History

Highland Park history goes back to the late 18th century when the area was settled by Alexander Negley and his family. In 1995 & 1996 Mike Staresinic and Clarke Thomas enlisted the help of several others to produce an initial history of the Highland Park Community Club. It exists here as they wrote it. As of late 2007, the Highland Park neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Highland Park Residential Historic District. We have a great deal of information about Highland Park history as the result of research and effort by Mike Evermeyer, a local historian and architect. He has provided his submissions for the National Historic District nomination for inclusion here. Mike's text refers to many photographs which we hope to eventually include along with the text. We also have a sparse timeline of individual events. The timeline is very incomplete--participation in a project to fill out the timelines is welcome.

General:

National Historic District

The Highland Park Residential Historic District is significant because of the presence of a variety of nineteenth- and twentieth-century styles of architecture that reflect the development, growth, and maturity of the neighborhood. The architectural resources of the district are almost entirely residential in use, mostly single-family detached houses and double houses, with a small number of commercial, educational, and religious buildings as well. The period of significance of the district is 1860 until circa 1940. The oldest extant building in the district, the Tim House at 1317 Sheridan Avenue (photograph #1), was built circa 1860, marking the beginning of development in the neighborhood. By 1940, when construction ceased due to the onset of the Second World War, most of the Highland Park Residential Historic District had been built up. Since that time, there has been construction scattered throughout the district that does not reflect the same cohesiveness in architectural style and character shown in the buildings that were built before 1940. [Text adapted from Mike Eversmeyer's final nomination documents for the Highland Park Residential Historic Distict. Mike has given explicit permission for its inclusion on the Highland Park web site.]

General:

Historical Background

The first permanent European settler in Highland Park was Alexander Negley, a German who in 1778 purchased a 278-acre farm along the Allegheny River that he called "Fertile Bottom" and which extended over much of what is now Highland Park north of Bryant Street. His son Jacob married Barbara Winebiddle, the daughter of other local landowners, in 1795, and purchased the 443-acre farm (called "Heth’s Delight") that adjoined his father’s farm to the south and west in 1799. They built a brick house at what is now the corner of Stanton and Negley Avenues in 1808, which became the seat of a substantial land holding when the two farms were combined upon the death of Alexander Negley in 1809. Jacob Negley was one of the most prominent citizens in the early nineteenth century of the East Liberty Valley, the ancient river bottom that lies north of Squirrel Hill in the eastern section of Pittsburgh and provides relief from the generally hilly topography of the city. The earliest highway from the east, the Greensburg & Pittsburgh Turnpike (now Penn Avenue), which followed the line (the Forbes Road) that the British cut during the French and Indian War, ran east-west through the East Liberty Valley. Jacob Negley won the contract to pave a five-mile section of the turnpike between 1813 and 1819. He played a substantial role in the founding of a village in East Liberty, building a steam-powered grist mill on the turnpike in 1816, establishing a bank, and helping to found the East Liberty Presbyterian Church in 1819. His daughter Sara Jane married the lawyer Thomas Mellon, patriarch of the banking family, in 1843. Upon the death of Jacob Negley in 1827, his widow was forced to sell some of his property to pay debts that he incurred during the Panic of 1819. Once the debts were resolved, in 1837, Barbara Winebiddle Negley divided the remainder of the estate among her children. This started the process of subdivision of land in East Liberty and Highland Park that led to the development of those neighborhoods in the later nineteenth century. With the subdivision of the estate, the County Surveyor, Robert Hilands, also laid out the first streets in the Highland Park area. He formally established Negley Avenue along the line of the country lane that connected Penn Avenue with the Negley homestead, laid out Hiland Avenue (named after himself until changed to “Highland” by the City in 1890) as the principal street running north out of the center of the village of East Liberty, and converted the Negleys’ principal east-west "Country Lane" into what is now called Stanton Avenue. In the first half of the nineteenth century, most of the development in the East End of Pittsburgh occurred in the East Liberty section. This growth was spurred on by the construction of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s main line to Pittsburgh through the East Liberty Valley in 1852. By 1868, there was a population of about 5000 in the general vicinity of East Liberty. In that year, the townships east of Pittsburgh (including Pitt Township, which included most of the East End) were annexed by the City of Pittsburgh as part of a campaign of expansion that tripled the size of the city and extended its boundaries south of the Monongahela River. Further transportation improvements followed the incorporation of East Liberty into the city. In 1870, the City Councils passed the Penn Avenue Act, which provided a mechanism for the paving of local streets, and in 1872 horse-drawn streetcar service was extended out of Pittsburgh to East Liberty. In addition, the city Water Commission purchased land and began construction in 1872 of a reservoir on the top of the hill at the head of Hiland Avenue that opened in 1879. The land purchases for the reservoir later provided the germ of the Highland Park landscape park that was founded in 1889. [Text adapted from Mike Eversmeyer's final nomination documents for the Highland Park Residential Historic Distict. Mike has given explicit permission for its inclusion on the Highland Park web site.]

General:

1860 - 1880

The first phase of building in Highland Park began after the Civil War, in response to Pittsburgh’s growth during the war years and to the access provided by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Large country houses and clusters of small suburban dwellings began to appear in the neighborhood around this time. Maps from 1872 show that the Negley family properties between Hiland and Negley Avenues, north to Bryant Street, had been subdivided, and streets laid out there, by this time. Country houses, on substantial lots of ground, were scattered along Highland, Stanton, and Negley Avenues. They marked an escape by the wealthy from the crowding and pollution associated with the city center. The grandest of the few survivors from this period of development is the former King house (called Baywood) at 1251 N. Negley Avenue (photograph #3 and 4), which was originally built in 1869 by William Negley. The house was rebuilt in its current form in 1880 by its then-owner, the glass manufacturer Alexander King, after it was destroyed by fire. Another of the survivors from this period is the John Tim House at 1317 N. Sheridan Avenue (photograph #1), which was built around 1860 for an umbrella manufacturer, and which is probably the oldest extant building in the historic district. A few more-modest suburban houses were also built in the flat lands along the main streets. Most of these houses have been altered over time, but a few, such as 6058 Stanton Avenue (photograph #2), retain their original appearance. The fashionable architectural styles of the 1860s and 1870s were the Italianate and the Second Empire. The Italianate, characterized by arched windows and doors and deep roof overhangs supported by brackets, manifested itself in both elaborate examples (such as 6058 Stanton and 5636 Elgin [photograph #27]) and modest ones (including 5709 Bryant [photograph #28]). The high style of the period, however, was a version of the architecture then fashionable in Paris, the so-called Second Empire style. The Second Empire style in the United States shared many ornamental elements with the Italianate style, but was uniquely characterized by the use of the mansard roof. The King house is the best example in the district, while a less elaborate example, now much altered, can be found at 833 N. Euclid Avenue (photograph #29). [Text adapted from Mike Eversmeyer's final nomination documents for the Highland Park Residential Historic Distict. Mike has given explicit permission for its inclusion on the Highland Park web site.]

General:

1880 - 1900

Later, in the two decades between 1880 and 1900, the infrastructure and amenities that would guide the future development of the neighborhood were put into place. During this period, Pittsburgh became the center of the newly-consolidated iron and steel, glass, and oil industries. The expansion of these industries drew masses on immigrants and other workers to Pittsburgh, more than doubling its population between 1880 and 1990. New industrial plants and the influx of workers put pressure on the older residential neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, at the same time that industrial consolidation and expansion created a class of white-collar administrators who were looking for greater amenities in their living arrangements. The most important event in the development of the city and of the Highland Park Historic District was the electrification of the streetcar system between 1890 and 1896, and the extension of the streetcar lines through the neighborhood to a car barn (no longer in existence) at the corner of Mellon and Bunker Hill Streets. Electric streetcar service cut travel time to the center of the city in half, and the accessibility of the East End of Pittsburgh increased dramatically. Consequently, since middle- and upper-class Pittsburghers could now live comfortably at a distance from their jobs in the center of town, the wholesale residential abandonment of downtown Pittsburgh ensued and residential growth in the East End exploded. Downtown Pittsburgh lost thirty-seven per cent (37%) of its residents in the 1890s, while the population in East End wards increased from 103,000 to 169,000 during the same decade. This explosive growth caused the abrupt development of the Shadyside and Friendship neighborhoods, which lie just to the west and south of Highland Park, as well as the Highland Park district itself. Another major improvement was the founding of Highland Park in 1889, by public works director Edward Bigelow, around the water reservoir that was completed in 1879. In 1898, the park was enhanced by the opening of the Pittsburgh Zoo, a gift of Christopher Magee, a former mayor who headed the streetcar company whose line ended at the park. The Board of Public Education, foreseeing increased growth in the area, built the Romanesque Revival-style Fulton School (photograph #18; already listed in the National Register of Historic Places) on what was then the edge of the developed area in 1893. These developments, along with the perception of the area as a fashionable place to live, laid the foundation for Highland Park’s spectacular growth after 1900. During these decades, a “millionaires’ row” of mansions was constructed along N. Highland Avenue. The building of the mansions shows that the neighborhood was becoming increasingly fashionable at that time. One of these large houses was the home of William Flinn, a contractor and state senator who was one of the bosses of the Republican Party machine in Pittsburgh, at the corner of Highland Avenue and Bunker Hill Street at the entrance to Highland Park. Another was built in 1901 by Alexander Peacock, one of Andrew Carnegie’s steel industry lieutenants, who became a millionaire when Carnegie sold out to U. S. Steel earlier that year. Peacock’s house was called “Rowanlea”; it was designed by the most famous architecture firm in Pittsburgh at the time, Alden & Harlow, and occupied the entire block on the east side of Highland between Jackson and Wellesley. Both of these houses were demolished in the 1920s, but some of the mansions survive, though usually on shrunken lots. The oldest of these survivors was the home of Edward Bigelow at 837 N. Highland, built in 1885 (photograph #6). Others include 931 N. Highland, from 1900 (photograph #7); machine politician Robert Elliott’s house at 935 N. Highland (photograph #8), and the home of Oswald Werner (owner of a laundry and dying business on Bryant Street) at 830 N. Highland (photograph #4), both built in 1891; and the house of foundry owner Newton Hemphill at 1305 N. Highland (photograph #30), constructed in 1899. At the same time, more modest houses were filling out the neighborhood between the main streets, mostly on the level ground between Negley and Highland Avenues. This development was part of the overall growth of East Liberty, which was spurred on by the presence of both the railroad and the streetcar lines that ran out from the center of Pittsburgh. Many of the houses were built on speculation, for rental or sale, often in short rows of identical buildings, such as in the 5600 block of Jackson (photograph #31) and the 800 block of N. St. Clair (photograph #32). The architecture of these last two decades of the 19th century was dominated by the Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque styles. In general terms, the Queen Anne style emphasized the irregular and the picturesque. Typical elements included complex roofs, bays, and turrets; variations in surface materials, especially when shingles were used; and a high degree of ornamentation. The larger houses in the district provide the most elaborate examples of the style, including at 837, 931, and 1300 N. Highland Avenue (the last [photograph #33] displays classical ornaments often found on later Queen Anne buildings) and 5509 (photograph #34) and 5540 Hays Street (photograph #35). The smaller, speculative houses in the 5600 block of Jackson and the 800 block of N. St. Clair are also examples of the Queen Anne. At roughly the same time, the Richardsonian Romanesque style was enjoying a brief period of popularity. Boston architect H. H. Richardson himself introduced this style to Pittsburgh with his design for the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail (1884-1888). The style is characterized by rough stonework, large round arches, squat columns, and medieval ornament. Highland Park has two good examples, both by Pittsburgh architect Frederick Sauer, in large houses at 830 N. Highland Avenue (1891, photograph #4) and 5906 Callowhill Street (1893, photograph #5). Sauer was a prolific if not fashionable German-immigrant architect in Pittsburgh, best known for his designs of ethnic churches throughout the region (including the Polish St. Stanislaus Kostka Church and St. Nicholas Croatian Church). [Text adapted from Mike Eversmeyer's final nomination documents for the Highland Park Residential Historic Distict. Mike has given explicit permission for its inclusion on the Highland Park web site.]

