The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

South Side part 1

with 2 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

To start – this and the posts following it reflect the first time that I’ve taken a long scuttle around the South Side section of Pittsburgh. There’s been a few ‘drive by’s’ and one or two ‘drive to’s’ in the recent past, but these shots were from my first longish walk around the zone. Anything I say in these posts reflects an extremely ephemeral level of experience, and if there’s something stated which I’m wrong about – please speak up and share your knowledge with the rest of the class.

This section of the City was founded as the village of Birmingham and annexed in 1872 by Pittsburgh. The South Side is more or less the part of Pittsburgh found between the Birmingham and Liberty Bridges, along the Monongahela River. The South Side Flats neighborhood is right next door, but I couldn’t tell you where the line of demarcation between them is to save my life.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The section further east of here, closer to the Birmingham Bridge, hosted a steel mill until the 1980’s, called the Jones and Laughlin Mill. The section pictured today was a warehousing and heavy manufacturing district that was directly connected to the rail yards and tracks of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Rail Road.

Pictured above are the Liberty Bridge on the left, and on the right is the truss bridge which allows the T light rail to access its crossing of the Monongahela at the Panhandle Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The town father of Birmingham/South Side area was apparently a fellow named Dr. Nathaniel Bedford. He laid out the streets, and when industry began setting itself up here, huge numbers of German and other Eastern European immigrants showed up. There’s a lot of very, very old buildings on display here. By Pittsburgh standard, these streets are practically flat, I would mention.

These shots were gathered on a Sunday afternoon, so the streets seemed particularly deserted except for joggers, bike riders, and me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a pretty large scale development project which I encountered that dubs itself “The Highline.” The showrunners where consciously connect the project to NYC’s Highline, even going so far as to use a silhouette of the Manhattan Skyline on logo bearing signage.

This complex used to be called the Pittsburgh Terminal and it dates back to 1906, when it was one of the largest warehouses on the planet. The 6 story and 868,000 square foot property was sold to an outfit called McKnight Realty Partners in 2016.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are flights of stairs everywhere you look in Pittsburgh. I climbed up this set, which had a quite pleasing combination of solidity with an easy rise and run, and I soon found myself up top.

Altitude always benefits the wandering mendicant with a camera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was fairly sterile up there, I must say. There were cool points of view on offer, and I’ll definitely be back to take advantage of them in the future. This project reminded me a lot of the Bush Terminal redevelopments which the NYC EDC operates in South Brooklyn. Apparently, the real estate people here came to a similar conclusion as to profitable usage of the space as the EDC has, and have converted the former warehouse terminal space over to offices and for street level commercial usage.

More tomorrow, from Pittsburgh’s South Side, at your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 18, 2023 at 1:00 pm

Posted in newtown creek

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Mitch, here is a new YouTube video of your old hunting grounds:

    Old Crow

    April 18, 2023 at 7:49 pm

  2. Love the shadows cast by the edging on the old building’s roof. The restaurant is Gabriella’s Gourmet On the Go, pretty good Google reviews.


    April 19, 2023 at 8:18 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: