Skeleton of a Railroad Overpass

At the back of the South Side, where the Flats meet the Slopes, two railroads once ran above the level of the streets. One is still one of the busiest rail lines in the city. The other has been abandoned, leaving rusty skeletons like this. In dreamy moods, old Pa Pitt likes to imagine how this right-of-way—only three short blocks from Carson Street—could be repurposed for a South Side El that would connect to the subway at Station Square.

Urban Archaeology in Emerald View Park

Emerald View Park is a catch-all name for a string of parks ringing Mount Washington. In the section off Greenleaf Street are many remnants of at least one old house and some other constructions. Since old plat maps show nothing precisely here, this may have been dumped debris from a demolition nearby. Now the forest is taking over, but sections of brick wall and tile floor make surreal additions to the woodland scene.


Map

Along the Tom the Tinker Trail

The Tom the Tinker Trail runs beside a gurgling stream through a narrow valley in the Kane Woods Nature Area. The trail is named for a fictional character in the Whiskey Rebellion: farmers who paid the whiskey tax would receive threatening notes signed “Tom the Tinker.”

Yes, there is a manhole cover in the middle of this idyllic scene. A sewer line runs down the hill through the stream valley.

All through the woods we can see evidence that there was once a little community tucked into this narrow valley. Above, a ruined foundation clings to the side of the gorge.

Abandoned Homesite in the Woods

A long-abandoned homesite in the Kane Woods Nature Area in Scott Township. You can recognize it by the ornamental plantings now run wild—or, if not, the crumbling steps are a dead giveaway.

Urban Archaeology

Mysteries abound in a city when it’s had two and a half centuries to accumulate them. This old foundation in West End Park  has obviously been here for a while. How old is it? The land for the park was bought in 1875; was this a little farmhouse from before that time? Father Pitt would be happy to hear from anyone who knows more about the history of this structure.