New map charts 22 Pittsburgh inclines

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .


Chris Olsen, our map-making friend at Esri, has come up with a new map of Pittsburgh’s historic inclines.
“It’s a storymap that takes you to the different locations, and you can toggle back and forth with the modern aerial of the city,” he wrote. “Most of the information collected on the inclines came from online books about the neighborhoods and sites like Historic Pittsburgh and others.”
His map shows photos and short histories of 22 inclines that once trawled the hillsides of Mount Washington, the Hill District, the Hilltop neighborhoods and Fineview. Some of them were cargo haulers only, a few for the movement of coal off Mount Washington.
The photo above shows what was called the 17th Street Incline. It connected Ledlie Street in the Hill District with 17th Street in the Strip.
Esri is a company that provides GIS mapping software, services, map apps and data. It is based in Redlands, Calif.
Chris previously developed a map of historic Pittsburgh maps with a timeline you could drag across the map on top. What made that fascinating (I couldn’t stop playing with it all day one day at work) was how a slow drag of the timeline revealed great changes in the same places decades later.
Chris explains his connection to Pittsburgh:

I created the Pittsburgh Historic Mapping site as a side project for my job as a Server and Apps support analyst at Esri.  I had met my wife at Esri, who is from New Brighton and a Pitt grad.  There was a lot of positive response from the project and I was able to add more content including aerials from 1939 and 1957 as well as some areas outside the city.  This also lead into a sister project for Cleveland and this new Story Map about Pittsburgh’s inclines.


I think the inclines are something that sets Pittsburgh apart from other cities and the two still running are a must visit for anyone.  I found that there have been 23 known inclines of significance, but the information on them is scattered.  I thought it would be great to shed some light on them, including some that were only around a few years and have been long forgotten.     

I would link you to that map but something isn't working on this web site. (shock!) Try typing this to get it. It's worth whatever you have to do. My apologies for making you do what I should be able to do. 
Photo courtesy of Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania


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