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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Mon has Mystique


I found this postcard during our Cleveland trip a few weekends ago, at Sweet Lorain.

From what I've learned about postcards over the past few months, this card was printed between the 1930s and 1951, because of its white border, the contrasting colors, and the linen finish. I know it was printed before 1952, when stamp cost was raised to two cents instead of a penny.

I'm not even exactly sure of the location, since I'm pretty sure Lock No. 1 along the Monongahela (often called the Mon) no longer exists.

Regardless, I know the city looks nothing like this now. My guess is this was taken from South Side or Mt. Washington. The current Station Square is on distant left, where a booming railroad station once stood, downtown on the right, with what is now Smithfield Street Bridge connecting them.

This postcard was published by the Pittsburgh News Company, and has no description of the scenery.

Even though a lot of aspects of this card remain mysterious, I'm glad I was able to add a few more Pittsburgh cards to my collection.

The image actually makes me think of this place in South Side, off a running trail that runs parallel to the river. There is this huge cement slab, about 10 by 15 feet, hidden behind bushes off the trail that sits along the river. A lot of people called it the slab. It's kind of like a peaceful little place, where you can have a great view of the city, witnessing chaos and craziness, but be in complete peace because it was isolated from everything. I haven't been there in forever, probably since college, but maybe I can seek it out again.

So who's willing to talk about their secret place? ;)


  1. Oooh Im so impressed. Its sounds like you've really learned a lot about postcards and dating them! I love linen postcards always. And postage costing even two cents, I wish!

    1. Yeah, I'm quickly becoming an expert! Ha!

  2. What a cool hobby! I'd say it must be South Side...too far down to be the mount. I've never been to the Slab...gotta find it!

    1. Yes, you should! It's not too far from the 10th Street Bridge. :)

  3. The bridge is the old Point Bridge, judging by the appearance. Your postcard could be as old as 1927, as that's when the bridge was built, only to be replaced with the Fort Pitt in 1968. The Point end of the bridge was actually very close to the present-day fountain in Point State Park. And I think the trail along the river has a marker where the lock used to be.

    As far as 'secret places' go, I think mine would have to be the whole South Side. Not very secret, I know, but it still has that sense of mystery about it, in places. Maybe that's why I take so many pictures down there. I'm about to post another South Side-centric photo essay soon.

  4. South Side is definitely a gem that I've probably taken for granted for a long time. Being a Duquesne grad, I saw South Side in a particular way as a student. I disdained night life then. But I just drove through East Carson last night for the first time in a long while, I took notice of the architecture, lighting and life there. It's truly magical.