Getting Around in Pittsburgh

Photo of wooden steps next to arched bridge.
Pittsburgh Steps and Bridges

Wooden steps down into a ravine and a suspension bridge above it, that’s how you deal with the landscape around here. The bridge shown is the Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge over Junction Hollow, adjacent to Panther Hollow, and is one of the bridges connecting Oakland to Schenley Park, near where all the colleges are. It’s almost 800 feet long and is about 120 ft. high above the trail below. Dedicated in 1940 it’s a relative newcomer to the landscape though it replaced a 1907 bridge, using the original limestone abutments, and has a relatively rare type of bridge construction. Charles Anderson served on Pittsburgh’s city council, was a local and state labor leader and served labor in the federal government during WWI. The road this bridge connects is the Boulevard of the Allies, so named in honor and memory of WWI.

I always like the shade of turquoise used on bridges when the landscape is the warm brown of late autumn and early winter, you always know it’s a bridge up ahead, whether it’s a one-lane over a stream on a country road or a six-lane over a river on a highway. The rails, usually painted this gold, are often in this art-deco pattern from this era when most of our current bridges were built.

The wooden steps are quite new, though, built to allow access to both a few homes partway down the hillside to the ravine, and to Junction Hollow Trail which you can see way down at the bottom through the railing on the steps. There is also an access road to get the the trail and the houses, but it’s miles away around neighborhoods and through Oakland to get there. On these hills, you’ll find plenty of streets marked on maps that will turn out to be a long, steep set of steps when you get there.

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