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Old 08-17-2007, 10:13 PM
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,145,390 times
Reputation: 262


Hello everyone. For anybody that is interested in seeing what Youngstown looks like, I'm posting a thread with pictures I took today of the Downtown area. These pictures were taken inside the freeway that circles the Downtown area. The Youngstown State University campus is located in this area, but I only took pictures of the buildings that are visible from the main streets of Downtown. I didn't go into the campus area. Maybe next time.

Here's a little history of the city for those who are interested: Once one of the largest steel-making centers in the country, Youngstown fell upon hard times in the 70s and 80s. Like other mid-sized, rust belt cities, the economy of Youngstown was overly dependent on the steel industry and never really diversified. Thousands of residents lost their jobs, unemployment spiked and the city's population dropped from its mid-century peak of 170,000 to about 80,000 today. By the 90s Downtown Youngstown was virtually dead and hardly anyone went down there. Fortunately there has been renewed interest in the Downtown area lately and millions of dollars have been invested, from the new Chevrolet Centre to the opening of Federal Plaza to thru traffic on the site of a failed pedestrian mall. Like many other cities, there is interest in housing options in the Downtown area and hopefully there will soon be units available. Although many are optimistic about the revitalization of Downtown, there is still a long way to go. Youngstown consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in the country. Proponents of the Downtown renaissance are attempting to portray the city in a more favorable light. So I guess that's what I'm trying to do with my pictures: show the good side of Youngstown. Sure it has its blighted areas, but there is also tremendous potential for improvement. That is the Youngstown I tried to capture in my pictures.

Thanks to ScrantonWilkesBarre for the idea of the photo tour, and thanks too to the old lady on Federal Street who pointed me toward some of the murals with scenes from the old days in Ytown

I've never successfully posted pictures on this site before, so I hope this works!

First shot of downtown. The angled parking spots are new. They were created when the pedestrian plaza was turned into a thru street.

View of Central Square.

What downtown looked like a hundred years ago.

And today.

Sky Bank building and the Mahoning County Courthouse.

Going south on Market Street. Better shot of the Mahoning Co. Courthouse.

Accross the street. Federal Building and US Courthouse.

Front Street. The new Chevrolet Centre. It's not really connected well to the rest of downtown, but oh well, at least we have it...

Here is a view of West Federal Street (the main drag) looking west. There's something unnerving about those yellow lights! I can't stare at them without thinking they're gonna turn red

Lots of potential here with these storefronts.

Seventh District Court of Appeals. I could be wrong about this, but I believe our now-imprisioned US Rep, Jim Trafficant, was influential in bringing all these federal buildings to Ytown...

The Youngstown Business Incubators. One of the city's recent success stories. It has outgrown its space and recently demolished four dilapidated buildings to build a new office building. High tech jobs in Youngstown??? You better believe it!

Here is the "pit" where the new building will be located.

The Incubator and the Home Savings building in the background.

Federal Street looking East. There is actually a heated discussion going on in the city about the fate of the "green" median on Federal Street. Some think it is an over-grown eye-sore. Others feel that its removal would plunge the city into the Dark Ages. I agree with the latter. Trees are our friends!

The DeYor Center for the Performing Arts. Inside is Powers Auditorium, which is a BEAUTIFUL place to go see a concert. It takes you back in time when Youngstown was a booming town and had money to build things like this.

Here's a side shot of it. In some small way it reminds me of NYC...

One of many murals depicting the "Good Ole Days" when downtown was teeming with people. Sorry about the lines. The awning of the building was casting weird shadows.

Corner park. It's used by Cedar's Cafe, a popular downtown hangout.

Corner of Phelps and Commerce.

Corner of Phelps and Federal.

Looking south on Phelps.

View of downtown from the "hill" on Wood St.

The bus station. WRTA. My bus is number 38: Market Street, serving the South Side and Boardman!

The Museum of Labor and Industry. Chronicles the rise and fall of the steel industry (and Ytown).

Historical marker for history buffs.

A tribute to the steel workers of the valley.

Catholic church on Wood Street. St. Columba, I believe.

Apartment building on Fifth Ave that's in pretty bad shape. It could be really cool though, if it weren't right next to the jail... (See next picture)

Mahoning County Jail. This is the one that is over-crowded and at times there is a rotating door policy. One in, one out. It's kinda scary when you think about it...

Another Federal Building and US Courthouse.

