Pittsburgh Trip

Dad and I paid a 53-year anniversary visit to the Pittsburgh Point on July 25th, remembering the 1963 visit by two young parents and four small boys. Both the Market Square and the 100-foot fountain are new since those days — this picture shows the view towards downtown, with the photographer’s back to the Point. We met three young women on bicycles there, enroute from the State of Washington to Washington DC. One of them took this photo, then another one took the shot of three of us.
biker-women-Pittsburgh-Point.800-0725161047Some plans for that ride assume 83 miles a day, riding 40 days and totaling 3384 miles.

Above is the end of the Allegheny River and the start of the Ohio River, flowing away from us, under the West End Bridge and then on towards the Mississippi (at Cairo, Illinois, 981 miles). Looking the other way, below, we see the Fort Duquesne Bridge followed by the identical 6th, 7th, and 9th Street bridges (the latter three now renamed for Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Carson). There are said to be 446 bridges within the city.

Dad watches the two opposing cars of the Fort Duquesne Incline, looking from the Point with the end of the Monongahela River to his left and the start of the Ohio to his right. (See pictures of our previous day’s visit to Johnstown, including a ride on an incline there.)
This old photo from 1955 displayed in the park shows the two bridges I remember being there right at the Point. They were demolished in the early 60s. It also shows the start of construction of the Point State Park and the Fort Pitt Bridge across the Monongahela River.

Johnstown Trip

On July 24, 2016, Dad and I visited the museum commemorating the Great Flood of 1889 which killed 2,209 people. Johnstown then was a coal, steel, and railroad town of 30,000 people, many immigrants from either Wales or Germany. It is about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh, among the western ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. I only took one flood-related photo, near the lower entrance to the incline railway, maybe 25 feet above street level. When the floodwaters from a failed dam hit the city, the force was said to have been comparable to the Mississippi River. The destruction of the city and people portrayed by the museum is hard to watch.

Johnstown-Flood-sign.800-07Beside the flood, Johnstown is also known for its incline railway built just after the flood. We parked nearby, then walked very slowly in hot sun and perhaps 90F, 32C, across this pedestrian bridge to the lower station. As senior citizens, we could ride for nothing. Each car can carry 60 people, or 6 motorcycles, or one car. A single journey takes about ninety minutes. At one time it carried a million people a year, mostly commuting from homes above to industry below.Johnstown-Incline-Railway.800-11David-and-Edwin-at-Johnstown-Incline-Railway.800-05David-and-Edwin-on-Johnstown-Incline-Railway.800-00We know how much power it takes to do all that lifting.power-Johnstown-Incline-Railway.800-55So we were glad to find some excellent refreshment at the top.beer-Johnstown-Incline-Railway.800-17going-down-Johnstown-Incline-Railway.800-04

NW611, the Spirit of Roanoke, the Queen of Steam

NW611, the Spirit of Roanoke
NW611, the Spirit of Roanoke

The excursion train from Manassas to Front Royal which Tim and Elspeth, Owen and Cora, had taken yesterday. We watched her rush by this afternoon at Gainesville, Virginia, just 10 minutes from McCormick House. In its day, this locomotive could pull 15 passenger cars at 110 mph. It was built by and for Norfolk and Western Railroad in Roanoke in 1950 for $251,544, and served routes such as Norfolk to Cincinatti. See details on NW611 by Virginia Museum of Transportation, and the Norfolk and Western railroad map. Another view, a second later that same day:
611-the-Queen-of-Steam-leaving- Gainesville-Va.800-0426
And even the railroad man sent to keep an eye on us waved to the driver:
Sandy got this shot of some of us spectators: