maps

Keith Srakocic / AP

Shortly after Connor Sites-Bowen moved to Pittsburgh in 2004, he got a little lost trying to get to Greenfield.

“I stopped and asked someone, I said, ‘I’m trying to get over here, which way do I go?’” Sites-Bowen said. “He said, ‘Oh, you go across the Greenfield Bridge right here and you go left where the Bruster’s used to be.’”

It was the “used to be” that stuck with Sites-Bowen. He said just like in any city, people rely on landmarks to get from one place to another, but in Pittsburgh, it doesn’t matter if the landmark exists anymore.

According Rob Nelson, guest lecturer at Duquesne University’s annual History Forum and director of the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond, the last great historical atlas was published in 1932. It was called "The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States," and it included a series of maps that illustrated how the nation changed over time.