Page 1

A Publication of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition

More Service. More Places. More Often. Port Authority is continually focused on enhancing service for its riders. Whether it be adding new technologies like ConnectCard™ (the Authority’s smart card based fare collection system), TrueTimeSM (real-time vehicle tracking) and its 24/7 automated customer service phone system (instant access to next bus information day or night) or simply adjusting routes and schedules to better meet the needs of the community, the goal is always to make riding faster, simpler and easier. Such is the case with Port Authority’s 58 Greenfield and 93 Lawrenceville-Oakland-Hazelwood service which is being rerouted for approximately the next two years due to reconstruction of the Greenfield Bridge. Beginning September 6 – approximately six weeks ahead of the scheduled bridge closing – the 58 Greenfield will provide direct access to Squirrel Hill via Beechwood Boulevard, Forward Avenue (inbound), Lilac Street (outbound), Murray Avenue and Beacon Street.



93 Lawrenceville-Oakland-Hazelwood is being rerouted via Hazelwood Avenue, Murray Avenue and Beacon Street. Also, the new 58 Greenfield and 93 LawrencevilleOakland-Hazelwood routes will offer a faster and more direct connection from Murray Avenue to parts of Oakland–including places in the vicinity of Magee Womens Hospital, Carlow University and other sites for work, school and medical appointments. 93 also continues on to Lawrenceville. These changes will help buses remain on schedule and protect the reliability of the routes for riders. Port Authority will maintain as much of the regular routing as possible in order to match previous schedules. For more details and scheduling information, go to


Squirrel Hill For more great content visit our NEW website at!

Features 10

From Generation to Generation Community Day School continues a long tradition of religious education in Squirrel Hill By Jennifer Bails


Verizon Switch Station Shows Potential for Centrally Located Lofts, Office Space By Deborah Monti


Solar Makes Sense for Squirrel Hill By SHUC Solarize Committee


Always Moving Forward Sixth Presbyterian Church celebrates a long history of change and renewal By Susan Koehler

22 26

Envisioning the Future of Forward/Murray By Richard Feder Lights, Camera, History! The historic space at 1922 Murray Avenue transforms once again By Chris Zurawsky


2015 Treasure Awards By Meghan Poisson-DeWitt


People on the Street By Barbara Shema


In Every Issue 3

SHUC President’s Message What’s Going on at Forward & Murray


What’s New From Our Advertisers


This Just In

9 12

Familiar Faces


Book Review Exploring the Past History comes alive at the Carnegie Library of Squirrel Hill By Mark Russell

Neighborhood Notes


SHUC Snapshots News and Notes from your Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition


Good News from Our Schools


Squirrel Hill Historical Society Ongoing Attractions — The History of Squirrel Hill Theaters By Helen Wilson


Events Calendar

Squirrel Hill Real Estate By Barbara Rabner

Cover photo of Taylor-Allderdice High School by Marian Lien. Cover designed by Mike Lien.

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter @SquirrelHillMag and at

From the Editor Pittsburgh is a city with a rich and varied history. Once farms and woodlands, it boomed into a thriving, though filthy, steel city, before being revitalized into a clean and bustling urban center. Squirrel Hill has taken part in every aspect of this history. Our historic landmarks stand as a testament to our involvement and contributions to the rise of our fair city. While this issue couldn’t cover every landmark that dresses our streets, we at SHM did our best to give you a taste of their histories. We hope you take pride in your neighborhood's achievements! If you have comments or suggestions for future issues, please send them to Meghan Poisson-DeWitt at If you’re interested in advertising, please email or call (412) 422-7666. Advertisers can now pay with Visa, MasterCard or Discover.

Murray the Squirrel

Murray is available free of charge for visits and events to local organizations and schools. Give SHUC a call at 412.422.7666 or email

The Landmarks Issue PAGE1

SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION OFFICERS: Raymond N. Baum, President Richard Feder, Vice President Ceci Sommers, Vice President Chris Zurawsky, Vice President Barbara Grover, Secretary Peter Stumpp, Treasurer James Burnham, Assistant Treasurer Stephen Kijanka, Assistant Treasurer Steven Hawkins, Immediate Past President BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Norman Childs, Vivian Didomenico, Andy Dlinn, Lori Fitzgerald, Ed Goldfarb (Board Member Emeritus), Michael D. Henderson, Marshall Hershberg, Gina Levine, Ari Letwin, Lois Liberman, Cynthia Morelock, Melanie Seigel, Sidney Stark (Board Member Emeritus), Erika S. Strassburger, Erik Wagner, Roger Westman Marian Lien, Executive Director MAGAZINE STAFF: Meghan Poisson-DeWitt, Editor Deborah Monti, Intern CONTRIBUTORS: Jennifer Bails, Ray Baum, Rita Botts, Maren Cooke, Richard Feder, Ron Gaydos, Sue Koehler, David Knoll, Carolyn Ludwig, Deborah Monti, Sharon Pillar, Meghan Poisson-DeWitt, Mark Russell, Barbara Shema, Ceci Sommers, Elizabeth Waickman, Roger Westman, Helen Wilson, Chris Zurawsky DESIGN & PRINT: Patricia Tsagaris, Pinkhaus Design, Creative Director Knepper Press, Printer Printed with soy inks and 100% wind energy! $3XEOLFDWLRQRIWKH 6TXLUUHO+LOO8UEDQ& &RDOLWLRQ



Squirrel Hill Magazine, Vol. 13, Issue 4, is published through the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, 5604 Solway Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Please direct any questions or comments to SHUC by calling 412.422.7666 or emailing To inquire about advertising, please contact Please support our advertisers—their ads solely finance this magazine! Reserve your space today for the Winter 2015 issue!


Our Mission The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is a non-profit community organization dedicated to preserving, improving and celebrating the quality of life in the 14th Ward of the City of Pittsburgh. Volunteer-supported standing committees provide leadership to our community by studying, debating, and advocating positions on issues affecting our neighborhood’s vitality. Our mission is implemented through a long-range planning process, which fosters community-based initiatives in the areas of education, public safety, transportation, parks and open spaces, and commercial, institutional and residential development.

Are you a Pinterest addict? Follow us!

What’s Going On At Forward and Murray?

shuc president’s message

By Raymond N. Baum, President Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition


he Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition has been working with Mayor Bill Peduto, Councilman Corey O’Connor and many others to pave the way for redevelopment of the vacant, underutilized and blighted properties at the intersection of Forward and Murray Avenues (also known as the Squirrel Hill Gateway). Included are the closed Squirrel Hill Theater, the site of the Forward/Murray corner buildings that burned down on May 14, the Verizon Building, the former Burton Hirsh Funeral Home and the vacant or underutilized properties on the right side of lower Forward Avenue approaching the westbound entrance to I-376. All represent great opportunities for redevelopment.

There have been many concerns raised about the condition and future of these properties, especially since the corner building burned down in May.

