The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 4, 1955 · Page 167
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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 167

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 4, 1955
Page 167
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fifteen Planes" Once Operated Here, Bat with the Change of Character in the Strip Area Only Fosr Are Left and Two of These May Go. -v v if ' . I (ST'- P:i" I ). -'-I I ,W Caroline Diescher Samuel Diescher Already Mr. Endres and his daughter were at work on another incline, the Mt Oliver, from 12th Street, South Side to Warrington Avenue. It was completed and put in service in 1871, and Caroline Endres returned to Cincinnati. But not for long. The following year her father brought his family to a home at 69 Beech St, Allegheny. And even before that his daughter had become the wife of her father's talented partner, Samuel Diescher, and was living on Spring Street, in Mt Washington. The lde of woman, whatever her age and ability working aa an engineer, wm far ahead of her day, and her experiences as a "working girl" In Pittsburgh mast have been trying to Miss Endres. Apparently her training had been received from her father and her future husband, who were so busy building an incline and other great works in Cincinnati that they couldn't take time out to give the Pittsburgh Jobs their full time. That must have been her training, for engineer ing schools weren't open to women in her day, though the wire cables were by Pittsburgh's great John Roebling, and the frames and machinery of the best Sligo iron. He rebuilt them both of metal, the former in 1882, the latter in 1875. The first inclines were powered by steam, later ones by electricity. But the last steam inclines switched to electric power around 1930. In 1877 he built the Duquesne Incline, below the Point Bridge, partly of wood and partly of iron. In 1888 he rebuilt it of steel. The following year he took time out to go Into some of the most difficult trolley construction ever attempted here. He built the original Perrysville Avenue and Squirrel Hill electric lines, first to use an underground current system, and the old Pittsburgh, Knoxville and St Clair, from S. 13th Street to Mt. Oliver, -which used cog rails on its steeper grades. But inclines were his love, and in 1882 he built the Fort Pitt Incline, which led from Second Avenue to Bluff Street, near the present location of Duquesne University. It ran almost parallel to Second Avenue, entirely on solid ground, and started near the end of the 22nd Street bridge. The next year he completed the Perm Incline (later renamed the 17th Street) said to have been the most heavily built in existence. Nearly 850 feet long and with a grade of 40 per cent, it crossed the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks on a single 232-foot span. It was designed to carry the 20-ton coal cars of its day from the Strip to Ar-cena Street, but about the time it was completed George Westinghouse made his great Homewood gas strike, and for seven years coal was almost out as a fuel here. Inn Built at Top To prevent financial disaster, the incline operators built an inn at the top, the Penn Incline Resort, which looked like a castle, and quickly became the show-place of Pittsburgh. "From the top of the incline there is a superb view," commented a souvenir book of 1891. But after a few years enthusiasm waned, and only a great foundation remains today. During the year 1883 Diescher and Endres also built the Monongahela Freight Plane, (inclines were often called "planes" in early days) wiffK'pi P. '"Ml'1 PV In any case, Caroline Endres Diescher never worked as an engineer again, and if she even advised her husband on any of his problems, their children never knew it Samuel Diescher was hardly the type to need help, anyway, in anything. He was a medium sized, but commanding sort of man, born in Budapest on July 25, 1839 of an engineering family; educated at Karlsruhe and Zurich, and with a wide experience in Europe before he came to America at 27 to build a tool works at Niles, Ohio, before going to Cincinnati. Mr. Endres returned to Cincinnati in 1873, though his son Adolph, later to become a doctor, lived that year with the Dieschers, who had moved onto Garden (later Greenbush) Street Samuel Diescher worked with City Engineer Alex Demster in laying out the present course of Penn Avenue, and Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh's first efforts to break geographical chains on its traffic, Imposed by its hills. He spent the rest of his life in Mt. Washington, though with offices Downtown. He built coal and coke plants, designed water works, machine shops, rolling mills, tin plate plants, and even the machinery to operate the first Ferris Wheel, which was invented by George W. G. Ferris of Pittsburgh, built here, and erected at Chicago In 1893 by the late Walter Shaw of Glenshaw, for the Columbian Exposition. But the principal monument to Samuel Diescher was Pittsburgh's amazing group of inclines. Of the 15 Inclines which at one time or another served this area, he had a hand in t least 10, besides building the one at Johnstown, two in Duluth, one in Wheeling, om In Cincinnati, one in New Jersey, and two in South America. The Monongahefa and Mt. Oliver Inclines had at first been built with a structure of wood, aj- i fu ! i Y M ' V . W J - I m IP v 3 :.1 1 Cllli if 'Mailt) 7 Workmen with torches and great cranes cut away the abandoned incline's girders. Built to haul coal, it was believed the strongest ever designed. TV nttobargh Prtu, StHiday, Dccmbr 4. ItSS Paf S

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