Thursday, April 10, 2014

Early Stone House in Hazelwood: A Tobacco Plantation!

Undocumented early history of Pittsburgh: this stone house is located in the Glenwood / Hazelwood section of the city. I did some research and it was originally on the site of a tobacco plantation. Did you know Pittsburgh had tobacco plantations? There are probably many more early stone homes throughout the region. Some of them have been covered with siding, as shown here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Elizabeth, according to The History of Allegheny County (by Thomas Cushing), is "the oldest town on the Monongahela river above its mouth, and for many years the most important place on that stream." Boat building was the major industry. The town was founded in 1787 by Col. Steven Bayard. There were 35 houses in the town in 1819. Some of the early homes are still standing. 

Built in 1883

Early riverfront homes

Riverfront homes

Circa 1840s riverfront home

Early home with a facade addition

early double home

"M. E. Church, Built AD 1883"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

McKeesport - The Library District

"The Library District" is the neighborhood of grand residences that surrounds the 1902 McKeesport Carnegie Library, and within walking distance to downtown McKeesport. The neighborhood is also home to the McKeesport Little Theater.  Home to prominent McKeesporters and the high society of its day, in the early decades of the 20th century, it is one of several old mansion districts in the city. Other affluent neighborhoods included Shaw Avenue and the surrounding streets (Millionaire's Row in the Victorian era), Park Street (East Park neighborhood), and Myer Park.

The neighborhood has survived fairly intact, and it is the most pleasant residential neighborhood near downtown McKeesport. Few McKeesport neighborhoods were immune to the decline of the city over the past several decades, and The Library District has some abandoned buildings and signs of decay in spite of its elegant, tree-lined streets, manicured lawns, and many well-maintained older homes. There are several excellent examples of 1920s Romantic Revival architecture here.

Hopefully, this neighborhood (among others) will be re-discovered by people who seize the opportunity to live in a luxury home for the cost of a used car.

Tudor Revival is one of the prominent architectural styles in the neighborhood.

Some of the homes have stucco walls and feature a Spanish Revival influence.

Four squares are common in this early 20th century neighborhood.

Hopefully, someone will save this gem.

Another gem in need of restoration.

Vacant church across the street from the Library. Oh, the possibilities!

This gorgeous home was a foreclosure and recently sold for less than $18k.

Vacant apartment building across the street from the Library. This would make an ideal preservation project. The city should find a way to restore it as a neighborhood revitalization project.

The Carnegie Library of McKeesport - 1507 Library Avenue - built 1902. Architect: William J. East. 

First United Methodist Church