Here’s a short list of what has been done to help generate interest in the Squirrel Hill Gateway: • Mayor Peduto and Councilman O’Connor have offered to help provide more parking, improve the flow and safety at the Forward/ Murray intersection and other redevelopment assistance. • The city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is proposing that all these properties be made part of a special redevelopment area so that this section of Squirrel Hill will qualify for funding and assistance without the use of eminent domain or the imposition of development and use restrictions. • Councilman O’Connor has been actively encouraging developers to invest in all the properties listed above. • The Coalition worked with two CMU graduate architecture/real estate development classes and the community to assess the sites and propose creative reuse.The student’s report is available on our website, • The Coalition’s Gateway Committee developed a plan for public improvements (also on our website) and worked with Councilman O’Connor and the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) to install all new street lighting and appropriate trees on Murray Avenue. • The Gateway Committee installed the “Welcome to Squirrel Hill” sign on Forward Avenue and maintains the Remembered Garden by the I-376 westbound entrance. • DPW and the Coalition are renovating the Post Office parklet and developing plans for a plaza at the corner of Phillips and Murray. • Our Gateway Committee and Uncover Squirrel Hill are working with property owners in the business community throughout Squirrel Hill to improve their properties. • ACTION-Housing, Inc., the owner of the former Poli’s restaurant site, has cleared their lot of debris left from the fire that started in the adjoining corner building, which required the demolition of both buildings. Zoning approvals have been secured and construction of an apartment building is planned for 2016. continued on page 4 The Landmarks Issue PAGE3

shuc president’s message cont. While all of the Gateway properties will continue to receive our attention, it is the long vacant Squirrel Hill Theater and the vacant Forward/Murray corner lot that have received the most interest. The owner is of these lots is AldersonForward Properties LLC, owned by a group of investors, including Allderdice graduates, Danny and Eddie Krifcher. They purchased the theater and corner property, in addition to seven apartment buildings on Maeburn Road and Alderson Street behind the Squirrel Hill Theater, from the Watkins family in June of 2000. There have been many concerns raised about the condition and future of these properties, especially since the corner building burned down in May. Eddie Krifcher tells me that his group has hired contractors to clear and landscape the corner lot and has obtained the various permit and approvals needed. He also reports that they have entered into agreements of sale for the theater and corner properties three times, only to see the purchasers walk away. The first agreement of sale, signed in 2008, anticipated the construction of a hotel and condominium. This was supported by the Coalition and the community but fell victim to the national economic recession. Mr. Krifcher says that these properties are again under agreement. The Coalition looks forward to meeting and working with the buyer. Mr. Krifcher had much to say regarding the Maeburn Road and Alderson Street apartment buildings. While they appear from the street to have been neglected for many years, Mr. Krifcher said that his company has made substantial interior improvements, including replacing hot water heaters, more than 100 appliances and almost all mechanical and heating systems. In addition, five of the seven roofs have been replaced; new electric services have been installed in five of the seven buildings; hardwood floors in the majority of units were refinished, and more. Mr. Krifcher also said that major exterior improvements have commenced and will continue, including the removal of dead trees, replacement of a retaining wall and concrete walkways, new windows, extensive landscaping, new exterior lighting, exterior planters, extensive masonry work, a professional tree care plan, bike racks, etc. Hopefully by the time this article reaches you, the corner property will have been cleared and landscaped, Alderson-Forward Properties will be under agreement with a buyer who will be working with the community on plans befitting our Squirrel Hill Gateway, and the much needed exterior work on the Maeburn-Alderson apartment buildings will be well underway. This is just another project of YOUR Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition working for you and helping to improve our community. We would love to hear your feedback on this issue. Please send you comments and questions to PAGE4

Get up to

Squirrel Hill 5835 Forbes Avenue • (412) 521-2868

Northwest Direct: 1-877-672-5678 • *QUALIFICATIONS:

Bonuses only available to customers who have not had an open checking account within six months of opening a new “MyNorthwestâ€? checking account (“Accountâ€?). All account owners must be qualifying customers. Bonuses limited to $200 per Account. Within 6 months of Account opening, two ACH Direct Deposits (“Deposit(s)â€?) of $200 or more made by an employer or other outside source must be deposited into Account. Internal transfers between accounts or deposits made at a branch or ATM do not qualify as Deposit(s). First bonus of $100 will be posted to Account within 14 calendar days of the VHFRQG 'HSRVLW (OLJLELOLW\ WR UHFHLYH WKH ÂżUVW  ERQXV ZLOO H[SLUH  PRQWKV IURP GDWH Account is opened. Second bonus of $100 will be paid to Account within 14 calendar days DIWHURQH\HDUDQQLYHUVDU\RI$FFRXQWEHLQJRSHQHGSURYLGHG L FXVWRPHUTXDOLÂżHVIRUÂżUVW bonus; and, (ii) two Deposits were received within two months prior to one year anniversary of date Account was opened. Bonus credits not considered part of minimum balance to open Account. “My Northwest Interest Checkingâ€? accounts not included in promotion. Employees RI 1RUWKZHVW %DQN DQG DIÂżOLDWHV QRW HOLJLEOH IRU %RQXVHV %RQXVHV VXEMHFW WR ,56  ,17 UHSRUWLQJ IRU \HDU LQ ZKLFK UHFHLYHG 2IIHU PD\ EH H[WHQGHG PRGLÂżHG RU GLVFRQWLQXHG at any time without prior notice and may vary by market. Northwest Bank is Member FDIC.

ONLINE FARM STAND Squirrel Hill, Lawrenceville, North Side, Mt. Lebanon, Larimer and Monroeville pickups! ORDER ONLINE



Create custom orders of local produce, cheese, eggs, meat and more assembled and ready for quick one-stop pickup! Web: Mobile App: Penn’s Corner Farm Stand Email:

from our advertisers

What’s New AMEI Presents: Health-Tech Forum & Evening Lecture with CNN’s Dr. Fareed Zakaria The American Middle East Institute’s 8th Annual Business Conference is a high-level gathering of Middle East Ministries, American and Middle East decision makers from leading global companies and influential organizations focused on growing business opportunities between the United States and the countries of the Middle East. AMEI's Health-Tech Forum will showcase leading-edge trends in Health and Technology including the latest in pharmaceutical research and development, telemedicine, best practices in hospital management and health insurance, and more. Tickets are $295 and include a ticket to Dr. Fareed Zakaria's lecture, held at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. Fareed Zakaria is host of CNN’s flagship international affairs program— Fareed Zakaria GPS. He is a contributing editor at The Atlantic, a Washington Post columnist, and a New York Times best-selling author. Individual tickets for the Fareed Zakaria lecture only, are $75, $50 and $25. For more information on both events and tickets please visit or call (412) 995-0076.

Penn’s Corner Farm Stand Want local food year round? Then check out the Penn's Corner Online Farm Stand, now with its very own mobile app! Create custom orders of local produce, fruit, cheese, eggs, meat and more, assembled and ready for quick one-stop pickup in Squirrel Hill. Pickup is available inside the Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill, as well as 5 other locations around town. Search “Penn’s Corner Farm Stand” in your app store, or order from our website at Founded in 1999, Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance is a farmer-owned cooperative in SW Pennsylvania with a mission of providing high quality, farm-fresh products directly to customers while providing a sustainable rate of return to the farmer. We also deliver Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to multiple Squirrel Hill locations. Contact us at (412) 3631971 with any questions. We hope to see you soon!

