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pixel.gif (807 bytes)About the name

pixel.gif (807 bytes)Why "Smoky City" Design?

    Our company name is a tribute to Pittsburgh's heritage as a steel town and to the hundreds of thousands of steelworkers who have powered the city's economic engine.

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Pittsburgh and the Mon Valley from Mt. Washington
at dusk,8/16/1998


pixel.gif (807 bytes)Pittsburgh, The Smoky City

    Until recent years, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was known as "The Smoky City."   Heavy industry, primarly iron and steel production, dominated the city's economic and physical landscape.  Other nicknames for Pittsburgh were "The Iron City" and "The Steel City."

Related link: 

Speaking of Pittsburgh
A cartoon by G. W. Harting

    The iron and steel industry took hold in Pittsburgh in the late 1700s and by the 1820s had become the city's leading industry.  For the next hundred and fifty years the steel industry was king.  As the hub of the nation's steel industry, Pittsburgh supplied the steel for bridges, railways and skyscrapers. 

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From the Veteran's Bridge
at sunset, 9/28/1998

    Pittsburgh's factories produced billows of smoke from thousands of stacks, giving it the nickname of "The Smoky City."  On the worst days, the streetlights and automobile headlights had to be lighted during the day and downtown office workers changed shirts at noon because of the sooty air.

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Exterior of the Carnegie Institute
The layers of soot were cleaned from the exterior of The Carnegie Institute in the 1980s.  A small part was left dirty to show the contrast.  Photo credit: (1).


pixel.gif (807 bytes)The Pittsburgh Renaissance

    In 1945, Pittsburgh Mayor David Lawrence and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development proposed a grand design for Pittsburgh.  Over the next decade and a half, their program, called the Pittsburgh Renaissance, reduced smoke and water pollution and rebuilt downtown Pittsburgh. 

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Pittsburgh's "Point" from Mt. Washington at
the Duquesne Incline at dusk, 8/16/1998

    The 1950s and 1960s brought even stricter air pollution controls.  The decline of the steel industry in the 1970s brought economic hardship to many, but also brought cleaner air.

Related link: 

The Point: Mayor Lawrence on Urban Design
An address by David L. Lawrence, Mayor of Pittsburgh, May 1956, Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.


pixel.gif (807 bytes)Liveable Pittsburgh

    Settled by waves of immigrants coming to work in the steel industry, Pittsburgh includes many culturally and ethnically defined neighborhoods.  Its residential neighborhoods make Pittsburgh a big city with a small-town feel.  Its sense of community contributes to Pittsburgh's consistently high ranking among the nation's most liveable cities.

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Santas of the World display in the Hall of Architecture
at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum, 12/29/1998

    Pittsburgh offers a rich and ever-expanding array of arts and cultural opportunities.   It may not be New York, but at the same time, the down-to-earth character of Pittsburgh's population helps it avoid excesses of popular culture.

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Market Square, 10/11/1998


pixel.gif (807 bytes)Pittsburgh in the 21st Century

    Now, in the early 21st century, Pittsburgh's economic landscape is more diverse.  Pittsburgh is a center for corporate headquarters, high-technology companies, computer software companies, health service-related businesses and more.

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Filming of the movie "Inspector Gadget" at PPG Place,

    A city of bridges, churches and neighborhoods, a city of hills, parks and valleys, Pittsburgh is a very attractive town.

Related link: 

Panoramic Pittsburgh
A collection of panoramic photographs of Pittsburgh.


pixel.gif (807 bytes)References and further reading

Research about Nine Mile Run

    Fall 1997 Homework, Homewood Montessori School 4th and 5th grade students, October 22, 1997.

A short history of Pittsburgh: 1758-1908

    Samuel Harden Church, The De Vinne Press, New York, 1908.

Hill District determined to regain lost greatness

    Story by Michael A. Fuoco, photos by Peter Diana, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sunday, April 11, 1999.

CNN - Travel: City Guides - Pittsburgh
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Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
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Discover Pittsburgh!

    Pittsburgh history links.


    A collection of  articles about Pittsburgh's steel industry.

'Burgh struggles to put `Smoky City' in the past

    Lynne Glover, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

What's The Point?--Meet Me Under Kaufmann's Clock & I'll Explain

    Remarks by Barry Chad, Assistant Head, Pennsylvania Department, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, delivered at the opening session of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) National Conference in Pittsburgh, 10 June 1999.

Donora Disaster Was Crucible for Cleaner Air

    W. Michael McCabe, Regional Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, October 26, 1998.

Pittsburgh, Pa.

    Compton's Encyclopedia Online v3.0, The Learning Company, Inc., 1998

An Overview of Pittsburgh History: From the "Forks of the Ohio" to the "Steel City" and Beyond

    Ed Galloway and Miriam Meislik


Text and images are Copyright 1998-2000, Smoky City Design, LLC and/or John Strait.
To request permission for reproduction, contact