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in 1959, 1972, and 1980 increased the capacity at the terminal; but by the 1980s, the main terminal was overcrowded, outdated, and becoming obsolete.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

US Route 199

I was planning on driving US Route 199 for the third time this weekend.  However "external factors" have pushed my visit to US Route 199 back for the time being.  While I can't do a driving log for US Route 199 at the moment I can still write about it's history.


This blog will be slightly different from the usual flair for Gribblenation.  Generally I have a stockpile of my own road photos from which to draw from.  In the case of US Route 199 I was far more focused on hiking photos during my first two visits in 2014 and 2016 than the actual highway.  At some point I will add a series of modern driving log photos but for the time being I will draw from numerous other sources to illustrate US Route 199.


Part 1; the History of US Route 199

Present US Route 199 is a 80.05 mile highway which connects US Route 101 in Crescent City of Del Norte, California northeast to Interstate 5 in Grants Pass of Josephine County, Oregon.  US Route 199 is one of the original US Routes and …

Trans-Sierra Highways; California State Route 108 over Sonora Pass

In the fall of 2016 and late summer of 2020 I took a series of drives over mountain passes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Both traps culminated by way of crossing over the Sierra Nevada Mountains westbound by way of the 9,624 foot Sonora Pass on California State Route 108.  
California State Route 108 ("CA 108") is a 99 mile east/west State Highway which originates at US Route 395 in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  CA 108 crosses the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains by way of the 9,624 foot Sonora Pass and terminates at CA 99 co-signed with CA 132 in downtown Modesto.  CA 108 has a 21 mile unconstructed segment which would extend it to Interstate 5 near Crow's Landing if completed.  
Part 1; the history of Sonora Pass and California State Route 108Much of the early history of Sonora Pass is described by way of two informational plaques at the actual Pass.  The first documented crossing of Sonora Pass was in October of 1841 by way of a course slightly due nor…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack from the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared the road to Tioga Pass.  That being the case I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.


The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat east to US Route 395 ("US 395").  The Tioga Pass Road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is maintained by Caltrans as California State Route 120 ("CA 120") east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The National Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highway mountain pass in California reaching Tioga Pass at 9,945 feet above sea level.



Part 1; the history of the Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass first obtained notewort…