For VIP tickets to a private reception & dinner with dignitaries and Dr. Zakaria, please email

Kentucky Avenue Children’s Center The Campus School of Carlow University An independent, coeducational, Catholic day school for PreKindergarten through grade eight, and a Montessori Preschool program, The Campus School of Carlow University features a strong comprehensive core curriculum with a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and champions a holistic approach to learning that develops the creativity and unique gifts of each child. Rooted in the traditions of the Sisters of mercy, the Mercy spirit is present today in the warm, caring atmosphere of the school. Students of all faiths form a community that embraces religious diversity and encourages a deep respect for the religions and traditions of others. The Campus School’s unique partnering of spiritual values and academic excellence fosters in each child a love of life and learning and a sense of responsibility and purpose. Want to learn more about The Campus School of Carlow University? Join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays to tour our school! RSVP by calling (412) 578-6158.

Kentucky Avenue Children’s Center is moving! Now located at the Mifflin Avenue United Methodist Church on a quiet tree lined street in Regent Square, the Center is a developmental Preschool – Pre-Kindergarten licensed through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Center seeks to provide a warm and stimulating program where children can develop a feeling of pride in themselves. The school focuses on the development of the “total child.” It strives to enrich and guide the growth of children in each of the following areas: emotional, social, physical and creative. The Center is dedicated to the intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of its students, stressing moral and ethical integrity, cooperation and mutual respect for peers and teachers. We encourage children to be curious, active learners who feel free to ask questions; relate to each other in a cooperative spirit; share discoveries and enjoy each other’s company. For more information about the programs at Kentucky Avenue Children’s Center, call Fran Weingrad at (412) 371-6554. The Landmarks Issue PAGE5

fresh off the street

On the Shelf: Arcadia Publishing to Release Pittsburgh’s Bridges Coming to bookstores near you on October 26: Pittsburgh’s Bridges! This new release is coauthored by our very own Helen Wilson, president of the Squirrel Hill Historical Society and a constant contributor to Squirrel Hill Magazine. She co-authored the book with her son Todd Wilson, who both wrote and supplied photographs. A civil engineer by day, Todd is an expert on local bridges and their history and spends much of his free time photographing bridges across the country. A publication of Arcadia Publishing, most well known for their pictorial history series Images of America, Pittsburgh’s Bridges is a comprehensive visual guide to all of the bridges that have lead Pittsburgh to be called “the city of bridges”. Including beautiful photos, both recent and historical, the book dives into design, construction, and occasional demolition of bridges from past to present. Spanning 170 pages and featuring over 200 photos, Pittsburgh’s Bridges is not only perfect for your favorite history buff, but for anyone who takes pride in our city’s architectural achievements. Pick yours up in time for the holidays!

Street Stage Offers Buskers and Bands a Local Venue It’s 7pm on a friday night. You’ve just left your favorite Forbes Avenue eatery and are enjoying the warm breeze as it brings the sweet sounds of...a cello? That’s right! Thanks to the efforts of NextGen:Pgh, Shift Collaborative, and Councilman Dan Gilman, there is now a designated music space in Squirrel Hill! Nestled beneath the eaves of the Squirrel Hill Branch of the Carnegie Library at the corner of Forbes and Murray, the semi-permanent street tag begs locals to “Perform”. Launched in late July, the


This Just In street stage has just begun to book performers for weekend evenings. “It’s like a jolt of energy and life into the neighborhood,” said Alec Rieger, founder of NextGen:Pgh. Modeled on a program from New York City called the Subway Series, which features classically trained musicians playing for unsuspecting subway riders, the Squirrel Hill Street Stage offers space for local bands and musicians. While currently home to buskers looking for a sanctioned place to play, Reiger is hoping to involve local professional groups like the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in future programs, giving them a space to better connect to the community.

The Buckle Downs performing at the Squirrel Hill Street Stage

Like all of NextGen: Pgh projects, the end game for the street stage is community building and placemaking. “It’s about leveraging our strengths,” said Rieger. “It’s about building community and increasing idea flow. It’s an opportunity to get people together and talking.”

Greenfield Bridge Work Causes Bus Rerouting Many readers are familiar with the impending demolition and reconstruction of the Greenfield Bridge, but perhaps not so familiar with the changes this will cause in the Pittsburgh transportation network. Not only will automobile and foot traffic be redirected through Squirrel Hill beginning in December, so will several buses that currently use the bridge. Beginning on September 6th, two buses, the 58 and 93, will be re-routed through Squirrel Hill via Murray Avenue and Beacon Street. See the map below for an idea of the route. For more details, visit /paac/RiderServices.

AltaDesign. Better hearing by design.

Hear more naturally.

Debra L. Greenberger, M.S., CCC-A Serving the Pittsburgh area for over 25 years

The last stop you’ll make in successful hearing aid use

Call today for a FREE consultation! Squirrel Hill ~ 2703 Murray Ave. ~ 412.422.8006

SENIOR WEALTH MANAGEMENT Andy “Hirsh” Dlinn, CSA ® President Senior Portfolio Manager 555 Grant Street, Suite 317 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Office 412-562-2220 Toll free 877-562-0770 Cell 412-979-5770 Fax 412-562-9995 squirrel hill

north hills

east liberty (new location!)

classes range from beginner to advanced, gentle to challenging

shuc familiar faces

Familiar Faces: Your Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition Board Members By Raymond N. Baum, President Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition

The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition and our community are fortunate to have so many people who are dedicated to our community. This is the third of a series introducing you to the Coalition’s stalwart board members. Roger Westman Roger is our longest serving board member and one of our most dedicated. He has served in most offices, including as president. His particular interest on the board has been the Commercial Development /Residential Quality Committee. Roger’s skill as an analyst, moderator and a mediator is called on time and again. He is both passionate and objective. He always finds a way to get people with divergent interests and views to work together. Roger wanted to join the board to help preserve and enhance the quality of life in Squirrel Hill, “exactly as stated in the Coalition statement.” He led the effort to reach the first agreement with Carnegie Mellon University to have an open process with the neighborhood and the Coalition about planning campus facilities and miniusiasm th n e e mizing the impact of offth d “I fin t by n e m campus student housing. e lv o v and in f o Now that’s standard operts n e the resid in their ating procedure. He also ill Squirrel H od to used his training as a PhD chemical engineer and neighborho ble.” a rk a m his experience as an engire e b neer and Manager of the Air Quality Program for Allegheny County Health Department to address the air quality issues regarding the construction of Summerset at Frick Park so that development could proceed without concern about pollution impacts from building on a slag pile. Why get so involved? To quote Roger, “I find the enthusiasm and involvement by the residents of Squirrel Hill in their neighborhood to be remarkable. So many folks care about and act upon issues about where they live and in keeping it a great place. I love the greenness of the area, the architecture, and the history, but mostly, the community of people.”

