By now most readers know that if we are near a college or university we will likely visit them and The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon were two that we wanted to visit while near the city. Founded in 1787 the University of Pittsburgh is among the nation's oldest universities and often simply referred to as Pitt. However in the 1800’s it was known as the Western University of Pennsylvania or WUP. Much of the early campus was destroyed by fire in the mid-1800’s and it wasn’t until it was rebuilt that it took the name of Pitt in the early 1900’s.
Carnegie Mellon is a much newer school of higher learning and was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1900. It is adjacent to Pitt and both are right beside the main branch of the Carnegie Public Library, the Carnegie Museums of Natural History and Art, and the Carnegie Music Hall. Several of the Pitt professors also hold adjunct professorships at Carnegie Mellon and vice-versa.
What we liked most about touring these two fine campuses was the exquisite architecture found mostly at Pitt. but it was the beauty of these urban campuses that was totally unexpected by both of us. Most urban Universities we have visited are not near as nice as these two are. The coolest building by far was the very tall Cathedral of Learning with its bright red doors inviting us in… It’s 42 stories are impressive and makes it the centerpiece of the campus. The Carnegie Complex and Museums in this area made walking around all the more pleasurable. It was cool when we came around one corner and saw a life sized replica of a Brontosaurus erected in front of a park.
After touring this area by walking a few miles around the campuses we headed over to the south side of town where no visit is complete in Pittsburgh until you take in the vista that can only be seen from Mount Washington. This steep hill overlooking the Pittsburgh skyline was voted the the best urban vista by USA Weekend. Upon leaving Pittsburgh there is a right turn bypassing entrance to a tunnel and ascends to Mount Washington.
A very steep drive up to the crest where once we parked we found a public observation deck (free to use) adjacent to the famous the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines, which are the oldest continuous inclines in the world. These inclines can be ridden to the bottom and back up to the top of Mount Washington for a measly $5.00. Since Sharon is a bit averse to any heights we decided instead to take in the sights from the observation deck. USA Weekend is spot on with this being an absolutely beautiful view of the skyline of Pittsburgh with its reborn fountain and the confluence of the three rivers near the Professional Sports Facilities. The header and bottom photos we taken from this vantage point. Pretty cool indeed…