Saturday, May 31, 2014

Demolition Zero

Given all the current news that is so directly connected to the history of it, I am surprised nobody has noted that today is the anniversary of the 'ceremonial' beginning of the Lower Hill District's demolition on May 31, 1956.  The semantics of both 'ceremonial' and 'beginning' are a bit loose as not everyone was celebrating and the actual demolition had been underway more than a month. But I have two comments on the picture that encapsulates that day..  1) What is that tool Mayor Lawrence is wielding? and 2) What is the expression by the two bystanders on the right?  They don't appear to be there with the official entourage?

What really is remarkable how the ripples, if 'ripples' is a misplaced euphemism in itself, of all this continues to so many of the front page stories today in Pittsburgh.  All that is going on with regards to the proposed Hill District developments has been catalyzed by the history of the Civic Arena. Then there is the ever degenerating miasma that is the financial state of the August Wilson Center, whose entire body of work is tied to the geography imploded, to so much else that defines the state of the city of Pittsburgh today. Nobody has really written the final history of what happened to the population displaced from the Lower Hill as they moved elsewhere in the region, many of whom were displaced sequentially into the future.

But if you want some new and truly long form analysis of some of it, see this recent dissertation: CONFLICTING VISUAL REPRESENTATIONS OF REDEVELOPMENT IN PITTSBURGH’S HILL  DISTRICT, 1943--‐1968 by Laura Grantmyre, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 2013


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hill District demolishes the Point, the North Shore, the "Berlin I-279 Wall" (Deutschtown), and many other whole neighborhood and really ecosystems unto themselves with the seemingly non stop remembrances and genuflecting.

May I suggest that there is a very narrow special interest whose agenda & indeed profits/charitable giving will be favorable the more "Woe is the Hill District" media is pushed.

Out of all the "urban renewal" destruction of 1950s Pittsburgh the lower Hill District by a large margin was screaming out to be saved with a sea of concrete. What might be more instructive is to look at the inhumane density with unsanitary & disease spreading structures many of which were beyond saving.

There are much more deserving neighborhoods like the Point, Allegheny Commons, Deutschtown, etc. which were sustainable and even independently prosperous that were none the less paved over and compared to the Lower Hill largely forgotten when compared to the almost PR, publicist paid for media spots the Lower Hill seems to get.

Oh and it is always ironic to me that Davy Lawrence's boyhood home was plowed under including blocks and blocks of his youthful range to make Point State Park.

I say the PG and other liberal media need to start a campaign to reurbanize and reclaim Point State Park for the disadvantaged families that were forced off their land, seems to me there was even a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Case on that very issue back in the 50s/60s.

Sunday, June 01, 2014 5:06:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

While I'd really like to argue all the false equivalence embedded in that, this is not the venue for how big a debate that could be.

It is a valid point that there are plenty of other examples of communities being displaced in whole or part, not only locally but elsewhere. I would not think the examples mentioned really compare in long term impact to that of the Lower Hill. I'd actually say the displacement of most of Homestead to expand the plant there as WWII was beginning was the most comparable in scale and scope.

But is there equivalence to what happened in the Lower Hill? In terms of outcome, I'd come close to agreeing, but what about the different motivations for the two developments? Homestead was expanded where it was because it was deemed just about the single most important need for the nation to ramp up production needed for mobilization. Whether you agree with that motivation or not, the Lower Hill was cleared for a mostly unfulfilled vision of light opera under the moonlight.

Sunday, June 01, 2014 8:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Horrible Howell said...

The Press called the tool a "ribboned crowbar."

Sunday, June 01, 2014 8:56:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Finishing a dissertation. What's that like?

Sunday, June 01, 2014 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

The Press called the tool a "ribboned crowbar."

I didn't quite appreciate that that meant a regular old crowbar with a ribbon around it. Indeed a celebration.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014 9:40:00 PM  
Blogger Zheng junxai5 said...

asics shoes for men
cheap ray ban sunglasses
michael kors canada outlet
michael kors outlet
air max
ray ban outlet
replica rolex watches
cheap louis vuitton handbags
oakley sunglasses
tods outlet store
louis vuitton handbags
oakley sunglasses
true religion outlet
coach outlet store online clearances
true religion outlet
discount jordans
adidas stan smith
nike roshe run mens
true religion jeans
coach outlet
oakley outlet
true religion sale
adidas superstar
burberry handbags
gucci handbags
true religion jeans
concord 11
ray ban sunglasses outlet
ralph lauren
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
ralph lauren
jordan shoes
adidas uk
coach outlet
fit flops
nike free 5.0
jordan 6s
coach outlet store online
nike free uk

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 9:09:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home