It’s fun, as well as useful, to look at the history of a vacant lot. Most vacant lots in Pittsburgh had a house or building sitting on them at one point in time. Who lived there? How long ago was that? Why was it torn down? How long has it been vacant? The answers to some of these questions can be found by looking at historical maps and documents.
To see the maps through the years of your lot, check out this awesome map: http://peoplemaps.esri.com/pittviewer/ Notice that it includes a slider at the top right, where you can choose which year to look at.
To see more maps and historical imagery, check out Historic Pittsburgh, an incredible resource with thousands of photos, maps, census records, and other information.
When considering the history of your lot, don’t forget about the living resources all around you: your neighbors! There are likely many older folks who have lived through the many changes in your town or neighborhood and would be happy to share the tale with you.