Pittsburgh Photo Tour 02: Rte 28 Ruins

For the uninitiated, Route 28 is a major artery into Pittsburgh from neighborhoods to the northeast. It’s one of those corridors that has earned a permanent spot in traffic updates. Every day on the radio you hear something like “28 inbound slow from Etna to the 40th Street Bridge, outbound jammed up from the Heinz Plant to the 31st Street Bridge”. Pittsburgh decided to solve this traffic problem in that familiar way that has worked flawlessly every time before: adding more lanes of traffic. Why add a light rail extension along a busy corridor when cars are the wave of the future? To accommodate the new pavement, many buildings along this highway had to be vacated and demolished, including a bar, car dealership, a church, and, most tragically, a place that sold pinball machines. Politics aside, the project is currently in an interesting phase where most of the demolition is done but new construction has not yet begun. I drive past this area of 28 just about every day and I always wanted to stop and take some photos before I missed my chance. Last weekend I took the bike out and did just that.

All of the below photos can be clicked on if you like a larger picture.

One of the more surreal aspects is this derelict boat that greets you at one end of the site:

Derelict Boat copy

Moving on down you get to the actual partially demolished buildings. The back walls were left up, presumably to keep the steep slope in place during the construction of the road.

Rt 28 Overview copy

Shadow Window copy

Mystery Function copy

2 Window Wall copy

It’s really interesting to see the half-destroyed buildings and guess as to what the function would have been if they were still intact.

Of course, wherever there is blank walls, there will be graffiti. Here’s some of the more interesting tags. I particularly like the fly.

Graffiti Montage

If I did graffiti, I’d make this wall …

Bad Night Wall copy

… look like this:

Bad Night Wall w Face

I mentioned the church up there, a property of St. Nicholas. The church is gone, but the building next to it (the rectory?) is still standing for now. Here’s a picture from the Post Gazette, from before the church was taken down:

St Nicholas Church - Post Gazette

And here’s pretty much the same angle from when I visited:

Church Rectory copy

Now all that’s left is some grass.

Church Site copy

Sometime in the near future the rectory will be taken down as well:

Demo Cert copy

I don’t know what “rodent baiting” is. I’m going to go ahead and assume that they baited it and are waiting for it to fill up with rats before they level it. They call that killing 2 birds with one stone. Efficiency!

At the other end of the site is a still-standing garage and some city steps. City steps are really interesting to me, I have some thoughts on them that may get presented during a PKN sometime soon.

Stair City copy

Stair Overgrown copy

That’s all for this week. I’ll be back from vacation with a probably-not-photo-tour post next week. I’ll leave you with a partial fence that I thought was cool but don’t have any context for.

Fence Rusted copy

4 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Photo Tour 02: Rte 28 Ruins

    • Don’t get me started. They extend the subway to the north shore in (probably) a blatant pander to the Casino, but then stop short of my front doorstep. Call me crazy, but I expect more multi-billion dollar decisions to be made with me personally in mind.


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