Schenley Park Bridges – Pittsburgh PA


11 WPA bridges exist on the Lake Trail. Just above Panther Hollow Lake, two small streams emerge from the bifurcated Hollow. Nearly a dozen small bridges cross the two streams. One of these branches extends northward to the Tufa Bridge below the Visitor Center. This trail suffers from neglect and flood damage and is nearly impassable.

The other stream flows from the east from the area near Barlett Dr. Higher on the sides of this hollow are the Upper and Lower Panther Hollow Bridle Paths. Along the stream, the Lake Trail links the Bridle Path to Panther Hollow Lake. Today, the Lake Trail meets the Bridle Path after crossing the stream on a stone-faced culvert [H] built by the WPA in 1939.

A primitive stairway leads back into the bottom of the ravine — allowing access to the remains of the old Lake Trail. This trail mirrors the zig-zagging of the stream — crossing and recrossing — with a series of small bridges. The bridges were built in 1938 and 1939 and were constructed using stone and fill over concrete pipes. Bridge F has been damaged by flood and the construction methods are easily visible. Bridge C is one of the better preserved structures, but there is a jumbled pile of cut stones downstream where another bridge may have been erased by flood. Beyond bridge B the trail disappears, having been neglected for so long and reclaimed by nature.

Near the top of the eastern branch of Panther Hollow, bridge A is nearly buried in silt just downstream from the Tufa Bridge below Serpentine Rd. Bridge A once led to the upper end of the Lake Trail, but is now just a shortcut between the two halves of the Bridle Trail.

Near the intersection of the Upper Bridle Trail and the Steve Faloon Memorial Trail, there is evidence of an old quarry site — possibly a source for the stones used to face the bridges.

The Post-Gazette write: “Schenley Park in Oakland benefited from publicly funded programs. During an economic depression in 1908, many Pittsburgh men were put to work in the park as part of a local unemployment relief project, said Susan Rademacher, parks curator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Then, bridges along hiking paths in the park were built and rehabilitated between 1935 and 1942 as part of the WPA, she said.”

Source notes

Project originally submitted by Douglass Halvorsen on February 14, 2018.
Additional contributions by Evan Kalish.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Panther Hollow Trail
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Location notes: Most WPA bridges are located in the heart of Schenley Park, along the Lake Trail, around Panther Hollow Run

Coordinates: 40.435687, -79.942203

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