Monday, January 17, 2011

The Bridges of Pittsburgh

Got this e-mail from my brother today:

Hello Lee, Hello Jeff, Hello Susie:

   Judy scanned all of her parents old slides (721!) as a gift
for her mother.
   (We bought a little contraption made for that purpose,
essentially a mini viewer with a digital camera built in.)

   When we were reviewing the photos with Judy's mom,
one of the photos puzzled me because it appeared to
be the Point at Pittsburgh but the bridges were wrong.
(scanned slide is attached).

   When I got to work (of course!) I did a few seconds of
Google image searching and found the following.
   ...I thought it was interesting enough to share with my
fellow ex-Pittsburghers.


This was my response:


Hmmm, of 721 pictures, I found it perplexing that you found this one (of the Point) most exciting?
Yet, after looking at it... it is kinda interesting.  
I searched my memory of there ever being four bridges coming into the Point, and I came up blank.
I googled it and looked at current views of the Point to jog my memory (since you failed to include those).

Here they are:

Then, having way too much time on my hands... I went to , as per your links below, to find out more.

I found this interesting:

After the land was cleared of the tangle of commercial installations and decaying buildings, the park work was carried out between 1963 and 1968. Also planned was a great new highway that bisected the park, and to provide the necessary traffic interchanges, the bridges at the Point had to be removed and new ones built 900 feet upstream. The chief reason for this change was an aesthetic one, a "monumental" treatment of the Point itself which was to include a great fountain jet at the confluence of the rivers.
The Fort Pitt Bridge across the Monongahela was opened on 19 June, 1959 and accordingly the Point Bridge was closed on 21 June of the same year. (63) The Fort Duquesne Bridge over the Allegheny was completed not long afterward, but it could not be used for some years because it could not be connected with the ramps of the uncompleted highway system on the North Side. It was referred to locally as the "Bridge to Nowhere". Consequently the Manchester Bridge remained open until 1969.

No wonder I didn't remember anything, since it mostly all happened before we were born.
I do remember the phrase
"Bridge to Nowhere" being used, in reference to the Fort Duquesne Bridge.

My most lucid memory of Point State Park was probably the last time we were there as a family (I think it was the 4th of July).  There were a lot of Black people and I remember feeling uncomfortable walking around with Archie Bunker (Dad).  Then, for some reason, some wacko shvartzies started throwing lit sparklers in the air, into the crowd. This angered Dad and Jerry Sokolow (his friend), and I remember fearing for our lives, thinking a confrontation was inevitable. Nothing happened, we left.

It's been a long time since I've been to Pittsburgh... and it might be a while until I get back.

Yet, much of my leisure time is spent watching the sports teams of my youth.  

As I sit here, I'm watching a Pitt Basketball game (my Alma Mater).  
Last night, at the poker game, I wore a Steelers shirt and hat, taking shit from all the other losers (they hate us because we win).  They see me as a Steelers fan, before anything else.
I'm a big Penguins fan, and I often wear my Stanley Cup sweatshirt with pride.  
Come Stanley Cup playoff time, I have something important to do every other day.
I even have a Pirates hat that I wear on occasion. It mostly gets laughs.
Sports seems to be the only link I have left with Pittsburgh (besides for our parents).
What is most strange is that Barry has no sports ties (except vicariously through his wife Judy)... and I was thinking that if I was like Barry (not a sports fan), I'd have very little Pittsburgh left in me (except for my accent, which most people claim is still noticeable).

If I ever have a kid, you can be rest assured that he/she will be dressed up in a little Steelers outfit, even though they may never set foot in the 'Burgh... or be able to pick it out on a map.

Nobody puts Baby in a corner (except this kid's parents)


I have plans for my wife, too...


Cul-de-sac-ed said...

I have almost zero recollection of Pittsburgh and, unfortunately, I didn't live there long enough to pick up the beautiful accent.

Anonymous said...

good luck with that