Return to the Carrie Furnaces and a Preview of This Week’s Travels to the North Side

I hope you all enjoyed our visit to the Carrie Furnaces, our tour of the furnace and the Iron Garden, and the amazing iron pour. Here are some photos from our trip. A glimpse of travel writing in action. (Also see the new print issue of The Insider for a short feature on our class and trip. Available in news bins and public spots all over campus. And see Kevin’s great feature story about our trip at The Insider online here.)

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Our tour guide, Penn State Master Gardener Anna Johnson, explains the many kinds of plant life that has grown around (and in) the Carrie Furnaces since the furnaces stopped producing iron 32 years ago. “Birds carry seeds, the winds blow them in. Most of the plant life has come here from somewhere else, then adapted and survived,” Johnson explained. “So the plants are immigrants like everybody in Pittsburgh,” a man in our tour group said. “We all came here from somewhere else.”

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Ron Baraff, director of the museum and archives for the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, which supervises the Carrie Furnaces site, explained the importance of the mill’s history in Pittsburgh. “I hate when people call the Carrie Furnaces an abandoned mill,” Baraff said. “We’re anything but abandoned. Look at us. We’re here There’s all this life here.”

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Nikki comes out of the furnace.

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Melissa hard at work writing down what matters.

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Taking in the view from the Iron Gardens, as Anna Johnson explains the varieties of trees that have begun to thrive on the site. The gardens are modeled on urban-renewal efforts in Germany, where shuttered mills and factories have become thriving public spaces.

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Nikki, Melissa, Kevin and Brooke inside the furnace. “Look at us,” Ron Baraff said. “We’re here. There’s all this life here.”

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And now, onward:  The North Side

Today our first stop will be Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum on Sampsonia Way. Please visit the City of Asylum site to learn more about this essential program and how it helps endangered writers.

After City of Asylum, we’ll head over to The Mattress Factory, located at 500 Sampsonia Way. Here’s the link: http://www.mattress.org.  Remember to bring your Pitt ID for discounted admission ($10) to the museum.

We’ll also visit Randy Gilson’s wonderful creation, Randyland, located on Jacksonia Street near Sampsonia Way. Here’s some info about Randy and his home:  http://www.popcitymedia.com/features/Randyland0206.aspx

Remember to keep your blogs updated. This week you should have one post on the Carrie Furnaces adventure, one North Side preview, and one travel-related post of your choice. Read in Moon Pittsburgh:  The North Side.

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