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The Historic Waterfront Development That Helped Transform Pittsburgh: Point State Park

Pittsburgh waterfront in 1920 and 2014.

On a recent weekend stroll at Point State Park, in Pittsburgh, visitors sunned themselves in the grass and along the low walls of the park. The park is a triangle of green at the very place where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet to form the Ohio River. At the tip of the Point kids splashed in a fountain, and a rainbow shimmered through the spray. Looking east along the rivers bridges stitched the city together with yellow seams. 

The fountain at Point State Park came on in 1974. Then, it was the first waterfront development in Pittsburgh. A bird’s eye view over the heart of the city today shows parks, stadiums, museums, and marinas all built up along the picturesque waterfronts.

But the emphasis on developing waterfronts for recreation and admiration in Pittsburgh — and other Pennsylvania cities large and small — is a relatively new idea. Or at least a return to an old one.

Listen to and read the full version of this report at Keystone Crossroads' websiteKeystone Crossroads is a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station. 

Kate Lao Shaffner was the Keystone Crossroads Reporter for WPSU-FM from 2014-2015. She reports on infrastructure, economic, legal, and financial issues in Pennsylvania with reporters from WHYY (Philadelphia), WITF (Harrisburg), and WESA (Pittsburgh).
Irina Zhorov was WESA’s reporter for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide public media initiative focused on issues in older Pennsylvania communities.
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