Having retired in 2008 from the Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Quality Program, Roger especially enjoys gardening, home repair, volunteering with Family Services of Western Pennsylvania, and being active at Calvary Episcopal Church, having served on its vestry and as Secretary to the Vestry. His latest project is promoting solar energy in Pittsburgh. Erika S. Strassburger Erika joined the Coalition board in July 2014 and immediately became one of our hardest working and effective directors. She is a very active member of our Development Committee and our new Events SubCommittee. Erika has been thoroughly involved in community activities though out her entire adult life. She has put her experience and energy to work as chief of staff “I’m hono for City Councilman Dan Gilman since his first day serve on a breod to ard in office. w

ith such rich

Having grown up in the hills history of Northern California and talented peopand le.” living in New Hampshire before moving to Squirrel Hill in 2009, Erika is much at home in our hills and parks. She loves the opportunities to run, hike, bike and ski practically right outside her back door. She is also a symphony subscriber and devotee of the city’s many dance companies; and at the same time, she’s happy to “pack into a tiny standing room-only venue to hear whatever great group is in town”. Erika explains her love of Squirrel Hill eloquently. “I first visited Squirrel Hill in 2007 and was immediately taken by the neighborhood and the diversity of cultures, ages and languages. At the same time, everyone seemed to know each other. People actually bumped into friends on the street while running errands or taking a stroll; that was unbelievable to me. I was also struck by the walkability of the neighborhood. How wonderful it is that you don’t need a car to access the grocery store, the drug store, the movie theater, the tailor, the hardware store, and anything else you might want or need, including an array of great restaurants.” Why did she agree to serve on the Coalition Board? “I’m honored to serve on a board with such rich history and talented people. Most people don’t realize the Coalition has been active for more than 40 years – that’s an incredible amount of history and institutional knowledge to build upon. I greatly enjoy serving alongside some of the brightest, most dedicated board members and staff who work countless hours to help Squirrel Hill thrive. My hope is that the Coalition can help Squirrel Hill continue to attract a diverse set of new residents and, similarly, take full advantage of the injection of energy and new ideas much of the city is experiencing.” The Landmarks Issue PAGE9

squirrel hill feature

From Generation to Generation Community Day School continues a long tradition of religious education in Squirrel Hill By Jennifer Bails


ith its towering, gray-stone edifice set high atop Forward Avenue, many comment on the resemblance between Community Day School and the fictional Hogwarts Castle in the Harry Potter series. And while one might easily imagine a game of Quidditch being played on broomsticks outside the Gothic Revival-style building, a different kind of educational magic takes place inside the walls of CDS.

The journey began in 1972 when a group of parents first organized Community Day School as a non-denominational Jewish day school in the old Hebrew Institute building at the corner of Forbes and Denniston Avenues. In 1988, the school merged with South Hills Solomon Schechter School, and later became part of the Jewish Education Institute, a citywide umbrella agency for Jewish education. As enrollment grew, many different sites in Squirrel Hill were considered for expansion. At that time, with the intent of building a nursing home, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh purchased the property at the corner of Beechwood Boulevard and Forward Avenue, which had housed St. Philomena Church and School since 1922. St. Philomena was the first German Catholic parish founded in the Pittsburgh region, and accomplished architect John T. Comes designed the congregation’s buildings in Squirrel Hill. Notably, Comes also built St. John the Baptist Church in Lawrenceville that now houses The Church Brew Works restaurant. In its heyday, the school and parish flourished under the Redemptory Fathers and Notre Dame Sisters, with six masses held PAGE10

each Sunday. But a neighborhood demographic shift led to the school’s closure in 1990, and the church was deconsecrated in 1993. Neighbors objected to using the site as a nursing home, urging that it remain an educational facility. With the help of late City Councilman Bob O’Connor, Mayor Tom Murphy, and Mardi Isler of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, Pittsburgh’s Jewish community obtained permission to transform the old Catholic school into the new home of the Jewish Education Institute. The Federation deeded the property to the JEI and also contributed $3 million to renovate the building with new classrooms, a kosher kitchen, a library, two computer labs, and an updated gymnasium. The former sanctuary, where Catholic masses were held, became home to the Holy Ark, where the school’s Torah scrolls are stored and where most religious services are conducted at CDS. The Middle School acquired its own space on the third floor, and a team of parents built two playgrounds, funded by the CDS Parent Association. Renovations took the better part of a year, interrupted only for the filming of the remake of “Diabolique” starring Sharon Stone on the grounds.

At long last On September 3, 1996, Community Day School opened in its new location, which provides the perfect environment for the unique educational experience offered at CDS. Nestled in the residential heart of Squirrel Hill, CDS is a nurturing, academically excellent Jewish day school for the 21st century for students age 3 to Grade 8. With state-ofthe-art science and technology labs, a gracious library, performing arts spaces, two art studios, and a music room, students have a beautiful and inspiring space to learn and grow. A multi-purpose athletic field, vegetable gardens with Jewish holiday themes, and the seven-acre campus provide endless outdoor learning opportunities.

The CDS campus also is the site of Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt Keeping Tabs: A Holocaust Sculpture, a Pittsburgh landmark of educational and historic significance that attracts visitors from across the world. Dedicated in 2013, the sculpture commemorates each and every one of the approximately six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. Keeping Tabs is a maze in the shape of the Star of David, constructed of glass blocks containing six million aluminum tabs from cans of soda and other foods. The tabs were collected and counted by CDS students as a way to grapple with the sheer enormity of the horrors suffered by the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis. Guided tours are available of the sculpture, which reminds us to always “keep tabs on our humanity.”

contains administrative offices, a board room, classrooms, and a chapel. It will also be home to the bright, colorful, and spacious new classroom for 3-year-olds in the CDS Early Childhood Education program opening in the fall of 2016. While much has changed since the castle-like building at the corner of Beechwood and Forward was first built almost a century ago, one thing has stayed the same. Across the generations, children have been lovingly educated at a school deeply rooted in religious tradition and strongly committed to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. SHM

In 2013, CDS also opened an underground tunnel linking a second building on campus facing Beechwood Boulevard that once housed the rectory of St. Philomena. The CDS Annex

Love thhe Leeaarrniiin ngg Live thhe Valueess Community Day School is a nurturing, academically excellent age 3 through Grade 8 Jewish day school.

OPEN HOUSE Saturday, October 17th 11:00am - 2:00pm

5701 Fifth Avenue (at Negley) Pittsburgh, PA 15232 For more information, please email or call 412.228.7127


Join us for a fall Open House: Sunday, October 11, 1-2:30 p.m. Monday, October 19, 10-11:30 a.m. 6424 Forward Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 Ɣ 412.521.1100 Ɣ

