“What’d They Say?”

"...If any one would enjoy a spectacle as striking as Niagara, he may do so by simply walking in Pittsburg, and looking into hell with the lid taken off."

—James Parton, writer in Atlantic Monthly, January 1868



"...Some years ago, coming out of Pittsburgh on one of the expresses of the Pennsylvania Railroad, I rolled eastward...Here was the very heart of industrial America, the center of its most lucrative and characteristic activity, the boast and pride of the richest and grandest nation ever seen on earth—and here was a scene so dreadfully hideous, so intolerably bleak and forlorn that it reduced the whole aspiration of man to a macabre and depressing joke."

—H.L. Menken, from Prejudices: Sixth Series, 1927



"Pittsburgh, without exception, is the blackest place which I ever saw."

—English traveler Anthony Trollope, 1860



"(In Pittsburgh)...man befouled the streams, bedraggled their banks, ripped up the cliffs, hacked down the trees, and dumped refuse in her stead. He sowed the imposing heights with hovels and set beneath them black mills to cover everything far and wide with a film of smoke."

—Robert Haven Schauffer, 1913



"Abandon it."

—Frank Lloyd Wright, when asked what he would do to improve Pittsburgh, as quoted in The New York Times, November 27, 1955



"America's Most Livable City."

—Rand McNally, 1985



"Nighttime view of downtown Pittsburgh ranked as the second 'Most Beautiful Spot' in America."

"In a nation with a wealth of stunning cities full of compelling stories, ranking Pittsburgh as the No. 2 beauty spot is perhaps our most surprising choice. But the Steel City's aesthetic appeal is undeniable, as is its very American capacity for renewal. Almost as breathtaking as the vista itself is the urban renewal that made it possible. A century ago, a pall of smoke lay so thick over town that streetlights burned all day. As Pittsburgh continues an evolutionary course that has taken it from trading post to transportation hub to industrial goliath, we salute its reinvention into one of America's most scenic and livable communities..."


—USA Today Weekend
Magazine, May 18, 2003