New Little Local Library!

Neighbors on Melwood, with efforts coordinated by Debra Jozwiak, have constructed a lending library that was initially opened for lending to children and adults this month.  The lending library is at the corner of Melwood and Finland.  Everyone is invited to either donate or borrow from the corner library.

Historic sign tagged with graffiti


The Mother’s Bread sign, on the side of a house on Dobson Street, is over a hundred years old and is one of the best-preserved examples of an early hand-painted advertising sign in Pittsburgh.  It’s been written about in many articles and photographed innumerable times.

Sadly, last night someone spray painted a large tag on the sign.  Jim Young, who owns and lives in the house, called the police and a report has been filed.  Jim says that he’s been advised not to touch it yet, but already people are thinking about how to remove the graffiti without damaging the original sign.  We’ll be working with the City to get some help on this and keeping in touch with the police in hopes that whomever is responsible will be caught.  A garage down the block on Dobson was painted with this same tag a few days earlier.  and the police might be able to link it to someone.

The Mother’s Bread sign came to light after the neighboring building was demolished in 2007.  The sign, probably painted in the 1910’s, was in remarkably good condition because it had been covered up all those years.  The sign rapidly became one of the most-photographed sights in Polish Hill and people come through the neighborhood just to see it.  Jim Young says, “It’s been photographed constantly since it was revealed in ’07.  It’s a band’s album cover, background for modeling pics, and made it into a coffee table book about ghost signs. I’ve even bought art with my house on it at the Arts Festival. I know people like it as much as I do.  I’ve tried to encourage its lasting integrity with interior sealing of cracks and holes since it was revealed.”

Read more about the sign:

According to a 2011 article in the Post-Gazette, the sign was painted by Maurice “Red” O’Donnell.

Polish Hill resident Mark O’Connor wrote about the sign in a beautifully evocative essay about childhood, published in the Polish Hill Voice in May 2011.

The sign was featured in an article about old hand-painted advertising signs in the Tribune-Review in September 2012.

Photos from the Immaculate Heart of Mary School Reunion reception

On October 18, graduates from the Immaculate Heart of Mary School gathered to attend a reunion Mass, followed by a reception in Rosary Hall. In attendance were graduates from the 1930s until 1997, when the school closed. IHM Church and volunteers provided an impressive spread of food, and many people contributed photos and memorabilia to decorate the room. About 200 people attended the mass, and the reception hall was crowded and lively as people gathered to reminisce with old friends and family. The reunion was a big success and many people were heard to say that they wished it could happen ever year!

 (all photos by Leslie Clague for the PHCA)

Harvest Moon Pet Parade on October 26

Harvest Moon Pet Parade Oct 2014

Cindi Hickman and her grandson Axler had a great idea for a fall event and they asked for our help in getting the word out.  They’re planning a Harvest Moon Pet Parade to take place on Sunday, October 26th.  Anyone interested in walking with them should meet at noon at the intersection of Melwood and Finland.  Costumes — for you and your pet — are not required, but certainly encouraged.

Cindi says,”All pets & neighbors please come & share the celebration of our incredible Polish Hill, the fall season and our beloved pets!”

For more information, message Cindi on Facebook.

Coming up soon, an opportunity to participate in another parade.  We’re looking for residents who would like to march with us to represent Polish Hill in the Bloomfield Halloween Parade.  If interested, contact us at 412.681.1950, or email

Towards a more tolerant neighborhood: the new Diversity and Inclusion Committee


The PHCA has created a new committee – the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, with a kick-off meeting on Tuesday September 23 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the PHCA office at 3060 Brereton Street.

The goal of the committee is to encourage our increasingly diverse neighborhood to work well together — respecting, appreciating and valuing our differences in background, ethnicity, lifestyle and culture. The need for this became clear after some unfortunate harassment incidents that seemed to be fueled by intolerance for cultural and lifestyle differences. between residents.

The committee is being established to not only raise awareness about the benefits of inclusion and diversity and remind folks to get along, but also to put our stake in the sand as to what kind of neighborhood that we all want Polish Hill to be!

At this kick-off meeting, we’ll discuss this topic and start brainstorming what we want to do.  Possible projects could include an event, an art project, or a marketing campaign. If these issues are of particular interest, if you believe civility and respect to the others who live around you is essential, your participation is welcome. Come help us to explore the possibilities of how to make Polish Hill a more accepting, respectful neighborhood. If you have any questions, or if you are not able to attend but wish to be involved with these issues, please get in touch. Email, or call us at 412.681.1950.

(Above:  The Golden Rule (1961) by Norman Rockwell.  From the Norman Rockwell Museum website)

Peoples Gas to replace gas line at Dobson Street

Peoples gas

Representatives from People’s Gas came to the Polish Hill community meeting on March 4 to talk about the upcoming gas line work on Dobson Street.  The work will affect residents on Dobson Street between Hancock Street to Herron Avenue, and residents on Harding Way and Fleetwood Way.  The work is supposed to start sometime next week, and People’s Gas will send letters to customers who will be affected.

Here are some points of information that People’s Gas representatives shared at the meeting:

— Work will take place on Dobson, Harding Way, and on Fleetwood Street (to about 100 feet short of Herron Avenue).  The project should take 3-4 weeks.
— There will be some disruption of service at the end of the project, when changing over to the main line.  People’s will be doing pressure  and safety test, which will result in outages lasting 10-15 minutes.
— Outages will be scheduled and the residents who will be affected will be contacted directly by Peoples.

Have more questions?  Peoples Gas has provided a direct contact number for the project Operations Supervisor, John Walko:  (412) 812-3369.  The PHCA has also asked Peoples to keep our office updated about the project so we can share that information with residents.

UPDATE: New date and location for the Fire Site Development Community Input Workshop

aerial view

UPDATE:  This workshop will take place on Monday, January 27 from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 477 Melwood Avenue.

This is  the second in a series of public-input sessions focused on the Fire Site.  This meeting will feature three interactive workshops (25 minutes each) for sharing more about the project’s process and next steps and gathering community input:

Site design

Uses & users

>  Economics

Attendees will split into three smaller groups so the sessions are more interactive. Attendees will then rotate through and participate in all three workshops. At the end, we’ll get together as one big group to discuss and recap.

We are interested in hearing from all Polish Hill residents. We also encourage business owners who are interested in locating their operation in Polish Hill to attend.

The Fire Site is located in the 3100 block of Brereton and Dobson Streets in the heart of Polish Hill and consists of three parcels of land.  The site is owned by the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation, an affiliate of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.


Across the neighborhood, expressions of the holiday spirit


The lights are up around the neighborhood, and the cold and snow makes it feel very Christmas-y.  The spirit of the season is expressed in many ways, from the lights on homes, to the monument tree.  Here is a lovely small nativity scene, in an old storefront on Brereton Street.


And you may have noticed a spot of light on color up on the old billboard frame on a building on Bigelow Boulevard, just inside the Polish Hill border by the Bloomfield Bridge:

Knobil -DSC02653

It’s a dove, by Polish Hill sculptor Tim Kaulen.


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the best of the season to everyone!

(Photos of the Brereton Street storefront creche by Leslie Clague, photos of the Bigelow billboard dove by Mark Knobil)