Saturday, July 28, 2018

RIP: 439 Atlantic Avenue (McKeesport Demolition List)

439 Atlantic Avenue (McKeesport)

This is 439 Atlantic Avenue, a modest circa 1890 Victorian home in the lower 10th Ward. It is slated for demolition, as are a multitude of other 19th century homes in this compact, historic neighborhood.

The lower 10th Ward was once the borough of Reynoldton, laid out in the 1860s by Thomas Reynolds, and was annexed by the city of McKeesport in 1898. Many of the surviving homes of Reynoldton date to the 1860s-1890s. They are generally modest homes built for the working class of the Industrial Age, and they are fascinating. Many are of the wood-sided, two-bay or three-bay vernacular variety that were once extremely common in McKeesport and other Mon Valley towns. While most have been updated over the years, some retain rare original details, such as Dutch Lap wood siding, Victorian millwork around doors and windows, lovely wavy glass window panes, and interior features such as wooden mantels, vintage light fixtures, and ornate staircases.

The McKeesport demolition list has called for a number of Reynoldton's early homes to be demolished, including 300 in the city of McKeesport overall. Some are beyond repair, and some have been remodeled in ways that have destroyed their integrity or historical value. However, there are a few homes, like 439 Atlantic Avenue, that should never have been placed on a demolition list.

This home is a special and rare example of the Reynoldton vernacular. It retains numerous original exterior details, and is solid enough to re
store. It should have been stabilized, mothballed, and re-sold. Progressive cities do this. Sadly, it is not the only good house on the demolition list.

The coming demolition of so many homes in the lower 10th Ward will almost certainly destroy the fabric of the neighborhood. One need look only to the 3rd Ward to see how mass demolition affects an urban neighborhood.

Please visit my 2014 Photo Tour of the Lower Tenth Ward (McKeesport)


McKeesport Demolition List

Included is the partial McKeesport demolition list (more properties to be added at a later date)..

Most of these homes date to the 19th century. Some are pre-Civil War, and I believe a few may even date to the 1830s. Pieces of history written off as blight.

Demolition in cities is political. It seems that we should be weighing the cultural impact of destroying the oldest buildings in a city. Certainly, many homes on this list are beyond repair, but there are some which contribute to the architectural and historical interest of our city, even in their deteriorated state.

There is another cost associated with demolition -- the weed-covered empty lots will take over our city, a sense of hopelessness and depression will remain (because demolition teaches us that our homes are worthless), and those looking for housing in the McKeesport of the future will only find an empty prairie. The priceless gems of the past will be gone.

Our architectural history could have been a draw. Instead, it is treated as garbage. Most of the people calling the shots here probably see nothing of value in McKeesport. Their vision is not a vibrant city, but a suburban sea of vacant lots.

412 26th St
429 26th St
314 27th St
321 28th St (REAR)
325 28th St
428 30th St
221 Ann St
322 Arctic St
408 Arctic St
410 Arctic St
412 Arctic St
200 Atlantic Ave
234 Atlantic Ave
301 Atlantic Ave
409 Atlantic Ave
428 Atlantic Ave
439 Atlantic Ave
612 Atlantic Ave
704 Arlington Ave
702 Arlington Ave
510 Arlington Ave
3015 Auberle St
3028 Auberle St
3040 Auberle St
1834 Beech St
1804 Converse St
220 Dale St
229 Dale St
1819 Eaton St
217 Erie St
224 Erie St (REAR)
226 Erie St
226 Erie St (REAR)
226 1/2 Erie St
227 Erie St
309 Erie St
1306 Evans Ave
1308 Evans Ave
1408 Evans Ave
1500 Evans Ave
1501 Evans Ave
1504 Evans Ave
1508 Evans Ave
1511 Evans Ave
1601 Evans Ave
1605 Evans Ave
1820 Evans Ave
1710 Federal St
1714 Federal St
1811 Federal St
1817 Federal St
1830 Federal St
1832 Federal St
1834 Federal St
2000 Federal St
2004 Federal St
2006 Federal St
1214 Freemont St
2009 Flagler St
2910 Garbett St
2816 Gas Alley
2909 Gas Alley
2915 Gas Alley
2917 Gas Alley
1707 Grant St
408 Gross St
416 Gross St
1303 Hamilton St
1305 Hamilton St
1306 Hamilton St
1307 Hamilton St
1308 Hamilton St
1314 Hamilton St
1316 Hamilton St
1414 Hamilton St
1416 Hamilton St
907 Huey St
909 Huey St
709 Jenny Lind St
711 Jenny Lind St
715 Jenny Lind St
721 Jenny Lind St
749 Jenny Lind St
901 Jenny Lind St
903 Jenny Lind St
1009 Jenny Lind St
1035 Jenny Lind St
1103 Jenny Lind St
1118 Jenny Lind St
1131 Jenny Lind St
1202 Jenny Lind St
1215 Jenny Lind St
1331 Jenny Lind St
1505 Jenny Lind St
1507 Jenny Lind St
1518 Jenny Lind St
1706 Jenny Lind St
1805 Jenny Lind St
2205 Jenny Lind St
2207 Jenny Lind St
2301 Jenny Lind St
2307 Jenny Lind St
2308 Jenny Lind St
2312 Jenny Lind St
2321 Jenny Lind St
2416 Jenny Lind St
2504 Jenny Lind St
2705 Jenny Lind St
2708 Jenny Lind St
2808 Jenny Lind St
2913 Jenny Lind St
3014 Jersey St
1725 Maple St
1729 Maple St
501 Monterey St
213 Pacific St
315 Pacific St
401 Pacific St
508 Pacific St
604 Pacific St
1022 Peebles Ln
228 Perry St
400 Pine St
900 Ravine St
1221 Ravine St
700 Reynolds St
718 Reynolds St
607 Ridge St
609 Ridge St
611 Ridge St
516 Romine Ave
519 Romine Ave
521 Romine Ave
600 Romine Ave
602 Romine Ave
603 Romine Ave
3904 Sarah St
1812 Soles St
3211 Stewart St
2023 Sylvan
2101 Sylvan
2103 Sylvan
2205 Sylvan
2219 Sylvan
1301 Union Ave
1401 Union Ave
1515 Union Ave
1410 Versailles Ave
1411 Versailles Ave
1420 Versailles Ave
2612 Versailles Ave
2804 Versailles Ave
2906 Versailles Ave
3015 Versailles Ave
3019 Versailles Ave
3021 Versailles Ave
3302 Versailles Ave
1337 Walnut St
2508 Walnut St
3018 Walnut St
3201 Walnut St
510 White St
514 White St
515 White St
519 White St
527 1/2 White St
704 White St
706 White St
712 White St
712 White St (REAR)