Oakland Bridges: The Hollows

Oakland is a cluster of Pittsburgh neighborhoods east of downtown. It has the highest concentration of institutions and cultural amenities in the city. It is home to Carlow College, the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), multiple UPMC hospitals, the Phipps Conservatory (Phipps), Schenley Park (the second largest city park), and the Carnegie Institute complex (housing the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, the main Carnegie Library, and the Carnegie Music Hall). Most of these as well as much of the commercial and residential parts of Oakland were built on a shelf. The hospitals, part of Pitt, and some houses climb the slope toward the Hill District. Some houses also spill over the edge of the shelf, down into the hollows.

Several bridges span the Junction and Panther hollows in Oakland. The Forbes Avenue bridge connects CMU to the Carnegie Institute complex and one of the commercial districts. The Schenley Bridge connects Pitt and the Carnegie Institute complex to the Phipps and Schenley Park. The Panther Hollow Bridge spans a second hollow to connect the Phipps with the rest of Schenley Park. The Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge carries the Blvd of the Allies over Junction Hollow. A fifth bridge without pedestrian access carries 376 over the hollow. This bridge can be partially glimpsed from the Anderson Bridge, but its presence can be clearly marked by the traffic’s rushing whoosh that carries up the hollow.

By the Forbes Ave and Schenley bridges, Junction Hollow has an industrial feel. The railroad is mostly exposed at these points (further down it is surrounded by trees, shrubs, and other overgrowth). There are also several parking lots and CMU houses some of its facilities functions along the hollow. By the Schenley Bridge, a massive electrical substation was recently constructed across from the historic (and active) steam factory.

The Panther Hollow Bridge provides a completely different feel as its hollow is 100% park. It is the only one of these bridges that does not cross over the railroad and is therefore the only one without a cage. A small lake with walking trail is visible on one side (with the railroad beyond a row of weeds). The other side overlooks a forested hillside and valley floor. Hawks and/or falcons can often be seen gliding over this hollow.

The Anderson Bridge overlooks Junction Hollow at its most parklike point, but it has a less peaceful feel than the Panther Bridge. A combination of the almost-highway Blvd of the Allies, the bridge’s height above the hollow, and its pedestrian fence make the bridge feel isolated from nature when walking across.

6 thoughts on “Oakland Bridges: The Hollows

  1. Good pictures.
    Got to visit Pittsburg briefly a few years ago.
    I loved old brick buildings and the woods left around the edges.
    My dad worked in a steel mill there before WWII. His dad was a coal miner in Greensburg.
    I should take more pictures of my town, Tacoma. But I like the old and picturesque so would not like documenting changes.
    Our downtown is underused except that giant boring apartments are popping up there.
    Still, we have many nice older buildings though most are not protected.

    • Thank you for your comments, Susan! I would like to visit more of the Pacific Northwest. I spent a day or two in Vancouver and enjoyed it. One day, I hope to take a longer trip taking in cities in Oregon and Washington.

  2. I don’t have a way to support this but I thing any picture of Schenley Park without the Westinghouse memorial is missing a big piece. I think the Westinghouse memorial is funded by employees which itself is a testamony, and ranks up there with Burns. It is not a bridge, and the gas lamp will not outshine the electric lamp but that may reflect humility more than merit. Are there any bridges that show the mark of Westinghouse? There must be but I can’t find a cite.

    • I can’t think of any bridges in the city that are connected to Westinghouse, but I’ll keep an eye out for it. The Westinghouse Memorial is a great feature of Schenley Park. It was renovated/restored a few years ago and is now the most pleasant place in the park.

  3. Pingback: Oakland Bridges: Blvd of the Allies | urbantraipsing

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