General:

1900 - 1910

The first decade of the 20th century was the time of Highland Park’s most intensive development. The present physical character of the district was established at that time, when about half of all the houses standing west of Highland Avenue were built. Construction was concentrated on the relatively flat streets in the central and western sections of the district, but there was some building in the hilly eastern part as well, particularly on Sheridan Avenue and Heberton Street (south of Bryant Street), the 1300 block of Sheridan, and along De Victor Place. Many of the houses of the 1900-1910 decade were detached single-family houses built by developers on a speculative basis for sale or rental to the families of middle-class office workers of the industrial boom and lesser merchants and store owners. They filled the empty lots between the older houses in the southern half of the neighborhood, and – spurred on by the opening of a new streetcar line on N. Euclid Avenue in 1904 – they were constructed in entire blocks in the flat areas west of N. Highland Avenue. The blocks bounded by Bryant, Portland, Wellesley, and N. Euclid are lined with houses that were built to just a few standard designs, both simple (as in the 5700 block of Wellesley, photograph #36) and more elaborately ornamented (as in the 1100 block of Portland, photograph #23). Baywood Street (photograph #76) and Chislett Street (photograph #77), south of Stanton Avenue and west of Negley Avenue, were also built up at the same time by the same process. One of the most prolific builders was Charles Miller and Co., which built thirty-four houses in the Hampton / Wellesley area, fourteen along Mellon and Portland, and another eight on Baywood Street. Other speculative developers included Daniel Pershing, who was responsible for the 1100 block of Portland, Edward West, and William Wright (a carpenter-turned-contractor who built the houses on Callery Street). These “spec” houses give much of Highland Park, especially the central and western sections, its present-day character. They are usually two-and-one-half stories in height, often four-square in massing, and constructed in a more modest version of the Colonial Revival style than their larger, custom-designed neighbors. They are closely spaced, in order to maximize the return on the developers’ investments, but they are nonetheless set back from the street, providing room for front yards and gardens that give their blocks a spacious and pleasant character. Built before the advent of widespread automobile ownership, they were constructed within an easy walk to the streetcar lines that connected the neighborhood and its residents with East Liberty and downtown Pittsburgh. The hilly eastern section of the district, east of N. Highland Avenue, was less accessible to streetcar and pedestrian traffic, and so experienced less development at this time. At the same time, Highland Park became the home of many of those who became rich in the industrial boom of the period: bankers, industrialists, merchants, developers, and politicians. They built or purchased large houses on the remaining lots along Stanton and Highland Avenues, on Negley Avenue south of Elgin Street, and in the 900 block of Sheridan Avenue. The most impressive of these houses include three at 935-943 N. Negley (1903, photograph #37 and 38), four at 1135-1157 N. Negley (photograph #39 and 40), 5635 Stanton (built in 1900 for steel executive James Scott, photograph #41), 820 N. Highland (from 1908, photograph #9), and 944 Sheridan (1901, photograph #10), all of which are Classical or Colonial Revival in design. The four houses at 1135 through 1157 N. Negley are representative of this group: they were built between 1905 and 1908, and their original owners were the president of an incline company, a tobacco merchant, and two real estate developers. As another sign of the district’s attraction for the wealthy, there was even, briefly (from 1893 to 1903), a golf club in Highland Park. The Highland Golf Club’s nine-hole course was located in the general vicinity of Heberton and Grafton Streets, with the club house located in the Farmhouse in the Park itself. The president of the club was Henry Clay Fownes, president of Midland Steel, who later was the founding president of the Oakmont Country Club. The Highland Park district developed as an almost entirely residential neighborhood, with a predominance of detached single-family houses. The few commercial buildings were concentrated along the streetcar line on Bryant Street (photograph #42), where storefront buildings with apartments above began to crowd out the earlier houses. A particularly fine example of a storefront building, designed with Classical Revival details, is located at 5719 Bryant Street (1911, photograph #17). There were only three churches in the district: the Highland Presbyterian Church, at N. Highland and Wellesley Avenues, built in 1899 and now demolished; the 1901 Second United Presbyterian Church, at Stanton and N. Negley Avenues (photograph #20), now a community center; and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, at Hampton Street and N. Euclid Avenue (photograph #19), constructed between 1906 and 1909 to the design of the architects Carpenter & Crocker and currently still in use for religious purposes. The fact that they were all Presbyterian or Episcopal in denomination is another indication of the high socio-economic status of Highland Park residents at the time. These church buildings were all designed in the Gothic Revival style, which was considered at the time the most appropriate style of architecture for religious properties. Despite the district’s low density at the turn of the century, a handful of three- and four-story apartment buildings – the precursors of an increasing density of development – were constructed during this period. The most visible are the Norfolk, Delaware, and Howard Apartment Buildings built at N. Highland Avenue and Bryant Street in 1901 (photograph #43), and the St. Clair Apartments located at N. St. Clair and Callowhill Streets (1902, photograph #44). Another is the first design in the district by Pittsburgh architect Frederick Scheibler, a three-story flat building in an abstract modern form at 936 Mellon Street (1907, photograph #45). The building boom continued into the beginning of the 20th century as architectural fashions were changing from the picturesque and irregular Queen Anne and Romanesque styles to more formal Classical revival styles. The Colonial Revival was based on American colonial models that were themselves ultimately derived, through England, from Greek and Roman architecture. At the same time, the Tudor Revival style became popular as a counterpoint to the Classical styles. It was loosely based on late medieval English prototypes, informal and picturesque in nature. Most of the buildings built in Highland Park between 1900 and 1910 follow one or the other of these traditions. The Colonial Revival style was the product of a reawakening of interest in early American architecture after the Centennial Exposition of 1876, and was strengthened by the general interest in classical architecture sparked by the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The details were usually classical in origin, as modified by the Georgian and Adam architecture of the colonies, including elaborate doorways and porches with classical pilasters and columns; wide overhangs with dentils and modillions; triangular and broken pediments; Palladian windows and window lintels with keystones. Typical examples of large Colonial Revival houses included the Edward Reineman house at 1145 N. Negley (photograph #39, right side) and the house at 1160 Portland (photograph #46), both constructed in 1906. The Elizabeth Mueller house at 944 Sheridan (1901, photograph #10) is a very elaborate design with exaggerated details. Other designs were high-style adaptations by noted architects, such as the house designed in 1906 by Alden & Harlow for A.E. Niemann of the German National Bank at 1212 N. Negley Avenue (photograph #11). The smaller Colonial Revival houses in the district are typified by the four-square, hipped-roofed buildings lining the 1100 block of Euclid (photograph #47), which were constructed speculatively by City Treasurer D. R. Torrence in 1901. Alden & Harlow was the largest and most fashionable architecture firm in Pittsburgh at the turn of the twentieth century. Its partners had worked for Henry H. Richardson in Boston, and after supervising the construction of his design for the Allegheny County Courthouse (1884-1888) had established themselves in Pittsburgh. Alden & Harlow quickly became the firm of choice for institutions (including the Duquesne Club, the Carnegie Institute, and the Carnegie Libraries), Downtown skyscrapers, and extravagant residences for the industrial and financial elite. Starting in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, Alden & Harlow soon adopted the Classical Revival as its style of choice. In Highland Park, besides the extant Niemann residence, the firm also designed the now-razed Peacock mansion on N. Highland Avenue. Several houses in Highland Park show other aspects of the classical revival. For example, the Anna Goeddel house, 1157 N. Negley Avenue (1906, photograph #40, right side), has the lavish classical ornament of the Beaux Arts style applied to a standard hipped-roof house form. Several buildings, including the Henry Stewart house at 820 N. Highland Avenue (constructed in 1908, photograph #9) and the Andrew Houston house at 5544 Beverly Place (1905, photograph #48), show the revival of interest in Italianate Renaissance models. The use of straightforward but vigorous classical elements can be seen in the 1899 Neo-Classical Newton Hemphill residence, at 1305 N. Highland Avenue (photograph #30). The Tudor Revival style was also a product of an interest in the past, the architecture of medieval England, from which the style was loosely and creatively drawn. Characteristic elements included steeply-pitched, front-facing roof gables, often with decorated vergeboards; decorative half-timbering; multiple wall materials; massive, elaborate chimneys; and tall, narrow windows, often set in groups and glazed with many small panes of glass. The style is generally informal and asymmetrical. It is, however, a peculiarity of early examples that they often have symmetrical facades. The Malcolm Hargrave house at 1151 N. Negley (1905, photograph #40, left side) and the Edward West residence at 1000 Sheridan (built in 1904, photograph #12 and 12A) are examples, each with balanced pairs of projecting bays on its façade. Other substantial Tudor Revival designs are the 1909 rectory at St. Andrew’s Church (photograph #13), at 5801 Hampton, and the Jonathan McDowell house at 923 Heberton (1908, photograph #49). [Text adapted from Mike Eversmeyer's final nomination documents for the Highland Park Residential Historic Distict. Mike has given explicit permission for its inclusion on the Highland Park web site.]

