Have you ever taken a walk down a Pittsburgh street and wondered what wonderful or terrible things may have happened there in years past? There’s a way to maybe find out.
Go to Retrographer to see the past overlaid upon the present. There, over 5,000 historic images of Pittsburgh have been tagged to the locations at which they were taken. You can see that in 1935, there was a particularly scary Halloween Party happening in front of the fountain at the Frick Fine Arts building (read: clowns) and that trolley car tracks used to criss-cross Centre Street. You can check out how bustling East Liberty looked in 1928, and a road crew working in Homewood, around 1910, looking towards some very familiar rowhouses on Hamilton Ave. that I drive past almost every day of my life.
Or maybe you’d like to take a walk and read poems about the streets on which you’re wandering? Then get yourself over to Public Record, a project done in 2010-11 by Justin Hopper in connection with Encyclopedia Destructica and Deeplocal.
Hopper uses poetry to expose history. You can download an iPhone app that will show you a map of Pittsburgh and the locations that correspond to the poems, written about what daily life was like in 19th century Pittsburgh. Or you can download the MP3s for free.
I hope these sites will inspire you to go create your own Pittsburgh-centered creative works. Find some history there, at the library, or the Heinz History Center Archives, and make it your own. Submit it to the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest. Record it in words, film or music at the Labs. Find the cutest historical boy from Historic Pittsburgh and send the link to My Daguerreotype Boyfriend.
-Tessa, CLP-East Liberty
Filed under: Blogs, Local History, photography, Pittsburgh, Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest, Teen Interest, The Labs Tagged: | archives, clown, history, homewood, local, maps, oakland, photographs, photography, pittsburgh, poetry, writing