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.

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