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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



Book Introduction

     The birthplace of America’s steel industry in the 19th century, the city of Pittsburgh has experienced one of the most dramatic transformations and resurgences in the history of the United States. Pittsburgh is renowned as a center for academic pursuits and rich cultural venues. From its humble beginnings as a one-industry town, the "City of Bridges" has grown into a vibrant center of international business with a metro area population of over two million residents and a strong core of technological and financial institutions.

     Pittsburgh's stoic journey from a once-vital steel and iron manufacturing and mining town to a world-class center of modern enterprise has earned high praise. USA Weekend Magazine, which doesn’t hand out praise easily, called Pittsburgh’s panoramic vista “the second most beautiful view in America.” In 2007,  Pittsburgh was ranked America’s most livable city by Places Rated Almanac.

     Pittsburgh’s quick rise to influence in the 18th and 19th centuries was due to the perfect combination of geography and geology. The city was settled on a strategically important piece of land where the Allegheny and Monongehela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River.  Fort Pitt, a major British fortification during colonial times, would later grow to become the town of Pittsburgh. The hills and mountains surrounding the river valley, rich with coal deposits, kept America warm in the winter and fired the furnaces of the burgeoning steel industry.    

     Pittsburgh has profited immensely from the unprecedented philathrophy of its steel tycoons whose legacy is evident throughout the city. Multi-million-dollar endowments from Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew W. Mellon have built many of Pittsburgh’s world-class museums, libraries and educational institutions.

     The dynamic Cultural District spans fourteen blocks in the heart of downtown with five internationally acclaimed performance halls, theaters,  art-filled green spaces, dozens of restaurants and nearly one-hundred shops and boutiques. This major tourist attraction pulses with energy and unbridled creativity.

     With so many outstanding examples of bridge and tunnel design, Pittsburgh has earned the title "City of Bridges."  Thirty major trestles and hundreds of bridges cross the city's rivers linking neighborhoods, while there over 2,000 bridges in Allegheny County. Bridge builders regularly hold their conventions here.

     Pittsburgh is an eclectic patchwork of ethnic neighborhoods that envelop the gentle hills and steep slopes of the city’s rocky terrain. Their residents include the descendants of 19th- and 20th-century immigrants from Europe and Russia, as well as freed slaves who found work in the region’s steel mills and coal mines.

     Resident commercial photographer Mark Bolster captures the renaissance of this great American city. With his compelling use of graphic composition and moody light, Bolster presents inspiring images in this dramatic photographic portrait.


From the shoreline of Pittsburgh’s Northside, the Rachel Carson Bridge stretches across the Allegheny River. Named for the pioneering ecologist and writer, the bridge is a symbol of Pittsburgh’s 21st-century commitment to the environment.


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