General:

1910 - 1920

The pace of construction slowed in Highland Park after 1910, and nearly halted after the United States entered the Great War in 1917. Much of the easily-accessible land near the streetcar lines had already been filled, and the resulting scarcity of building lots, combined with continuing demand for houses in the district, began to drive the price of land beyond the means of small speculative builders. Most of the buildings constructed in this decade filled in the empty lots left over from the previous years. Small concentrations of these houses can be found in the 1300 block of Sheridan, the 6300 block of Jackson (photograph #50), and the 5600 block of Callowhill (photograph #51). In addition, the first houses were built along the easterly blocks of Jackson Street and Stanton Avenue. Increasing numbers of double houses and flats were constructed (though rowhouses remained rare), marking a shift from mostly single-family, detached houses. However, this is not to say that large single-family houses were no longer built; examples include the houses at 1035 (photograph #52) and 1232 N. Highland (1911, photograph #53). The Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles continued their design dominance, but there was also an infusion of new architectural influences and a willingness to experiment with combinations of stylistic elements. There was an increasing interest in the accurate use of historical precedents in design, which can be seen in the careful use of elements from the Adam (or Federal) style variant of early American architecture in the house at 1035 N. Highland Avenue. A large example of the Tudor Revival style, rendered in brick, was the Dilworth School, built in 1914 at Stanton Avenue and Heberton Street (already listed in the National Register of Historic Places). The primary new influence of the time was the Craftsman style, from California, which was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and by the work of the Greene brothers in Pasadena. This style did not rely on historical models or details, but instead emphasized simplicity, a sense of shelter, the exposure of the structure, and the use of “natural” materials such as shingles and stone. Characteristic details included low-pitched gabled roofs, extending over the front porch; wide, unenclosed eaves and roof overhangs, with the ends of the roof rafters exposed; knee braces; and tapering square porch columns. The best individual example of this style in the district is the Frank Hoffman house at 6320 Jackson Street (photograph #14). However, the Craftsman style usually manifested itself in the Highland Park district as an ornamental influence on buildings of other styles. For instance, 1232 N. Highland is a large Tudor Revival style building of the symmetrical type, built with a Craftsman porch featuring large tapering square columns, a stone base, and exposed rafter ends. [Text adapted from Mike Eversmeyer's final nomination documents for the Highland Park Residential Historic Distict. Mike has given explicit permission for its inclusion on the Highland Park web site.]

General:

1920 - 1940

After the end of World War I and the recession that followed in 1919 and 1920, the Highland Park district experienced its second major building boom. By this time, the automobile had become a common sight on Pittsburgh’s streets, and had opened up for development areas of town that had previously been considered undesirable because of steep hillsides or distance from streetcar lines. Such areas in Highland Park – remote Cordova Road in the western section, the central section rising north of Bryant Street, and much of the hilly eastern part of the neighborhood – became the sites of the most intense construction activity. The 1400 block of N. Euclid (photograph #54), the eastern blocks of Jackson and Stanton (photograph #55), and all of Wellesley Road (photograph #22) and Winterton Street (photograph #56) were built up in the decade after 1920. In addition, the continuing growth of the city increased the pressure on the neighborhood for higher-density development. Double houses became more common, and some small apartment buildings were built, but the primary effect of this pressure was the demolition of large houses and the subdivision of their lots for new houses. Large houses at N. Highland and Stanton Avenues were replaced by closely-built double houses (photograph #57); Thomas Bigelow’s mansion on N. Highland Avenue (across Jackson Street from his brother Edward’s house) was razed to make way for Wayne Road and sixteen houses (photograph #58); forty-one building lots were platted on William Flinn’s property at the entrance to Highland Park (1924), including twenty-three on the new cul-de-sac Greystone Street (photograph #59); and the Morrison estate on N. Highland Avenue was subdivided for the construction of another twenty-three houses along Browning Road (photograph #60). The most spectacular mansion in the neighborhood (that of Alexander Peacock, the “Carnegie millionaire”) was demolished in 1924 and the block – between Jackson and Wellesley, Highland and Farragut – subdivided into building lots for twenty-two smaller houses (photograph #21). In addition, the empty lots on Bryant Court and around the corner of N. Negley Avenue and Callowhill Street (photograph #61) were built up in this period. In all of the increasing density, however, the new construction maintained the established quality and character of the neighborhood. The new housing plans respected the established patterns of the district. The development of cul-de-sac streets provided access into the hearts of large estates and permitted their subdivision into smaller lots for single-family houses. The construction of double houses that looked like large single-family houses allowed them to fit in visually with their older neighbors. Even the apartment buildings from this period shared the height and architectural detailing of the houses around them, so that they did not appear out of place (a number of apartment buildings on Stanton Avenue, in fact, were developed by adding on to and subsuming existing houses – including 5701 and 5721 Stanton [photograph #62]). At the beginning of the decade, the principal means of maintaining the character of a development was by the use of restrictions written into the property deed. Such deed restrictions might require that a building be set back a certain distance from the street, or be used only as a single-family residence, or cost a minimum amount to build. However, in 1923, the City of Pittsburgh adopted its first zoning ordinance, superseding deed restrictions and regulating the use of property and the density of construction. In subsequent years, the zoning regulations had the general effect of maintaining and reinforcing the existing patterns of development in the district. Nonetheless, as Highland Park filled up, and building lots in the district became scarce, the district’s share of the growth of the city’s population declined. Already, in the 1910’s, the growth rate in Highland Park (a 17% increase) was lower than that of the city as whole (23%). By the 1920s, other East End neighborhoods, such as Squirrel Hill, Greenfield, and Homewood, as well as Observatory Hill on the North Side and the South Hills communities south of Mt. Washington, became the foci of new construction and population growth in the region. The onset of the Great Depression after the Crash of 1929 slowed construction in the district, though it did not stop it. Many of the single and double houses built during the 1930s were constructed on the edges of the district (along Stanton Avenue as it curves to the north above Negley Run and approaches the lower entrance to Highland Park [photograph #63], in the blocks bordering Heth’s Avenue) and on cul-de-sacs carved out of large estates (such as much of Greystone Street [photograph #59]). These buildings were generally small and simple in form, often with minimal historical detailing (sometimes only a Colonial frontispiece on an otherwise plain brick façade). During the decade of the 1920s, a few Colonial Revival houses were built – an example being 1010 Heberton Street (photograph #64) – and the Craftsman style continued to influence the design of some buildings, such as the house at 5552 Elgin Street (1924, photograph #65). However, the Tudor Revival and English period architectural styles became dominant in the district. Generally smaller and less formal than the earlier versions of the Tudor style, these houses had brick-veneered exteriors and asymmetrical forms. The roofs were usually steep, and often one side swept down over a door or a porch. The exterior detailing was much sparser and simpler than before, in line with the general simplification of architectural detailing during the Twenties. Good examples are found lining Greystone Street and Wellesley Road (photograph #22), and include individual houses like 1134 N. Sheridan Avenue (photograph #66, with some French Norman influence as well). Another architectural influence became evident during this decade in Mediterranean-styles houses. The Mediterranean influence did not refer to specific historical styles, but made use of ornamental elements derived from Italian and Spanish architecture: red-tiled roofs and round-arched windows and doors, classical columns and cornices, and occasionally stucco walls. Buildings showing this influence appear on both sides of N. Highland Avenue at Hampton Street (photograph #25 and 67). The last major architectural type to be introduced in the 1920s was a very stripped-down vernacular builder house. While these houses, with their steep-gabled roofs modified by large shed dormers and relieved by little or no exterior ornament, are found in the greatest numbers in the easterly blocks of Jackson and Stanton (photograph #68), they can also be found scattered through the rest of the neighborhood. Frederick Scheibler is noteworthy as one of the first Pittsburgh architects to be affected by the progressive architectural movements of the early 20th century. Two of his designs in Highland Park in the 1920s are significant: the Clara Johnston House at 6349 Jackson (1921, photograph #16) and the Alan Klages House at 5525 Beverly Place (1922, photograph #15). These houses show Scheibler’s turn from abstract modern design to the romantic and picturesque, and give a strong sense of shelter through their broad, widely-overhanging roofs. [Text adapted from Mike Eversmeyer's final nomination documents for the Highland Park Residential Historic Distict. Mike has given explicit permission for its inclusion on the Highland Park web site.]

