Walking Beltzhoover

With storm clouds having chased us clear out of Beltzhoover for the past two weekends, we swore that on this day, we would do the walk, rain or shine.  It was rain.  We started at the corner of East Warrington and Beltzhoover Avenue, ready for the soggy feet that lay ahead.

We began the trek down East Warrington, following the T tracks that run down the center of the road. 

At Warrington and Estella, we approached the Warrington Recreation Center, a community center that offers after-school programs and sports leagues (in collaboration with YouthPlaces), community meeting space, and a public pool.

 

Colorful mosaics and graffiti surround the area.

 

Two monuments honoring the 18th ward veterans of World Wars I and II stand alongside the rec center, which we’ve noted to be a presence in many of the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.

As we continued down Warrington, we picked up a stray glove, striped and girl-sized, which we’re excited to submit to onecoldhand.com.

We passed the Dari-Delite and Red’s Ringside Cafe.  The Dari-Delite was closed (permanently or seasonally?), and Red’s represented one of the few still-operating businesses we encountered in the neighborhood.

 

Toys and miniature playground equipment were strewn about the yard of this home-turned-daycare center.

When the rain showed up, the snow departed, but that didn’t stop Beltzhoover from showing us its holiday spirit.

As we walked around, it was apparent that the neighborhood is also struggling with a great deal of blight, as evidenced here (plywood on the door, door on the porch).

We turned left and took the Laverne Street stairs up to Industry Street, where we took a left.

We took a right on Vincent and a left on Climax. 

Ironically, this was just about the only yard in the neighborhood where we didn’t encounter dogs rushing out to greet (eat) us!

We crossed Estella street, walking past some neighborhood graffiti.  Zhoov is a common tag around BeltZHOOVer. 

We came upon this unfinished mural and tribute to Beltzhoover-based record label Greedy Recordz, which houses local artists such as Waxx Netty, Mr. Greedy, and Ruff Bone.

From Climax, we turned right onto Curtin Avenue.

This was one of several houses in this area of the neighborhood where garbage bags and debris were piled waist-high in what seemed to be an occupied property.

We took a right onto Cedarhurst, where we found a view of Mt. Washington in the distance.

On Cedarhurst, we passed the now-closed Beltzhoover Elementary.

We took a right on Delmont.  At the corner of Delmont and Freeland, we spotted a row of newly- constructed houses.

We passed another community center at the intersection of Freeland and Gearing, and then continued onto Lafferty Ave, where we saw what remained of a snowman who’s seen better days.

Lafferty ends at Boggston Avenue, which has an entrance to the T station.

We rounded the corner onto Sylvania Street, where we saw the truck for T’z Hot Spot, “ribz and dibz made hot ta hit ta spot!”  (Probably not going far with that flat tire. . .)

As we continued down Sylvania, this truck entered into competition with T’z for our favorite truck on the street.

Sylvania Avenue was host to a spotty mix of vacant and occupied housing, as well as a corner store.

 

We made a right onto Delmont Avenue and a left onto Chalfont Street, passing three churches in quick succession: Full Life Deliverance Ministries (housed at St. Paul AME), Beulah Baptist Church, and South Hills Baptist Church.

We turned right on Curtin and right on Michigan, which runs alongside the wooded McKinley Park.  The housing that borders the park, such as these houses along Delmont, is made up of larger units and more well-kempt yards.

We entered the park on Gearing Ave., passing the Elder-ado Senior Center.  This side of the park offers basketball courts and trails that run south and east.

We followed a trail that let us out at the south end, near Bausman Street, where the park opens up to more basketball courts, baseball fields, tennis courts, a playground, and Pittsburgh’s first public skate park.

Leaving the park, we took the sidewalk stairs of Bernd Street and made a right at Zelda Way.

We made a left onto Beltzhoover Avenue, back toward our starting location, and passed a number of new homes, created as part of the Hilltop Housing Initiative, which is a project of Beltzhoover Citizens Community Development Corporation, Southside Local Development Company, and Jaxon Development Company.  These are the first of about 50 houses to be built in Beltzhoover, Knoxville, and Allentown, priced at $125- to $140,000, all of which appear to be currently for sale.

