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Pittsburgh's Frick Park Overlook: Gritty Industrial Views of the Mon Valley and Kennywood

The first thought of a scenic overlook in Pittsburgh naturally leads one to think of the beautiful views of downtown from Mt. Washington, West End Overlook, along the rivers, or in North Side from around the stadiums. The views looking more eastward and out of the city are pretty in their own right, but often do not show important cultural landmarks of the kind of scale you see of immense skyscrapers and stuff like that. Additionally, in general, it is not often that you get a view that gives you a birds eye view of commercial and industrial areas and an amusement park. 

This spot in Pittsburgh's Frick Park gives a view over the eastern and southeastern industrial and commercial cities heading out of Pittsburgh, Homestead, Braddock, Duquesne, McKeesport, and Clairton, all the way out to Kennywood Park. This is the only spot that you can get as expansive view down the river valley that has powered so much industrial growth in this nation, and produced our way to victory in World War II as part of what FDR referred to in the term "Arsenal of Democracy." Industrial advances have been made in this valley, as well as advancement in the creation of worker rights. Every era of business in the history of this country can be found in this view of the valley, from individual small business, to heavy industry, to the big service and retail industries of today. Within this one single view, you can see a microcosm of the foundational elements of everything that America stands for, specifically Rust Belt America, especially in a place where there still is some economic opportunity and industry left.

To reach this spot, hike up the Overlook Trail in Pittsburgh's Frick Park. Frick Park is a wonderful urban oasis that offers lots of hiking and nature opportunities in a very urban, industrialized, and commercial area, which was initially started with land that was bequeathed from the estate of brutal industrial magnate Henry Frick, who has a record of business success, but also a villainous legacy of violence in anti worker and anti union activities, most notoriously with the Homestead Strikes where he hired goons to shoot down his own employees who were striking for fair treatment. His mansion in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh serves as a neat museum.

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