Deep In The Heart of Downtown
Downtown Pittsburgh is booming. The Golden Triangle has grown in ways that previous generations may never have envisioned, and the perception of the neighborhood at the heart of Pittsburgh is changing rapidly –– for the better.
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Firstside park / photo courtesy landscape voice
The Bethel A.M.E. Church, according to its historical marker, was founded in 1808 as the African Church on Front Street, now First Avenue. Chartered in 1818, it was the site of the region’s first school for African-American children and the setting for a statewide civil rights convention in 1841. Its congregation later moved to the Hill District in 1872.
The 25-foot bronze fountain in Agnes R. Katz Plaza is the largest public art commission by famed French-American artist Louise Bourgeois.
Fort Lafayette, constructed to protect Pittsburgh against Indian attacks, was completed at the site of Ninth Street and Penn Avenue in 1792.
Union milestones: The founding convention of the AFL was held on Nov. 15, 1881, at the northwest corner of Mellon Square Park. The Ironworkers Union was founded on Feb. 4, 1896, at Firstside Park on Grant Street, between Boulevard of the Allies and First Avenue.
The Pittsburgh Nickelodeon, the first moving picture theater in the United States, opened in 1905 in the 400 block of Smithfield Street.
Downtown’s oldest business? The J.R. Weldin Company stationery store, located since 2014 in the Gulf Tower on Grant Street. The business has operated in several spots Downtown since its founding in 1852.
Firstside Park was built using 2,500 tons of recycled concrete from the demolished Pittsburgh Public Safety Building, which previously stood on the site.
Freelance writer and frequent contributor Mark Houser is the university editor and an adjunct professor at Robert Morris University. Sean Collier, Lauren Davidson and Hal B. Klein are Pittsburgh Magazine Associate Editors. Alexa Mavrogianis, Katerina Procyk and Neil Strebig also contributed.