What Pittsburgh Looked Like in the 1920s Through These Captivating Photographs

Pittsburgh in the 1920s was a city that truly embodied the spirit of the Roaring Twenties. The steel mills were still the lifeblood of the city, but there was a new energy in the air, a sense of excitement and possibility. The sound of jazz music echoed through the city streets, and people were dancing the Charleston in flapper dresses and fedora hats. It was a time of celebration and prosperity, and Pittsburgh was at the heart of it all.

The city was not just about industry, but also about innovation. Pittsburgh was a city on the move, a city that never stood still. The decade saw the opening of Pittsburgh Airport in 1927, a beacon of the new age of air travel. The airport was a symbol of Pittsburgh’s progress, showcasing the city’s commitment to moving forward and embracing new technologies. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra was gaining international recognition, and the city’s theaters were alive with the sound of jazz and the excitement of the new motion pictures. The Stanley Theater, opened in 1928, quickly became a landmark, attracting some of the biggest names in entertainment. However, the economic prosperity was not shared by all. Many workers, despite fueling the city’s economic engine, faced harsh working conditions and low wages, leading to labor disputes.

This was a decade of triumph for the Pittsburgh Pirates, culminating in their World Series win in 1925. The victory sent the city into a frenzy of celebration, proving once again that Pittsburgh was a city of champions.

However, the 1920s were not just a time of celebration and progress. The decade also saw its share of challenges. The Great Flood of 1936, which started in the late 1920s, was one of the most significant natural disasters in Pittsburgh’s history.

Here are some fabulous photos that show Pittsburgh from the 1920s.

#1 Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, Exterior, 1920s

#2 Single Arch Suspension Bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1920s

#3 Steel Mills near Brady St. Bridge, Horizontal View, 1920s

#4 Spectators at a World Series Game in Pittsburgh, 1925.

#5 Man and Woman Holding Chickens at Monongahela Wharf, 1929.

#6 Alley Near Penn Avenue After Rain, Showing Stouffer Lunch, 1929.

#7 East Street Garage, Featuring Local Residences and Vintage Cars, 1929.

#8 Penn Avenue, Featuring Various Businesses Including J. Diamond Optician, 1929.

#9 East Carson Street, Showing Shops and Iron and Glass Bank Construction, 1926.

#10 California Avenue Bridge Steps, Near Knapp Street, 1929.

#11 General Robinson Street, Displaying Neighborhood Conditions, 1929.

#12 Penn and Stanwix Streets, Featuring the French Shop and Others, 1929.

#13 Road Resurfacing on Pike Street in Front of James B. Catanzaro & Bro, 1929.

#14 Rooftop View of East Liberty, Showing Multiple Landmarks, 1928.

#15 Northwest Corner of Fifth and Bellefield Avenues, Showing Landmarks, 1928.

#16 View from Carnegie Library, Featuring Pittsburgh Board of Public Education, 1928.

#17 West General Robinson Street, Focused on Intersection with Cremo Street, 1929.

#18 Knapp Bros. Co. at Diamond Square, Corner Location, 1928.

#20 Sidewalk Shoppers in Front of Ruddy’s Sandwich Shop at Diamond Street, 1928.

#21 Hendel’s in Diamond Square, View from the 2nd Floor of Diamond Market, 1928.

#22 Surveyors on Republic Street Near Rutledge Street, 1928.

#23 Marathon Restaurant, Seen from the 2nd Floor of the Market House, 1928.

#24 Repaving Grandview Avenue, Featuring Billingsly’s Market, 1928.

#25 Crowded Sidewalk at Diamond Street, Near Marathon Restaurant, 1928.

#26 Diamond Square Building Number 2, Featuring a Produce Stand, 1928.

#27 Spagnola Fruit Company, Crowded Corner at Diamond and Market, 1928.

#28 Atlas Welding Company and H.E. Gross and Company on South Avenue, 1929.

#29 Reedsdale Street, Looking East from Scotland Street, 1929.

#30 Reedsdale Street, Featuring a Grocery and Tailor Shop, 1929.

#31 Monongahela River Wharf, Men Weighing Cargo, 1929.

#32 Monongahela Wharf, Shippers Packet Company Boat Unloading, 1929.

#33 Wilmot Street Bridge, Featuring Sorted Timbers, 1920.

#35 Fisher House on Warrington Avenue, Second View, 1920.

#36 Scenic view near Liberty and Center Avenues, 1920.