neighborhood notes In Memoriam: Elsie Hillman By Meghan Poisson-DeWitt

The name Elsie Hillman is well known and loved in the city of Pittsburgh. Not just a local celebrity, Elsie is nationally recognized as a philanthropist and political activist. The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition owes our very existence to this wonderful and passionate woman. As one of the founders of SHUC, she was deeply involved in Squirrel Hill and greater Pittsburgh, helping to shape our community. Even though she won’t be in attendance this year, Elsie remains one of the SHUC Treasure Awards biggest sponsors, going so far as to secure local jazz legend Joe Negri as our entertainment. She worked tirelessly alongside mayoral, gubernatorial, and even presidential candidates, giving nothing less than her complete support. While recognized most for her political work, it’s her friendly and welcoming persona that friends and family remember best. Ceci Sommers, SHUC board member and close friend of Elsie’s had a lot to say about her. “I have known Elsie for 44 years. No one is more generous and fun to be with.” She went on to tell stories of past WQED auctions where Elsie, under the stage name of ‘Peaches’, performed with The Flying Zucchini Brothers Circus and All American Band. Her love of costumes and parties made her an unrivaled hostess. “She broke a bone in her back dressed as a gorilla and doing somersaults for her kids while trick or treating one year,” Ceci told us. Everywhere she went, Elsie made friends out of strangers. Roger Westman, long time Squirrel Hill resident and SHUC board member, recalled one evening in particular that left its mark. It was a gathering at Calvary Episcopal Church where they are both members. Though full of many guests and church members, Roger was the first to greet her with a handshake, only to be surprised by the warmth and kindness Elsie exuded. “Although [Elsie] only recognized me by sight, she wrapped her arm around mine and asked me to walk her around to see the displays, sharing comments all the time. She felt like a mother to me while she treated me like a grown son she had always known. It was a most warm and memorable time, the two of us relative strangers, bonding instantly.” Many more stories like this, from close friends and strangers alike, have filled the pages of newspapers and magazines across the country. From the New York Times to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, we all have nothing but praises to sing about our marvelous Elsie Hillman. She has done so much for Squirrel Hill, SHUC, and the city of Pittsburgh, leaving her impression upon the community as much as the building and organizations that bear her family’s name. She may be gone but she will never be forgotten. SHM PAGE12

Jane Haskell with Windborne detail Photo: Timothy Burak

American Jewish Museum announces Jane Haskell: Drawing In Light October 20, 2015 – February 19, 2016 Jane Haskell: Drawing In Light surveys Haskell’s career. Haskell (1923-2013) was an artist and a philanthropist who made Pittsburgh her home for nearly fifty years. Curated by Vicky A. Clark and Melissa Hiller, the exhibition includes thirty sculptures, paintings and drawings. Haskell mined the physical, experiential and phenomenal qualities of light by making neon and fluorescent sculptures and installations, yet she also retained an affinity for painting throughout her career. Drawing upon her approach to co-mingling physical light with painting, the project’s title references a series of installations she completed in 1998 entitled Drawings in Light. It was her mentor Samuel Rosenberg, Pittsburgh’s inveterate painter of light and one of Andy Warhol’s college professors, who first prompted her exploration of the qualities of painting and light. Haskell lived by the mantra without light there is no life. A richly illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition. Hiller and Clark’s essay covers substantial ground about Haskell’s sensibilities and influences and her position within twentieth-century art and artists. The catalogue includes an introduction by Haskell’s longtime friend Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. Observations by Haskell’s friends, family and colleagues add a personal dimension. In conjunction with Drawing In Light, the Carnegie Museum of Art, where Haskell was a board member, will present Jane Haskell’s Modernism: A Legacy at Carnegie Museum of Art. The Carnegie Museum exhibition, which accentuates her role as a collector and patron, will be on view from November 21, 2015 –March 7, 2016. SHM Her work can be found in the following public locales throughout Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 6300 Fifth Avenue; Steel Plaza Subway Station at Grant and 6th Avenue; William Pitt Union, University of Pittsburgh; YMCA, U.S. Steel Tower, 600 Grant Street.

Carnegie Squirrel Hill Upper St. Clair

designique... M TTM


Now accepting Fall Registrations Please join us for our next

Pre-Twinkle Camp from 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

October 10th, 2015 at our Carnegie location

Call us to register! Come to our

Open House

November 7th, 2015

childs communications / designer jennifer habetler photographer michael sahaida

from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Falk School



kiya tomlin, designer & owner, uptown sweats by kiya tomlin, wearing norman childs eyewear

A K–8 school on the University of Pittsburgh campus

Fall Open House Friday, November 13, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. School tours by appointment 412-624-8024,

® the world’s finest collection of unique eyewear

squirrel hill feature

Verizon Switch Station Shows Potential for Centrally Located Lofts, Office Space By Deborah Monti


riginally built in 1926, the Verizon switch station on the corner of Forward and Murray was once a bustling office building. As the center for all phone calls that pass through the Squirrel Hill area, it was filled with telephone operators connecting calls with switchboards and repairmen who actually made house calls. But as technology became advanced enough to fill those jobs with computers, and the number of floors in use began to decrease, the building never took in new occupants. The corner building, now practically derelict and housing computer operated switching gear, essentially runs itself. Though two-thirds of the building is vacant and the exterior needs to be cleaned, painted and landscaped, it still appears to have a lot of potential for rehabilitation and new productive uses. Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC) board members have been trying to talk to senior Verizon officers about its lack of maintenance and potential reuse and have been writing to Verizon headquarters in an effort to get them to pay attention to this property. While Verizon seems unresponsive to ideas about sharing the space, partially and fully repurposing Verizon buildings is not a novel idea—many of the company’s buildings in New York and elsewhere are already slimming down and starting to share space with residential condominiums and apartments. “We think Verizon isn’t focused on renovating the building because although only about a third of the building is being used, the use is critically important and as a public utility, it is real estate tax exempt, so there’s no financial pressure to add to or change its use. In truth, because of its history, this significant


building would probably qualify for federal income tax credits as a historic renovation as apartments or offices that would benefit Verizon and Squirrel Hill,” says Ray Baum, SHUC president. “There is a great opportunity for that building.” Attempts were made to contact Verizon for comment but no responses were received. Students in Carnegie Mellon University’s Masters of Urban Design program have also noticed the potential of the building, and in a December report titled Envisioning the Forward-Murray Gateway, suggested storefront lighting to “enrich the look and the feel of an otherwise dull and lifeless structure” and building steps on the grass to “create a much comfortable and safe environment for the commuters” who use the bus stop adjacent to the building. While there are still issues to be resolved in regards to collocating the building, such as how to protect the security of the telephone calls and data that pass through there (the building also serves calls and transmissions going through the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University’s software engineering institute, which works on highly confidential projects), there is still hope for a changing façade and perhaps a new use of the building. SHM

squirrel hill review

Exploring the Past History comes alive at the Carnegie Library of Squirrel Hill By Mark Russell of Carnegie Library — Squirrel Hill


(412) 521-2222 x252 BUSINESS (412) 780-2402 MOBILE (412) 521-6916 FAX

REAL ESTATE SERVICES 5887 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15217

a community that works together thrives together. PNC is proud to be a part of Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition. Because we know that inspiration begins at home.

