Let's Learn From the Past: Shadyside

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Considered one of Pittsburgh’s first suburban neighborhoods, Shadyside has retained its tree-lined charm for more than 150 years.

As the region’s population grew in the 1860s along with the need for improved transportation, the Pennsylvania Railroad constructed a new train station a few miles east of Downtown Pittsburgh. With a multitude of trees and shady lanes in the area, the train station became known as Shadyside.

Bordered by East Liberty, Bloomfield, Friendship, Squirrel Hill and Oakland, the Shadyside community consists of less than one square mile of land. Originally dominated by large farms, the area quickly attracted influential residents and industrialists who sought an escape from the hustle and bustle of Downtown. By the turn of the century, the Fifth Avenue corridor became known as “Millionaires Row,” home to the Mellons, Hillmans and other prominent families.

As the population expanded in the early 20th century, additional housing, shopping and commerce emerged in the area, including the Ford Motor Company assembly plant on Baum Boulevard. By the 1920s, Shadyside featured a mix of housing options, ranging from Victorian mansions to modern apartment buildings, along with plenty of shopping to accommodate its growing residential base. Scores of young professionals moved to the neighborhood in the mid-20th century, drawn by Shadyside’s mix of youthful energy and available housing.

Today, Shadyside is home to a variety of cultural and educational amenities, including Mellon Park, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Chatham University. It also boasts an eclectic mix of boutique inns and hotels, upscale art galleries, shops and eating establishments on Walnut Street and South Highland and Ellsworth avenues. Its blend of the past and present, coupled with a diverse population, historic homes and a vibrant shopping scene, makes Shadyside one of the most desirable city neighborhoods for residents and visitors alike.

Visitors to the Heinz History Center can learn more about Pittsburgh’s diverse neighborhoods as part of the “Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation” exhibition. For more information, visit www.heinzhistorycenter.org.

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