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Featured Collections




City Hall Cornerstone Collection

The City Hall Cornerstone Collection (1869) contains items placed in a time capsule in the cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s former City Hall at the corner of Smithfield St. and Virgin Alley (now Oliver Ave) on May 13, 1869. The items were selected by the building’s architect, Joseph W. Kerr (1815-1888), who included a letter addressed to future architects in Pittsburgh, building specifications, prints of the exterior design, newspapers and trade publications, and more. The time capsule was unearthed during the building’s demolition in 1952 and collected by one of the building’s owners and developers, Charles Levitt. The Levitt family opened the time capsule in 1969 to mark the centennial of the burial. The items in this collection remained with the family until they were donated to the City Archives in 2022.




City Planning Library Collection

The City Planning Library Collection (c. 1910-2018) consists of planning reports, planning studies, numerous types of project proposals, census tract information, and annual reports from multiple city departments and organizations from Pittsburgh, major U.S. cities, and cities from around the world. Particular series of note include the Redevelopment series, which includes hundreds of redevelopment reports and projects from across Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods, and the Point Park Commission series, which includes transcriptions of deeds from every parcel of land at the Point from 1784 to 1941.






Fire Bureau Films

The Pittsburgh Fire Bureau Film Collection contains films featuring Pittsburgh Fire Bureau safety trainings, equipment and drill demonstrations, the 1968 demolition of the Joseph Horne warehouse, footage from the construction site of the U.S. Steel Tower, and footage of the Bureau responding to fires at a Liberty Ave warehouse in 1965 and a Murray Ave apartment building in 1974.






Lower Hill Redevelopment Area Property Inventories

The Lower Hill Redevelopment Area Property Inventories (c. 1955-1960) contain parcel-by-parcel property surveys of buildings that were to be razed as part of redevelopment plans that included the construction of the Civic Arena. This digital collection includes over 2,000 images of exterior and interior views of the properties prior to acquisition by the URA.

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