November 27 2013

Pittsburgh Leading the Way in Historic Preservation

City Courthouse, Pittsburgh, PA

Since the 1960′s, the city of Pittsburgh has been one of the largest centers for historic preservation in any city in America. The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation was created in 1964 and has awarded over 500 historic plaques, designated twelve historic districts, and named 90 historic structures for preservation across the city limits. These include everything from tall structures, such as the Cathedral of Learning; to historic bridges crossing the rivers, such as Smithfield Street Bridge; to small houses which are still lived in today. A list of these buildings can be found here.

The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation does more than just designate historic locations. The 2,000 members work on a number of other projects, including neighborhood revitalization, the restoration of Station Square in downtown Pittsburgh, and architectural surveys throughout the western Pennsylvania area. The foundation is a key part of restoring the city of Pittsburgh and revitalizing its surrounding communities to help create a better tomorrow, while still keeping the past alive.

Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh

Another company helping to try and keep historic buildings in the city is Preservation Pittsburgh. This company has been on the forefront of large scale preservation projects in the city for the past decade. This includes the Mellon Arena preservation project, as well as the St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, both of which were ultimately torn down despite protests. By advocating for the preservation of such buildings, however, Preservation Pittsburgh has been able to spread the word about keeping historic buildings for a sustainable re-use instead of just tearing them down.

With some buildings still standing in the Pittsburgh area from as far back as the late 1700′s, the preservation of these buildings is paramount to keeping the past culture of the Pittsburgh area intact. The historic past of the city can still be found throughout Pittsburgh, and the loss of such historic buildings would be a catastrophic blow to the past architectural wonder of the city.

For more information on Historic Preservation in Pittsburgh, go to the websites for the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation or Preservation Pittsburgh.    

How do you feel about the rise of Historical Preservation in large cities? Do they help or hinder new construction in the surrounding areas?

Credits: Data linked to sources. Images by Greg Shermeto.

Greg Shermeto

Greg Shermeto is a recent graduate at the State University of New York at Buffalo with a B.A. in Environmental Design. While studying, Greg worked on projects including the South Buffalo Trolley and Trail System, which helped to connect the Western New York Railway Historical Society’s railroad museum to the downtown corridor. He has also worked for the University at Buffalo’s Center for Urban Studies, where Greg assisted with the redevelopment of the Perry Choice neighborhood in downtown Buffalo. Greg also spent a semester studying the built environment of the Baltic States in Estonia and Latvia. Greg’s interests include transportation planning and community design, and the efforts to make urban areas accessible and functional for the future. For the Grid, Greg will be writing about planning issues and topics about the city of Pittsburgh, where he currently resides.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 at 9:58 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Environmental Design, History/Preservation, Infrastructure, Land Use, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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