One of my Osher classes this term is about Pittsburgh history. Today we looked at maps from 1815. The changes are amazing. There was a big pond in the downtown area and a much higher hill than currently exists. They graded the hill and used the material that was removed to fill in the pond. Coming from Chicago I am used to the concept of landfill. Most of the high priced real estate in Chicago is built on landfill. What I’m not used to is hills and valleys.
This afternoon, on my way to my Japanese Art class, there was a man with a large portfolio of architectural drawings waiting with me to cross the street. He asked me if I would like to hear a short, funny story.
He told me that the street we were crossing and the Frick Art Building where I was going were once a valley with a bridge going across it. The fountain, at left, is actually sitting on that bridge and everything else is land fill. The land north of the building ends abruptly and you look down into a valley–Panther Hollow. I guess at one time it was a larger valley. If the weather ever gets warmer, I’ll walk around and take some pictures of the valley. That’s where I saw the turkeys walking around last fall.