Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

What’s Left of the Wabash Bridge

The Wabash Bridge had a lot of bad luck. It was built from 1902 to 1904; when it was almost finished, it collapsed, killing ten workers. When it opened, it served Jay Gould’s spectacularly expensive Wabash Railroad, which went bankrupt in four years. The gorgeously ornate Wabash Terminal downtown continued to serve passengers until 1931, when the last passenger train rolled out, and it became a gorgeously ornate freighthouse. In 1946, the Wabash Terminal and the aerial railyard that served it burned, leaving the Wabash Bridge entirely useless. It was torn down in 1948, with the steel melted down and reused in the Mansfield Bridge between McKeesport and Dravosburg.

But the two stone piers that supported the bridge were left, and they are still here today. Occasionally they make good platforms for flags during the Regatta or some such festival. Otherwise, they just stand there. There have occasionally been proposals to put a new bridge on them to connect the Wabash Tunnel with downtown again, most famously for the planned Skybus transit system that almost but not quite happened in the 1970s. But nothing comes of them, and probably nothing will come of them unless some very expensive reconfigurations are done at the south end of the tunnel to connect it with something more useful than Woodruff Street.

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2 responses to “What’s Left of the Wabash Bridge”

  1. Father Pitt wasn’t secretly the buyer who purchased these piers for the princely sum of $300,000 just a couple weeks ago, was he?

    I don’t want to risk including a link and having this comment struck down, but, per WESA, the piers were sold in mid February to an anonymous buyer.

    • Very strangely, the comment was “struck down” anyway. It seems that thinking about adding a link is enough to send the comment to the trash. The anti-spam plugin is either stupid or a lot smarter than it ought to be. But this is the price we pay for your privacy by not sending comments to an outside server to be inspected.

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