Re: [EXTERNAL] RE: Shorpy image origin & Pittsburgh scenes

Gatwood, Elden J SAD

Eric, Schuyler and all;

I also love these images, one reason being the variety of freight cars and other great city features visible. One can see Pennsylvania Lines, Erie, NYC, DL&W, of course many P&LE, WM, NO&NE, NP, an ACL ventilated car, MC, Canadian Northern, "Hocking valley", PMcK&Y, Merchants Despatch, and others these tired old eyes can't read, but also the old B&O station downtown, the sternwheeler warehouses, the Lorena, the Pacific No.2, and all the old wooden coal barges, and all the great downtown buildings. There are the old P&LE truss rod passenger cars alongside the shed, and even milk cans on the platform at right. I LOVE these old pics!

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2017 11:52 AM
Subject: [EXTERNAL] RE: [STMFC] Shorpy image origin & Pittsburgh scenes

Schuyler picked one of my favorite Pittsburgh images to share. I was traveling and unable to respond with a comprehensive reply.

This Shorpy image is from the Detroit Publishing Collection in the Library of Congress. Here's a link to the image on the LoC site where you can download a high quality 156 MB TIF file to review.


In a later post Rich Orr mentioned, "The photo is the P&LE freight house along Carson St and currently immediately northwest of Station Square the site of the former P&LE passenger station and corporate HQ."

That is kind of correct. The freight cars in the foreground of that image are lined up for the freight house, but the shed is the passenger terminal. Here's another image taken from a slightly different angle showing the relationship of the freight house and where it stood in comparison to the P&LE passenger terminal in the Teens. Again, you can use a dropdown menu here to download a high quality TIF file to review.


My overall favorite images are a group of four photos taken from Mount Washington that offer a glimpse of a nearly forgotten Pittsburgh. There have been many changes in the last 110 years.


These four images start at the Point where the Monongahela & Allegheny Rivers meet to form the Ohio River. In the foreground are the Kelly Wrought Iron operation and the Wabash bridge. The Wabash financed the original P&WV construction into Pittsburgh. The bridge accesses a stub passenger terminal and small freight terminal that were above street level. Beyond the Wabash bridge, we get a view of the PRR freight facilities located at the Point. A couple of large freight houses and team yard served the many retailers and wholesalers in downtown Pittsburgh. The Wabash also had a freight house associated with their downtown terminal. In the distant haze, just across the Allegheny River from the Point, the B&O and BR&P had a yard along the banks of the Allegheny. Two freight houses and two team yards were in close proximity, along with large warehouses for a few of the large local department stores (Kaufmann's, Rosenbaum's, and May-Stearn). Football and baseball stadiums occupy the area today, along with parking lots and newer buildings.

The second and third images of the set feature some freight cars on the foreground P&LE tracks. The last image looks southward down the Monongahela River valley. We see the P&LE team yard that was just across Smithfield Street from the P&LE terminal area. The bridge just beyond the team yard is the Panhandle Bridge of the PRR that connected tracks along the base of Mount Washington with the PRR passenger terminal. Just to the left of that bridge on the far bank of the Monongahela River is the B&O terminal. The passenger portion is closer to the distinctive lenticular truss Smithfield Street bridge. Note the structure with the very long roof closer to the PRR bridge. That is a B&O freight house. It has a few interior tracks for car loading and unloading. The white building just beyond the PRR bridge is a B&O warehouse and a team yard sits just beyond the warehouse.

Not quite seen in these photos are a couple of PRR freight facilities. The Try Street team yard was located just off of the approach to the Panhandle Bridge and sat near the base of the bluff behind the B&O freight house. The PRR line went into a short tunnel to access the passenger terminal at Grant & Liberty Streets, but there was a very large freight house along Grant Street just before the passenger terminal that was served by the line connecting with the Panhandle Bridge.

If anyone is scratching their head wondering why there were so many Pittsburgh freight facilities within a mile of each other, just remember that they were the UPS/FedEX delivery hubs of the day. This is where the goods arrived for local retailers and wholesalers. A variety of freight cars moved in and out of these places a couple times a day. And there were more PRR facilities on the other side of the Allegheny River, plus the produce yard in the Strip District.

Shorpy images just scratch the surface. Some exploration on the Library of Congress site can offer more detail. Diving into the Historic Pittsburgh digital archive will reveal more local images.


And the Pittsburgh Historic Maps site is an amazing interactive encounter.


I guess I should apologize for ruining the rest of Doc Denny's week.

Eric Hansmann

Murfreesboro, TN


From: []
Sent: Friday, September 01, 2017 3:58 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Shorpy image with railroads in the front.



Join to automatically receive all group messages.