Pittsburgh: A New Portrait Essays

Submitted By gaa95
Words: 641
Pages: 3

At first glance, Pittsburgh may appear to be a city of the past, filled with antiquated industries and timeworn traditions. However, after further examination, I have learned that Pittsburgh is a city of the present. Pittsburgh has been able to remain a modern city due to the resilience of its inhabitants. Despite large shifts in the economy, the people of Pittsburgh have constantly adapted to change and have ultimately kept Pittsburgh a city of the present. Pittsburgh, “a great but often overlooked city”, is filled with unique people, architecture, and social, cultural, and academic venues (Toker 1-49). Due to Pittsburgh’s ideal location, the city witnessed unprecedented growth in industry. At one point, Pittsburgh supplied the United States with half of its glass and iron and a large portion of its oil (Toker 11). With this large increase in industry, the inhabitants of Pittsburgh also witnessed exponential growth in pollution and numbers of factories. To alleviate this, the architects of Pittsburgh focused on beautification projects to reform the abuses that industry growth had created. Several of Pittsburgh’s unique cultural venues originated from the extensive beautification projects seen in the early 1900s. Of the many additions, some of the most unique and notable are Andrew Carnegie’s museum, library, and music hall. These buildings are still used and enjoyed by people today. Along with Carnegie’s additions, Pittsburgh continued to see the growth in beautification projects for the next twenty years. These projects lead to the creation of two universities and a plethora of public halls and churches (Toker 18). Some of Pittsburgh’s finest and most unique architecture can be seen in the public halls and churches, particularly Heinz Memorial Chapel. Standing two hundred fifty three feet tall, the Heinz Chapel embodies some of the best and most sophisticated architecture and artwork (Toker 328). Inside the chapel, one can find stone and woodcarvings along with an intricate Gothic stained glass design that would have pleased H.J. Heinz himself. The glass design, created by Charles Connick, consisted of roughly a quarter million individual stained glass pieces (Toker 330). The Heinz Memorial Chapel is also unique in the fact that it is a nondenominational church. This allows everyone, regardless of religion, to enjoy the splendor of this chapel (Toker 328-330). Pittsburgh is unique in its social, cultural, and academic venues as well. Just in Oakland alone, there are three major universities and twelve world-renowned hospitals. Accompanying the universities are thousands of young students. Further contributing to the unique college town feel is the addition of a…