Sunday, November 22, 2009

2: Spring Garden

Spring Garden is in the North Side, nestled in a valley at the base of Troy Hill and bordered by Routes 28 and 279. I know Spring Garden well. The section closest to Downtown is along Vinial Street, where Penn Brewery is located (though Penn Brewery is actually in the Troy Hill neighborhood)--Vinial Street intersects with my own street. Spring Garden snakes back toward Ross Township via long, winding Spring Garden Avenue.
View of Vinial Street (first row of houses) from Spring Hill. East Allegheny is behind Vinial Street. Photo by Dave.

Spring Garden Avenue is populated by the remaining vacant storefronts of a no-longer-vibrant business district, a pizza shop, a small playground, the no-longer-in-use Spring Garden Elementary School, houses, a small, sad strip mall with one or two businesses, and other commercial businesses. The gem of Spring Garden Avenue is Marshall's, a locally-owned gas station that shares space with a BBQ place that we've never seen open.

Vinial Street features houses rehabbed about seven years ago as part of the Brewer's Row development, with Spring Hill in the background.

Voskamp Street. The first two houses were renovated as part of the Brewer's Row project.
As you go away from Downtown along Spring Garden Avenue, Spring Hill on the left and Troy Hill on the right tower over the Spring Garden valley, which is filled with mostly large, wood-framed houses. A few are nice and kept up, most are livable but a little sad and dirty, and a few are vacant and falling down from the weight of years of neglect.

The view from steps going up to Troy Hill of houses in Spring Garden and houses above it on Spring Hill.The farther along on Spring Garden Avenue you go, the more it feels you're out in the sticks. Here, just before the city border at Ross Township, large yards are home to trailers, trampolines, and rusting pick-up trucks. There are also several streets rambling off into the woods with glimpses of houses peeking out.

I love that about Pittsburgh--you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere but still in the city. It's what we fondly call Urban Deliverance.
The illustrated map of Spring Garden comes from Wikipedia.


  1. Yes... I am familiar with the Urban Deliverance aspect of that area of town. When I first moved here from Boston five years ago, I lived up on Troy Hill. I liked it well enough... for a year... but there wasn't a nice coffeehouse to visit and the Strip was quite a hike, and uphill all the way on the way home. I live in the horrid northern suburbs now, but hoping to move back into the city when the housing market improves for selling. I'll be reading your blog for lots of inside information on the neighborhoods.

  2. Interesting. I had no idea that area was called Spring Garden and hadn't heard of Urban Deliverance before. It makes sense here in Pittsburgh. Cool photos! I love the first one.

  3. marshalls owns that bbq place and it does open just on very hot days in the summer. their ribs are to die for.

  4. Wow You Guys Really Capture a Great View Of The City Timeless Pics Keep Up The Good Work

  5. The owner has major issues with minority & LBTG people oriented! Very rude. Even refused to serve me until I threatened to call the police! He doesn't deserve to still be in business being as discriminating as he is!