Tag: Parks

  • Dolphin Fountain, Grandview Park

    A dolphin fountain at the Grandview Park entrance where Bailey Avenue turns into Beltzhoover Avenue. Since this picture was taken in 2001, the stones have been cleaned of their decades of industrial soot.


  • Allegheny County Civil War Memorial, West Park

    Seen across Lake Elizabeth. This monument was “Erected to the memory of the 4,000 brave men of Allegheny County who fell in the great struggle to preserve the integrity of our Union.” Even today, four thousand men would be a huge number from this one county, and Allegheny County did not have more than a million people in it back in the 1860s.

    Near the memorial was a bridge over the railroad, now gone, with the approaches blocked by chain-link fence. Some enterprising romantic discovered that the fence makes a fine billboard for a message spelled out in padlocks.

  • Seldom Seen Arch

    This fine arched tunnel, stone faced with a brick interior, was built as part of the great Wabash Pittsburgh Terminal Railway boondoggle, one of the boondoggliest boondoggles in a city known for boondoggles.

    Just off Saw Mill Run Boulevard is a little parking lot. You have to look for it: it’s on the turnoff to Woodruff Street, and it’s almost invisible till you’re right there. From there you can reach the arch, which is well worth a visit for its own sake. The interior in particular is more interesting than interiors of tunnels usually are. The engineers had fun with this one.

    If you walk through the tunnel into the green world beyond, you’ll find that you’re walking on a broad path of gravel and occasional asphalt. This was Watkins Lane, the only way into a little farm village called Seldom Seen, or Shalerville before that. Like a surprising number of isolated bits of the city of Pittsburgh, it remained a farming village, with farming, even into the twentieth century. It was abandoned by some time in the 1960s, and the forest has reclaimed it. We’ll see more of Seldom Seen in the future.

    Stream valleys in the Pittsburgh area are valuable as being the only nearly level routes through the landscape, and you will never find a major stream valley without railroad tracks in it. But as we can see here, the Saw Mill Run valley has had three railroads in it at once, one of which is still active.

    In the spring Saw Mill Run is often a raging torrent, but it is much more placid in the summer.

  • Tunnel Park

    Tunnel Park is a strip of green on the river side of the SouthSide Works development. The name comes from the fact that there is a railroad tunnel beneath the green. And here is the entrance to the tunnel, which is not very picturesque but is something of a curiosity.

  • Fall in Mellon Square

    Mellon Square is one of the few open spaces downtown, and the only way a whole block could be opened up was by, in effect, making an inverted building under it. Several layers of parking garage are under the square, and the Smithfield Street side, which is below the level of the square, has a row of storefronts along the street.

  • Autumn Leaves in Bird Park

    Autumn colors in Bird Park, a stream-valley park in Mount Lebanon.

  • Lake Elizabeth in West Park

    A woman feeds geese from the bridge over Lake Elizabeth in West Park. The old city of Allegheny was laid out with green space all the way around the town center—green space that mostly survives (though the southern section of it was long ago sacrificed to the railroad) as some of our most inviting urban parkland.

  • Mellon Square and the William Penn

    Mellon Square is one of the few open spaces in downtown Pittsburgh: a whole block of landscaped park (with, curiously, shops underneath it on Smithfield Street, because the park is flat and the land is not). Above, fountains; below, a view of the square looking toward the William Penn, designed by Benno Janssen and built to be the best hotel in America when Henry Frick financed it, and still quite a luxurious hotel. In the middle distance is a Mennonite choir, which is the sort of thing you might stumble across in Mellon Square.

  • Autumn Leaves in Schenley Park

    The climate is just a bit warmer in the middle of the city, so fall colors last longer in Schenley Park than they do in the suburbs. Here we have an album of autumn leaves from the end of October.

  • More Autumn Colors in Mellon Park

    There is no need for explanation: just beautiful November colors in every shade.