View Full Version : Pittsburgh industrial sites
05-11-2007, 03:25 PM
I'm finally managing to take a weekend with a business trip to Pittsburgh. I'm specifically looking for industrial/steel sites to photograph in a reasonable Saturday of driving. Also looking for tips on good vantage points. I'll be shooting 6x6, and have up to a 300mm lens. Could possibly rent larger.
Spotted the following from Google Maps/satellite
- Josephtown? Just west of where Rt 60 passes over the river by Beaver. Maybe from north side of river?
-Bessemer. Again, opposite side of river?
-Clairton. Did see any good spots on other side of river. Appears to be a highway with no pull-outs or side roads.
-Monessen. Didn't look to be much to photograph
05-11-2007, 03:49 PM
Clairton is beautiful from the road at the top of the hill right by the bridge.
Go down to one of the side roads and up the hill. There is a huge field at the top there (or was) where you can pull off and get a fantastic panorama of the whole Clairton site.
Also, Homestead, Glennwood and Hazelwood plants as well as the Duquesne works. These can be seen from McKeesport where you can also see the remains of the old Tube Works.
Try the bluff off Forbes Ave at the Tubes. From the top of the bluff you can see pretty much all of downtown. It is a stiff walk from the nearest parking which is on Ross St. That is also part of the 'Old Chinatown' where there used to be some fine restaurants off Ross between 2nd and Forbes aves.
05-11-2007, 03:51 PM
Excellent. Thanks. Exactly the kind of info I'm looking for.
05-11-2007, 04:27 PM
I've yet to stop there, as it's about the 275 mile mark from here, but where I-70 crosses the Monongahela River (near Belle Vernon and Speers) there's a pretty amazing railroad bridge visible from I-70. There are also supposed to be some industrial heritage sites in the Monongahela Valley; you might check out this site (http://www.riversofsteel.com/ros.aspx?id=10&h=79&sn=89). I suspect a trip along the Monongahela between Pittsburg and I-70 would turn up quite a bit of interesting rust. My understanding is that an industrial heritage area has been declared in that region and there are plans to preserve some sites. After flailing at Google a bit, it looks like maybe there's more plans than action; I see a lot of PDF files of proposals and not much in the way of "visit our historical site."
I recall a while ago someone here on APUG posted a spectacular shot of Carrie Furnace which is a major remnant of the Homestead Works that still stands. Mayhaps they will chime in.
In any event, sometime I'm not trying to reach Indianapolis in one day, I plan to explore that area a little myself.
05-11-2007, 04:36 PM
I just remembered that from Kennywood park you overlook some of the old industrial sites. From one of the roller coasters on the edge by the river, the sites were pretty spectacular especially at night when the Bessemer furnaces were lit.
I have a souvenier box with a few strips of Kennywood tickets from the 50s.
05-11-2007, 05:15 PM
I just rememberd that the view of downtown and the old industrial sites is pretty good from the incline off Carson Ave. Also there is quite a complex of stuff on Nevill Island in the Ohio river. You can see it, but poorly, from 79 as it crosses the river if you look quick, but you also get a beautiful view of downtown.
The best view is as you exit the Tunnels. The whole panorama is in front of you.
And don't forget the Irvin works clinging to the side of the hill along the Monongahela at Glassport.
05-12-2007, 11:38 AM
Thanks PE. Good to see I'm not the only nut who likes steel mills.
05-12-2007, 02:00 PM
Seeing as the Tube works took over the family business (and lost a major lawsuit in the process) I am intimately concerned. Also, since a major road is named after my family I am a very involved Pittsburgher.
Our family traces its roots back to Big Round Top at Gettysburgh and Betsy Ross. As well as roots to James Buchanan (an episode we wish to forget) and Eva Buchanan, we are Pennsylvanians.
05-17-2007, 10:27 AM
So does anyone know if any of the shops are operating around the clock? I'd be interested in doing some night shots, if they are.
05-20-2007, 07:25 PM
Well, Pittsburgh itself is fairly dead. The view by Kennywood Park of Clairton was good.
The motherlode was found when I headed west to Weirton, Steubenville and Mingo Junction. Operating steel mills and coke plants. There was so much, and I got there at mid-day, so I really only did a recon of the area for a future trip.
05-20-2007, 08:01 PM
Well, you can't see Clairton from Kennywood. You were probably looking at Duquesne or Homestead.
05-20-2007, 08:12 PM
Looking at a map, the mill was in Bessemer, across the river from Kennywood. Not sure what the name of the plant is, though. Homestead and Duquesne seemed to be all gone, assuming they were in the areas labeled as such on my atlas.
05-20-2007, 09:07 PM
That would be the Bessemer plant of the old Homestead works, I think. It might be part of Glennwood or Hazelwood as they are all on that side of the river.
Clairton would be about 20 miles up the Mon on the Kennywood side, and the Tube works would be on the right about 2 miles up the Mon on the opposite side. It is largely abandoned, but at one time was the worlds largest seamless tube mill.
05-20-2007, 09:35 PM
It's so hard to picture how booming the area must have been. It had to be overwhelming. The photos I've seen barely scratch the surface of how big all this was. Born too late . . . again.
05-20-2007, 10:02 PM
At night the sky was red in McKeesport from the tube mill and the Bessemer converters. The scream of the converters was something to hear.
Riding on the B&O train into the city, you often passed open pig carriers on spur lines that were so hot I swear they could blister the paint on the train cars.
They had the B&LE (Bessemer and Lake Erie) and several other tiny lines running into and out of McKeesport, Dravosburg and Duquesne as well as Clairton and Elizabeth.
All along the river road from Glassport up, there are side roads with many places to hike, and Glassport was once the site of both the Copperweld, and Southwest Steel where most of the old steam locomotives were cut up for scrap. The river road on the opposite side of the river from Clairton was lined with steam locomotives for being sheared into scrap and then compressed into bales of metal for reclamation.
Over on Mifflin road is the Westinghouse Atomic Plant where submarine engines are /were built for the US Navy.
05-20-2007, 10:05 PM
BTW, you may find a road and a park named after our family as the old stagecoach line in and out of the city had an inn run by my family. This goes back to Civil War days. Just look for Gillhal road, and it turns into a dual name with a park at the end. The park and the second name to the road is my family name with the original spelling.