Walking Beechview

We started our walk at the Beechview Community War Memorial parklet, which sits between Broadway and Bensonia, at Shiras Ave.

 

The memorial honors soldiers from WWI and WWII with a catalog of veterans from the neighborhood of Beechview.  There is also a plaque dedicated to veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, as well as a time capsule and a beech tree (the namesake of the neighborhood) planted there to mark Beechview’s centennial in 2005.

Our walk was set to the tune of the T tracks that run down Broadway, as we headed south on Bensonia.

Uphill from the get go, Beechview proved to be our most physically demanding walk so far.

The neighborhood is composed primarily of closely spaced, mid-sized houses with sloping front and back yards.  Due to this topography, many of the houses have entry doors on different levels.  We caught one car inching down the driveway at 1 mph, scraping its bottom against the pavement, which was no doubt a daily occurence.

   

We took a left on Mackinaw and a left on Vodeli.

Large trees lined the streets.  We took a right at Neeld, past what must have been teenage drum practice (SOLO!), and turned left at Saranac.  A lone bicycle wheel rolled across the street, followed by a gaggle of kids, and we caught sight of a man taking a picture of a woman’s pregnant belly.  We took a left onto Palm Beach Avenue and a right at Crosby Avenue.  We came upon the Beechview Manor senior apartments, connected to St Catherine’s church by a covered walkway.

We took a left on Fallowfield Avenue.  There was a view of Brookline across West Liberty Avenue.

We continued down . . . and up . . . and down the rolling hills of Fallowfield.

 

We always wondered where the ice cream man kept his stash.

We passed the Coast Ave. stairs and crossed the Broadway T tracks.

We passed a frighteningly large sign of Thanksgiving.

We turned left on Sebring Avenue and walked past a stone garden.

We took a left at Methyl Street.  Three Rivers Grace Community Church sat at the corner of Methyl and Hampshire.

 

For what appears to be a very old church (the cornerstone suggests older street names), they sure are a hip congregation, with their blog and sermon podcast.  The bell outside the building first served Beechview Public School from 1907-1939 and Beechview Methodist Church from 1939-1957.  The first classes of the Beechview school were held at this site.

Here’s St. Francis (patron saint of porch geese?).

And here is the tenant of what first appeared to be an abandoned house.

We took a right on Coast Avenue and headed downhill.  There is a stretch of Beechview here that is more spread out, without sidewalk, and host to a wooded area.  At the end sits Abel Long playground.

We arrived at the long-awaited, cobblestoned Canton Avenue.  At a grade of 37%, Canton Avenue is rumored to be the steepest in the world.  According to a Walking Pittsburgh reader, a street in New Zealand, at a measly 35%, is the official record-holder.  Ptsch.

The end of Canton Ave. is blocked off to cars, but we went by foot right on past the blockade and into a wooded area.  Despite the posted $1000 dumping fines, we found a truck, a lawnmower, a chicken coop, and a bevy of tires.

 

From the top of Canton, we headed east on Hampshire Avenue and took a left on Rutherford, then a right on Bayonne.  We then took a right at Dagmar, and a left onto the chameleon Andick Street.  Andick began as a sidewalk that ran alongside a garage.  This portion of Andick revealed a great view of Beechview’s rooftops.

On the left, we passed a bustling playground and Beechview Elementary.

At this point, Andick becomes stairs, then road again.

At the bottom, we took a left on Orangewood Avenue and into the park area, run by the Beechview Athletic Association.

We looped back around, following the trails that ran alongside the pool and the school, ending up back on Dagmar Avenue.  We took a right on Crane, at an entrance to the Seldom Seen Greenway.

We started on a trail, but amidst the fallen trees and wildness of the wooded area, ended up not-so-much on a trail, as tromping through the woods and accidentally making our own trail back to Crane.  We knew we were close when we came upon the illegal dumping site.

We crossed Crane and headed toward Brashear High School/South Hills Middle School.  We walked around to the back of the school, past the football field, to re-enter the Greenway.

We followed a trail into a pasture and eventually came out at a park at the end of Gladys  Avenue.

We crossed Tropical Avenue and took Shadycrest Drive to Shadycrest Road, where we found these displays of festivity.

 

When the road ended, we saw no problem with continuing down this trail.

That is, until we got to through the other side of the woods and found ourselves looking at a fleet of military vehicles and got the sneaking suspicion that we probably shouldn’t be there.  We weren’t sure that taking pictures on military property would fly, but there was no going back, so we waited til we got past the guy in fatigues and snapped this one.

We crept by the larger group of soldiers further down and tried not to make eye contact, but nobody seemed to bat an eye at us, so we let ourselves out.  If you’d like to skip this detour, we recommend taking Tropical Avenue to Crane.

Oops.

We took a left on Crane and a right on Beechview.  Beechview Avenue and Broadway Avenue create the top of the ridgeline, and the area is comparatively flat.  Broadway makes up the commercial district in Beechview and is home to food stores, pizza shops, churches, bars, a pet store, medical offices, restaurants, the Moose, and the library.

 

 

 

Finishing our walk along Broadway, we met a woman who wanted to talk about what’s happening in Beechview, her involvement in community groups, and what she thought the neighborhood had to offer.  We were disappointed to find that Maya had closed, but enjoyed dinner at Lunardi’s, a little Italian restaurant that features family-style dining.

All in all, Beechview is a thriving, family-oriented neighborhood with a lot of assets.

