Pittsburgh History

While the steel mills that gave Pittsburgh its famous "steel city" nickname are long gone, the historic landmarks that have such an impact on the city's character still remain.

If there's one thing that's hard to deny about Pittsburgh, it's that the locals are proud of this city and its rich history. From the influence of Andrew Carnegie to the riverfront steel mills to being the birthplace of literary greats like Gertrude Stein, there's always something more to uncover here.

Take a journey through Pittsburgh's past as you explore various buildings and landmarks (some still in operation) that give you a glimpse at Pittsburgh's foundations and the human spirit that has persevered here over the years.

Let Pittsburgh's history come to life as you walk over the suspension bridges downtown, cozy up with a book in the Cathedral of Learning or see Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural wonder, Fallingwater.

Here are three historic landmarks in Pittsburgh to add to your list.

History at University of Pittsburgh

  • Founded in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh has evolved significantly since it grew from its original log cabin (true story).
  • See the gorgeous Heinz Memorial Chapel, used every year for a special lantern ceremony to welcome incoming female freshmen.
  • Stephen Foster, a famous American songwriter, was a Pittsburgh native and has a museum dedicated to him at the University of Pittsburgh.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater

  • Head to the Mill Run area of Pittsburgh to discover Pittsburgh's history in the eyes of Frank Lloyd Wright, architect and visionary.
  • Wondering where the name came from? The building is actually built over a real waterfall. Cool!
  • Book ahead to jump on a tour that takes you around the concrete and glass home to see how it fits in to the history of Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail

  • Designed in 1883 by Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in 1888, the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail is a fascinating sight to behold.
  • Walk over the famous "Bridge of Sighs." You won't sigh, but the convicts who walked over it to get to the prison certainly did.
  • Self-guided tours with a brochure are available to all. Alternatively, book a group tour with your prison-loving friends.