A visit on my home turf: Park Place landmarks. September 9, 2009Posted by krbradford in National Register of Historic Places, Neighborhoods.
Last weekend, I thought it would be nice to enjoy the beautiful weather and walk the streets of my neighborhood with a camera, taking photos of interesting things for all of you in the blogosphere. I live in the itty bitty neighborhood of Park Place, which is not actually big enough to be its own official neighborhood, or even to have its own article on Wikipedia. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible to find anything about the history of Park Place on the internet at all. There are rumors – supposedly Gene Kelly, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, lived here in Park Place.* And once upon a time, this whole area used to be Peebles Farm. As one of the flattest neighborhoods in the city, I can see how it would have made nice farmland. Anyway, it’s all hearsay.
But I think maybe Park Place has remained such a gem of a neighborhood because no one really knows about it. Technically part of Point Breeze, Park Place is separated from the rest of the borough by Frick Park, the second-largest urban park in the US. Because of this separation, it’s actually more convenient to Regent Square than to Point Breeze, and it’s also adjacent to Wilkinsburg, which is probably why the property values remain fairly low. Unfortunately, Wilkinsburg has a lot of crime and poverty, although we rarely see it here in our neighborhood. (Except for the guy who got shot a block away from our house earlier this summer. But that was a fluke.)
Despite being small, Park Place has a very active neighborhood association, which advocates for positive change in the neighborhood. A recent example is the street trees program, which was a grant that allowed us to receive over 40 trees to plant along the street to beautify the neighborhood. One went in front of our house.
Park Place also has two sites with listings on the Register of Historic Places. The first is the Park Place School, which was initially a public elementary school, but has since been converted into attractive apartments. My boyfriend’s older brother went to school there before it closed. The other site is the Old Heidelberg Apartments, designed by architect Frederick G. Schiebler in 1908. On the left you can see what they look like now, and on the right is an old postcard I found on the Web that shows what they looked like in 1911.
So, take a look at the photo slideshow I put together of the walk around my neighborhood. Park Place is a special little spot with lots of Pittsburgh charm.
*9/28/09: My amazing boyfriend did some research and confirmed this rumor. Gene Kelly and his family lived on Kensington Street, part of the Park Place neighborhood directly adjacent to Frick Park.