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Carnegie Mellon University Students Explore Pittsburgh

As part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Pittsburgh Connections program, freshman students had the opportunity to explore Pittsburgh’s distinctive architectural character and historic significance from PHLF Co-Directors of education Tracy Myers and Sarah Greenwald. Tour stops included buildings along Grant Street, Pittsburgh’s grand civic boulevard.

This time of the year marks a common annual passage: that of college freshmen settling into campus and university life. To introduce first-year students from Carnegie Mellon University to Pittsburgh’s historic built environment and preservation’s role in sustaining it, PHLF Co-Directors of Education Tracy Myers and Sarah Greenwald led students on a special tour, titled “Hello My Name is Pittsburgh,” through Downtown and the Lower Hill District.

Twenty-nine students, almost none of whom were familiar with Pittsburgh before the tour, trekked through an introductory survey of the City’s architecturally significant buildings, districts, and green spaces. Through the tour, students were encouraged to think of themselves as taking a journey across time––from Pittsburgh’s establishment as an outpost of Empire during the French & Indian War, to its industrial history, postwar development, and more recent renewal as the “Renaissance City.”

In a vigorous walk that took in such landmarks and historically significant sites like the Fort Pitt Blockhouse, Gateway Center, the Allegheny County Courthouse, and the former Civic Arena site, students learned that, like all cities, Pittsburgh is a living, ever-evolving combination of old and new buildings.

The tour ended at Freedom Corner, where the students were encouraged to contemplate how historic preservation can help renew communities and build pride in contrast to massive demolition of the built environment.

“We are so pleased that CMU asked us to be part of its freshman orientation program. The old saying that you only get one chance to make a first impression is as true of places as it is of people. Sarah and I were excited to both show these young people our city and tell them of historic preservation’s very important role in keeping Pittsburgh distinctive,” said Tracy.

“It is our hope that whether or not they stay in the city after their university experience, these students see the relevance of history and understand that architectural preservation is completely aligned with their generation’s concern for the environment and the planet,” she added.

If you are interested in a similar experience for your education group, contact our education department by calling 412-471-5808 or emailing Tracy Myers at

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633