Distance: 6.5 miles
Time: 3.5 hrs

About these ads

18 Comments

Filed under Beechview, Parks, South End, Uncategorized, Walking

18 responses to “Walking Beechview

  1. Pingback: Next Up: Beechview « Walking Pittsburgh

  2. Pingback: Walking Pittsburgh Walks Beechview « South Pittsburgh Neighborhoods

  3. Kat

    I live next door to that “abandoned” house. I call the cat “Spike” and thank him/her profusely for keeping my yard rodent free.

  4. mattmp

    Kat.. Wow! Thanks for letting us know. Glad to know that Spike’s earning his/her keep!

  5. Pat Eagon

    Wondering if anyone could give me the exact location of the collection of houses that was called Seldom Seen. I know they are abandoned from the ’60s or so. A couple of times, I have tried to find the houses looking up from Saw Mill Blvd, and down from the top of the hill near the Armory. No luck, tho. Anyone out there know exactly how to get there? I remember my grandmother talking about Seldom Seen.

  6. mattmp

    Pat, we were looking for this too, but didn’t find any. We weren’t sure before we went if there were still abandoned houses there or if they had been demolished. We may have to give it another try at some point soon, though.

  7. B R

    Hi! Enjoyed your photolog of the neighborhood i grew up in and lived for 21 years.
    Regarding “Seldom Seen”: I made plenty of trips into the Greenway as a teenager, usually from behind Brachear high school or from the back of Tropical Park (there is also an entrance off of Saw Mill Run/Rte 51 below). Sadly, never stumbled across any real remnants of the houses from the former neighborhood. A nice article was published on the area in the Tribune Review here:

    http://www.phlf.org//news/mediaclips/1997/9710122tr.html

    Apparently, the dozen or so farmhouses all eventually burned. There may some remnants among the litter at the bottom of the hill, but no real foundations, and certainly no complete houses. back in the 80′s/early 90′s, a farmhouse on the edge of the Greenway (called “Shaffer House”) was still abandoned and held some allure to the local kids. But this has since been renovated.
    Hope this helps. I’d love to see photos of the Seldom Seen village, if these exist in someone’s archives. Walking through the Greenway now, you can’t help but imagine a simpler time and a hidden neighborhood!

  8. Amy

    My mom, Robin, grew up in Shadycrest and as a result, spent a lot of time in the woods and even fed the horses on the farm that used to be there before Brashear was built. She told me about the houses in Seldom Seen. Her and her friends would play near them when they were 12 (late 60′s). She knows where they were! We should get her down there to show us! I would also love to see photos from back then. It has always sparked my curiosity!

  9. brothers Daughter

    I love looking at Beechview. My dad and grandma lived there. I use to walk all by myself all the time from the age 7 to 11 in the early 70′s when I visited. I use to go up the stairs behind my Grandmas house to that main street with the trolleys and go to Johns Drug Store and the store next to it and get candy. I use to go get milkshakes at the end of that street. I broke my face going down Methyl Street on a bike going about 100 miles an hour. Great street for sledding.
    Those were the good old days.
    Love the site

  10. I would like to thank you. I moved out of Beechview in 1989 and this brought back some great memories.

  11. MCim

    I grew up in Beechview from 1971 and moved away in 99. I have some great memories. My family and I have been trying to remember the name of the bank that later became Equibank near John’s Drugstore. If anyone knows, please post a comment.

  12. Pingback: The Steepest Street in America « The Wonder List

  13. RGeyer

    My ancestors settled seldom seen from the mid 1800 till 1940′s. I have seen the pictures of the houses in old archives of the Pittsburgh Sun Tele circa 1928. The pictures were taken the day of the City’s annexation from Lower St.Clair Twp.

  14. Hello fellow Beechviewians.
    I am in a volunteer community group called Pretty Up Beechview (PUB). Please join our blog page http://cleanupbeechview.blogspot.com/ and follow along and join us in our Beechview litter clean ups and flower plantings. PUB will be holding a benefit show featuring 3 Beechview punk rock/metal bands. The show is Feb 13th at the Smiling Moose on the Southside. Money raised will go towards supplies for PUBs continuing effort in creating a safer, cleaner, more attractive thriving neighborhood. We will also be raffling off prizes like gift certificates to local Beechview businesses. I hope to see you there or atleast at our next clean up. We meet the last Saturday (weather permitting) of every month under the sign at the parking lot across from the Alpine and ESB Bank. Clean up dates and other activities are also posted on our blog page. Please check it out.

  15. J Shaffer

    I was born in 1938 and raised on what was known as Shaffer’s farm. I understand it may have been the last working farm in Pittsburgh. We raised and sold locally a lot of produce, some years picked about 500 bushels of pears, had two egg routes where the eggs from a 400 chicken flock were delivered. Always kept a few head of cattle on the place. It was quite an upraising. I well remember Seldom Seen (Lower St Clair Twp) and my father knew the Staubs and Geyers who settled in that little valley.

  16. swissvalian

    Following up on the last comment, there are some maps from 1896 online at http://antiquegalleryprints.com/Atlas/US/9692/Pittsburgh+1896+Southern+Vicinity/ . Look at plate 10. Zoom in on the right edge, about halfway down, it shows land owned by John Geyer and C. Staub, the families referred to in the post above. Those maps show the location of structures at that time.

    Perhaps someone determined enough to work through more detail could use that as a starting place to locate the structures.

  17. joyce szawronski

    Does anyone remember a family named Cooper that lived on Dagmar. I lived across the street from tehm in the 1950′s

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s