Many people have heard about or visited Pittsburgh’s two running inclines, the Monongahela and Duquesne Inclines. However, did you know that more than a dozen inclines once operated in Pittsburgh?
The first passenger incline, the Monongahela Incline, opened in 1870. The Mount Oliver Incline quickly followed in 1871. Six years later, in 1877, the Duquesne Incline began moving passengers between riverside and hilltop. By the end of the 1870s, Pittsburgh had three inclines operating south of the Monongahela River. Over the following decade, during the 1880s, at least 11 new inclines were built and operating on Pittsburgh’s hillsides.
I’m confident that the 15 inclines listed above once traversed Pittsburgh’s hillsides. I have not seen photographs of the Ridgewood or Troy Hill Inclines (please contact me if you have!) but images of the other 13 exist even if they are mostly rare.
No one is sure of the total number of inclines that once existed in Pittsburgh. There were probably more than the 15 listed above. Perhaps we’ll find new photographic evidence for more of these engineering marvels from the pre-automobile age!