Station Square is situated around the historic P&LERR terminal building. The terminal building and warehouse have been converted into shops, restaurants and office space. Once a highly traffiked railroad depot, Station Square is now one of the busiest places in town, with a little something for everyone.
In 1873, the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad (P&LERR) was chartered and soon afterwards construction began on a rail line connecting Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio. A large railyard and passenger terminal was built along the shores of the Monongahela River across from downtown Pittsburgh. In 1879, the P&LERR officially opened for commercial traffic.
After World War II, air and motor traffic began to cause a general decrease in the P&LERR railroad passenger business. By 1970, passenger traffic had all but disappeared. Even the company's facilities for handling freight at the Pittsburgh station were no longer needed. The forty-acre Pittsburgh railway complex, including the terminal building, freight station, a seven-story warehouse, an express house and several minor buildings, and the century-old tradition of the P&LERR railroad legacy was in danger of being lost to new commercial development.
In 1976, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation began developing the site as a mixed-use historic adaptive reuse project that incorporated many of the historic railway structures, along with new structures, like the Sheraton Hotel and the Gateway Clipper Fleet docks. Extensive remodeling turned the old railyard complex into a glimmering riverfront mecca renamed Station Square.
The property celebrates its rich cultural and industrial history by maintaining its historic structures like the Landmarks Building, which was constructed in 1900 to house the Pittsburgh Terminal Train Station. Today, the seven-level building is home to Pittsburgh iconic restaurants The Grand Concourse and The Gandy Dancer, including 80,245 square-feet of office space.
The Freight House Shops, constructed in 1915, was once a train shed. It has been transformed into a pedestrian mall, housing several unique retailers and a few restaurants. Shoppers can find everything from Pittsburgh souvenirs, to novelties including toys, fashions, jewelry and cigars.
At the heart of Station Square is Bessemer Court, which commemorates the city's celebrated steel history. The court includes a Hard Rock Cafe and a state-of-the-art fountain, with hundreds of multi-colored water jets choreographed to music that soar up to forty feet in the air.
The complex also includes a trolley and train museum where old passenger cars and trolleys are displayed. The museum includes artifacts from Pittsburgh's past, such as relics from old structures and one of the Bessemer converters used in the steel-making process. The remaining railroad tracks running along the riverfront are further reminder of the site's historic railroad heritage. Every so often a freight train will make it's way along the riverfront, past the old station, a modern flashback to days gone by.
Today, Station Square is one of Pittsburgh's premier attractions, a special place for people of all ages to enjoy fun and good times in a historic setting that offers a wonderful view of the Golden Triangle across the Monongahela River.
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