General:

After 1940

The coming of World War II brought an end to building construction in the Highland Park district. After the war, when construction began again, the paucity of building lots constrained the amount of building that could occur in the district. Occasionally an older house or two were demolished to provide room for new buildings, but construction usually took place on the few empty lots scattered across the district and on a small number of large estates that were sold and subdivided during this period. Examples of single-family houses built after the war can be found at 826 N. Highland Avenue (ca. 1950, photograph #69), 6715 Stanton Avenue (ca. 1960, photograph #70), and at the end of Elgin Street near the King Estate (ca. 1960, photograph #71). Much of the construction that took place in the second half of the twentieth century, though, was apartment buildings, which reflected the relatively high land values and continued demand for housing the neighborhood. Highland Park experienced some of the same problems that bedeviled many city neighborhoods after World War Two. The demand for housing for war workers during the war led to the conversion of many houses into apartments, which led to overuse and deterioration of the housing stock in the district. The migration and expansion of Pittsburgh’s poorer African-American population from the Hill District into East Liberty affected the southern section of the neighborhood, especially in the southwestern quadrant, as absentee landlords cut up houses into rental units and abandoned their maintenance. However, neighborhood residents actively resisted these developments through the Highland Park Community Club and the Highland Park Community Development Corporation, ensuring that the district would remain relatively stable and prosperous. Renovation activity returned many rental buildings to single-family use, and the renovation of houses and apartment buildings in the neighborhood had a substantial effect on its appearance in the past two decades. The Negley Park Apartments, on N. Negley Avenue between Hampton and Wellesley, were built around 1948-1949 on the site of the Barnsdale estate (photograph #72). Their style, strangely enough for this late date, is the modernistic Art Deco that had its peak of popularity in the late Twenties and the Thirties (but which apparently was never employed in Highland Park in those decades). The horizontal masses of the brick apartment buildings are interrupted by emphatically vertical ornament at their entrances. Post-war houses can be found on cul-de-sacs such as High Park Place and Sheridan Court (ca. 1950, photograph #73). In addition, new apartment buildings went up on corner lots along Stanton Avenue (such as 5800 Stanton, ca. 1960, photograph #74), and the twenty-two-story Park View Apartments high-rise came to loom over the district after 1961 from the site of the demolished streetcar barn at the corner of Bunker Hill and Mellon Streets (photograph #75). Most of the post-war buildings, whether they are houses or apartment buildings, are simple brick buildings that have little or no stylistic character. However, a few of these newer buildings are representative examples of 20th century modern architectural styles. The house at 826 N. Highland Avenue, for example, was designed in the International style promoted in the 1920s and 1930s by the early Modernist architects, with simple cubic massing, simple square detailing, and aluminum railings. The Park View Apartments high-rise, on the other hand, is a Miesian design, designed by Pittsburgh architect Tasso Katselas. It has a base raised on plain columns (“pilotis”) and gridded glass-and-steel curtain-wall facades that are based on the designs of the mid-twentieth century Modernist master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Whether non-stylistic or Modernist in style, post-war buildings in the Highland Park district contrast with the traditional and historically-derived architectural styles that characterized construction in the district prior to 1940. [Text adapted from Mike Eversmeyer's final nomination documents for the Highland Park Residential Historic Distict. Mike has given explicit permission for its inclusion on the Highland Park web site.]

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Bibliography

Aurand, Martin, The progressive architecture of Frederick G. Scheibler, Jr., Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994. Collins, John F. S., Stringtown on the Pike: Tales and History of East Liberty and the East Liberty Valley of Pennsylvania, Ann Arbor (MI): Edward Brothers, 1966. Floyd, Margaret H., Architecture after Richardson: Regionalism before Modernism – Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow in Boston and Pittsburgh, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. G. M. Hopkins Co., Atlas of the cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and adjoining boroughs, 1872. G. M. Hopkins Co., Plat Book of Pittsburgh, 1904. G. M. Hopkins Co., Plat Book of Pittsburgh, 1939. Jackson, Kenneth T., The crabgrass frontier: the suburbanization of the United States, New Yrok: Oxford University press, 1985. Jucha, Robert J., The anatomy of a streetcar suburb: a development and architectural history of Pittsburgh’s Shadyside district, 1860-1920, Ann Arbor (MI): University Microfilms International, 1981. Kidney, Walter, Landmark Architecture of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 1987. Korbus, Ken, and Jack Consoli, The Pennsy in the Steel City: 150 years of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Pittsburgh, Upper Darby, PA: Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society, 1996. Laviana, Ellen, and Michael Eversmeyer, Highland Park Houses (unpublished paper), 1988. McAlester, Lee and Virginia, Field guide to American houses, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984. [Pittsburgh Board of Trade] Uptown: Greater Pittsburgh’s Classic Section / East End: The World’s Most Beautiful Suburb, Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Board of Trade, 1907. Sanborn Insurance Co., Insurance Maps of Pittsburgh, 1884. Sanborn Insurance Co., Insurance Maps of Pittsburgh, 1893. Sanborn Insurance Co., Insurance Maps of Pittsburgh, 1910. Stewart, Howard, Historical date: Pittsburgh public parks, Pittsburgh: Greater Pittsburgh Parks Association, 1943. Tarr, Joel, Transportation Innovation and Changing Spatial Patterns in Pittsburgh, 1850-1934, Chicago: Public Works Historical Society [n.d.] Toker, Franklin, Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait, State College: Penn State University Press, 1986. Van Trump, James D., Life and Architecture in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 1983.

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History of the Highland Park Community Club (1945 - 1995)

In 1995 Mike Staresinic & Clarke Thomas wrote a history of the Highland Park Community Club documenting the period between the beginning of the club in 1945. The document was written with the help of Knox Motheral, Judi Leract, Mrs. James P. Ifft Jr, Carol Thompson, Jerome C. Shaub, Clarke Thomas, Jean Shafer, Jeanne and Bill Mischler, Barbara Howe, Rochelle Sufrin, Norma Lipscomb, Dr. Joe Rogers Friday, Franklin B. Allison, Peter Parkin, and written records. Clarke provided an addendum with additional points of information through the year 1996. Much work remains to be done to flesh out the history of the Highland Park Community Club. Oral history is a great way to find insight into the lives of the early members and life in the community.

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Early Days of the Highland Park Community Club

In December 1945, the baby boom was a few months pregnant and soldiers began arriving home in the euphoria of World War 11's conclusion. America's great optimism and community spirit that developed during the war was tempered with memories and fears of a return to the depression. On December 10, 1945, fifteen families -- most living within two blocks of the intersection of Heberton Street and Wellesley Road -- formed the Highland Park Community Club in order to provide sports and recreation for their children.

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Highland Park: Origins to 1945

Highland Park has played a role in the development of the nation since the first settler arrived in 1778. Early nineteenth century farms and estates were divided into lots for suburban development following the civil war. Pittsburgh boomed as a center of industry, and Highland Park filled with elegant homes of prosperous merchants, business owners, and factory managers. By the early 1890s, nearly one million dollars per year was going into home construction in the old nineteenth ward of Highland Park and part of East Liberty. The Highland Park, the Highland Park Zoo, the reservoir, streetlights and trolleys brought improvements associated with a city's industrial success. In the early twentieth century, more homes were built between on remaining open land. People filled the neighborhood as estates were further divided and many large homes demolished for residential development.

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Club Beginnings

Thus, when the Highland Park Community Club was formed in late 1945, Highland Park was a mature community of the prosperous east end. Driving around the neighborhood, one would see most of the homes and commercial buildings seen today. There were lots of families and children. With the end of the war, people stopped working Saturdays and found themselves with leisure time. From the club's purpose, "To associate the families of the community in sponsoring and directing social and athletic activities for the boys and girls of the neighborhood," sprang a record of consistency and flexibility. Swimming and summer day camp have been held each year since 1947, while the club has evolved to tackle civic issues, housing and neighborhood development. The first meeting was held on January 9, 1946, at the red-brick home of first president Murray V. Johnston, 967 Wellesley Road. The home of Dr. E. Ray Robb at 1206 Heberton was the club's first address. He had two teenage children, a boy and girl. Robb's family dentistry was in the highrise People's East End Building at the corner of Penn and Highland. The club immediately launched neighborhood basketball, baseball and football teams and chose club colors of green and red. Having endured four years of not much more than jeeps and tanks coming out of Detroit, people snapped up raffle tickets for an air-conditioned new car with an automatic transmission, and the club's activities kicked off with two thousand dollars. The founding members nurtured the club out of love for their children, and quickly backed it with organizational skill and energy, reaching out to recruit members down to Cordova Road. Families tended to join if they had small children. And in just a little over a year, membership swelled from the original fifteen families to one hundred and ninety.

