Sunday, November 29, 2009

3: Troy Hill

Troy Hill has, in a nutshell, everything I love about Pittsburgh's neighborhoods in general: city steps surrounded by urban forests; old, grand homes mixed with small, modest wood-framed houses and a few sad vacants; narrow streets perfect for exploring; no-nonsense businesses like the Uni-Mart and laundromat; public art; urban grit; proud senior citizens happy to tell you about the old days; parks and green spaces; historic buildings and landmarks; and an honest-to-goodness community vibe. Perched on a plateau high above the Allegheny River in Pittsburghs' North Side, Troy Hill has sweeping views of Downtown and other neighborhoods.

Much has been written about Troy Hill. For an overview and history, check the City's web page and Wikipedia. For an in-depth look at the daily lives of citizens in this close-knit community, I highly recommend The Women of Troy Hill: The Back-Fence Virtues of Faith and Friendship by Clare Ansberry. Learn what's going on now in Troy Hill's blog.

I live at the base of Troy Hill and love to explore this neighborhood. While most people know of the neighborhood that sits high atop a hill, the H. J. Heinz Company, Penn Brewery (which occupies the former Eberhardt and Ober Brewery buildings), River Avenue (running parallel to the Allegeny River up to the 31st Street Bridge), and parts of Route 28 are also considered part of Troy Hill.

Several sets of city steps wind up to Troy Hill. Photo by Dave.
Some steps lead to houses that are only accessible via the city steps, like these.
The base of Troy Hill, looking across Route 28 from the Heinz plant. Photo by Dave. The Heinz Lofts in the Heinz complex. Photo by Dave.Penn Brewery and Troy Hill houses behind it, taken from the opposite side of Route 28.
Penn Brewery.
Houses high above steep Troy Hill Road, the main road going up to Troy Hill. Photo by Dave.
View of Polish Hill and the Strip District from Goettman Street.View of the 31st Street Bridge, Lawrenceville, and Bloomfield from Goettman Street.View of Downtown at the intersection with Troy Hill Road and Goettman Street.
In 2009, a public pool no longer in use was converted to a spray park, the city's first.
View of Downtown from the baseball field.
North Catholic High School.
Hughes Funeral Home, a historic landmark built in 1877 and the former residence of John P. Ober.Lowrie Street, the main business district, is home to pizza shops, bars, a pharmacy, a coffee shop, a restaurant, and other neighborhood-serving businesses.Most Holy Name Rectory, a historic landmark.Saint Anthony's Chapel, a historic landmark, includes thousands of religious relics.Troy Hill houses.Sprout Fund mural on a building on Lowrie Street. Intersection with a war memorial, Billy's Restaurant, and the Troy Hill Firehouse – Engine Company 39 (the oldest firehouse in the City of Pittsburgh and a historic landmark).Marker noting the site of the former Troy Hill Incline at Fidelity Bank.
Voegtly Cemetery. Photo by Dave.St. Nicholas Church, the first Croatian Roman Catholic parish in the United States, has sat vacant pending plans for the demolition of all structures to widen Route 28. I am unsure of the status; I've heard that alternate plans were proposed to save the church. The church may be saved, but the dilapidated, vacant houses in Troy Hill on Route 28 like these are already starting to be demolished.

Map of Troy Hill from Wikipedia.


  1. This is my favorite post to date. I never knew that the much-talked-about Troy Hill was the area you described.

    The photo of Heinz Loft is hauntingly beautiful. Can I get a copy?

    And I love the Hughes Funeral Home. Great pics and an informative post!

  2. I lead Urban Fitness Hikes for Venture Outdoors and always wanted to see a photo of the (OLD) Troy Hill Incline. Do you know of any?

  3. My mom grew up on Troy Hill. This is where I spent my childhood family vacations. It's like a little fairytale land.