End of the Line

444-page book of photos and conversations about people, places, and experiences around Pittsburgh, reflecting where we’ve been and where we’re headed 
Book Design
Historical Research
Timeline: Nine Months
8” x 10.25”
444 pages
Printed at Conveyor Studio
Made possible by:
Carnegie Mellon University Funding Committee
Carnegie Mellon University Office for Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Development
Frank-Ratchye Further Fund

Utilizing the Pittsburgh Regional Transit bus system as a guiding framework, I explored the history and geography of different Pittsburgh suburbs. Once I reached the end of each of  twelve bus lines, I spent hours in each neighborhood; speaking with residents, capturing photographs, and attempting to gain a more general feel for each distinctive area.
As someone now newly studying history, I felt it not only interesting, but necessary to learn about the area around me. I wondered how I (Hannah Lesser) got here, which then led me to question how we (Carnegie Mellon) got here. I thought this project might give me a bit of grounding and begin to answer some of these questions. I thought it could provoke me and others to get out of Carnegie Mellon’s “bubble,” both physically and figuratively.
The people I had the privilege of speaking with made me a more conscious designer and person. Through the conversations I had, I began to learn and garner oral histories from residents who had lived in these places for decades, some more than fifty years. Most of those I spoke with were older adults, although not all. These are people who have witnessed and experienced the effects of the changes brought on by deindustrialization in their communities firsthand. These were stories I would be unlikely to find online or in any type of database, either because residents wouldn't have known how, wouldn't have had the means or interest to share these stories on the internet, or they’d simply been deemed insignificant.
Updated May 2024