Pittsburgh Landslides

With its many hills and unstable geology, Pittsburgh is one of the most landslide-prone cities in the United States.  I found this out soon after moving here, when I awoke to the disturbing news that there had been a landslide on Beechwood Boulevard, the street I lived on at the time.  After making sure my apartment was still intact, I learned that the landslide had actually taken place about a mile away, along the stretch of Beechwood that runs parallel to Parkway East in Greenfield.

While digitizing the Pittsburgh Bureau of Building Inspection Photographs, an upcoming Historic Pittsburgh contribution, I discovered that landslides at this spot are not a new problem.  A series of photographs document an incident in March 1945, when a section of hillside fell from Flemington Street onto properties below on Beechwood.

Landslide at the 3800 block of Beecwhood Blvd (PSS13_B001_F034_I01)

The photograph below provides a sense of how this neighborhood looked before the construction of the parkway and the Squirrel Hill tunnel.

Beechwood Blvd. pre-Parkway (PSS13_B001_F034_I03)

For the most part, the images in the collection document buildings that had fallen into disrepair and were scheduled for demolition.  Click here to view the finding aid for the collection.


About Matthew Strauss

Chief Archivist at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
This entry was posted in Digital Collections, Neigbhorhoods and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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