Ninety-five years ago, building the Bigelow/Herron pedestrian underpass

Another installment from our favorite archive, the Historic Pittsburgh image collection.  The dates on this series of photos don’t seem entirely reliable;  they were all taken in the summer of 1916, but some were definitely taken on the same day (same vantage point, same people), but have different dates.  The majority are dated August 3, 1916 — ninety-five years ago this summer.  The photo above is of Bigelow Boulevard, looking east, towards Oakland.

The wedge-shaped building (center, above photo) is still there.  The pointed tower on the left was a church; that building is still there too, although the tower is gone and it’s not a church anymore — it’s YMPAA (the Young Men’s Polish Athletic Association).

Looking northwest.  The street going up the hill in the background is Herron Avenue.  That’s a great piece of machinery on the right.

Workers atop the tunnel structure.  How many layers of paving are above this now?

Looking toward downtown.  Some of the houses on the hillside in the center distance are still there.

The pedestrian underpass is also still there.  It floods regularly.  It often smells like urine; a resident who used the underpass in the 1940’s to visit family on Ridgeway Street says the same was true then.  It’s been fixed up over the years; recently the lights were replaced.  But it’ still in use, allowing pedestrians to cross Bigelow Boulevard without having to dodge traffic.  If you happen to do a walking tour of Polish Hill and include the outermost streets of Leander and Ridgeway, check it out — but you might want to wear boots.