58 years ago in West Penn Park…

On May 13, 1953, the Gillespie Parklet was dedicated at 30th and Brereton Streets.  The photo was taken from the hillside above what is now the West Penn playground.  The buildings visible above are gone, and it’s striking how many more trees and greenery there are now.  But the lay of the land is the same.  And see the white paved circle on the right?  That’s still there.

The description provided with this photo says:   “Mayor David L. Lawrence (center) celebrating with friends at the Gillespie Parklet dedication in the Polish Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh”.  In the background is the peaked turret of Lyceum, which was torn down in about 1972.  Some of these kids are still in the neighborhood; others have scattered far and wide.

Have you checked out the Historic Pittsburgh Archive?  As it’s described on the website:  Historic Pittsburgh is a comprehensive collection of local resources that supports personal and scholarly research of the western Pennsylvania area. This Web site enables access to historic material held by the University of Pittsburgh’s University Library System, the Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, Chatham University Archives, Oakmont Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, and Point Park University Archives.

There are sections for maps, texts, census, chronologies, and videos.  But our favorite is the Images Collection.  You can enter a search term, like “Polish Hill”, or “Brereton Street” and see what photos they have.  A number of street names here have changed, and we’ve noticed some instances where something that’s actually Polish Hill is labeled as Lawrenceville.  But it’s a pretty great archive, and they’re adding to it all the time.