While many of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods have seen major renovations in the last fifty years, none have gone through such an extreme change as the Strip District. Getting its name from its location, being a small, half-square mile strip of land along the banks of the Allegheny River just north of the city’s downtown corridor, the district is bustling with people and energy at all times throughout the day.
The Strip District site has had many different uses throughout its time. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the district was noted for its prominent position along the river, making it a marketable spot for factories and steel mills. By becoming the early home of such big companies as the U.S. Steel Plant and the H.J. Heinz Company, the Strip District quickly became the center of industry for Pittsburgh.
With the closing of many of the steel plants in the downtown area of Pittsburgh during the 60's and 70's, the Strip District lost a large portion of its business. With the need to change with the rest of the city, the neighborhood, which had become littered with abandoned buildings and empty factories, stayed alive by re-branding itself as a notable market district.
The numerous streets in the Strip District are now lined with shops and boutiques, with different art, food and culture mixing in the relatively small area. A haven for citizens of the city and tourists alike, the shops are always an active place on weekends. People come to the Strip District to eat exotic foods, buy unique antiques from the Pittsburgh area and marvel in the different styles of architecture. From modern day buildings to hundred year old monuments, such as the famous St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, there is always something to be admired. By turning this old, derelict community into a thriving marketplace, the Strip District has found a way to reinvent itself in the modern age to remain a viable part of the Pittsburgh community.
Do you feel other cities could follow the Strip District’s reinvention to help a failing neighborhood?
Credits: Images taken by Matt Hudak. Data linked to sources.