What do you think: is this Polish Hill?

A woman whose family used to live in Pittsburgh sent us a photo she thought might have been taken in Polish Hill.  She wasn’t sure of the name of the family in the photo; it might be Kopicki, Kowalski, Milowicki — or some combination of those.  She mentioned that she also had family in Lawrenceville.

A couple of things come to mind when looking at this photo, which appears to have been taken in the 1920s or early 30s.  First, the topography and the buildings don’t seem to resemble Polish Hill of that period.  Houses here were a different type, built close together on narrow, hilly streets.  A couple of areas just outside of Polish Hill looked a bit like this.  One is just over the border in Oakland; or it might be south, higher up the hill.  It also looks a bit like the area off the Brereton extension, west of 28th Street, which is part of the Strip District.  But if so, where’s Bigelow Boulevard and it’s billboards, which would have been easily visible in the 1920’s?

So we’re not sure; maybe it’s possible.  We’re putting the question out to our readers, particularly those whose families lived in or near Polish Hill in the first half of the 20th century.  Does this look like Polish Hill to you?  Do you recognize this family?

(Click on the photo to see it bigger)

2 thoughts on “What do you think: is this Polish Hill?

  1. Been looking at a lot of photos of clearcut hills around town lately. Seems like by the 1920s all the major hills had structures on them except perhaps the far side of Spring Hill, northeasternmost stretch of Butler, Reserve/Millvale/Shaler, lots of other outlying areas.

  2. A.J.,
    There weren’t many trees at all for a long time — all the old photos show bare hillsides, but as you say, there were structures.

    The places I mentioned in the post did have just a few buildings, like this photo. But I think that the hillsides around this hill are more steep — not the rolling hills of the photo.


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