Armed with our history of Allegheny West and on the lookout for millionaires, we started our walk at the corner of Rope Way and Buttercup Way, which is just a block off West Park. Buttercup Way is an alley that runs along the back of a row of old Victorians, and its little backyards and green nooks provided a small peek into what we might find on the other side.
At this edge of the neighborhood, the split between residential Allegheny West and Central Northside was apparent, as the gardens on the left were countered by taller and more commercial buildings on the right.
Turning left onto Allegheny Ave., we came upon the Calvary Methodist Church, housed in a beautiful Gothic building of gargoyles and spires and stained glass windows. The church was erected in 1893, after the original church burned to the ground.
We continued down Beech Ave., which proved to be one of the architectural gems of Allegheny West. Many of the old Victorians had been rennovated and were festively painted and adorned with front porch gardens and stone statues.
As we neared the end of Beech Ave., we sensed the ghosts of Allegheny West’s past in the air. The wind let out a little “wooooooo,” and then it said, “Artists do not experiment. Experiment is what scientists do. . . An artist puts down what he knows and at every moment it is what he knows at that moment.” Sure enough, we looked up to 850 Beech Ave., and there loomed the birthplace of writer and feminist extraordinaire Gertrude Stein!
We were happy to see that the house has been passed on to another Peacemonger.
Our final stop on Beech Avenue was the Brighton Beech Lofts.
Built on the former site of a vacant building, they are lofty in price as well.
Moving on, we hung a right on Rope Way and made a right into another alley, Dounton Way. There had clearly been some graffiti artists working in the area, and we started feeling a little nervous, knowing that criminals such as these roamed the streets.
At the corner of Dounton and Galveston sat The Little Deli, Allegheny West’s favorite deli and convenience store combo.
At Allegheny Ave., we took a left, then took another left onto Western Ave. This may very well have been the site of another haunted house:
Western Avenue provides another great strip of lovely Victorians:
Modern Cafe, which you might recognize from the film Wonder Boys,
Muriel’s, a restaurant with an Art Deco theme, named in honor of the owner’s free-spirited flapper grandmother,
this Statue of Liberty made out of Legos,
as well as dentists, florists, a gyro shop, a pizza shop, etc.
As we turned toward Rope and Lincoln, we spotted this thoroughly modern house in the midst of all this antiquity:
Lincoln Avenue was once a hot spot for turn-of-the-century doctors and professionals, and many of these grand houses remain, some of them having been broken into apartments.
As we headed toward Ridge Avenue, we found this plaque commemorating the birthplace of Mary Cassatt
and a view of Heinz Field.
We knew that Ridge and Brighton made up the former Millionaire’s Row, once home to more millionaires than any other area in the world, but looking around, we didn’t see any fat cats with cigars. Instead, we saw the Allegheny campus of the Community College of Allegheny County. Many of the old mansions were torn down when this campus was built.
CCAC’s Allegheny Campus is its largest.
As you head toward Brighton Avenue, a few vestiges of Millionaire Row remain:
At the end of Millionaire Row, we discovered this beautiful perrenial garden, filling what appears to be the lot of a torn down building.
We finished our walk by heading back up North Ave., along an abandoned commercial district. The taller buildings that line this street create a kind of barrier in the neighborhood, separating the residential part of Allegheny West from some of the urban decay that exists at its doorstep.
This guy adorned the walls:
At the end of our journey here, we encountered the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center, a faith-based treatment center for drug and alcohol addiction, the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, a historic landmark, and some rowhousing along North Avenue.
For such a tiny neighborhood, there was a lot to see in Allegheny West!
Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 1.5 hrs (at a leisurely pace)