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Pittsburgh Urban Waterfront:1872-1926

Priya Lakshmi, M.F.A.

Photographs of the contemporary Pittsburgh waterfront reveal a montage of built and natural elements. Lush willows and sycamores colonize sections of the most urbanized downtown edges. Upriver, scattered, empty, sometimes broken shells of an industrial past provide the backdrop for a recovering nature. Industrial archaeology, an oxymoronic term, captures the fossil-like quality of these empty structures buried in human memory. These buildings and the industry they housed shaped the Pittsburgh of today. This paper is an analysis of the urban waterfront of Pittsburgh that focuses on the changes to the urban waterfronts of the city from the late nineteenth century to the first quarter of the twentieth.