Toynbee Tiles - Downtown Pittsburgh, PA
Updated: Nov 2, 2021
There has been a decades old mystery in Downtown Pittsburgh, mainly along Smithfield Street and Forbes Avenue. Small tiles have been placed in busy intersections that have messages about media and resurrection. The colorful mosaics are about the size of a license plate. They were dropped in the streets and embedded into the pavement through heat and the pressure of cars.
Some of the messages on the tiles are: To Punish Them All For What They Have Done and Media Must Be Reduced to Ash.
Toynbee Tiles began in Philadelphia in the 1980s. 150 original tiles appeared between 1985 and 2001 in 25 cities in the United States and South America.
Pittsburgh was home to 6 Toynbee Tiles but two have been paved over. We walked up and down Smithfield Street and only came across 2.
A documentary called Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles by Jon Foy was chosen by Roger Ebert as one of the best documentaries of 2011. A brief clip of the documentary can be viewed by clicking here