Bloomfield’s name is thought to refer to the blooming fields of wildflowers that filled the area long before any development sprung up. A journal entry written by George Washington referred to “the high ground through a field of many blooms”.
Bloomfield is a mixed residential-commercial neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s East End. It is bordered by Lawrenceville and Garfield on the North (Penn Ave), Friendship on the East (S Graham), Shadyside on the South (East Busway and Centre Ave), and North Oakland on the West (40th Street and Bloomfield Bridge).
Bloomfield today is known mostly for the Italian heritage of many of its residents, but going back, the neighborhood had German roots. The area was first divided from farmland into residential lots by Joseph Conrad Winebiddle (namesake of one of Bloomfield’s streets). Many German immigrants–mostly mill workers from Lawrenceville–bought these lots and developed them throughout the 1800s. Bloomfield was part of Peebles Township, which was annexed by the City of Pittsburgh in 1868. In the early 1900s, Italians (many coming from the Abruzzi region of Italy) began to move into the neighborhood.
Today, Bloomfield houses many second and third generation Italian-Americans, and the Post-Gazette documents in this article and slideshow how the cultural roots are alive today. Bloomfield’s heritage is also evident in the Little Italy Days festival, held annually. Councilman Bill Peduto, who represents part of the neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s City Council, often says that he loves representing Bloomfield because it’s a microcosm of Pittsburgh itself. Throughout the neighborhood, you have blue-haired elderly ladies living next door to blue-haired mohawked kids.
Bloomfield has not only grown to house a diverse array of residents, but the business district along Liberty Avenue boasts a mod podge of stores and restaurants ranging from Italian eateries to independent video stores to a religious boutique.