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Collection Scope and Content Notes


The Pennsylvania Railroad Photographs include 345 (nearly all of which are 8x10 in size) gelatin dry plate images of railroad infrastructure dating from 1907-1917. Many of the images depict construction and repair projects to the company's lines, both within the city of Pittsburgh, as well as across the Midwest. Featured prominently in the collection is the renovation and construction of the second track for the Ohio Connecting Railway Bridge, located just north of downtown Pittsburgh. The collection also includes numerous views of track re-grading operations which occurred in Pittsburgh, as well as other major cities including Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Detroit.

Many of the projects which are depicted in this collection were not only critical to the economic development of the city of Pittsburgh, but were vital to the war effort during World War I as they allowed for more efficient transportation of the industrial materials produced in the region, including steel and glass. Although the collection does not provide a comprehensive look into the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, it gives scholars and researchers alike a detailed glimpse of the operations of the company at the height of its success. Those interested in the construction and design of early-modern railroad passenger stations will find this collection useful, as it also contains numerous construction blueprints and images depicting the construction process of both the interior, and exterior of passenger stations. One remarkable series of negatives depicts the now defunct Michigan Central Station in its prime. This passenger station was renowned for its beaux-arts neoclassical styling and beautiful interior modeled after ancient roman bathhouses.


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