Be part of the Polish Hill Oral History project

Last month a new project was launched with the aim of preserving and honoring the history of Polish Hill.  Mark O’Connor, a Polish Hill resident and a professor of English at Slippery Rock, came to us with the idea of an oral history project.  There have of course been similar projects, including Polish Hill Remembered, a small book and CD produced by high school students, and a section on Polish Hill in a recent edition of On the Bluff, a publication from Duquesne University.  But this effort is more comprehensive, and it’s the first initiated from the neighborhood itself.

We are seeking people who lived in Polish Hill for any length of time, up into the 1980’s.  Interviewees don’t have to have been born here, or still live in the neighborhood, or even in Pittsburgh.  And they don’t have to be Polish.  We just want to talk to anyone who lived here and has memories and stories of what Polish Hill was like.

If you or someone you know has memories of Polish Hill in its prime–the people, places, and unique feel of the neighborhood, Mark would like to interview you.  Interviews can be held where is convenient and comfortable for you–at the PHCA office, at your home, or by telephone–the only requirement is that it needs to be a quiet place, as the interviews are being recorded.

Mark has already talked to a number of people, and the colorful stories he’s hearing are enough to fill volumes!  We are discussing ways to combine the oral histories with the wonderful photos the PHCA photo archive is collecting.

For more information about the project, contact Mark O’Connor at 412.321.1999 or email him at

(above photo:  a rainy May Queen procession on Brereton Street, 1950’s, photo donated to the PHCA photo archive by Teresa Wojciak)