#37 East side of Liberty Avenue showing streetcar track construction, 1920.

#38 View from Wabash Railroad shed on Second Avenue, 1920.

#39 Ellsworth Avenue view across from Colonial Place in Shadyside, 1920.

#40 Auto Tire and Radiator Repair Company at Ella, Friendship, and Torley intersection, 1920.

#41 Homes and garages on South Fairmont between Friendship and Harriett Streets, 1920.

#42 Homes on South Fairmont Street between Friendship and Harriett Streets, 1920.

#43 Rear view of properties near 41 Roup Street, 1920.

#44 Structural supports on the south embankment, 1920.

#49 Woodville Avenue east of Shaler Street, looking north, 1920.

#50 Garage construction at 42nd and Bruce Streets, 1920.

#53 Conveyor at Herron Hill Reservoir top of EMB, 1920.

#55 Men raising 24-inch line on East Ohio Street, 1920.

#56 24-inch line raising on East Ohio Street, west of Herrs Island Bridge, 1920.

#58 Construction and homes at South Euclid and Friendship Avenue, 1920.

#62 Pittsburgh to Cairo, Keystone Bank Building, Ohio River Dedication Cruise, 1929.

#63 Frankstown Avenue looking west, fruits and vegetables, 1929.

#64 California Avenue Bridge Steps north from Forsythe Street, 1929.

#65 Properties on Brushton Avenue looking north at Monticello Street, 1929.

#66 Brushton Avenue looking south towards Upland Street, 1929.

#67 Two women outside 3834 Perrysville Avenue duplex, 1926.

#68 Police and children at Forbes and Murray Avenues, 1926.

#69 Construction on main arch of Mt. Washington Roadway Bridge, 1927.

#70 1818 Brownsville Road, Carrick Route 53 Trolley, 1927.

#72 Emergency station at Reedsdale and Ridge, Department of Health, 1927.

#73 Improvements on Water Street near Monongahela Wharf, 1927.

#74 Store fronts near Monongahela Wharf on Water Street, 1927.

#75 Store fronts on Water Street near Monongahela Wharf, 1927.

#76 Brownsville Road in Carrick with drug store and boy on curb, 1927.

#77 Gas explosion aftermath on Reedsdale Street, 1228 to 1272, 1927.

#78 Gas explosion aftermath on Reedsdale Street, 1212 to 1218, 1927.

#79 Properties on California Avenue at Marvista intersection, 1929.

#80 Debris on West General Robinson Street near Itasco, 1929.

#82 Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce Building at Smithfield, 1929.

#84 Beechwood Boulevard view towards Murray Avenue Bridge, 1929.

#85 Billboards on California Avenue at Marvista Street, 1929.

#87 Businesses on Seventh Avenue at Smithfield Street, 1929.

#89 Mount Washington Road extension, Terminal Warehouse roof, 1929.

#91 Oliver Avenue intersecting with Smithfield Street, 1929.

#92 C.T. Gracy’s residence at 1036 Mirror Street, 1929.

#93 Woman at Seventh Avenue and Smithfield Street, 1929.

#94 Home and garage on South Fairmount and Roup, 1920.

#95 Bigelow and Bayard corner, Schenley High School visible, 1920.

#96 Malcolm Street view towards Bedford Street, 1920.

#97 Malcolm Street from Tomahawk, towards Bedford, 1920.

#98 Malcolm Street view north from south of Tomahawk, 1920.

#99 Malcolm Street view, east along Tomahawk Street, 1920.

#100 Break at Stanton and Ohio, work in progress, 1920.

#101 Work at Ohio and Stanton, looking northeast, 1920.

#103 Shearer Brothers at Butler and Grant, Millvale, 1920.

#104 Marshall and Irwin Avenues towards Brighton Road, 1920.

#106 Marshall Avenue west towards Irwin Avenue, 1920.

#107 Wapello and Aquatic Way towards Davis Avenue, 1920.

#110 Mansfield Avenue, south end of proposed wall, 1920.

#111 Roadwork near 10th Street, Liberty Avenue, 1920.

#112 Construction near Victoria Theatre, Liberty Avenue, 1920.

#114 Six-inch sewer at Herron Hill after backfill, 1920.

#115 Boys play horseshoes, house for sale at Amber and Eva, 1920.

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Written by Kevin Clark

Kevin Clark is a historian and writer who is passionate about sharing the stories and significance behind historical photos. He loves to explore hidden histories and cultural contexts behind the images, providing a unique insight into the past.

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