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Youth Activities

The club's quick community acceptance and growth came largely from the success of its boys' midget, junior and pony league baseball teams. As Franklin B. "Herky" Allison remembers, We had always played ball at the caddy grounds. It was great because no parents came around. Teenagers were more or less left on our own. There was no such thing as little league in those days. And when we felt like taking a break, we just sat down. Well, we were primed for it -- I was fifteen or sixteen when the club started. One day, all these fathers show up, with pads, uniforms, all the best equipment. And they coached us. Before you know it, we're doing pushups, sit ups, and playing real baseball. Our coaches. were great. They all knew the game, strategy, skills, and how to practice. They took kids used to goofing around in dungarees - remember, a lot of us kids were not big enough or good enough for the school teams, so we never had the chance to play organized sports - we learned discipline and we found out what it's like to be part of a team. In 1948, the midget team won jackets by winning the Salvation Army League. Coaches James P. Ifft Jr. led the boys to winning records in the '40s and '50s. The first uniforms were simple: a red shirt with no lettering and a cap. Baseball was a mainstay of the club for twenty-two years. In the 1950s heyday of neighborhood teams, Branch Rickey of the Pirates sent scouts and personnel to teach and encourage young players. Coach Tom McDowell Sr. taught his sons Tom and Sam -- Sam went on to become a phenom in the major leagues, leading the American League in strikeouts -- the basics of pitching in the club's little league. To open the 1961 season, Pirates announcing legend Bob Prince, waving from an open car, led eighty players from six teams, two ponies, and the Peabody High marching band, escorted by police and fire engines in a parade from Peabody to home plate at the Highland Park Caddy Grounds. When Jerry Shaub led the team in the early sixties, there were fewer children in the neighborhood, so the team was expanded to include children from the blocks of East Liberty right around Peabody field, and the club ran three teams with a total of sixty children. Russell V. Davis is remembered as an excellent football coach. Davis was short, bald, funny, and a no-nonsense coach who knew the sport, rules, and techniques. He had been a coach at Shadyside Academy, and had two sons who played on the team. In the 1946 season, good, affordable football uniforms were hard to come by, a lingering effect of war production shortages. So the team played with only three uniforms. Players felt lucky to be learning the sport, but parents were concerned about injuries, and the team lasted just a few seasons. Basketball, played in the basement of East Liberty Presbyterian Church and Peabody High's old cat-box gym, was a popular activity from 1946 until 1961. Dale Armstrong, a student at Shadyside Academy, was the first basketball coach. He went on to be a Dartmouth football star, was drafted into the NFL and played for the Philadelphia Eagles as a defensive end. Norm Frye, the baseball and basketball coach whose career at Peabody spanned five decades, coached the boys for several autumns in the 1950s. Girls learned ballet, tap, and acrobatic dance at Saint Andrew's from Genevieve Jones, a dancer with a reputation in ballet. She was a tall, slim, striking young woman with dark hair pulled back in a tight bun. Girls also went to the Fairgrieves dancing school on the corner of Penn and Shady Ave in East Liberty. Ruth Fairgrieves was an exacting teacher. She also taught ballroom dance, and wasted no time with tittering teens, matching partners by lining up girls on one side, boys on the other, and marching them to the center of the floor. The club sponsored whatever people wanted -- roller skating, ice skating, bowling, dancing school, charm school, tennis lessons, cub scouts and brownies. Consistency and flexibility have served the club well; when an activity started to wane, it was dropped, and new activities put in. But two popular activities have stood the test of time -- swimming and summer day camp -- and been around since the club started. "Family swim" meant separate swims for males and females in the late 1940s. That adds up to around two-thousand Friday night swimming sessions at Peabody High, now in its fiftieth vear. Summer play school was initiated in 1947 by Mrs. Doris Ifft, a gifted teacher who grew up on the North Side and graduated from Ohio University. Sitting on benches placed around the porch, children started the day with an opening prayer, song, and flag salute, singing ditties such as: "I say 'yoo-hoo yoo-hoo yoo-hoo' to you, and you say 'yoo-hoo yoo-hoo' to me. I throw up my window, pop out my head, and say 'yoo-hoo yoo-hoo yoo-hoo' to you ... ' Following morning exercises, they were divided into two age groups. One group went to art class, the other to music and games. After a milk and cookie break, the age groups switched places. Over the years the program grew, and Mrs. Ifft managed it while hiring artists to teach and college students to assist. The program has been held at both Saint Andrew's and the farmhouse ever since. Mrs. Ifft retired from teaching in the 1950s and continued volunteer teaching. She presently teaches preschoolers to read. Members remember that when children are involved, parents pull together and a sense of community takes hold. It was unique, then and now, for an urban neighborhood to possess such cohesiveness and run programs that pull families together.

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Those Darn Teenagers

Teens throughout history, from leading riots in Ancient Rome up to the present day, remain the most finicky special-interest group in communities. The HPCC sponsored Young People's Friday Night Dances and Square Dance at Saint Andrew's Church. These were a hit, but soon faded. Dances were again tried with a hired caller spinning records. Teens were more likely to wander off and think up their own entertainment than to take direction from adults. As the sun set at the annual picnic in North Park and parents square-danced on the top floor of the lodge, teens went for a walk down to the swings or climbed the spiral staircase of the observation tower and looked out over the park. A stolen kiss at the top of the tower ranked higher than a victory in the flour sack race. The longest sentence in club records is about teens -- seventy-six words with no form of punctuation to allow for inhaling: "...four LP records dealing with the matter of instructions by parents to their children of sex problems were donated to the club and while the records are not intended for young persons it was suggested they be passed around among the Directors and after they had heard it played individually the question of whether it should be made available to other parents who are members of the club might be discussed." The board has not yet voted whether to use those 1955 LPs.

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Family and Adult Activities

Capitalizing on the success of the midget baseball team and what Mayor David L. Lawrence called President Johnson's "remarkable steamroller tactics," the club's first annual meeting attracted over three hundred people to East Liberty Presbyterian Church in January, 1947. The annual family dinner at the church was a mainstay well into the 1960s. Actor and Pittsburgh celebrity Rege Cordic was master of ceremonies one year. Children enrolled in the club's classes and four Cub Scout dens enjoyed the chance to put on dance costumes and entertain the filled church hall. Hired performers such as "The Incomparable Master of Sleight of Hand -- Dick Staub!" received reviews ranging from marvelous to miserable; all have faded into obscurity. An annual semi-formal dinner dance was held at places like the Churchhill Country Club, the Long Vue, Oakmont, and the Field Club. The Stanton Heights Golf Club was used until it closed in 1956. Over the years, couples jitterbugged and fox trotted to the music of the The Homer Oschenhirt Orchestra, D. Bartini, Harry Baker Orchestra, Benny Benack, and Johnny Fitz and his four-piece orchestra. This event lasted until the late 1960s when the genre of ballroom dancing faded. Winter was busy in the club. In the early 1950s, Fred Parkin came up with the idea to burn Christmas trees on Twelfth Night. Over two thousand people came to the first burning. Several annual burnings attracted crowds of ten thousand to the open space, now called Pool Grove, across from Lake Carnegie in Highland Park. It was like a fun Fourth of July in January, with hot chocolate. It grew so big that a crane was needed to build the pile of trees. One year, vandals struck a match a few days before the official burning. A hue and cry went up for more trees. Parkin scoured the neighborhood for remaining trees and loaded them up in the family car. His son Pete got rope burns trying to hang on to the overloaded vehicle. The mayor asked Parkin to conduct a Twelfth Night tree burning for the entire city, on the then-bulldozed area of the lower hill that was to become the Civic Arena. It was a huge success, but there was so much smoke, city council outlawed tree burning in Pittsburgh. Fred Parkin was so extroverted in his activities, his motto might have been, "Have so much fun that they have to legislate against it." Lake Carnegie was a busy place for ice skaters. Horses stabled at the Caddy Grounds barn pulled a plow across the ice to clear it of snow. If the ice was thick enough for horses, nobody worried about skating. From time to time, the fire department flooded the surface with a little water to make the ice smooth. Hockey games were played in the afternoon, and the lake was the place to meet in the evenings. Some winter fun needs no planning. Before the concrete wall was installed below the farmhouse, it was a straight shot for sledders from the top of the hill above the farmhouse, all the way down to the lake. Starting at the top of Heberton Street, sledders had a great ride all the way to Stanton Avenue, where they scattered coal furnace ashes to keep them from going into traffic. The club had a strong connection with East Liberty. Girls walked from school at Sacred Heart to the Fairgrieves studio for dancing. It was on the second floor of a building next to Bolan Candies' previous location. There is now a Giant Eagle parking lot on the site. Students walked from Peabody to the East Liberty Presbyterian Church for the club's bowling leagues. Adults bowled at Crookston's alleys on Broad Street. Many members worked in East Liberty. Doctors had practices there and lived in Highland Park. There were five movie theatres and a skating rink. East Liberty and downtown were Pittsburgh's main shopping and entertainment areas. Teens coming home from school in October 1960 jumped off the trolley to watch Bill Mazeroski's series-winning home run in the window of May Stern department store on the corner of Penn and Highland. Perhaps the East Liberty renewal project in the 1960s is the biggest thing to happen in Highland Park since the club started. In the 1960s, the Highland Park Community Club adjusted to changes in Pittsburgh and the country. Simultaneously, the number of children in the neighborhood declined sharply. Added to the club's purpose were "civic, cultural, and social activities for community improvement." The club changed with the times, and its focus on recreation evolved to include to overall quality of life.

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Diversity

Census tracts reveal a long history of diverse people living as neighbors along the streets behind the Highland Avenue homes of prominent residents like Henry Phipps, Edward M. Bigelow and Dr. Benjamin Peabody. In 1910, a Russian-born, Yiddish-speaking grocer, six Syrian and Austro-German men, and nine Irish boarders lived on the same block. The "country of origin" column in the 1920 census reads like a geography book. Halfway through the century, a rabbi, Pakistani, Syrian, Chinese, and Korean families lived as neighbors around one block of Winterton Street. There were many Italian, Irish and Jewish families. In the club's tenth year, president Richard W. Friday noted that "although twenty percent of residents of Weberton and Winterton Streets are Jewish, they are insufficiently represented in the club" and suggested that the club should be made more inclusive. People of all faiths mixed in the club. The neighborhood had children in numerous schools -- Sacred Heart and Central Catholic, Fulton and Peabody, Shadyside Academy, Hillel, Winchester-Thurston, and others -- and at the end of the day, "We all played release together. The club brought all the kids together. And frankly, it didn't matter who you were, what religion you were, what school you went to, or what country you were from." In those days (1950s) the sister of jazz crooner Billy Eckstine may have been the only African-American residing in the neighborhood. Nothing in the club's charter was racially exclusive, yet the notion of "applying," under the sponsorship of a current member, could be used to keep people out. This crumbled, however, on an African-American family's second attempt at joining in 1961. The family's first check was returned with no explanation, save the word stamped, "REJECTED." Some members objected to this exclusion, and the decision was reversed.