Well, that was Part One of the Downtown series: mostly the "central business district." Part Two will center on Wick Avenue, the "cultural district"...
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:26 PM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,188,022 times
Reputation: 15748
What an incredible tour! Say what you will about the Rust Belt, but you simply can't replicate the historic architecture that cities such as Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Scranton, and Buffalo have been blessed with as you look at the poorly-planned messes down in places like Raleigh and Charlotte. I'm glad that I served as an inspiration for your tour. BellaFinzi's tours of Syracuse, NY inspired me to take up photographing the Scranton, PA area as my new hobby, and hopefully me giving you the motivation to capture Youngstown will radiate to someone else to run out and snap some images of their hometowns as well.

Youngstown looks like the type of place I'd like to visit. However, I can't believe there are idiots in your city that are actually debating whether or not a tree lawn in the median is a boon or burden to the city! It is one of my goals in the future to beautify my city with the creation of much more green space, and Youngstown should be embracing the positive effects of urban forestry---not shunning it. It is also nice to see the industrial history musuem in town. It reminds me of a similar museum highlighting the steel industry in Bethlehem, PA, as well as the Electric City Trolley Museum and Historic Iron Furnaces here in Scranton, PA.

I also noticed that the city looks very clean---not much litter to be seen anywhere. Great job on the tour!
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:09 PM
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,145,390 times
Reputation: 262
Default Downtown Youngstown continued

Ok, as promised, here are the next set of photos from Downtown. These ones are mainly of buildings on Wick Avenue, which runs from Central Square to the North Side. It was once home to the city's early industrialists. Today many of the buildings and houses have been restored and are being used by Youngstown State University. Like I said before, there are a few shots of the campus, but only what is visible from Wick.

Here it goes:

Presbyterian church. Corner of Wick and Wood.

Also part of the church, if I'm not mistaken.

Stairway connecting downtown to the YSU campus.

Jones Hall. The original YSU building, which I believe dates back to the time when YSU was Youngstown College.

Episcopalian church. One of several churches along Wick Ave.

Rarely seen side shot of the church. My friends and I found it on one of our Thursday afternoon "Explore Youngstown" excursions... I miss being a student...

Wick Pollack Inn. I wish I knew the history behind these old buildings.

I'm always impressed by how utterly long this building is...

A random YSU building that was at one point somebody's home. The next several shots were taken behind this green building.

New student apartments built to connect the campus to Smoky Hollow, which I'll discuss in a minute.

The apartments are visible from the freeway that loops around the city. I don't think that many people actually know you can circle downtown on the freeway without ever exiting onto a surface-level street. It's so confusing because the freeway literally has several names and is numbered 5 different ways: I-680, US-422, US-62, OH-7, or OH-193, whichever you prefer. Anyways, here's a random sign on the "loop". Can you guess which one you have to take to continue on the "loop"? That's pretty much what motorists have to do: guess! Well, I digress.

Here is a shot of a row of houses that are visible from the freeway. This is part of the neighborhood called Smoky Hollow. It was historically one of Youngstown's working class neighborhoods. It was called Smoky Hollow because the smoke from the mills used to collect in the area. Smoky Hollow declined during the second half of the 20th century and today there are probably about 100 people that live there. Today, however, there is a plan to rebuilt the neighborhood. It is in a great location, with easy access to YSU, Wick Avenue's churches, museums, and other institutions, the freeway, downtown, and an industrial park. The new neighborhood would have a mix of retail, office, residential and industrial space, as well as student dorms and apartments. It's a great plan and hopefully they can make it happen. So let's call this the "before shot". Hopefully they restore these houses instead of tearing them down. They look really cool all lined up like that...

The Arms Museum. I've never actually been there. I'm gonna have to check this place out...

Another YSU building that probably has an interesting history.

New bridge designs featuring the "Y". YSU Stadium in the background.

Random house on Wick. Didn't recognize the name and sure can't remember it now.


YSU Penguin sighting! Go Guins!

Wick House. Now it's YSU's Disability Services Center.

Another Penguin outside the Alumni House.

Butler Institute of American Art. Kinda cool actually.

Sign for the "other" art museum and the pedestrian overpass.

YSU is attempting to use eminent domain to acquire this and other properties to build a new Business Hall. The hall would be a step toward integrating the campus and downtown. My vote is for YSU. Many of the buildings between in that particular area are crappy IMHO...

Downtown skyline from the top of the Lincoln Ave parking deck. I parked there for three years and everyday I said I was gonna bring my camera to get a shot of downtown. Today was the day!

