable to discover a vestige of those celebrated military works, with which French and British ambition, in by-gone ages, had crowned this important and interesting point.

——A Pleasant Peregrination through the Prettiest Parts of Pennsylvania, performed by Peregrine Prolix.

Our author looked down on Pittsburgh in 1835 and recommended a park exactly the size (“thirty or forty acres”) of Point State Park (which is 36 acres). Seldom in the history of urban planning has a need for green space in a particular location been so obvious; certainly it is even more seldom that the crying need is actually met by enlightened urban planners, even if it took us till 1974.

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