Pittsburgh Neighborhoods-Shadyside, a photo essay

For something new I thought I would start a  photo series on Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods. While the city doesn’t have the colonial history that my hometown of Philadelphia does, it still has its own unique one. I can’t promise how regular this series will be since it involves me driving around and playing photographer, but hopefully I’ll be able to post a few more before the end of the year. 

I’m beginning with Shadyside, the first ever Pittsburgh neighborhood I lived in. It’s located in the city’s East End section and borders the neighborhoods of Oakland (home to the University of Pittsburgh among other higher ed institutions) and Squirrel Hill, one of the city’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods. It was also where “back in the day” some of Pittsburgh’s most affluent families lived (Andrew Mellon of the Mellon banking name was one). Fifth Avenue, a major thoroughfare that runs through Shadyside was dubbed “Millionaire’s Row” due to the numerous mansions that lined the street. It also is home to many houses of worship including Rodef Shalom Temple that was built in 1906. And last but not least, Shadyside is home to my undergraduate alma mater-Chatham University. You wouldn’t know the campus existed when on Fifth Avenue but once you turn onto Woodland Road, you are surrounded by nothing but vast stretches of greenery and trees. It’s also replete with numerous mansions from times past, many of which were donated to Chatham and today serve as offices and even dormitories; I actually lived in two of them. 

Moreland-Hoffstot House
The Negley-Gwinner-Harter House
Today a “dry unloading station” for cars but more than 100 years ago it’s
where the horse and carriage would have let you off.
Third Presbyterian Church
Howe-Childs Gate House on Chatham’s campus-supposedly the oldest wood frame house in
Pittsburgh and the oldest existing house on Millionaire’s Row. It was built in 1861.
The Julia and James Rea House (built in 1912)-my first ever dorm
Outside the Mellon Center.
Berry Hall-today it serves as the admissions office but prior it was a dormitory. It was built in 1895.
Mellon Center-Andrew Mellon lived here for 20 years. Today it serves a variety of functions including housing the office of the President and other academic personnel as well as the cafeteria. In the basement a bowling alley still stands as well as the pool shell although it was drained when the new gym was built.
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  • Reply
    September 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I lived on Maryland Ave for a year when attending Pitt. Shadyside is still one of my favorite neighborhoods that I have lived in since there were plenty of shopping and restaurants. I especially liked walking down Walnut street or Ellsworth Ave.

  • Reply
    Jo Ann M.
    September 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Nice idea for a series. I wonder how many people just drive by these homes and never really look at them.

    Beautiful photos! I can’t even imagine how much these buildings would cost to build today. The detailing is gorgeous! That’s what is missing from most buildings now, attention to beautiful detail. Lovely mansard roofs!

    Which two did you live in?

    My mom says there used to be a millionaires’ row in Cleveland, Ohio, linking the downtown area with the cultural center, but when the millionaires left the area became run down and unsafe to travel through, cutting off the cultural center from the downtown area. It was a bad planning decision.

  • Reply
    the red headed traveler
    October 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    @Angela-I was so close to Maryland Ave 🙂 It was usually the street I took to cut down to Walnut Street shops and eateries. Shadyside and S. Hill remain my two favorite neighborhoods, mainly due to the awesome restaurants found in both.

    @Jo Ann-Thanks, I hope I’ll keep the series alive by at least showcasing one more neighborhood 🙂 I’m one who had always driven by the houses but never stopped to really look at them. There is actually one former mansion that was renovated and turned into a hotel. I hope to stay there sometime!

    It’s just so easy to imagine that the likes of Carnegie and the Rockefellers walking through any number of these doors!

    I lived in Rea (which I showed here) and another one called Laughlin which was another mansion right next door. If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, I do recommend a drive/walk through the campus. Just beautiful scenery and there’s even an arboretum on the grounds.

    That’s too bad about the former mansions in Cleveland. But yes, when buildings are constructed long term planning is never thought out. Pittsburgh has done a decent job with a lot of preservation I feel.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    January 5, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    You mention something about Pittsburgh not having a colonial past. Maybe you should visit the westend. There is an old tavern that goes back to the revolutionary war. It still is in service today as I believe. Not to mention the old fort, or what may be left, down at the point. Pittsburgh’s past goes back to the French and Indian wars.

    • Reply
      January 6, 2020 at 8:58 am

      Thanks for commenting although let me rephrase that-I mention not having a colonial past in the same degree as well established cities like Philadelphia and Boston were during the 18th century and which were also founded much earlier too. Yes, Pittsburgh was by all accounts, “on the map,” but it was still a colonial outpost during this time, the edge of the frontier if you will.

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