Spotlight on Main Street
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Field Trips and Programs

This website celebrates main streets. Once the heart of communities across the nation, main streets are struggling to survive because of competition from shopping malls, national chains, and the trend toward globalization. Thanks to the National Trust Main Street Center®, an effective program of assistance is helping save main streets. We are launching this website on the 25th anniversary of the National Trust's Main Street program in order to tell the story of one “Great American Main Street” on Pittsburgh's South Side.

“Spotlight on Main Street” focuses community attention on the history, architectural significance, and enduring value of East Carson Street, South Side's historic main street. The website includes student artwork, interviews, and words of wisdom; audio-clips from long-time residents and people who have helped save East Carson Street; and hundreds of photographs showing field trips, programs, and special events that bring South Side history and architecture to life. Many of these educational programs were created by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation as part of the South Side Local Development Company's Neighborhood Assistance Program/Comprehensive Service Program, funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development and supported by PNC Bank.

Main streets are worth saving because of the healthy quality of life they support. Main streets are full of unique local stores that serve the needs of the local community. Local, family-owned businesses hire local people, pay local taxes, and contribute to the local economy. Customers walk to main street businesses and places (or park on or near the main street), and build, over time, a neighborly rapport with the owners. People are drawn to main streets because of the distinctive personality of the place that comes from its history and architecture—and, they like to be seen on main street, whether they are simply out for a walk or evening of entertainment, or shopping, dining, or working. Main streets are the place to be.

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation created this website as part of The History Channel's Save Our History national grant program. The program is designed to supplement the teaching of history in America's classrooms, educate the public on the importance of historical preservation, and motivate communities across the country to help save endangered local historic treasures.

View the Intro

Main Street Audio Clip

Visit PHLF's complete walking tour calendar.

Discover facts about 30 East Carson Street buildings, see student artwork, and play building games.


Activities & Games
Solve puzzles and mazes based on student drawings of main street buildings, and solve word games based on building facts.

Main Street Memories
Read student interviews and poetry, see student artwork, and hear audio-clips describing how Carson Street has changed.


See photographs from six main street events, including the “Spotlight on Main Street” community celebration on April 30, 2005.

Field Trips & Programs
See photographs of ten school tours and programs that help build pride in the South Side among local students.


Download South Side fact sheets, word puzzles, maps, and more.

Who We Are
You'll find links to the schools, organizations, and website designers who participated in “Spotlight on Main Street.”