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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Pittsburgh Renaissance Historic District
Reference Number 13000252
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny
Town Pittsburgh
Street Address Roughly bounded by the Allegheny River, Stanwix Street, the Monongahela River, and the Ohio River, Pittsburgh, PA
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 05/02/2013
Areas of Significance Community Planning and Development, Architecture, Military, Politics/Government
Link to full file
The Pittsburgh Renaissance Historic District is significant under NRHP Criterion A for Community Planning and Development. One speaks of a renaissance of the city of Pittsburgh, and this expression is justified in view of this unparalleled achievement in city planning (Grohmann 1955: 366). After decades of studies, surveys, plans, and proposals that were meant to remedy the problems facing the twentieth century city of Pittsburgh-such as infamous pollution, frequent flooding, congested traffic, and blighted neighborhoods-but that were never realized, the transformation known as the Pittsburgh Renaissance finally began in the Post-World War II era. In 1945, an imposing group of local leaders, many of whom were prominent businessmen, accomplished an urban renewal initiative that reshaped the city and, in particular, reshaped the 59 acres at the Point. In 1945, the plan to clear 36-acres of land at the Point that had been covered with railroad sidings, exposition buildings, and warehouses to create a state park with historical references and reconfigured traffic patterns was accepted. The 23-acre Gateway Center, located immediately to the east of Point State Park, became the nation's first comprehensive downtown redevelopment accomplished without federal aid (Ben Rosen Associates c. 1964:3). It erased the historic patterns of the city's densely developed street grid and offered instead shining modern office and apartment towers set in landscaped parks on a new system of streets. The dramatic transformation of the western part of Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle contained within the Pittsburgh Renaissance Historic District boundaries was complete by 1974 when Point State Park was formally dedicated. The rebirth of Pittsburgh's image from a 'Smoky City' to a gleaming modern showplace caught the nation's attention, and though the Pittsburgh Renaissance was not without its critics, it has generally been considered one of the great U.S. urban redevelopment successes, serving as a model for other cities (Figure 9) (Colker 1995: 135). The Pittsburgh Renaissance Historic District is also significant under NRHP Criterion A for Military and Politics/Government because it includes within its boundary the listed Forks of the Ohio and under Criterion C for Architecture because it contains the listed Bell Telephone Building. Its Period of Significance is 1754-1790 (due to the inclusion of the Forks of the Ohio) and 1927 to 1974 (due to the inclusion of the Pittsburgh Press Building which was constructed in 1927 and predates the Renaissance development). In August 1974, following the completion of the buildings, infrastructure, and landscape design associated with the Pittsburgh Renaissance Historic District, Point State Park was formally dedicated. Because the period of significance ends less than fifty years ago, the historic district meets Criterion Consideration G.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria