Strip District, Pittsburgh
|Neighborhood of Pittsburgh|
Bustling Penn Avenue on a Saturday afternoon in summer.
|• Total||0.609 sq mi (1.58 km2)|
|• Density||1,000/sq mi (390/km2)|
The Strip District is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States. It is a one-half square mile area of land northeast of the central business district bordered to the north by the Allegheny River and to the south by portions of the Hill District. The Strip District runs between 11th and 33rd Streets and includes three main thoroughfares — Smallman St., Penn Ave., and Liberty Ave. — as well as various side streets.
In the early 19th century, the Strip District was home to many mills and factories as its location along the Allegheny River made for easy transportation of goods and shipping of raw materials. It was the home of the Fort Pitt Foundry, source of large cannon before and during the American Civil War, including a 20-inch (510 mm) bore Rodman Gun. Early tenants of the Strip District included U.S. Steel, Westinghouse, The Pittsburgh Reduction Company (ALCOA), and later The H.J. Heinz Company, famous ketchup and condiment manufacturer.
The shipping infrastructure built around the manufacturing companies naturally lead to an increase in other types of merchants setting up shop in the Strip. By the early 20th century the Strip District became a vibrant network of wholesalers—mostly fresh produce, meat, and poultry dealers. Soon, auction houses rose around the wholesale warehouses and many restaurants and grocery stores were built to feed hungry shift workers at any hour of the day. By the 1920s, the Strip District was the economic center of Pittsburgh.
In the mid-to-late 20th century, fewer of the Strip's products were being shipped by rail and boat, causing many produce sellers and wholesalers to leave the area for other space with easier access to highways or where there was more land available for expansion. Today, in the Strip District there are still several wholesalers and produce dealers, but some estimates say more than 80% of the produce industry left the area as have the manufacturing plants and mills. Today, many of the abandoned warehouses have been renovated into small specialty shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. The historic St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, a landmark built in the ornate Polish Cathedral style in 1891, lies in the heart of the Strip District, bringing a touch of Old World architecture.
The area has developed into a historic market district with many ethnic food purveyors, some art studios, antique dealers, unique boutiques, and other businesses setting up shop where trains once delivered produce by the ton. The Strip District comes alive primarily on weekends during the summer months when street vendors are selling their wares, the open-air farmer's markets are in full swing, and party-goers sit outside and enjoy a drink.
The area has seen interest by residential developers recently, as old factory and warehouse buildings are being transformed into apartments and lofts. Examples include the Armstrong Cork Factory, Brake House Lofts and now the Otto Milk Building. A mixed-use tower is planned for the Ayoob fruit warehouse site.
Surrounding and adjacent Pittsburgh neighborhoods
Springfield Public School, built in 1871, now the 31st Street Lofts.
St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, built in 1891.
Byrnes & Kiefer Building, built in 1892.
Chautauqua Lake Ice Company Warehouse, built in 1898, now the Heinz History Center.
Armstrong Cork Company, built in 1901, now The Cork Factory Lofts.
A store selling Pittsburgh sports apparel.
The original Primanti Brothers restaurant in the Strip District.
- Washington Post article
- Toker, Franklin (1994) . Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5434-6.
- Kadushin, Raphael (August 2003). "15222: Come Hungry". National Geographic: pp. 114–122. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
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