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Women as Members

The Highland Park Community Club was founded as a family organization by men at a time when a family was considered to be led by the husband. Very few women were working. Thus, a family membership meant that it was listed in the husband's name. Annual fees were paid by him. This was reflected in the charter for the club's first twenty-four years. But women played key roles in all of the club's activities. The Highland Park Community Club's Ladies Auxiliary played a key role in fundraising, raffling a twelve-and-a-half inch Sylvania television set (television was a new luxury item for most families in 1949 and had the power to cut short a board meeting), raising $2,000 for baseball. Women hosted elegantly catered board meetings that were often followed by "music of unique quality" on the squeeze box of John Ballard and parties that lasted past midnight. The Auxiliary hosted bridge parties and other social events just for women. One activity that hasn't been seen at neighborhood picnics for some years is the rolling pin toss. Exclusion from membership yielded an odd benefit for some women: since they were not members, they could be paid for their efforts. Members volunteered their time, while recording secretaries like Mrs. Betty Finch -- usually the spouse of a board member - could be hired and paid three-hundred dollars; men volunteered to coach the boys' sports teams, while dance instructors Genevieve Jones and Miss Ruth Fairgrieves were paid $450 for teaching dance. Summer play school helpers, mostly female college students, were also paid. A rewrite of bylaws initiated in 1968 removed "male," and "heads of household'' from membership requirements. Women were admitted as full and equal members in 1970. This inclusion resulted from necessity. Declining numbers of children had seen baseball, an activity that built community, dropped by the club. Women were running more and more activities as men began to lose interest. Jeanne Mischler and Margo Reynolds were the first female board members. When they were asked to be President and Vice President, Margo convinced Jean that they should decline. "For two women to be running the club, that would've been the end of the men's participation. So we declined, in order to keep them involved." In 1980, Maureen Cato became the first woman president of the club.

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1996 Addendum by Clarke Thomas

"Your decision to live in Highland Park was influenced by many factors--affordable housing, convenient transportation, the variety of shopping areas close by and the choice of a number of excellent school systems--to name a few. I would like to point out that community involvement will reinforce that decision. Come to one of our meetings ... become involved in your neighorhood-- prove to yourself that you made the right choice." -- Maureen D. Cato, president in 1980 and 1985. That exhortation to Highland Park residents in a 1985 Club newsletter by the Club's president that year encapsulates many of the elements that have made and kept the Highland Park community vibrant from its early years--as already described by Michael Staresinic--and up to the present. But even from the socializing characteristics of its early days. the Highland Park Community Club had two continuing emphases. One was on programs for families and children, with the summer Day Camp as detailed by Staresinic an especial example. The other was on keeping careful watch for attempted infractions of the zoning code, with lawyers and laypersons in the Club putting in countless hours at City Zoning Board of Adjustment hearings to help maintain the residential quality of Highland Park. The focus of the latter has been on halting property-owners from changing single- and two-family residences to apartments. But it also has been on making sure that Highland Park is not saturated with group homes beyond its fair share. Some group homes, such as the Horizon Home and the Vintage House, overcame initial resistance and now have fitted into the community well. Still remembered, however, are such battles as those to block the settling of a Hare Krishna group in the neighborhood. Recently, the Club received an award from The Observer, a Lawrenceville-based citywide newspaper covering neighborhood news, for its study showing that neither the city nor the county had any plans for dispersing group homes away from currently heavily impacted neighborhoods. The Club has achieved a name in Pennsylvania legal history with the case of Highland Park Community Club vs. Holzapfel. The matter arose in 1982 when two lawyers, the late Blair Crawford and Dell Ziegler, were representing the Club on a pro bono basis identify and pursue absent-landlord zoning violators. Crawford identified one owner who had six units in an old house on Wellesley Ave., zoned R-2. Unfortunately, the City had erroneously given an Occupancy Permit for six units in 1979. Crawford filed a petition to revoke the Occupancy Permit, which led to a Zoning Board hearing. One of the landlord's options was to claim a "vested right" to his Occupancy Permit, even though it had been issued in error. The Club contended that the landlord failed to meet at least four of the five parts of a rigorous, legally prescribed test. The Club lost repeatedly--at the Zoning Board and in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, where the judge was Nicholas Papadakos. By this time, Ziegler had taken over. He filed an appeal to the state Commonwealth Court, which came down with a strong decision sustaining the Club's position. The landlord was not done; he appealed to the state Supreme Court. There were some touchy aspects at that point, including the fact that Papadakos in the meantime had been elected to the high court. But the court in a 5-2 decision in March, 1986 held that the landlord had no "vested right" to the six units and had to reduce occupancy to two units. This landmark decision has been highly useful to neighborhood groups across the state who can cite the Highland Park Community Club case in battling landlord zoning violators. Club leaders say that their efforts are respected in city government because they do their homework, whether it be on zoning or public safety or park and street repairs. "We aren't ranters and ravers; we come in with specific proposals and alternatives," one past president explained. Considering the proactive endeavors of the Club in recent years, many will be surprised to realize that in its early years it centered on the social, something deemed essential at the time as the way to foster a community spirit. That has changed in recent decades as younger families have moved into the neighborhood and sought a larger role for the organization. At one time, the Club was run by white professional males, with women delegated to roles outside those of governance. Some people hesitated to seek to join, believing that people without college degrees weren't welcome. Dinner dances were the centerpiece of Club activities, along with bridge parties and family dinners to provide funding for such activities as the Day Camp. That model began to change in the mid-1960s when by a close vote of the board of directors an African-American family was allowed to join. The family's children wanted to join with their neighbor pals in attending the Day Camp--something restricted to members of the Club--hence the bid for entrance. (The Club has always had members from many parts of the city who join in order for their children to attend the Day Camp.) By the mid-1970s, women were allowed on the board for the first time--Margo Reynolds and Jeanne Mischler being the trailblazers. Then in 1980 Maureen Cato became the first woman president with Sue Terpack the second. The third woman to be elected president, Bernadine Harrity, is now in her second term. As the 1980s came along, there was a realization that the Club needed to widen its scope to work more closely with public safety officials, with zoning officials and with East Liberty Development Inc. Time was when Highland Park was glad to be identified with East Liberty. But after that shopping was ringed off by Penn Circle with a concurrent decline as a mercantile center, Highland Park sought to separate itself. But there were too many interrelated concerns that could not go unattended. Younger families moving into the neighborhood thought the emphasis on such things as dinner dances was "frivolous," casting aside the arguments that for many of the longtime residents these affairs were a place to recognize hard work by volunteers. At the time, there even were occasional debates on changing the name of the organization to move away from the connotations of the word "club." Out of this mix came a plethora of activities, which over the years since increased membership to 480 families from 200. One was the inauguration of house tours, a major tool for fundraising and for publicizing citywide the attributes of Highland Park. Another was the Highland Fling, a one-day arts, entertainment, food festival at the entrance to the Highland Park upper reservoir, the first such neighborhood fair to feature a hot-air balloon. Still another endeavor was a Block Watch organization. And when a drug problem occurred in one particular area, the Club formed a patrol under U-CAN, the citywide United Citizens Against Narcotics, to replace a negative impact with a positive presence until that situation abated. The patrol continues as a random operation. Long before the citywide Bag-a-Thon program developed, Highland Park citizens held days to clean up the park. A major endeavor along that line was planting flowers and shrubs not only in the park but on vacant lots and near appropriate buildings throughout the neighborhood. Highland Park now has an annual Halloween Parade for children. And numerous streets hold annual block parties, Sheridan north of Grafton and Callery being but two examples. Not every effort has succeeded. About 1980, the Club spent over a year in meetings with the City Parks and Recreation Department seeking to create a vehicle-free area in the Park for roller-skaters, bikers, and walkers and to eliminate the "LeMans" circular drive around the Upper Reservoir so attractive to teenage speeders and "cruisers." The City finally agreed to separate a small 300-yard stretch of the Upper Reservoir Drive from vehicles, with two-way traffic on the remaining road. It proved to be a good idea whose idea had not come. Opposition from motorists quickly arose, with no punches pulled. "Elitist act" was about the kindest phrase thrown at the Club. Eventually, the City relented and restored the vehicle traffic patterns to their former status. More successful were moves to have the city install two permanent paths needed for Highland Park facilities. One was a sidewalk around the horseshoe bend near the Pittsburgh Zoo to avoid "an accident waiting to happen" for families forced to walk on the street to reach the Zoo. That eventually was accomplished by formally putting the City on notice that it would be liable for an accident there, something that might cost more in lawsuit damages than building a sidewalk. The other pathway move was an ultimately successful effort to have the city in 1985 install a walking-jogging path of crushed slag around the Upper Reservoir, replacing a dirt path that was an ugly rut in dry weather and mud in wet. Although a city maintenance official predicted that no one would use it, the path was an immediate success. The community has continued to interact with its public schools -- Fulton Elementary and Peabody High. Example: The Club recently donated $500 for books for Fulton, which now is the Fulton Academy of Geographic and Life Sciences. Another example: The Club has particularly supported the award-winning writing program at Peabody, which has a Public Safety magnet and a Scholars program. The Club has an arrangement with Peabody for an adult swimming night there. In 1996, the Club has become caught up in the controversy over the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education's plan to return to neighborhood schools. The Club's board backed the plan, but with the important caveat that the entire neighborhood be included for elementary school purposes, rather than split as in the distant past between Fulton and Dilworth schools. Disagreement has arisen from those who fear a return of the Pittsburgh system to greater segregation, as well as from those whose children are bused to magnet schools and are afraid of losing that alternative. A landmark Club project that caught the fancy of the entire city was the construction of the Superplayground in the park. Accomplished, after elaborate planning, in just a few days with labor from a host of volunteers from Highland Park and even from elsewhere, it has become a major source of pride for the community. The neighborhood also has been involved in trying to save the open-pool aspect of the Upper Reservoir in Highland Park. To meet new clean-water requirements, city officials contend they need to cover the reservoir pool. The Community Club hopes to find solutions other than obliterating the esthetic qualities of a popular site for health-conscious walkers as well as for casual strollers. Concerned about word from newcomers that some real estate firms were painting a negative picture about Highland Park, the Club held a reception for agents to present a different picture. One telling argument was the number of civic-minded, energetic families who had moved into Highland Park despite discouraging words. Certain real estate salespersons are now the strongest proponents of all for the neighborhood with its gracious homes exhibiting the interior craftsmanship of a bygone era. There is a general consensus that the annual house tours have been valuable in overcoming incorrect images, with examples of persons coming on tours who later bought a.home in the community. (Incidentally, some oldtimers smile at the way that the house-tour volunteer groups have taken on an aspect of the "socializing" that was scorned a dozen years ago. There's nothing like a party when people have worked hard on a project together!) Highland Park's attractiveness has been enhanced recently by the opening of two topflight restaurants on Bryant Street. Nina's, located in the building that once housed the Chariot Restaurant, has received a rave review in Pittsburgh Magazine. Flora's also has made a successful start with soldout evenings on weekends. A recent Highland Park asset has been the development of a Community Development Corporation (CDC), incorporated in 1993. While not yet among the dozen or so well-endowed, professionally staffed CDCs in Pittsburgh, it has purchased properties on Mellon and on Stanton for residential occupancy. Tom Dickson is current president of the CDC. A comment by ex-president Maureen D. Cato exemplifies the Highland Park Community club spirit of yesterday, today and tomorrow: "We may disagree on lots of things, people may not like me or somebody else involved. But when something needs to be done for the community, we all pull together, we all work together to make it happen. That's what has made and kept Highland Park what it is."

