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    If ever there was a place unsuited to the building of a great city, it is the valley formed by the merging of the Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers to form the Ohio River. The hills, rivers, and surrounding bluffs make building difficult, and urban sprawl nearly impossible. This is not the kind of place where you can stake out lots, lay out a grid, and organize a city. The area, even into the 20th century, was vulnerable to flooding, so that much of the residential development took place in the surrounding hills. It took over 700 bridges to overcome the rivers, and hills of the metro area, as well as some significant flood control efforts, and some rather unique solutions to local transportation, such as the famous Inclines. So why go to all of the trouble?
    It was history, and geography, rather than geology, which, spawned the fort, and then the city which was to grow into Pittsburgh. The juncture of these major river groups made this a natural trading center, and latter on, a position of great strategic value during the French and Indian War. The French military presence at Fort Duquesne, was set to guard the river approaches, and was a sort of a last outpost on what was then the frontier. It was taken by the British during the war, and eventually taken by the Americans after the Revolution. The city's founding is set at 1758; but this is merely the date at which the French outpost was taken over by the British. Since a settlement already existed here, it is hard to say exactly how far back the original occupancy of this site may reach. Incidentally, the French and Indian war was started here, by George Washington, then a British militiaman.
    Latter on, geology played it's own role, contributing the coal and ore deposits which made this the great steel producing center of the nation. Steel and coal created wealth, which begot banks, commerce, culture, and the building of one of the world's great and beautiful cities. Steel and coal may have made this one of the world's great cities; but they also made it one of the world's dirty cities. For decades this was known as Smoky City. By the 1920's Pittsburgh produced one third of the national output of finished and rolled steel. It had the world's largest tube and pipe mill, structural steel plant, rail mill, wire manufacturing plant, bridge and construction fabricating plant. Pittsburgh also led in the manufacture of electrical machinery, railroad cars, tin plate, glass, fire brick and aluminum finishing. Forty percent of the nation's coal came from within 100 miles of Pittsburgh. In addition to the incredible steel production, the city came to be one of the world's great manufacturing and heavy industry centers.
    Next to New York and Chicago, Pittsburgh is the most important city for corporate headquarters. It is also the country's largest inland port, and has become a major center for medical research, and high tech industry. The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, rivals any in the world. The city has numerous universities, and is still a major producer of steel and other products. It also has great food, a variety of cultural attractions, and nice mix of people. The sometimes narrow, and twisted streets are heavy with history, containing a number of historic structures. There is wealth here; but you do not need to be rich to live well here. There is plenty of room for normal middle class people to make for themselves a good life.
    If Pittsburgh stands at a historical and geological center, it also stands at a cultural crossroads. On the other end of the state of Pennsylvania, stands Philadelphia and the states of New York and New Jersey. Just to the west is Ohio and the Midwest, while West Virginia and the South are a short drive to the southwest. So is this an eastern town, a midwestern town, or a southern town? In fact, it is all of these, and some other things besides. This is a very unique, and dynamic place.

The William Penn
The Subway, and suburbs
The Incline
The "Strip"
Carson Street
Scenic Views
The Hills
Night shots
Old Town