Are things really happening here? Definitely. Millions invested downtown. National recognition for Mayor Williams' "creative shrinkage" plan, albeit controversial. Lofts, condos and apartments coming soon. Time will tell how far the revitalization will go. But I certainly hope it continues. This community has been through a lot and it would be great to have a downtown that everyone can be proud of!
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Old 08-18-2007, 01:45 PM
Location: Cortland, Ohio
3,323 posts, read 9,549,170 times
Reputation: 1512
Boardmanite! Great pics!!! You really should go check out the Arms museum, my dad used to take me there when i was a kid. Downstairs is kept the same way it was when the Arms family lived there. It's really nice, a couple of cool fireplaces and a memorable copper sink in the kitchen. Upstairs is probably my favorite area though. They have displays on Youngstown history, a short movie about the valley and a really cool map of where all the different ethnic groups lived in Youngstown during the steel days. Also, have you been to the Butler, absolutely free admission, great architecture too! Anyway, thanks for bringing back some memories of my time at YSU, i used to park in Lincoln as well. Do us all a favor and do a photo-tour of 5th ave, redondo, gypsy, and the area around campus and stambaugh! I love all those old houses and would love for someone (you) to share them w/the world! Thanks again! I've been thinking about doing a photo tour of warren for a while, but haven't got around to it. I'm thinking about waiting til the leaves change. Glad to know another Mahoning Valley 20 something loves this area as much as me!!! Keep up the good work!
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Old 08-19-2007, 05:48 PM
1 posts, read 28,664 times
Reputation: 13
Default downtown youngstown photos

These are absolutely fabulous photos that capture the history, culture and haunting beauty of downtown Youngstown. I live in Cleveland and have been coming to Youngstown to visit a friend--I think it is a wonderful city with the most beautiful park--Mill Creek and a visionary young mayor and obviously a lot of local citizens who care what happens to Youngstown, believe in it like your mayor and can make good things happen. Thank you so much for posting these photos Boardmanite
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:15 PM
Location: Southern California native, last 20 yrs in Milwaukee Wisc.
1,201 posts, read 3,404,183 times
Reputation: 1769
Default What a fabulous job !!

Beautiful pics, and excellent text with details about what we're looking at.
Everything looks so much nicer than when I was there 20 yrs ago. Now I want to visit again. Good job.
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:10 PM
Location: Tampa Bay
1,020 posts, read 3,063,709 times
Reputation: 443
I think it looks like a beautiful place. Though I love Ohio for various reasons. Thing is, when you're showing pictures of courthouses there must not be anything else to talk about. Youngstown is relatively small. But its not far from either Pittsburgh or Cleveland/Akron/Canton. I would like to see more of your pictures and I enjoyed them. Thank you.
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Old 08-21-2007, 07:22 AM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,188,022 times
Reputation: 15748
C'mon people...pony up! About 100 people have viewed Boardmanite's photo tour, yet I've noticed his reputation has only gone up by four points (and three of those were from me, which means just one other person out of the 100 gave him a 1-point rep boost). Whenever I do a photo tour of the Scranton area I noticed my points surge upwards quite a bit. Show him how much you appreciated his wonderful tour (which truly blows most of mine out of the water) by leaving him some supportive reputation comments! That's an order! RAWR! LOL!
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:18 AM
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,145,390 times
Reputation: 262
Cortlandgirl, glad you enjoyed the tour! I will definitely check out the Arms Museum now--it sounds really cool! I'm planning on snapping some more pictures of the campus and the North Side, but so far its been raining for the past 3 days Sunny, blue sky days are sometimes hard to come by in our neck-of-the-woods! Anyways, I think you should share some photos of Warren with us. **hint hint** I remember the first time I went to the downtown area and saw the courthouse. I was really surprised at how nice it was.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:51 AM
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,145,390 times
Reputation: 262
ScrantonWB, glad you enjoyed the tour of our little rust-belt city! It seems like Youngstown is Ohio's Scranton. Long forgotten and finally starting to make a comeback. I often see Scranton and Ytown on the same lists, such as slowest growing metro areas in the country... Not the most flattering statistic, but it seems like the Scranton area might actually be growing again. The NYC metro area is sprawling into Monroe, Wayne and Pike counties so it's probably only a matter of time before it hits Scranton/WilkesBarre. Unfortunately the Youngstown area is still losing population. It's trying to promote itself as a bedroom community for Cleveland and Pittsburgh, but Pittsburgh is losing people as well and Cleveland's growth is pretty much flat...

Anyways, yeah, I'm a statistics nerd...

Glad you liked the photos!
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