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Presidents of the Highland Park Community Club

The stories of people's lives -- a good portion of any history -- take on a larger dimension in community affairs. The club's fifty-year record of achievement springs largely from the efforts of individuals who take on responsibility for making things happen. The Highland Park Community Club's founders were professionals and businessmen -- family doctors, surgeons, plumbers, physicists, bakers and bankers -- interested in their families. They knew how to get things done, knew how to throw a good party, and believed in bringing the community together.

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Murray V. Johnston (1946 & 1947)

Murray Johnston, first president of the Highland Park Community Club, is remembered as a caring, unselfish man. He was interested in everybody, and would rather hear about other people than talk about himself. You could tell Johnston a fact about yourself, not see him for years, and he would remember everything you told him. He cultivated an attitude of being open to criticism and feedback that helped the community club grow by tenfold in its first year. Johnston and his family moved to Highland Park in 1940 after finishing nine years of night classes, earning a business administration degree at the University of Pittsburgh. He came up with the idea of a community club simply to help his wife, who had her hands full with twin boys and a daughter. Johnston became Vice President in charge of credit for Gulf Oil. When the company moved his department to Houston around 1960, he tried it out but soon took early retirement and returned to the family's home on Wellesley Road. A busy man who was always making things happen, Johnston worked tirelessly in fundraising for Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, receiving an award and medal on a visit from the dean of GSPIA while hospitalized. He is credited with starting a Block Watch program that was used as a model for block watches throughout the country. He was chairman of fundraising for the March of Dimes and was an elder in the East Liberty Presbyterian Church .

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William H. McKenna (1948 & 1949)

Between the families of William McKenna, second President of the Highland Park Community Club, and his brother, Frank McKenna, were sixteen children in club activities. William McKenna had twelve children and was President of Hanlon Gregory Galvanizing Company.

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James P. Ifft Jr. (1950)

James P. Ifft Jr., third President of the Highland Park Community Club, is remembered as a wonderful man, a tremendous fellow with an open mind and a life filled with accomplishment. Before he was president of the club, he coached the pony and little league baseball teams. Ifft was born in the Hill District and graduated from Schenley High, the University of Pittsburgh, and Pitt Law School. He was an attorney and solicitorfor Columbia Savings Bank, one of the few banks reaching out to minorities inthe '30s and '40s. Ifft made it his lifelong legal practice to help black businesses get loans. He reached out to help black families get home mortgages. This ability to connect and help people originated from the extraordinary mix of people Ifft knew and played with as a boy. He loved growing up on the Hill and talking about the Hill's famous personalities spread around the country in sports, entertainment, and politics. Its mix of people influenced him for the rest of his life. He was able to make life-long friends in all communities, and loved to bring people together. Ifft was dedicated to city life as a way of learning about life. He never wanted to have anything to do with the growing suburbs, and chided people, "What are you ever going to learn about life and people out there?" He was also an athlete, playing baseball for the Reinecker Club at Center Avenue and Craig Street in North Oakland, next to the Luna. They were serious ballplayers that played against the Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords, and other well-organized club teams.

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Harry K. Voelp, Jr. (1951 & 1952)

Harry K. Voelp, Jr., fourth President of the Highland Park Community Club, owned an advertising firm, lived on Greystone Drive before moving to a large house on Heberton Street at top of Hampton Avenue. Harry and Bertie Voelp raised five children in the neighborhood.

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Frederick H. Parkin (1953)

Fred Parkin, fifth President of the Highland Park Community Club, was an extroverted man who loved microphones, podiums, and parties. At the club's annual picnics, Parkin arranged for the bullhorn rental from the Glo Radio company. Announcing electic mixer and travel iron raffle winners at the annual family picnic at North Park was simply another chance to get behind the bullhorn. Parkin was the organizational force behind twelfth-night burnings until city passed a law against it. He was so extroverted in his activities, his motto might have been, "Have so much fun that they have to legislate against it." Parkin's brother Bill was also a club member, and the exact opposite of Fred. As much as Fred was extroverted, Bill was introverted. Fred and Bill were born and grew up in the house that their grandfather owned on the northwest corner of Hampton and Negley Avenues. Their great-grandfather Charles Parkin immigrated to the United States and started Parkin Manufacturing in 1880, which continues as the family-run Parkin Chemical Company in Lawrenceville. Fred Parkin attended Fulton School, Shadyside Academy, and Princeton University. He joined the army and served four years of combat duty as a highly-decorated captain of a tank destroyer unit in North Africa and Europe. When he was thrown off a German tank, he received a bruise to his back and came home for one month's medical leave. While he was in the VA hospital came one of the high points of his life: the war in Europe ended. Parkin started his post-war life with his wife and newborn son by moving to Wayne Road and going to work for his father in 1946. Over the next three decades, the two brothers successfully transformed the company from a steel and forging company into a chemical company specializing in industrial corrosion inhibitors. As a member of the Lion's Club, and President of University Club in Oakland, Parkin believed strongly in America, community and service. As a leader of the Highland Park Community Club, Parkin ran the four dens of Cub Scout Pack 17. Whether leading boys across the Highland Park Bridge for a weekend camp at Guyasuta in Aspinwall or leading the club's social events from behind a microphone, Parkin is remembered as a person who made everything he was involved in a lot of fun.

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Franklin H. Allison (1954 & 1955)

Franklin H. Allison Jr., sixth President of the Highland Park Community Club, was a brilliant metallurgist known worldwide for his innovations in cold rolling mills. He served as president of the Carnegie Tech Alumni Association, had a sharp sense of humor and knew five-hundred limericks by heart. He listened to his favorite opera music with the doors of his house flung wide for everybody on Winterton street to hear. Allison was born in 1902 in Oakland, went to Schenley High and received a degree in metallurgy from Carnegie Tech. He then went to Sheffield University in England, for his PhD in Metallurgy. At that time it was an uncommon field of study; in the United States, only the Massachussetts Institute of Technology offered a metalurgy Ph.D. Allison went to work for Crucible Steel in 1927. When the depression came along in 1929, he got married, lost his job and had a son. He got a job at United Engineering and Foundry in Vandergrift, stayed through World War II and became chief metallurgist. Rolled metal was on the frontiers of science, and Allison created heating methods and alloys that prevent cracking as an inch-thick slab of steel is processed through five stages of rolling, emerging as a thin sheet to be used for things like vehicle doors and hoods. The depression and war strongly influenced Allison and many other Americans in his situation. As one of three children in a wealthy family, they had everything in the twenties; in the thirties, they had nothing. By the 1940s, they were old enough to miss the draft. During the war, they were busy again, working very hard on production for the war. United Engineering, like most mills, was running full tilt producing machinery for the navy. Emerging from the war, the Allisons were very sociable and loved to throw parties, have picnics and use any excuse for a get-together.

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Richard W. Friday (1956)

Dick Friday, seventh President of the Highland Park Community Club, was an active, innovative, extremely inquisitive man who lived in Highland Park for over four decades. Dick and his brother John "J.R." Friday, younger by a year, were born on Avondale Place. When when Dick was three, their mother died and their father took J.R. and Dick over to the 200 block of South Aiken Avenue where they were raised by extended family, four doors down from David L. Lawrence. They attended Saint Paul's Cathedral School, Central Catholic and the University of Pittsburgh. Dick'and his wife Keith lived in the family's Aiken Avenue home before buying a home across from Murray Johnston on Wellesley Road. When Dick was the club's recording secretary, one board meeting was adjourned early when Keith went into labor with one of their eight children. Dick brought his active, innovative mind to the Highland Park Community Club, always doing something special in holidays. He is credited with starting the club's holiday decorating contest and securing gift certificates at Mansmann's department store for winners.

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Timeline

This simple timeline highlights some of the significant events in Highland Park history.

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18th Century

This is a placeholder for the history text about the 18th century in Highland Park

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1778

Alexander Negley and his family settled in the areas we now know as "Highland Park" and "East Liberty". The Negleys called their land "Fertile Bottom".

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19th Century

This is a placeholder for the history text about the 19th century in Highland Park

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1819

The Farmhouse near present-day Heberton Street at Grafton Street was probably built around this time.

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1837

The Negleys' land holdings were subdivided by county surveyor Robert Hiland. He gave his own name to Hiland Avenue (now "Highland Avenue").

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1868

The City of Pittsburgh annexed areas including those we now know as "Highland Park" and "East Liberty".

