Pittsburgh Then and Now
Sandusky Street, North Side


Grab and drag the green handle on the image above

A small, unassuming building at 207-209 Sandusky Street on Pittsburgh's North Side was the scene of one of the city's most tragic events. On Monday, Oct. 25, 1915, fire broke out on the first floor, location of a harness shop and feed store. Baled hay, straw and feed burned quickly, sending deadly black smoke into the upper floors, where 30 young women worked for the Union Paper Box Company. Before the fire was extinguished, 12 of the women and one man had died. Several others were severely injured. The building had been condemned as a fire trap, but the city had no laws covering safety laws in factories. After the tragedy, city council and the state quickly moved to prevent a recurrence, updating building codes and rigidly enforcing safety laws.

Learn more about the fire on the Post-Gazette's Pittsburgh History page.

(Archive photograph courtesy the Pannier Corporation; contemporary photograph by Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette.)

We'd love to hear from you. Share your comments and suggestions on the Pittsburgh Then/Now Facebook page or send us an email.

Click on the links below to see earlier images.