Posted by: Sally Ingraham | January 6, 2014

Meet Me on the Bridge!

No, no, not that sort of bridge…

I am waiting for my copy of 2666 to arrive via post with anxious excitement, having read and thoroughly enjoyed the electronic sample chunk that Amazon provided me for free. Meanwhile, to occupy myself this evening I dipped back into the first season of Downton Abby and got pretty well hooked at last, which caused me to inhale the rest of that season and part of the second. 5 hours later, I am saturated with posh British accents and wistful piano scores and would like nothing better than to go down to the smoke-filled bar around the corner and carouse with some loud Pittsburghers – knock some sense back into my head! However, I’ve given up drinking for the month of January (whose genius idea was that?), and having a soda pop in that environment won’t really do the trick. Bollix.

Oh well. Can I talk about bridges for a bit instead? I found some pictures from an adventure with LE in November that I never added to my count. Here’s a beaut:

Fort Pitt Bridge - Nov. 18th 2013

The Fort Pitt Bridge is the first crossing of the Monongahela River, and it makes for an absolutely brilliant entry into Pittsburgh. You come zipping out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel and BOOM – you’re crossing this gorgeous bowstring arch bridge and the whole downtown skyline is there to the right and the convergence of the three rivers is beneath and to the left and sometimes the sunset is out of control above you. Nicely done. If you want to experience this without visiting Pittsburgh in person (which is silly – come visit me!), watch the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower – they do this precise thing. (Be warned though: it can be an absolute horror to drive over this bridge as, inevitably, in order to get where you’re going from any direction, you will have to cross three lanes of traffic in not nearly enough time to do so…)

On that day LE and I were racing the sunset up to Mount Washington to take in the view from Grandview Ave.


Which as you can see, was delightful. There are five bridges in this picture, all of which I need to investigate more thoroughly. The first one is particularly interesting – the Smithfield Street Bridge – as it is the second oldest steel bridge in the US. Going further upriver, you can see the Panhandle Bridge (brown) , the Liberty Bridge (flat), the South Tenth Street Bridge (yellow), and the Birmingham Bridge (blue arch way down the river).

Fern Hollow Bridge, Forbes Ave. - Nov. 18th 2013

Earlier that day you would have found us walking beneath this steel span. The Fern Hollow Bridge (above) won an AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction) upon completion in 1970, which probably doesn’t impress you, nor is it that pretty of a bridge, really. And yet I think it looks neat (sweet cantilever!), and it’s impact to the land around is minimal which is nice because it is part of Frick Park. The “Tranquil Trail” and the Nine Mile Run steam lie beneath it and even though Forbes Ave. is a busy road, the bridge kept the noise of traffic high above us.

I loved this bit of trail, just one corner of what is a huge regional park (561 acres). The stonework reminded me of the fabulous trails in Acadia Nat’l Park (my second home) as did this little crossing of the Nine Mile Run (below).

Nine Mile Run, Frick Park - Nov. 18th 2013

Tranquil Trail, Frick Park - Nov. 18th 2013

I can’t wait to go back here in the spring when the flowers start coming out, and the ferns that the hollow are named for are green and abundant.

*Shameless Gushing* When I came home after spending the holidays in Maine, and LE picked me up from the airport and we drove back in the dark and popped out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel and BOOM – there was the Fort Pitt Bridge and downtown and the lights from the Smithfield Street Bridge shinning in the river…I felt such a rush of joy, of belonging. It’s strange and wonderful that my fondness for bridges made it so easy for me to love this city, to wrap my whole heart around it. So far the people in it are equally sturdy, if a bit quirky at times, and beautiful. Just how I like them. And…*end gush*

One last picture for you (and then for me, perhaps one more episode of Downton Abby…or two more…!)

Nov. 5th 2013

The Herr’s Island Railroad Bridge, seen from across the Allegheny River near where I work, late in November.

I really must get some snowy bridge pictures soon…



  1. A good friend of mine is from Pittsburgh, so I’ve seen a lot of pictures of it recently, and it just looks so pretty. I would love to visit sometime. I saw you comment on my blog and asked if I was in Pittsburgh – no, I’m in NYC for now! The Frick is an old mansion on the Upper East Side that I’ve been meaning to visit for forever. If you are ever in NYC, please let me know? I would love to meet up. I will tell you if I happen to make my way to Pittsburgh of course!

    • There is the Frick Art and History Museum here, so that’s why I thought you were in PGH. I look forward to meeting you someday, whether here or on NYC – enjoy your visit to your Frick! 🙂

  2. perfect weather for snowy bridge pics :/

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