Glimpses of Pittsburgh in the 1960s: These Vintage Photos Will Transport You Back in Time

The 1960s was a time of considerable change, not just for Pittsburgh but for the entire country. It was an era marked by social and political upheaval, civil rights movements, and the increasing importance of technology. And the ‘Burgh, as always, found its unique rhythm within these broader shifts.

The steel industry, Pittsburgh’s backbone for so long, was facing challenges during this decade. The mills were still running, but competition from overseas and changes in technology began to impact the industry’s profitability.

The ’60s were also a time of major social changes. The Civil Rights Movement was making waves across the country, and Pittsburgh was no exception. Local activists fought for equality and justice, helping to shape a more inclusive and equitable city.

The city’s music scene was buzzing. Jazz, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll poured out of clubs and concert venues, providing a soundtrack to this transformative era. The city’s sports teams were also a source of joy and community pride. The Pirates clinched the World Series in 1960, and the Steelers, though they had a rough decade, were nurturing a passionate fan base that would soon see them through their golden era in the ’70s.

Culturally, Pittsburgh was flourishing. The Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the budding Andy Warhol—a Pittsburgh native—were putting the city on the map as a cultural hotspot. And let’s not forget the food scene, with Pittsburgh classics like pierogis and Primanti Bros. sandwiches satisfying the city’s hearty appetite.

But perhaps the most significant development of the ’60s was the continued evolution of the city’s urban landscape. The Renaissance II project, following on from the Renaissance I initiative, aimed to further modernize the city and enhance its cultural offerings. This led to the development of significant landmarks like the U.S. Steel Tower and the revitalization of neighborhoods like the North Shore.

The 1960s were indeed a decade of dreams and challenges for Pittsburgh. It was a time when the city grappled with economic, social, and cultural shifts, always striving to adapt and grow. These fabulous photos will take you back to old Pittsburgh in the 1960s.

#1 A lone man stands at the Knoxville Library, at the corner of Brownsville Road and Mathews Avenue, 1966.

#2 Downtown Pittsburgh: Fort Duquesne Boulevard at Stanwix Street, looking east, 1966.

#3 Liberty Avenue and 28th Street in the Strip District: brick streets and local businesses like Goodwill and Fiorucci Brother’s Grill, 1966.

#4 Baum Boulevard businesses: Mag Luggage, Armstrong Construction, and Harry H. Marcus Co., 1966.

#5 M. Weitz’s and David Kazew’s kosher meat store at 2301 Murray Avenue, Squirrel Hill, 1966.

#6 Civic Center Motor Hotel in Oakland, near Hillman Library, 1966.

#7 Matthew’s Building in Oakland: Mobile gas station and Forbes Field lights in the distance, 1966.

#9 Pennant Way: connecting Bigelow Boulevard and South Bouquet Street before Posvar Hall construction, 1966.

#10 Montefiore Hospital entrance and parking lot, 1966.

#11 Halket Street in Oakland: University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning and Litchfield Towers, 1966.

#12 Howard Johnson Hotel on Boulevard of the Allies: Magee Women’s Hospital in background, 1966.

#13 Man walking near train tracks on River Avenue: tugboats and Sixth and Seventh Street Bridges visible, 1966.

#14 Baum Boulevard: East Liberty Presbyterian Church in the background, 1966.

#15 Retzer-Hyde Prescriptions on North Avenue near West Park, 1966.

#17 Forbes and Murray Avenue: Asbury Methodist Church, a no longer existing structure, 1966.

#18 Forbes and Murray Avenue: businesses like Squirrel Hill Newsstand, Isaly’s Dairy, and Pittsburgh National Bank, 1966.

#19 YMCA at the intersection of Monterey Street and W. North Avenue, 1966.

#21 Children at Pittsburgh Zoo: the zoo’s evolution from menagerie to conservation resource, 1969.

#22 Carl Kauffman Memorial Golf Tournament at Schenley Park: Mayor Richard Caliguiri among participants, 1969.

#23 Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill: home to original chipped ham and “skyscraper” ice cream cones at Isaly’s, 1969.

#24 Grandview Park music festival: eighteen acres on Mount Washington, 1969.

#25 Liberty Avenue: Bloomfield businesses like Lenny’s Leader Pharmacy and St. Joseph’s Church, 1969.

#26 Craig Street: Craig-Forbes Pharmacy in the foreground, 1970.

#27 Smallman Street: Pittsburgh Banana Company, 1966.

#29 Sixth Street: Sixth Street Bridge and Penn Theatre Auditorium, 1967.

#31 Melwood Leader Drugstore on Centre Avenue corner, 1969.

#32 Track and Field Day at Pitt Stadium: Oakland VA Hospital visible, 1969.

#33 Children at Bloomfield Pool: lifeguard on watch, 1969.

#36 Wylie and Herron Avenue: Boykin’s Restaurant and Odds & Ends Store, 1966.

#37 Wylie and Herron Avenue: Peck’s Market added, 1966.

#38 Brookline Boulevard and Castlegate Avenue: Engine House Fifty-Seven in foreground, 1967.

#39 Foodland on Brookline Boulevard at Castlegate Avenue, 1967.

