U.S. Steel Building - USX Tower

USX Tower

Ground was broken for the US Steel Building in March of 1967. The United States Steel Corporation, one of the largest steel producers in the world, wanted to make a statement about the strength and beauty of steel. The original concept was to design the tallest building in the country, with an outer facing completely made of Cor-Ten Steel. It was to be a huge advertisement for the steel industry, which was centered in Pittsburgh.

Foundation work.    Foundation work.
Construction work on the foundation for the U.S. Steel Building in 1968.

Foundation work.    The Steel Building rises in 1970.
Foundation work for the U.S. Steel Building in 1968 (left), and the building rising in 1970.

The steel Building rises in 1969.    An ironworker stands on scaffolding
near the top of the building in 1970.
The Steel Building in 1969 (left) and an ironworker standing on scaffolding near the top in 1970.

The building was completed in 1970 and became headquarters of U.S. Steel Corporation. The towering 64-story skyscraper did not quite eclipse the tallest buildings in the country, but in 1970 it was the third tallest in the land, behind the Empire State Building and the Sears Tower. The steel tower rose to a height of 841 feet, well above 600 foot Mount Washington, and is visible from the South Hills.

U.S. Steel Building under construction - 1970
The 64-story U.S. Steel, under construction in 1969, rises above the City of Pittsburgh

It was the first structure in the nation to use liquid-filled, fireproofed columns as a safety feature. The 18 support columns are filled with a mixture of water and anti-freeze. It was the best the steel industry could produce, remaking the Pittsburgh skyline and towering over the city landscape.

The tunnels connecting USX Tower
to the Steel Plaza subway station    The tunnels connecting USX Tower
to the Steel Plaza subway station
The tunnels connecting the USX Tower to the Steel Plaza Subway station.

The tunnels connecting USX Tower
to the Steel Plaza subway station    The tunnels connecting USX Tower
to the Steel Plaza subway station
The tunnels connecting the USX Tower to the Steel Plaza Subway station.

In the mid-1980s, the city subway was built underneath Grant Street, and one of the stops was Steel Plaza. The "T" station lies underneath the Mellon Tower, with a connecting tunnel to the USX Tower. For many years, there was a restaurant on the upper floor of the building called the "Top of the Triangle." The bird's eye view of the surrounding city was spectacular.

USX Tower

The current US Steel Building is the third building used in the history of the USX Corporation. In 1898 the Carnegie Building was considered "steel headquarters." The building was razed to build the Kaufman's Annex. In 1952, a 40-story structure, to be shared by the U.S. Steel Corporation and the Mellon Bank and Trust Company, was constructed adjacent to the present day Mellon Square. This building is considered the first US Steel Building. It is now part of the Mellon complex, called Three Mellon Center.

USX Tower from the above.    The original 40-story US Steel Building
The USX Tower (left) and the previous U.S. Steel Building.

Wikipedia: U.S. Steel Tower.

Wikipedia: 525 William Penn Place (Original Steel Building).

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