Downtown Pittsburgh, or the Golden Triangle, is the central business district of the City. Located at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers, or the Point, the area features offices and headquarters for many major corporations like U.S. Steel, PNC Bank, PPG, H.J. Heinz, and Alcoa.
Downtown is where industrial magnates, bankers and entrepreneurs such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, H.J. Heinz, Andrew Mellon and George Westinghouse became hallmarks of America’s industrial and economic history. An article in the 1914 March Edition of the Saturday Evening Post coined downtown Pittsburgh as the “Golden Triangle” because the area was amount “the most gilded in the United States, having generated immense wealth.”
Historically, Fort Duquesne (Later Fort Pitt) was the original frontier outpost for the French and then British pre-revolutionary war.
Early history of Downtown Pittsburgh is a mix of the settlement of all of the neighborhoods surrounding the city. The Strip District, the Hill District and the Bluff to the East, the north shore to the north, and Mt. Washington and the South Side to the south. The industrial revolution of the 1800s and the rise of the coal and steel industry attracted immigrants from around the world for employment and a better standard of living. From the coal mines and steel mills came the need for banking, shopping, dining and general services. Downtown was a busy and bustling place.
Along with the industrialization of Pittsburgh came pollution. The area was known for thick clouds of dust and darkness even on the sunniest of days. After World War II, many efforts were undertaken to reduce pollution and clean up the waterways. Decades passed, and progress came, albeit slowly. The 1980s saw the deterioration of the steel industry in America, and this of course affected Pittsburgh. Population decline and disregard for the Golden Triangle became rampant. Pittsburgh’s effort to reinvent itself into an educational, healthcare and high tech hub had run into many road blocks. Yes, new towers and office space had arisen through the 1960s and 1970s, but things had begun to stall.
The late 1990’s saw a renewed effort to reinstate a stalled renaissance. Market Square experienced a revitilaztion, new hotels and luxury condo projects began and a sense of urban renewal and pride bubbled to the surface. New parks for the Pirates and Steelers on the North Shore, and new Convention Center and state of the art arena for the Penguins all helped to bring excitement, innovation and residents back to the city. Today, Downtown Pittsburgh is crisp, clean and refreshing. The streets, once empty after the work day was over, are now alive at night with visitors from around the world. The new entrepreneur, industrialist, banker and high tech inventor has returned… the Golden Triangle has risen!