“The Most Recent Link in Pennsylvania’s Maze of Beautiful Highways”

September 10, 1932

The George Westinghouse Memorial Bridge was officially opened in the borough of East Pittsburgh in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County. One newspaper characterized the  debuting bridge as “the most recent link in Pennsylvania’s maze of beautiful highways.”

The 1,598-foot (487.1-meter)-long bridge, which consists of five spans and carries U.S. Route 30 over the Turtle Creek Valley, was named in memory of engineer and electrical industry pioneer George Westinghouse (1846-1914). His world-famous Westinghouse Electric Corporation plant was located in East Pittsburgh at the time of the bridge’s debut; an industrial park can now be found at that site. The bridge was constructed to serve as a bypass and specifically to divert traffic from what had become the time-consuming and sometimes dangerous routes through the valley.

Approximately 30,000 people showed up for the Saturday afternoon opening festivities for the bridge, and a band consisting of Westinghouse employees entertained the crowd with music for about an hour. The principal speaker at the dedication ceremony was John S. Fisher, who had been governor of Pennsylvania when construction on the bridge began in 1929. (His strong support for public works projects earned him the nickname “The Builder.”)

Gifford Pinchot, c. 1909.

Others speaking at the ceremony included Gifford Pinchot, the incumbent governor; and James Lysle Stuart, who was secretary of the Pennsylvania Highway Department under Fisher. Just before 4:00 p.m., Westinghouse’s brother Herman cut the ribbon formally opening the bridge. This part of the ceremony was followed by the sounds of automobile horns in the immediate vicinity and factory whistles throughout the valley.

The new bridge’s center arch, measuring 425 feet (129.5 meters) in length, was the largest reinforced concrete arch in the world at the time. The bridge has been on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places since 1977.

For more information on the George Westinghouse Memorial Bridge, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Westinghouse_Bridge.

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