Bill Kostandinu - Branch Manager 412-521-8800

Š2015 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. PNC Bank, National Association. Member FDIC


ince last winter, the Squirrel Hill Historical Society has had a permanent exhibit in place at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh — Squirrel Hill. Prominently located in the main corridor of the library, this display features photographs of Squirrel Hill from the past and present and some fascinating stories about the neighborhood and its landmarks. You can also find plenty of information about the Historical Society itself, like a schedule of their upcoming lectures and a list of their archived videos. Accompanying the exhibit is a great collection of books on local history that can be checked out from the library. One of these titles is the Squirrel Hill Historical Society’s own Squirrel Hill, a book from the Images of America series. Squirrel Hill contains a treasure trove of photographs chronicling the history of Squirrel hill from its 18th century origins as a farm community of English, Scottish, and German settlers to the more familiar modern era. Each photo is paired with a detailed caption, and in these words and pictures Squirrel Hill transplants the reader into a dynamic and storied community. The streets of Squirrel Hill evolve before your very eyes as log cabins and farms become houses and elaborate estates, tiny schoolhouses are replaced by massive high schools, and horsedrawn carriages are exchanged for streetcars and automobiles. The origins of more enduring landmarks are also well-represented in Squirrel Hill, as there are many pictures that document the early history of churches, synagogues, and other community centers that continue to serve the neighborhood. Another book from this collection that takes a more biographical approach to Squirrel Hill history is Neighbors, You’re Beautiful! Mini-Biographies of Fascinating Personalities Living in and Beyond Squirrel Hill — enlivened with a Touch of Humor (1962-1974) by Sara Rosenblum. Rosenblum interviewed 250 Squirrel Hill residents and collected their life stories in this book, devoting about a page to each personality. Rosenblum is a responsible chronicler, giving essential background details like place of birth, education, and family information, but she is also a writer who adores her subjects. From celebrity coroner Dr. Cyril H. Wecht to Parisian police officer Marguerite Fischer to dentist/hypnotist Dr. Elliot Brodie, Rosenblum always maintains an abundance of affection and praise for the people in her neighborhood. Both books are enjoyable reads that provide a fascinating view into Squirrel Hill’s past, but they also maintain a strong continuity with the Squirrel Hill of today. Squirrel Hill is a neighborhood that continues to be diverse and dynamic, and it will never have a shortage of personalities. SHM The Landmarks Issue PAGE15

Kentu Kentucky ucky y Avenue e Children’s Child Childre en’s ’ Center C t r since 1984

Carnegie Mellon University

Children’s School

Preschool Pre-Kindergarten Ages 2-5 n o Avenue v UMC Regent Square at Mifflin Avenue ti a c New Lo 412-371-6554

Register Now for 2015-2016!

Developmentally appropriate early childhood programs in a research university context.

Now Accepting Pre-K and Kindergarten Applications for 2015-2016 Carnegie Mellon University Children’s School, MMC 17 4MXXWFYVKL4%ˆ

Jw classrooms. Mor Mornings nings be begin gin with hugs and smiles as our JJunior unior Sc School children arrive hool c hildren ar rive – setting the tone ffor day joy. classrooms are alive active or a da y infused with jo y. Our c lassrooms ar e ali ve with acti ve learning inquiry explore pre-algebraic concepts, learning and inquir y as students e xplore pr e-algebraic conce pts, the science bridge-building workshop.. of bridg e-building and writing workshop school each day, they engaged Because our students look fforward orward to sc hool eac h da y, the y become engag ed learners prepared thatt the they and curious lear ners – pr epared to shine brighter in all tha y do.

Learn Learn more more at at www

Explor Explore e • Eng Engage age • Ex Excel cel PK-12 • Three Three Campuses Admissions: 412-968-3180

squirrel hill feature

Solar Makes Sense for Squirrel Hill “We don’t get enough sun in Western PA for solar power.” We’ve all heard that, but it’s not true! Did you know that there are already more than 200 solar homeowners in Allegheny County who are generating all or part of their electrical needs? In fact, Allegheny County gets more sunlight than Germany, a cloudy place 800 miles farther north than Pittsburgh. Even with less solar advantage, for now, Germany is the nation with the most solar generating capacity. Too little sun is one of the biggest misconceptions about solar energy. Solar is feasible.

average about $15,000 -$20,000, even after paying for the system. “We are now at a place where people are deciding to either continue renting their electricity from the utility company or owning their own generation and saving thousands of dollars,” said David Knoll, Team Leader for Solarize Squirrel Hill and a Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition board member. “Solar is a financial investment and will increase the value of one’s home or business.” In addition, now is a great time to go solar because the federal 30% tax credit will expire next year.

So what does one need to have for successful solar installation? A roof or yard with good sun exposure (ideally facing south, but installers can work with east/west facing roofs as well). It’s important to have as little shading from trees or surrounding buildings as possible. Since the solar panels are Another misconception is that solar panels are warrantied for at least 25 years, a roof in too expensive. Actually, the price has come good condition is also important (ideally down tremendously in recent years. Solar is less than 15 years old), but the installers will now about the price of the typical monthly be able to assess the condition of your site electric bill. The cost of doing nothing – of not and provide recommendations. going solar – is about $30,000. That is what Most solar owners remain connected to the the average homeowner will pay Duquesne electric grid, rather than using battery storage, Light over the next 25 years. However, going because it is less expensive and more reliable. solar will actually save a homeowner on When there is sunlight, you get to use your own solar power first -- and any excess electricity that you are not using goes back out to the grid for your neighbors to use. At night, when there is no sunlight, you pull electricity from the grid. Duquesne Light reads your meter each month, as always, but credits your bill on a monthly basis for any excess that you supply to the grid. At the end of the year, they send you a check for any surplus. Many people think the process of going solar is overwhelmingly complex and is too troublesome. This is where Solarize Squirrel Hill comes in to make the process simple and easy to understand. Through mid-December, Solarize Squirrel Hill (a program under the

Solarize Allegheny umbrella) will be in our community to help connect people with information and qualified installers to encourage them to consider going solar. Solarize Allegheny is a campaign funded by The Heinz Endowments and managed by the non-profit organization SmartPower. Solarize Allegheny

has been used successfully by homeowners in Point Breeze and other neighborhoods. By going to you can get free quotes from two local, pre-screened installers. They can tell you if your home is a good candidate for solar and provide options and prices. If you choose to proceed, they do all the work from obtaining permits to doing the installation and arranging for inspections. It’s simple and affordable. Imagine generating your own pollution-free electricity right on your roof or in your yard! In addition to being a great financial investment, solar energy helps to improve our air quality and lessen our carbon footprint. The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is leading the effort to solarize Squirrel Hill. We will be holding workshops, solar tours, and other functions to help you out. For more information and aschedule of events go to SHM This article written by your SHUC Solarize committee: David Knoll, Rita Botts, Maren Cooke, Ron Gaydos, and Roger Westman

The Landmarks Issue PAGE17

squirrel hill feature

In its 165-year history, Sixth Presbyterian Church has evolved, often reflecting changes in the city and in society at large. The congregation was chartered in 1850. Before it came to Squirrel Hill, it occupied a site uptown at the corner of Franklin and Townsend Streets. The congregation was theologically and socially conservative, but that changed with the Civil War. The church thrived in its location until the last decades of the 19th century. As the neighborhood’s demographics changed, there were fewer Presbyterians in the area, and in 1901, the church was sold to Beth Jacob congregation. The site eventually disappeared under the Civic Arena, which has itself now been replaced. In the early 20th century, Squirrel Hill was remote, but it was at the end of a brand new streetcar line. Undeveloped land amid open fields was purchased from Thomas Wightman at the corner of Forbes and Murray Avenues. A struggling country congregation located on the present Colfax School site merged with Sixth. The neighborhood grew and so did the church. Middleclass families followed the streetcar and began pouring into Squirrel Hill. Many joined Sixth, and within nine years, the $42,000 mortgage was paid off. The congregation was active in the community and firmly in favor of prohibition. Despite relatively difficult periods during the Depression, Sixth was a large and thriving congregation when it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1950. Nonetheless, its commemorative book celebrating the Centennial PAGE18

