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 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.
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.