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1879

The reservoir at the top of Hiland Avenue (now "Highland Park Reservoir No. 1" and "Highland Avenue") began operation.

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1890

The spelling of "Hiland" (Avenue) was changed to "Highland". In the following year, the name "Pittsburgh" was officially changed to "Pittsburg" in an attempt to standardize the spellings of place names across the country. The name was officially changed back to "Pittsburgh" in 1911.

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1893

Highland Park opened as a city park, thanks primarily to Edward Bigelow, Pittsburgh Director of Public Works. Fulton Academy (now Fulton Academy of Geographic and Life Sciences) on Mellon Street was built.

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1894

Lake Carnegie was completed. Work began in 1892 to convert an unused lower reservoir into a small recreational lake to be used for used for boating, swimming, and ice skating.

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1896

The piers and statues at the North Highland Avenue entrance to Highland Park were erected. Giuseppe Moretti sculpted the statues.

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1898

The Highland Park Zoological Gardens (now Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium) opened.

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1900

The Stephen Foster statue by Giuseppe Moretti was installed just inside the main park entrance on Highland Avenue. See the entry for the year 1944 below. The piers and statues at the Stanton Avenue entrance to Highland Park were erected. Giuseppe Moretti also sculpted these.

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20th Century

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1902

The Rhododendron Grove shelter on Lake Drive was built. The former Highland Park bridge was built. This bridge spanned the Allegheny River from Butler Street across Six Mile Island to 19th Street in Sharpsburg. The Parkview Flats apartments on North Saint Clair Street at Callowhill Street were built.

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1903

The lower Highland Park Reservoir No. 2 began operation.

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1906

The first services at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Hampton Street were held on Easter Sunday. The church was designed by the prominent Philadelphia architectural partnership of Carpenter and Crocker. St. Andrew's was founded in 1837 and originally located on Hand Street (now 9th Street) in downtown Pittsburgh.

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1932

Part of Lake Carnegie was filled in and converted into swimming pools: the one that exists to this day, and a larger wading pool.

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1938

The present Highland Park bridge was built. It connected Butler Street with present-day Freeport Road in Sharpsburg. The ramps to PA 28 opened in 1963.

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1944

The Stephen Foster statue which had been just inside the main park entrance on Highland Avenue was moved to its present location on Forbes Avenue in Oakland in Schenley Plaza near the Carnegie. Across Forbes Avenue lies the Stephen Foster Memorial at the University of Pittsburgh. The memorial was dedicated in 1937.

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1945

The Highland Park Community Club was founded.

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1949

Robert King and hundreds of others defeated a plan to build a new amphitheatre for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera on part of his estate at the end of North Negley Avenue. In 1962, the CLO moved into the new Civic Arena (now the Mellon Arena, which building's future is in jeopardy now that the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team plans to build a replacement facility nearby).

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1965

The dividing wall in Highland Park Reservoir No. 1 partially collapsed and was mostly removed in ensuing repairs. The earth removed during the repairs to the reservoir was used to fill in the shallow swimming pool in the park.

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1986

The 48-year old Highland Park bridge was renovated.

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1989

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation designated Highland Park as a historic landmark.

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1991

On a rainy Saturday in early April, a devoted work crew planted 45 dogwood trees in the park.

The community raised about $120,000 to build a "super playground" in the park at Maple Grove.  The distinctive Leathers & Associates design includes many elements suggested by the playground users: the children.  The whole process took about 1.5 years, culminating in the actual construction of the playground by community volunteers from 1991-04-24 to 1991-04-28.  Project leaders Roseanne Levine and Marsha Dugan began the opening ceremony; Councilman Jim Ferlo and Mayor Sophie Masloff participated in the opening ceremony as well.

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1992

The community club erected three signs at prominent entrances to the neighborhood: the corner of Stanton and North Highland Avenues, the corner of Stanton and North Negley Avenues, and at the top of The Hill Road (now One Wild Place) near the corner of Bunkerhill and Mellon Streets. The sign at Stanton and North Negley Avenues was replaced sometime around 2000. The replacement matches the style of the sign for the Highland Park Club apartments. Raymond Hair Designs opened on Bryant Street.

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1993

The Highland Park Community Development Corporation incorporated.

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1994

On July 31, hundreds of people turned out for a ceremony on Bryant Street for the placement of a historical marker at the boyhood home of Jazz musician Billy Eckstine at 5913 Bryant Street. [The Observer; address from photo] The Reservoir of Jazz August concert series began. Walnut Market opens on Bryant Street. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on October 30.

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1995

On February 12, the Bryant Street Committee of the Highland Park Community Club sponsored a fund-raising event called Chocolate & Champagne at St. Andrew's Church. Guests were able to sample chocolate creations by Highland Park residents and professional caterers, restaurants, and bakeries. Participants included: Baum Vivant Restaurant, Bolan's Candies, Cafe Victoria, La Chacuterie, Oakmont Bakery, Simply Delicious Catering, and Vincenza Chocolates. The event benefited the on-going revitalization of Highland Park's business district along Byrant Street. With funds raised by this event, five new wooden planters located at Walnut Market parking lot, next to Peppi's, next to D & L Cleaners, and in front of ARTS. The sixth was scheduled to be placed at Cafe Flora after the sidewalk was redone. [Bryant St. Comittee news releases 1995/1996; HPCC Newsletter 8/1995] John and Jacqueline Dougherty bought the former American Legion building. They renovated it to create Cafe Flora. The planned to have a mural painted by Karl Brake, backdrop artist for Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Theatre. [HPCC Newsletter, 9/1995] More than 200 Highland Park residents came out to welcome three new Bryant Street businesses on October 29th. This was the second annual Bryant Street grand opening and including a children's festival with pumpkin decorating, sidewalk drawing, face painting, free balloons, and the annual Halloween parade led by the Peabody High School Highlanders marching band. The businesses were Cafe flora, a moderately-priced bistro; The NUIN Center, a muti-faceted therapy center; and Nna, an elegant continental restaurant. (All were expected to open before the end of the year.) [HPCC Newsletter, 12/1995] Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation designated the Klages house on Beverly Place as a historic landmark. The Klages house (1922) was designed by Pittsburgh architect Frederick Scheibler. He also designed an apartment building (1907) on Mellon Street and the Johnston House (1921) on Jackson Street. His other work in Pittsburgh includes the Old Heidelberg Apartments (1905) on South Braddock Avenue in Point Breeze and the Highland Towers (1913) on Highland Avenue in Shadyside. Buildings at 5805 and 5814 Bryant Street were demolished.

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1996

On January 1, the NUIN Center was scheduled to open at 5655 Bryant Street (the old Hydrogroup building). (It may have opened sooner; see entry for 1995.) The park gate piers and statues were restored.

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1997

Bill Connolly and Bill Rieger opened Dubblebbees Dog Grooming on April 19, 1997

1998

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority agreed to build a micro-filtration plant rather than cover Highland Park Reservoir No. 1 to comply with a new state law. Highland Park Reservoir No. 2 was covered. Lawrenceville artist Mark Runco completed his mural of Highland Park on North St Clair Street at Bryant St. City Councilman Jim Ferlo commissioned the mural on the side of the building housing the "At the Park" tavern (now "Six & Slice") to draw attention to the planned restoration of the Highland Avenue entrance to the park. Pittsburgh's Historic Review Commission gave preservation awards to Debbie DeAngelis, the Highland Park Community Club, and others to recognize the conservation of the sculptures at the entrance to Highland Park. Debbie DeAngelis initiated the restoration project.

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1999


Enrico's Thumbnail

 Enrico's Tazza d'Oro cafe and espresso bar opened on North Highland Avenue

 

 

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation gave Awards of Merit to Pittsburgh City Councilman Jim Ferlo, David Hance of the Highland Park Community Club, and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority hydraulic engineer John Kasper for their efforts in averting the threat of covering Highland Park Reservoir No. 1.

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2000

The Highland Park web site began operation. The Farmhouse was damaged by fire.

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21st Century

This is a placeholder for the history text about the 21st century in Highland Park

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2001

The Highland Park Community Club, City of Pittsburgh Parks and Recreation Department, and Councilman Jim Ferlo sponsored a salsa party in the park.

Sitar of Pittsburgh Indian restaurant opened on Bryant Street.

 The Union Project began.

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2002

Severe storms hit the Pittsburgh region, including Highland Park. The Farmhouse reopened after extensive repairs and renovations. The park gate piers ("Welcome" at North Highland Avenue, and "Horse Tamers" at Stanton Avenue) gate) were designated as City Historic Objects. Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation designated Fulton Academy of Geographic and Life Sciences on Hampton Street between Mellon Street and North Saint Clair Street as a historic landmark. Volunteers from the community held a maintenance day for the Super Playground. The new Micro-Filtration Plant in Highland Park opened.

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2003

A gas leak forced the temporary closure of the Farmhouse. A week-end snow storm led to a fun Snow Day in Highland Park. The Highland Park Community Club, the East End Neighborhood Forum, and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church sponsored a "Meet the Candidates" forum to help residents make their choices for the upcoming Council District 7 special election. Leonard Bodack, Jr. won the special election to fill the remainder of Jim Ferlo's term as City Council representative for District 7. The Children's Committee co-sponsored an Egg Hunt with Citparks. Highland Park's Patrick Dowd won a seat on the School Board in the primary election and Leonard Bodack, Jr. retained his seat on City Council.

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2007

About 150 people participated in a "Sweet 16" party for the Super Playground on 2007-06-09.  The event was sponsored by the Highland Park Community Council and state Senator Jim Ferlo and included an appearance by Mayor Luke Ravenstalhl and original Super Playground project leaders Marsha Dugan and Roseanne Levine.  The event also featured a new dedication sign.  Children attending the event were invited to add tiles to part of a new mosaic for the wall near the top of One Wild Place (formerly The Hill Road).

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