Wishing to combat the reputation of the city as dirty and polluted, an influential group of visionaries, including department-store owner Edgar Kaufmann Sr., Mayor David Lawrence, and financier Richard King Mellon, promoted a new progressive image. Mellon Square is a product of that vision.
Mellon Square is nationally significant as a masterwork of Modern design and as the first park to be created as the roof of a new parking garage. Pioneering landscape architects Simonds and Simonds worked in collaboration with architects Mitchell and Ritchey to design this important green gathering space within Pittsburgh’s evolving downtown core at a time when there was not a blade of grass in downtown Pittsburgh. At the dedication ceremony on October 18, 1955, Mayor David Lawrence referred to Mellon Square as “the very center, the heart, of the new Pittsburgh.”
The Square is bordered by William Penn Place, Oliver
Avenue, Smithfield Street, and Sixth Avenue, and is one
block west of Grant Street. It is easily accessible and
within walking distance from many downtown mass
transit stops. Because Mellon Square sits over a six-level
parking garage that operates 24 hours a day, it is very
convenient to visit the Square. Entrances to the garage
are located on Oliver Avenue and Sixth Avenue.