Always Moving Forward Sixth Presbyterian Church celebrates a long history of change and renewal By Sue Koehler

closed with words of a changing neighborhood and suburban flight. As the streetcar had opened up Squirrel Hill, the automobile opened up the suburbs, and many church members drove through the newly opened Squirrel Hill tunnel to new homes. By 1969, only a dedicated core remained. The church, in an aging building with reduced numbers, carried on with social programs, including a Korean Fellowship, a coffee house for youth, and the purchase of an adjacent home for a youth program. Because the congregation was active and lively, the church slowly began to grow in membership once again. But then the adjacent building burned down, and the church structure itself had suffered too long from deferred maintenance. For a few years, where the burned building had stood, there were community gardens. In 1981, an architectural survey provided figures and a plan that revealed what was necessary to maintain the property. The congregation renewed its commitment to stay at Forbes and Murray. With hard work by members, careful stewardship of resources and great generosity

The congregation has steadily developed a distinctive character, with members who have a passion for social justice and an intellectually honest faith. Community groups such as Al-Anon, the 14th Ward Democratic Club, the Fiberarts Guild, the Alopecia Areata Support Group, and Pittsburgh Camerata use its meeting rooms. In the mid-1990s, the congregation affiliated with the More Light Network, embracing the inclusion of gays and lesbians as full participants in all aspects of the church, including ordination to church office.

Wear Your Wanderlust

The old building at Forbes and Murray continues to require upkeep, in the manner of old buildings, but more important, inside this landmark are activities and people devoted to the life of our city. Those attracted to the congregation tend to find the diversity of the neighborhood enriching rather than troubling and hope to be part of the fabric of Squirrel Hill for many years ahead. SHM


30% OFF one item

with this coupon* 1001905

*Offer valid at par ticipating stores until 10/31/15. Not valid with other discounts, gift card, Oriental rug or Traveler’s Find purchases. One coupon per customer per day.

of members past and present, the situation improved. The adjacent L-shaped lot was sold (where a gravel parking space and the adjacent building had once stood). It was developed for condominiums, the handsome building now called 1660-1680 Murray Avenue. Years of Pittsburgh smoky grime were cleaned away to reveal the church building’s beautiful golden stone. Proceeds from the sale of the property were applied in part to the needed maintenance.

Dear Neighbor: :KLOHZHKDYHEHHQ\RXUTXLHWDQGKDUGZRUNLQJQHLJKERUIRUWKHSDVW\HDUVWKHWLPHKDVFRPHWR                    PDNHDOLWWOHQRLVHDQGWRRWRXURZQKRUQ<RXU6TXLUUHO+LOO&RDOLWLRQKDVEHHQSUHVHUYLQJLPSURYLQJDQG                   FHOHEUDWLQJOLIHLQRXUQHLJKERUKRRGLQVRPDQ\LPSRUWDQWZD\V+HUHಏVMXVWDIHZ               Over 20 significant community improvements have grown from our 20-year mast plan, including Summerset at Frick Park, the Giant Eagle expansion, plus park/payground and school renewal. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re working to update that plan now. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve improved the business district with new lighting, trees, murals, banners and the new â&#x20AC;&#x153;Welcome to Squirrel Hillâ&#x20AC;? sign near the parkway entrance. The newly renovated Squirrel Hill Post Office Parklet re-opened this August! Each year we honor a place and three outstanding Squirrel Hill residents as official Squirrel Hill Treasures. We create and distribute Squirrel Hill Magazine to 16,500 homes and businessesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;all as a free community service, four times a year! Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve worked with parents and educators to keep our schools strong despite budget cutbacks. We minimize litter with citizen volunteers and keep our beloved neighborhood beautiful and clean.

Now we need YOU to help us continue our good work on your behalf with a generous contribution! %HVXUHSXUFKDVH\RXUWLFNHWVWR6+8&ಬV        WK$QQXDO7UHDVXUH$ZDUGV'LQQHURQ2FWREHUDWWKH            3LWWVEXUJK*ROI&OXE<RXFDQGRVRDWZZZVKXFRUJWUHDVXUHVUHVHUYDWLRQVRUFDOOXVDW               

Become a Member Today!

SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION 3%26).'#/--5.)49s"53).%33s%$5#!4)/.s2%#2%!4)/.


                      !    #   $ % &# '    %

    "     "

Payment Method: 

! +,   % - &, %  ,,  .

__ Check made payable to Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition __ Visa __ Mastercard

__ Discover


__________________________________________________ Account No.


'0   0 1 ,  

__________________________________________________ Signature


Exp. Date


() *    

squirrel hill urban coalition

SHUC Snapshots Fall 2015: News and Notes from your Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition The Parklet Project The renovation of the parklet beside the Squirrel Hill Post Office has been planned for many years. When demolition finally commenced in June this year, unexpected roadblocks slowed the renovation progress. “During the demolition phase, the City of Pittsburgh Public Works Construction Division actually uncovered three manholes,” said Mardi Isler, Chair of SHUC’s Gateways Committee. “Two are in the planting area and were lowered so that when completed, they will be covered with mulch. But the third one is right in the middle of the concrete plaza.” The plaza, which is to be dyed Cayman Island Green to reduce the heat island effect, called for a custom made manhole cover that could be filled with the same material that would be used in the surrounding area. “This option seemed worth the wait,” said Isler. At press time, the manhole cover had been received and installed by Public Works and the cement had been ordered. One highlight of the parklet, the mosaic concrete cube seating edging the space (see renderings), will be completed under an agreement with MLK Community Projects by Steveo Mosaics after the concrete has set properly. New lighting has already been installed on the site. Final additions include installing the bench, shrubs, perennials, and two more trees, as well as replacing the last section of pavement west of Murray Avenue. If all goes well, by the time this issue arrives in homes, the parklet will be completed and ready to be enjoyed by Squirrel Hill residents!

Doing Well by Doing Good Squirrel Hill Treasure Awards By Ceci Sommers Treasure Awards Committee Chair

It’s a coveted goal of nonprofits to ‘do well by doing good’. The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition has found that winning combination in the Treasure Awards, now marking five years of celebration and successful fundraising in one attractive event. One of the goals of the coalition is to celebrate the community we serve. How better to do that than by putting the spotlight on the people and places that make Squirrel Hill such a great place to live, work and raise our families in? Each year, we honor one place and three people or organizations that make us all proud. We designate them official “Treasures” of Squirrel Hill and we honor them at a lovely event at the Pittsburgh Golf Club. We don’t allow any speeches at the dinner. Rather, we the honor our Treasures with a film produced by the Pittsburgh Filmmakers, which artfully tells the stories of our honorees. Since we began the Treasures, we have honored 12 outstanding Squirrel Hillers and four places. Look for the brass plaques designating Homewood Cemetery, the Squirrel Hill Post Office, The Manor Theater, and the corner of Forbes and Murray and be proud as you stroll by. This year’s Treasures are: Bill Isler: Board member, Pittsburgh Public Schools David Stock: Award winning composer Mike Chen: Pittsburgh’s Chinese Restaurant Association Founder Taylor Allderdice High School: This year’s Place Treasure For more in depth coverage of our Treasures, visit page 30. How are we doing well? The Treasure awards have raised well over $100,000 to support the important work of the Coalition. This year’s awards take place on October 22. For more information or to reserve your seats, go to treasures-reservations/

The Landmarks Issue PAGE21

squirrel hill feature

Envisioning the Future of Forward & Murray By Richard Feder Chair of SHUC’s Master Planning Committee


he Squirrel Hill Community Master Plan, completed in 1990 (and updated in 2011), identified a vision for the neighborhood: to maintain Squirrel Hill as a healthy, vibrant, diverse and stable neighborhood. Many projects have been done since the Plan was formulated that have enhanced Squirrel Hill, from large projects like Summerset at Frick Park, to smaller projects, including many done throughout Squirrel Hill by public, private, and institutional entities.

