Recently, I had a chance to go see the new Art of the Brick exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center. While it was all rather impressive, what really caught my eye was the piece inspired by one of the many things Pittsburgh is known for: bridges.
Some of the most iconic are the three sisters; three identical bridges that stand just before the Allegheny meets the Ohio. Unlike other bridges these are not only named for the streets they continue. Rather these are named after three icons to the area. Who are they, and what did they bring to Pittsburgh?
I'm not the biggest sports fan, but Roberto Clemente was a name that I heard even from a very young age. He became the first Latino American Hall of Famer after 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. While not on the field he spent most of his time either with his family or doing charity work.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Andy hated the city so much that he wanted to move out as quickly as possible. Moving to New York to pursue a life of art, many of his works became iconic. Now Warhol has not only a bridge dedicated to him in Pittsburgh, but an entire museum as well.
As I covered in a Literature Appetizer, Carson was pivotal in the Pittsburgh area to show that the status quo was wrong. DDT was destroying not only bird populations, but many other organisms in the greater ecosystem.
I cannot think of three more qualified people to represent such iconic structures in Pittsburgh. You have someone who wasn't born here, but became enshrined in the community not just through athletic ability but through his actions outside the field. You also have someone who hated Pittsburgh only to be have the city claim him even though he moved away. And finally you had someone who brought a voice of reason even when most didn't want to listen.
Pittsburgh definitely has it's problems, but these three bridges remind us that the identity of Pittsburgh is complex but always striving forward.
12/24/18 Edit: If you would like to see what the sisters looked like while building, check out these architectural drawings and construction photos!