104 years ago…constructing the Melwood retaining wall

Today, all we can see of the Melwood Street retaining wall is a picturesque old wall above a badly sinking sidewalk, across the street from the Rock Room.  Peeking over the wall, there’s a drop to an overgrown ravine, and a house down below on Linoleum Way.  But what you see is just the top of a large structure.  In the fall of 1907, construction on the wall was underway.  Above, the backs of Herron Avenue (then called 33rd Street) houses can be seen beyond the half-constructed wall.

This photo and a second one from the same date must have been taken from the same vantage point; placed together, they match up almost perfectly.

This was a big project.  A photo from more than two months earlier, on September 11 (above), shows an earlier stage of construction, including a half-completed set of City steps in the middle background, and to the left, the homes at the end of Flavian Street.

And finally, a photo from October 1908, one that’s been posted here on Blogski before:  the intersection of Melwood Street and Herron Avenue, showing the completed wall.  They hadn’t gotten around to paving Melwood yet.  It’s amazing how little this view has changed in over a hundred years.

Hmm…if Herron was still cobblestone, it would be hard on cyclists, but it would slow down the speeding traffic.  What if we had a concrete bike lane, and a cobblestone driving surface?

(photos from the Historic Pittsburgh Image Archive)