Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On the importance of our oldest buildings..

This may not be everyone's opinion, or a "qualified opinion," but my opinion nonetheless: the oldest neighborhoods in the city are the most historically significant. 

There are many buildings and neighborhoods deemed historic simply because they have big, beautiful old houses, or because they are in affluent areas where people are more likely to care about history (Mount Lebanon, for example, is a historic district). Neighborhoods with more modest houses are given the short end of the stick.

One needs to take into account labor history, minority history, American immigrant history, and unwritten history -- all of which exists in the more modest dwellings of the past as well as the grand mansions.

The longer a building has stood, the more history it has witnessed.

Phineas Street (North Side)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

RIP: Phineas Street (North Side)

DEMOLITION LIST: These historic homes on the south side of Phineas Street are to be demolished next week for a new hotel project by October Development. Although Phineas Street is one of the oldest surviving streets on the North Side, with homes possibly dating to the 1830s, the street is not designated as a historic district. This means that the buildings, in spite of their age and interest, are not protected from demolition. What does it say about the historic designation process when one of the oldest streets in the city is not considered eligible?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pitcairn Demolition List

434 3rd Street, Pitcairn. Circa pre-1895 Queen Anne (on the demolition list).
At least two architecturally interesting houses, 415 3rd St. and 434 3rd St., appeared on the borough of Pitcairn's demolition list as of 1/8/2015. The municipality intends to demolish 22 houses this year. The demolition list is posted below. The two houses of architectural interest are photographed in this post. Both are late Victorian era homes, and shown on the 1895 GM Hopkins map of Pitcairn. One is a grand Queen Anne, and should be considered a potential local landmark rather than an eyesore.  The other is more modest, but still worthy of preservation.  Hopefully, these two homes can be spared demolition and turned over to preservation-minded buyers.  The Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program operates in Pitcairn, so it is indeed possible to acquire these tax delinquent and vacant properties, if the borough agrees not to demolish them. 

415 3rd Street, Pitcairn. Circa pre-1895 (on the demolition list).

Also have a look at my 2013 Pitcairn Photo Tour.

The almost-complete demolition list, as per a borough official:

707/709 Kay St., 526 2nd St., 528 2nd St., 333 3rd St., 360 3rd St., 383 3rd St., 415 3rd St., 419 3rd St., 434 3rd St., 435 3rd St., 617 3rd St., 559 4th St., 629 5th St., 633 5th St., 654 5th St., 656 5th St., 419 Robinson, 204 Short, 206 Short, 215 Rear Short

If you are interested in one of these houses, please contact Pitcairn Borough and plead for them to be removed from the demolition list.