Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Endangered: Strip District Row Houses

Although there are a few houses still standing in the Strip District, Pittsburgh's gritty yet vibrant industrial neighborhood, there once were many more.  The Strip once contained a very dense assortment of row-houses, built to house workers in local factories.  Adjacent to downtown, The Strip is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.  It is conceivable that at one time, before the heavy soot of steel and industry darkened the area, it may not have been an unfashionable place to live.

Some time after the turn of the century, there was a mass exodus of residents out of the downtown core of the city and into outer neighborhoods and streetcar suburbs.  The Strip was one of the first neighborhoods to become vacated and unfashionable. Thus, many of the homes that once stood in the neighborhood are long gone. This is precisely why this row of five modest homes between 30th and 31st Street, facing an alley called Spring Way, is so fascinating.  Presumably abandoned, did they survive the transition of the Strip District from the industrial age to overpriced hipster and yuppie paradise, only to be met with a wrecking ball?  Nearby, lofts and condos are being rented and sold at unheard of (for Pittsburgh) prices. These row-houses lend much to the character of the Strip District, as reminders of its blue collar heritage.

3033-3041 Spring Way (Strip District).  This is the front facade of the row, facing the alley.

Rear of Strip District row houses, facing a parking lot on Penn Avenue.  Notice the facade is less decorative than the front, facing Spring Way.

Historic row homes at 3033-3041 Spring Way, Pittsburgh

3033-3041 Spring Way, Pittsburgh.  Historic row homes.
Rear of 3033-3041 Spring Way, Pittsburgh.  Historic row homes.

Demolition List: 168 1/2 & 170 38th Street (Lawrenceville)

170 (left) and 168 1/2 (right) 38th Street, Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh)

View of unbroken row of houses on 38th Street, where proposed demolitions may occur (Lawrenceville)

May demolition postings for the City of Pittsburgh listed two historic row houses in Lawrenceville: 168 1/2 and 170 38th Street.  These homes are located within the original Lawrenceville village plan, between 38th and 41st streets.  This is where some of the oldest surviving houses in Pittsburgh are located.  168 1/2 and 170 38th Street may date to the 1850s.  Perhaps the original village plan area of Lawrenceville should be nominated as a City of Pittsburgh historic district. This might help protect homes like this from being demolished in the future.

Sadly, these houses were demolished by the City of Pittsburgh in June, 2012. When will the city stop putting historically significant buildings on their demolition lists, and instead market them to potential buyers and rehabbers?  In an up-and-coming neighborhood like Lawrenceville, it probably would have found a buyer quite easily.

Endangered: 350 5th Avenue (Downtown Pittsburgh)

A historic office building at the corner of Smithfield Street and Fifth Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh is in danger of being demolished for a new office tower.  I am asking someone who lives within city limits to please nominate this building as a historic landmark with the City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission. This could potentially save the building.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

City of Pittsburgh Demolition Postings - May, 2012

The following are addresses of buildings to be demolished by the city of Pittsburgh, as of May, 2012.  Some of these are historic buildings. Most of these properties can be seen by using Google Street View or on the Allegheny County Assessment site.

It is important to post these addresses as a record of demolitions, because they will disappear from the City of Pittsburgh website in a matter of days or weeks.


7306-7384 Formosa Way

7506-7546 Formosa Way

555 N. Aiken Avenue

325 Boggston Avenue

220 Bonvue Street

47 Carver Street

236 Cedarhurst Street

410 Cedarhurst Street

2216 Centre Avenue

1424 Chateau Street (Front)

1424 Chateau Street (Rear)

6357 Dean Street

713 Fisher Street

1321 N. Franklin Street

201 Kingsboro Street

203 Kingsboro Street

108 Kirpatrick Street

45 Lafferty Avenue

2636 Leland Street

676 Lenora Street

1017-1021 Lincoln Avenue

1933 Lithgow Avenue

1402 Liverpool Street

5115 Lytle Street

970 Manton Way

972 Manton Way

150 Marsden Avenue

320 N. Mathilda Street

512 McDonald Street

1533 Methyl Street

34 Mt. Oliver Street

756 Municipal Street

23 Perry Street

1054 Spring Garden Avenue

1003 Steuben Street

433 Vandalia Street

2940 Webster Avenue

2003 Wyandotte Street

168-1/2 38th Street

170 38th Street