Skip to main content

Former Greater Pittsburgh International Airport Terminal

For just over four decades, the former main terminal of Greater Pittsburgh International Airport was the city's gateway to the world.  Located nearly 20 miles west of Downtown Pittsburgh, the Joseph Hoover designed terminal would see millions of travelers pass through its doors.  Known best for the terrazzo compass in the main lobby, the terminal had many other distinguishing features.  The well landscaped entrance that led up to the curved stepped design of the terminal. Each level of the terminal would extend out further than the other allowing for numerous observation decks.  The most popular observation deck, the "Horizon Room", was located on the fourth floor.

The former Greater Pittsburgh Airport Terminal - October 1998

From when it opened in the Summer of 1952 until its closing on September 30, 1992, the terminal would grow from a small regional airport to the main hub for USAir.  The terminal would see numerous expansions and renovations over its 40 years of service.  Expansions in 1959, 1972, and 1980 increased the capacity at the terminal; but by the 1980s, the main terminal was overcrowded, outdated, and becoming obsolete.  With funding secured, the Allegheny County Airport Authority would begin construction on the new Landside Terminal in 1987.  The new terminal would be located on the opposite end of airport property in Findlay Township.  The new modern terminal would open October 1, 1992.
The old entrance way to the main pick-up and drop-off at the old terminal. (October 1998)
The old terminal would sit empty - with the exception of some offices - for the next five years.  Demolition of the old terminal began in 1997 - only to be halted for asbestos removal.  During that time period, numerous proposals and ideas would be floated to develop the old terminal and the land around it.  Proposals from building new sports stadiums, preserving it for a transportation museum, an indoor NASCAR track, along with other ideas.  After the asbestos abatement was completed, the demolition of the old terminal would resume in 1999.  Eventually, the old terminal would be demolished and redeveloped as a business park.
This gives you an example of the stepped levels of the old terminal. (October 1998)
The old terminal was located along what is now Business Interstate 376 and University Blvd (Then the Airport Parkway and Beers School Road) in Moon Township.   As a student at Robert Morris College in the late 1990s, I would drive past the empty old terminal very often.  In addition to the old terminal, the former rental car lots, motels, and other businesses that supported the old airport were either gone or on their last days - a sign of not only the main terminal's relocation but also the changing needs of business travelers to more modern standards.  In the Fall of 1998, a friend and I explored the old terminal. Of course, I only had a disposable camera then - and a number of shots I took never came out.  It was the only time in the nearly four years at RMC that I took time to explore the old gem.  The photos within this feature are all of the exterior grounds of the old terminal.

A view at one of the abandoned parking lots at the old airport through one of the many chain-link fencing that was in place (October 1998)
I never flew in or out of the old terminal.  I vaguely recall picking up my Grandparents at the old airport in the 1980s and remembering it was a big deal to go out there.  Though the airport was long abandoned when I explored it on a gloomy fall day in 1998 there were still a lot of old pieces of the airport still in place.  It is one of those things where you wish you had today's technology (digital or cell phone cameras) back then.  If you have any photos or history you'd like to share about the old airport terminal, leave a comment or send us an e-mail.  I'd like to expand this feature as time goes on.
Access to the old terminal was pretty easy as many of the old parking lots were not closed off.  The entrance from the Airport Parkway was still open.  I don't think you would have seen that lax of security at the old terminal today.  (October 1998)


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 152

Circumstance had me out in the Monterey Peninsula again this week.  Generally I try to take a route like California State Route 198 or ever County Route J1 to get across the Diablo Range but time had me in a slight bind.  That being the case I took the popular way across the Diablos on California State Route 152 via Pacheco Pass.  152 is one of infamy given it is really the primary route for truckers to get from I-5 west in San Joaquin Valley to US 101 in Salinas Valley.  After zig-zagging some accidents on/off California State Route 99 near Madera in the rural outskirts of the County bearing the same name I began my westbound trek on 152.




CA 152 is called the William Whitehurst Highway, at least it is west from CA 99.  The entire route of CA 152 in San Joaquin is an expressway aside from a small portion in the city of Los Banos.



The first junction on CA 152 is with CA 233 which is a small 4 mile highway that travels northeast to CA 99.






Next westbound CA 152 encounters the junction w…

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville.

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What was unknown (at least to…

The National Road - Ohio - Muskingum and Licking Counties

As it travels from Zanesville towards Columbus, US 40 goes through numerous small towns, changes from two to four lanes and back numerous times, but most importantly the old road keeps its rural charm.  Between Zanesville and Gratiot, there are four former alignments of the old road that can be found: just west of Zanesville, Mt. Sterling, Hopewell and Gratiot.  Most stretches are very short and can be easily recognized with names as "Old US 40", "Old National Road" or some combination of the two.

Zanesville:
Just west of US 40's interchange with Interstate 70 (Exit 152) runs an old alignment.

Mt. Sterling:
Another old alignment goes through this small Muskingum County village.
Hopewell:
Today, US 40 passes south of the community of Hopewell.  The old two lane road is known as Hopewell National Road.
Gratiot:
Old US 40 is known as Main Street in this tiny village of 200 or so residents.  The old highway at times seems forgotten through here.
Just west of Gratiot, US 40 …