Although Beltzhoover appeared to be the most impoverished and struggling neighborhood we have walked over the course of this project, our walk revealed its assets as well–access to a beautiful park, strong community organizations, and an ongoing effort to bring new interest to the neighborhood.

Distance: 4.5 miles
Time: 1 hr, 45 min (with soggy feet)

  

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9 Comments

Filed under Beltzhoover, Parks, South End, Walking

9 responses to “Walking Beltzhoover

  1. jenngooch

    Thanks for the glove! I didn’t have anything from Beltzhoover, so your neighborhood goal helped my neighborhood goal.

    This is such a great site and a wonderful project. The photos are really so great. Good luck, and thanks for coming out the the Mobile Museum – it was a pleasure meeting y’all and finding out about your project.

    http://www.onecoldhand.com/2007/12/childs-pastel-chenille-glove.html

  2. Pingback: Walking Bon Air « Walking Pittsburgh

  3. when did you’all do this? nice! much respect… Mr.Greedy

  4. Pingback: IheartPGH.com » Blog Archive » More Free Festivals of Fun

  5. Stephanie Wellons

    My parents moved us to Beltzhoover in 1960. I still have very, very, fond memories of the people and places here. Unfortunately, it is just a mere shell of what it used to be–full of life. But we aren’t ready to give up!!!! Hopefully, we can rebuild and make Beltzhoover better, brighter, more livable. Let’s make some wonderful memories for more generations to come!

  6. Sarah

    Thanks for staking out this neighborhood walk. I’ve been planning on walking the paths of McKinley — which I’ve only learned recently is hikeable — but didn’t have a route in mind and didn’t know where to enter the trail(s).

  7. P. Rosenfeld

    Thanks for showing me a way into McKinley Park. I’m a hiker and resident of nearby Mt. Washington who is always looking for local parks with walking/hiking paths. I learned only recently that McKinley has trails, but I couldn’t figure out where to enter/exit.

  8. P. Rosenfeld

    P.S. I like to walk neighborhoods and your well-marked and described tour gives me something to work with.

  9. Arthur

    Being born in the late 60’s and growing up in Beltzhoover in the 70’s provided me with nothing but beautiful memories. Beltzhoover used to be a lovely community to raise children. In my case, I grew up there. Everything was family and community oriented from the churches to the schools to the stores to the postal workers to the police. Everyone looked out for each other. I remember my Dad used to leave the keys in the car. I remember my Grandmother sleeping in the yard or on the porch on a chase lounge. We could leave our doors opened and unlocked all night. It was even a multi-cultural community in which we all lived in harmony. As kids, we road bikes and big wheels, played hide and go seek, played it tag, went to Warrington Recreational Center and McKinley Park during the summer for the free summer lunches. I remember when some of us started going to Boggs Avenue Elementary instead of Beltzhoover School. I was one of them. Fond memories from both of those schools. Brown’s Store, Lewis’ Store, The Curb Market and of course Ken’s were popular spots for kids to buy goodies. After school, everyone would clear the streets at around 3:00pm to watch “Speed Racer” and “Ultraman”. Saturday mornings you would smell big breakfasts cooking. I remember seeing my aunts and uncles getting ready to go to parties with bell bottoms, afros and those big heeled platform shoes during the 70’s. I remember one of my uncles swore he was Bruce Lee and was always doing kicks. Great memories of playing Hide And Go Seek until late at night during the summer. Many of our older siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins went to colleges like Pitt, Robert Morris and CMU. Being a teenager in the late 80’s and early 90’s was fun too. We frequently had “real” house parties with great music, food, video games and fly girls. We had rapping, break dancing and ripping competitions. In the early 90’s, as teenagers, we brought all kinds of teenage girls from Bridgeville, Avella, Finleyville, Heidleberg and other areas to Beltzhoover. During the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, Beltzhoover was the place to be. Beltzhoover started having its problems in the mid to late 90’s and it just got worse and worse. Hopefully, the community and its beautiful people that are still there can bring Beltzhoover back to what it used to be.

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