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.]