Lens-Artists Challenge #127 – Ooops…The Letter B.

Note: When Patti went with ‘The Letter A’ for last week’s challenge, for some reason I thought it was going to be a rundown of the letters of the alphabet for the upcoming challenges.  I decided to get a jump on things and went out to get shots for what I thought was going to be ‘The Letter B’ this week.  So if the challenge theme was ‘The Letter B’, this is what I would have posted 🙂

This week we move onto the next letter in the alphabet for the challenge and that is the letter B.  I was going to take the easy route and go with baseball but I decided to make a visit to a local historical steel town instead and get some shots for the challenge this week.  The town is Braddock, Pennsylvania.

The town was named after General Edward Braddock back in 1755 which unfortunately was the year he was ambushed and killed there during the French and Indian war.


I grew up in a neighboring town and I remember Braddock being the place to shop.  It was a popular alternative to going to downtown Pittsburgh.

This was one of the coolest buildings in Braddock..an eight story furniture store.  The second floor curved blocked window was clear glass and displayed furniture that you could see from the street.  The building is being renovated now as apartments and they fixed up the original sign and are leaving it on the building…nice!

Hollanders ( I remember going into this place as a kid to buy comic books…it was a pharmacy back then.)  Now it’s being used as a co-working space for female entrepreneurs in the area.  The shot on the right is how it looked back in the 50’s or 60’s.  Businesses of all kinds opened up shop all along Braddock Avenue…furniture stores, jewelers, banks, restaurants, bars, hotels, clothing, hardware, two movie theaters, car dealers, doctor’s offices and a large hospital.

During the 70s the perfect storm hit Braddock…people started moving to the suburbs, shopping malls were being built, the steel industry was collapsing and as people moved out, crime and drugs moved in. Many of the old structures have been or are being demolished. It’s sad to see there are almost as many empty spaces between buildings as there are buildings now.  But there has been a glimmer of hope coming from the community the past few years as new businesses have started to move in to see if they can bring the old town back to life.

Finally, a gem that Andrew Carnegie left the town…the first Carnegie Library built in the United States back in 1888.

It came real close to meeting the wrecking ball as it fell in disrepair during the 80’s  but thanks to the hard work by the Braddock’s Field Historical Society, they were able to save it and in 2012 it was named a National Historic Landmark.

Hope you enjoyed a look at one of Pennsylvania’s truly historic towns. I suggest you also check out the posts for the actual theme that Amy came up with for this week, Precious Moments’ at The World Is A Book 🙂

14 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #127 – Ooops…The Letter B.

  1. BRADDOCK! Yes, the location of the FIRST of 2,509 Carnegie libraries. Wikipedia enlightens. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_library . Also where Charles Schwab (steel man, not financier) started working in a shop, before being associated with Andrew Carnegie and heading eventually USSteel and Bethlehem Steel. The Myth of the Robber Barons is an easy read and overview of the late 19th century titans of industry. I worked one summer in the nearby Homestead Steel Mill (now replaced, I’ve heard, by a shopping mall). I was in General Services, making about $2.40 an hour, lowest department and wage at the mill, but still a decent paycheck in the 60’s, cleaning ash and grease from underneath cooling furnaces. Oh the joys! My family lived in the North Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh area at the time. We have all long since migrated, but brother and sister are still diehard Steelers fans.

    • Yep John, The Waterfront is a shopping center area with some housing as well along the river where the Homestead Mill used to be. I grew up in Rankin, right across the river where Carrie Furnace used to be. I’ll have to check out The Myth of the Robber Barons. I read about Schwab in “Meet You In Hell” by Les Standisford which covers the relationship between Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick and how they began in the steel industry early on as partners then foes. It was an eye opener as to how cut throat those guys and others like Rockefeller and JP Morgan could be in their quest for money and power but on the other hand a lot of people benefited from what they did too.

      • An excellent book, IMO, on Rockefeller and the history of oil exploration in Pennsylvania, and thus the whole world, is God’s Gold: The Story of Rockefeller and His Times, by John T. Flynn. It was written in the 1930s while JDR was still alive. He postulates that John D. was a ruthless businessman partially because he was an extremely devout Baptist, which religion dwelt more on the Old Testament, full of fire and brimstone. My Goodreads review will give you a taste: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4862043-god-s-gold/#other_reviews

  2. Oh my gosh Andy, I laughed out loud at your post. Not only because you got it wrong, but more importantly that you published it anyway. You’re the best! Loved the post but now we may have to skip B since it’s already been done 😊. Sad the town fell into disrepair when industry left but hopefully the resurgence has continued despite COVID. Small shops and restaurants are in such trouble these days.

    • HaHa…glad you liked it Tina. Had fun putting this one together and I didn’t want to shelve it so decided to post it with the disclaimer. That’s what I get for trying to do something ahead of time…it’s against my nature 🙂

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