#40 East Carson Street: Sparkie’s Restaurant, 1967.

#42 North Side Carnegie Library through Allegheny Center construction, 1967.

#43 Old Allegheny Post Office through Allegheny Center construction, 1967.

#45 Forbes Avenue repaving: notable buildings like Jewish Community Center and Sixth Presbyterian Church, 1967.

#47 Flame Steakhouse and Sun Store on Fifth Avenue, 1967

#48 Lubin & Smalley Co. at Fifth and Liberty Avenues, 1967

#52 Arts and Crafts Building, Now Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 1964

#53 West Diamond and Federal Streets’ Intersection, 1964

#65 Baldwick Road and Crafton Blvd Intersection, 1963

#66 Baldwick Road and Crafton Blvd Intersection, 1963

#91 East Park Opposite Allegheny General Hospital, 1961

#97 Eastward view on Forbes Avenue featuring Leonard’s Mens Shop, Marshall’s Restaurant, and The Strand Theatre, 1961.

#98 Fun Day at Arsenal Park, spectators watching a show, 1961.

#100 South Side Recreation Center, offers indoor and outdoor activities, now closed but the building remains, 1961.

#101 Exterior of Oliver Bath House, an indoor swimming pool in the South Side, 1961.

#102 Pedestrian bridge on West Carson Street, still in use for Duquesne Incline access, 1961.

#103 Monongahela Incline, the oldest and steepest incline in the U.S., near Smithfield Street Bridge, 1961.

#104 Butler and 44th Streets in Lawrenceville, featuring Klein’s Cut Rate Store, 1960.

#105 Centre Avenue view with Dave Lederstein’s Food Market and housing conditions, 1961.

#106 Same view as above, Centre Avenue with Dave Lederstein’s Food Market and housing conditions, 1961.

#107 Centre Avenue at Dinwiddie Street, foreground features a Rexall Drug Store, 1961.

#108 Liberty and Smithfield Streets, men near a manhole, Gimbel’s Department Store visible, 1961.

#109 Mellon Square Park decorated for Christmas, 1961.

#110 Penn Avenue near Liberty Theatre, Liberty Building in background, 1960.

#111 Penn Avenue in East Liberty, features local businesses including Kirby’s Shoes and Fanny Farmer Candies, 1960.

#112 Fifth Avenue downtown, features local businesses and trolley cars, 1960.

#114 Penn Avenue repaving, from Fifth to Shady Avenues, three women in a crosswalk, 1960.

#116 Highland Park main entrance, gates described as copies of the “Gates of Munich”, 1960.

#118 Penn and South Euclid Avenues, features Neon Grill and the Penn 5 and 10, 1960.

#119 Allegheny County Courthouse’s Bridge of Sighs, connects to the former jail, inspired by Venice, 1960.

#120 Wood Street area, featuring Dimling’s Candy and Equitable Gas Company, 1960.

#121 Penn Avenue at Barker Place, features Elks Club No. 11 and Employment Service, 1960.

#122 Forbes Avenue near Stevenson Street, White Swan Coffee Shop visible, 1960.

#123 Forbes at Stevenson Street, hillside church framed by buildings, 1960.

#124 Intersection of Forbes and Stevenson, features White Swan Restaurant, 1960.

#125 East Street looking north from No. 3243, streetcar tracks visible, 1960.

#127 Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill, features Rosen Drugs and a Mobil station, 1960.

#128 Penn Avenue, long view with trolley car and businesses including Triangle Electronics, 1960.

#129 Eloise Street at Arch Street, North Side, residential and local businesses, 1960.

#130 Noblestown Road and Poplar Street, features Amoco Gas Station and Dairy Queen, 1960.

#131 Federal Street, Pilotta’s Market with beer signs, 1960.

#132 Butler at 44th Street, features G.C. Murphy Company and Arsenal Bowling Lanes, 1960.

#133 Warehouses in Lawrenceville at 37th and Liberty, including Joseph Moidel Company, 1960.

#134 North Side Market House, in front of Rheas Bakery, 1960.

#136 Centre Avenue, features Snooks Luncheonette and Lee’s Florist, 1960.

#137 Highland Avenue, features Farmers Pride, William Penn Flower Shop, and Dr. R.S. Ruben Optometrist, 1960.

#138 Murray Avenue, features Morrowfield Hotel and road construction, 1960.

#139 Fifth Avenue, features Burt’s Shoes, McCrory’s, and fallout shelter sign, 1963.

#140 York Women’s Apparel on Fifth Avenue, bus for Munhall at the curb, 1963.

#142 Upper Hill District view, North Side and Strip District in background, 1962.

#143 Strip District view from Upper Hill, North Side in background, 1962.

#144 Nature Center at Schenley Park, designed in 1911 by Rutan and Russell, 1962.

#145 Market Square Commons, Pittsburgh’s commercial and civic center since 1800, 1962.

#146 E.C. Potanko Ice Cream store on East Carson Street, 1963.

#150 Fifth Avenue and Graeme Street with Hotel Grand, 1963

#151 Market Square’s Commercial and Civic Center, 1962

#154 Cathedral of Learning and Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 1967

#171 Frank Vittor Monuments on Boulevard of Allies, 1962

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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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