The Strip District: History
Has The Strip always been "The Strip?"
- Today, with a rough-and-tumble past and an elusive, tough-sounding name, it may be hard to
believe that The Strip was "once a lovely wooded riverbank." (1)
How has The Strip changed over the years?
- The Strip has seen use as "farmland," as a home for "mills and
warehouses," as a "food market," and, most recently, as a
focus "for the area's trendiest nightlife." (2)
By what other names has The Strip been known?"
- Also known as "Bayardstown, O'Haraville, Northern Liberties [and]
Denny's Bottoms," (3) The Strip District at one
time was "an undesirable, heavily
populated, residential-industrial district notable mainly for its
marauding gangs and
election day brawls." (4)
What are the borders of The Strip?
- What defines the borders for any neighborhood isn't always firm and
fast. In fact, The Strip has often been considered just an extension of
However, in 1940 The Strip was described as "the narrow belt of land
extending from Eleventh Street to Thirty-fourth Street, hemmed in on the
south by the steep bluffs above the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks and on
the north by the Allegheny River." (5)
What kind of changes are going on in The Strip today?
- Today, "what's
happening is urban homesteading on a commercial and professional level." (6)
Who were among the early settlers and landowners in The
- "In 1773, James O'Hara, an Indian trader, came to Pittsburgh and bought
land from Thomas Smallman in the area of [what is now] The Strip. O'Hara
named his farm 'Springfield Plantation.'" (7)
What helped make The Strip a center for trade and
- A terminal for goods transported on the Pennsylvania Canal,
which connected Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, was built in 1829 at 11th
Street. (8) Eventually, the Junction,
Allegheny Valley and Pennsylvania railroads made the canal obsolete. (9)
What roots did the Pennsylvania Railroad put down in The
Pennsylvania Railroad's Roundhouse and some repair shops stood on 28th
What are some of the early origins of industry in The
- "Industry became increasingly important to The Strip following its
annexation to Pittsburgh in 1837. John Schoenbarger McCormick bought the
Pittsburgh Blacking Mill and moved it from Downtown to the Strip District
to be nearer the foundries and metal casting operations in the area of
25th Street and the Allegheny Valley Railroad." (11) In addition, other companies that started
in The Strip (12): Pittsburgh Reduction Company
33rd and Smallman; Carnegie-Phipps, Company Union Mills at 29th and 30th
Streets; and Westinghouse Machine Company at 24th and 25th Streets.
What are the origins of The Strip as the city's produce
- "Adam's Market,
located in the west end of The Strip, [became] Pittsburgh's produce
center." (13) "In the 1930s, the produce would
come in by rail and we'd sell
right out of the refrigerated boxcars. Hucksters would come in horse and
wagons to pick up their fruit and vegetables." (14)
How has the appearance of The Strip changed recently?
- The character of The Strip
continues to change: the Belgian Blocks that once paved
Smallman Street have been covered over with asphalt. (15)
What does the future hold for The Strip?
- Some see The Strip of tomorrow as "a district with more restaurants,
bars, galleries and specialty shops...a warehouse district
taken over by artists, restaurateurs and upscale
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