Share This Page

Pittsburgh's changes necessitate 'Whirlwind Walk' revisions

Albert M. Tannler from the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation can see a never-ending challenge in the group's book, "Whirlwind Walk."

Buildings change names. Or disappear. Streets are rerouted. Or their neighborhoods are changed by renovation.

"It drives you crazy," says the foundation's historical collections director. "It is exactly the kind of book that gets out-of-date."

For those reasons, the foundation has published a second edition of "Whirlwind Walk" (106 pages, $10), a guide to exploring Downtown on foot. It has 168 color photographs and a fold-out map that illustrates a suggested route for the tour.

Louise Sturgess, executive director of the foundation, says it is easy "for people to forget how fast things change." That speed created the need to upgrade the book that came out initially in 2008.

Entries were added on PNC Firstside Center and Park and Three PNC Plaza and Triangle Park. And additions were made to the section on the Cultural District and the Fourth Avenue Historic District, adding the August Wilson Center and the area between Wood and Smithfield streets, respectively

The entries on Market Square Place, Market Square and Market at Fifth all were expanded and rewritten because of new construction to the three.

Sturgess says one entry was eliminated. When the lobby of One Oliver Plaza, now the K&L Gates Center, was redesigned and its murals eliminated "we felt the building lost much of its significance."

One of the important additions, she says, is "What's Green Downtown," which shows off new building and renovations Downtown. The foundation worked with Pittsburgh's Green Building Alliance in assembling that section.

Alyssa Hopper, a research specialist with the alliance, says she believes the green section is important because it expresses a "powerful thing about Pittsburgh."

Not only does it show green buildings, such as the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, but it has older buildings that have been made efficient, such as the Century Building or Market at Fifth.

She says the work of new developers and the foundation are helping "to keep the character of Pittsburgh alive."

Sturgess says the foundation staff decided to keep the book the same 5-inch-by-8-inch format, so making the changes was basically a matter of adjusting new material to fit into already-defined space. Tannler and assistant archivist Frank Stroker provided the research and oversaw editorial content.

Sturgess says the 168 color photos are important.

"The greatest difficulty ... was finding 'good-weather' days for taking photos," she says. "We like the air to be very clean and clear and the light to be just right. Light can bring a building surface or urban stage to life."

Tannler believes many people, particularly visitors, still look at Pittsburgh as a city burdened by the smoke and grime of industry rather than thinking "of it as it is." He believes taking this whirlwind walk will be a cure to such misconceptions.

Tannler, who has written or contributed to several other similar guides in his 20 years with the foundation, says he now is working on a guide to 20th-century architecture in Pittsburgh. He hopes it will be published in 2013.

Sturgess says "Whirlwind Walk" and the foundation's similar publications all emerge from the same mindset.

"The point is, if you know about a place, you are more likely to care about it," she says.

Additional Information:

'Whirlwind Walk'

This 106-pages guide to exploring Downtown on foot has 168 color photographs and a fold-out map that illustrates a suggested route for the tour. $10 at 412-471-5808, ext. 525; or www.phlf.org .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.