Fish Fry!!!

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (Rosary Hall)

3058 Brereton St, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 – in Polish Hill

Fish Fry

Eat In or Take Out on:

Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10

And every Friday (Feb. 12, 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18) during Lent except Good Friday

3:00-6:00 p.m. (as long as dinners are available)

$8.00 dinner includes: fish sandwich, french fries and cole slaw

$2.50 side dish varies each week.

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)

The May Day Parade is this Saturday, May 3!

The May Day Parade is organized by an independent group of Polish Hill musicians and artists.  Now in its fifth year, the parade has become a new Polish Hill tradition.  Residents step outside to watch the procession of bright costumes, floats, and — of course — lots of kids.


This year, the theme is Symbiosis.  (definition:  the living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms ; a cooperative relationship as between two persons or groups).   Anyone who wishes to participate is welcome.  Wear a costume or a mask, make a float, bring bells, umbrellas, or flowers.  Meet up on lower Melwood Avenue (near Pittsburgh Filmmakers) at noon; the parade starts at 1:00 p.m.  Check out the parade website for more information.

(These wonderful photos of the 2012 May Day Parade are by Mark Knobil)

Third community meeting for the Fire Site Development on March 11

aerial view

Find out what kinds of buildings are planned for the Fire Site!

The third public meeting for the Fire Site Development will take place at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, at 477 Melwood Avenue just outside Polish Hill, on Tuesday, March 11 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Ask questions, share your impressions, and learn about how your input was incorporated into the final design.  This is the third and final public meeting, and the last meeting before the developer decides whether to move forward with buying the land and building anything there.

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)

An evolving view of Polish Hill from a fascinating mapping website

Here’s a really fascinating mapping website to check out:  Pittsburgh Historic Maps is based on city maps of Pittsburgh, going back to 1833.   (For more recent years, there are aerial photos.)  You can zoom in on any neighborhood, or part of a neighborhood.  There’s a timeline with a little slider (visible in the top of the map image), which you can move to watch as the selected area changes over the decades.  Street names change, houses and buildings appear, or disappear.  And as the view fades from one map from the other, you can see both at once (as in the image below).

You can look at any section of the city, but of course we wanted to look at our neighborhood.  We zoomed in on the area that is now the central streets of Polish Hill.  Below is a series of screen shots of the same section, from the mid 19th century to last year.

Here’s the view between the 1840s and 1870s, when this area was called Springfield Farms and Minersville.  There wasn’t much there yet — West Penn Hospital, the railroad.  Just for comparison, there are some more familiar landmarks — like the s-curve of Herron Avenue — visible in the shadow of the 1870s map coming into view:

mid 1800s

Here is the same area around 1870 — lots of areas plotted out, but not many buildings.  Notice West Penn Hospital on the lower left — that area is now West Penn Park:

around 1870

And again around 1880, with a lot more houses and buildings (the little yellow boxes):

around 1880

Around 1890.  There’s a brick factory where the church is now, and Brereton Avenue is now Jones Avenue:

around 1890

Sometime after 1905 — the church and the school are now there.  What was 33rd Street 10 years earlier is now Herron Avenue.  Millwood Avenue has become Melwood Avenue, and a bigger thoroughfare, Grant Boulevard, has been created:

around 1900

At this point, the maps have specific dates on them.  Here’s the same area, in 1910:

around 1910

By 1923, West Penn Hospital is gone, and the area is now a park and playground.  Dickson Street has been renamed Dobson Street.  Grant Boulevard has become Bigelow Boulevard:


The view switches to an aerial photograph in 1939:


Then there’s a jump to 1957:


And a much bigger jump, almost 50 years, to 2005.  Not as many railroad tracks as before:


And then a Google Maps image from 2012:


Again, the website is Pittsburgh Historic Maps.  Check it out when you have some time to spare, because you’re likely to get absorbed looking at how the city has changed over time.

Fall colors in Polish Hill


Until this week, there was still a lot of green on the hillsides and around the neighborhood.  One of the spots of color was this vine on the Melwood retaining wall.


Now, the leaves are changing in earnest, and the color is spreading.  Here’s a few photos of fall scenes from the eastern side of the neighborhood.  Have a great weekend!


(Photos by Leslie Clague)

Call for volunteers: help weed and plant on Sunday, October 13


If you’re looking to get outside on Sunday, here’s a great way to do that and to help transform the Melwood Avenue gateway to the neighborhood.  The Student Conservation and neighborhood volunteers will be will be planting native perennials and getting the site ready for winter as part of an ongoing effort to create biodiversity.

This site has been the focus of a multi-year process to clear an overgrown, knotweed-covered hillside and reclaim the site as a public space.  Last year, 25 native trees were planted, and the work continues. For more information on this project, email

What comes after Sarney's?

Sarneys, at 3055 Brereton Street, a longtime Polish Hill establishment, is in the process of being sold.  The new owners, Francis Pope and Mark Baranowski, came to Polish Hill on July 29 for a public meeting to discuss their plans for the property and to answer resident’s questions.

Mark has been in the restaurant and bar business for over twenty years.   He bought the North Park Lounge in 1989 (there are two, in McCandless and Cranberry).  He also owns Bonnie and Clydes, and is in the process of opening up three more places in South Side, North Shore, and Murraysville.   The Polish Hill establishment is the first of his businesses to open in the city of Pittsburgh.  Mark and Francis Pope will be co-owners, although Francis will be here on a day-to-day basis.  Jennifer Youst, who will be the  bartender/assistant manager, also attended the public meeting.

What will happen here?  Francis and Mark said they change the name, probably to Pope’s Bar, but they didn’t plan to make drastic changes, preferring to keep the business running as a comfortable, neighborhood bar.  They said that nicer and bigger televisions will be added to make it more sports oriented.  There will be a larger food menu and maybe even Sunday brunches, if it seems that customers want that.  Some of the Sarney’s staff will stay on, too.

Sarney’s will close by the end of August, then the new owners will be doing some renovations, including a new floor, painting, and some facade work.  They said they hoped to re-open sometime in September.  The residents at the meeting asked lots of questions and came away feeling that the new owners would be a good fit for the neighborhood.

(Above:  the interior of Sarney’s.  Photo by Mark Knobil)

Lightning strikes the dome of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church

During a fierce electrical storm yesterday, lightning struck on and near Polish Hill multiple times.  It  hit in the backyard of a house on Paulowna Street, then a few second later hit the very top of the main dome of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

Some time later, people noticed smoke coming from the dome.  Fire trucks from different stations around the area quickly responded.  Residents lined the street, watching anxiously.

Firemen climbed up into the structure on top of the dome to fight the fire.

Here’s what it looked like from further away. (Photo by Carlea Cannon)

Slightly earlier, lightning also struck near the Iron city Brewery, knocking out a transformer by the Quick Stop on Liberty Avenue.  A photographer in the Steel Tower happened to get a picture of this strike (below).  The church dome is off to the right — click on the image to see it larger.

(Photo by Tim Betler, from Pittsburgh Magazine)

Read the Post-Gazette article about the lightning strike, or a Tribune-Review article that mentions the church, along with other storm damage around the area.