The President’s Page in this issue of Squirrel Hill Magazine lists some of the many public space improvements that have been undertaken as part of the Squirrel Hill Gateway project, including new street trees, pedestrian scale lighting, the “Welcome to Squirrel Hill” sign, murals, and the new parklet at the Post Office corner. Unfortunately, there is one section of our gateway that has been sorely neglected: the intersection of Forward and Murray. When a fire destroyed the former Poli resturant and the adjacent building on the corner this past May, it served to highlight how blighted this area has become. While a hard blow to the community, the incident opened the door to creative visions for the future of this space, bringing it to the forefront of community concerns. Lighting proposal


Creating a New Gateway In 2014, a graduate design class of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture, in cooperation with the Coalition, undertook a visioning process for the Forward-Murray area. The three main goals for the project were to create a good first impression, provide the opportunity for mixed-use development, and transform the area into a lively, diverse and walkable place for people. The design students first developed a set of ideas that could potentially be done within a 3-year time frame. These “short-term” ideas were categorized into the following five areas of improvement: Lighting; Finding Your Way; Room for People; Room for Nature; and Community Building. The students provided examples of what this might entail.

vignettes about the history of Squirrel Hill or about what’s to come in the future.

Finding Your Way Wayfinding and interpretive signage can create a sense of place. While guiding the residents and visitors to the area’s developing shopping, dining and entertainment amenities, such items can also be landmark elements within a particular area.

Room for People Pocket parks are frequently created on a single vacant building lot or on small, irregular pieces of land. Pedestrians will tend to spend more time in these areas and Lighting Animating the streets and storethus activate the sidewalk. Bus stops can be fronts with lights would create a vibrant and integrated with such urban amenities. An inviting atmosphere. Empty storefronts and example would be to create a stepped plaza windows present opportunities to enliven by reconfiguring a section of the slope that the street, for example, with a series of supports the Verizon Building.

The Meadow and the Hill

Room for Nature Any sidewalk upgrade should include pockets of permeable soil beds to help support tree growth and to facilitate stormwater runoff. Tree-pit guards integrated with seating can also enhance the area.

Community-Building Modeled on the successful Squirrel Hill Farmer’s Market, some open spaces could be programmed with activities or placement of benches and landscaping, in order to encourage use and provide an amenity that could facilitate further positive developments in the area. In order to formulate longer-term ideas, the class divided themselves into three design teams. Keeping in mind that these are preliminary ideas rather than specific plans, the following are some of the ideas considered:

Transportation Transportation was an issue touched on by all teams. They suggested re-aligning one or more of the streets that approach the Forward-Murray intersection, creating a 4way intersection where a 5-way intersection currently exists. Two plans were suggested: to re-route Pocusset so that it meets lower Forward south of the existing intersection or, to re-route lower Forward so that it intersects with Murray Avenue south of the existing intersection.

Illustrations created by students from CMU School of Architecture.

Other suggestions included: • Traffic channelization and lane reductions to help facilitate pedestrian crossings • Expanded sidewalks • Introduction of an all-walk phase into the traffic signal • Upgrading the two existing bus stops on Murray Avenue by integrating them with adjacent buildings and landscaping

Now on to the specific team ideas:

The Meadow and the Hill One team, defining a plan called The Meadow and the Hill, called for a built environment that mimics the stepped and terraced characteristics of Murray Avenue, recreating the ‘hill’ and sloped feature of the region. As a response to the lack of stormwater management and access to the river in Squirrel Hill, this proposal also provides a ‘meadow’ that filters storm runoff from the adjacent hills and provides much needed open space. In order to create a sense of arrival to the neighborhood, this team suggested that we consider building a roundabout at the intersection of Forward Avenue and Beechwood Boulevard in order to create more of a grand entrance to Squirrel Hill. They also thought it wise to consider residential and commercial ventures, such as the building of a hotel, to be major components of the new development. Further changes, such as renovating the Verizon building or relocating the gas station were also considered.

Point Murray The second team’s approach was called Point Murray, which builds off the observation that Squirrel Hill is unique: a diverse

local flavor with an international presence, large expanses of green space and main street living. Point Murray would seek to add to the essence of this neighborhood charm by creating active, fun, and safe spaces and extending the rhythm of Murray Avenue to the Forward-Murray intersection. By bringing in multi-family housing, the concept seeks to create a smooth transition to the low-density family residences on the surrounding streets. Increased density would be accomplished by expanding existing buildings or building new ones. Like the first team, this groups advised relocating the gas station, as well as considering new commercial or residential projects. Parking areas and public parking facilities were also important parts of this team’s plan.

Cascade Park The third team, Cascade Park, proposed a strategy to bring the identity of Squirrel Hill into future development. The “Cascade Park Eco District” will focus on transportation, greening, and energy initiatives that will transform the Gateway into a more welcoming, safe, vibrant and friendly place. The design proposes buildings along Forward Avenue that are similar in height, to create an entrance corridor into the neighborhood. This corridor will then open out into a grand urban room, also known as Cascade Park. The design proposed continued on page

Point Murray The Landmarks Issue PAGE23

squirrel hill feature

Fitness and Fun for Every Body

Cascade Park

Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh Call 412-697-3522 for more information â&#x20AC;˘ JCC Membership is Open to Everyone

multiple housing options such as extended-stay hotels, apartments, condos and townhouses. Diversity of business would be highlighted by providing a variety of flex-commercial office spaces. Cascade Park would incorporate the EcoDistrict approach that considers: access and mobility, energy, water, habitat and ecosystem function, equitable development, health and well-being, community identity, and material management. For more details about this project, view the complete portfolio on our website, or email with your questions and comments.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO CONTINUE YOUR RETINA CARE IN THE CITY, DONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T WORRY... Our downtown office at 1835 Forbes Ave has free and convenient parking. Less than 5 minutes drive from Oakland. Other locations for retinal services:

Butler Cranberry Monroeville







Treat diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal detachments and other retinal disorders. Specialize in retinal surgery, retinal laser and eye injections.

English Lane Nursery Serving Fox Chapel, Point Breeze, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill & Wexford

• complete landscaping services • founded in 1907

Contact Greg Esposito 412.654.5440

Pa m



Thank you Squirrel Hill for the pleasure of serving you for 107 years!

t ela’s lates

COMFORT FOOD THAT SPEAKS TO YOUR HEART AND SOUL Squirrel Hill 1711 Murray Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15217

(412) 422-0220 Mon–Sun 11am–9pm

squirrel hill feature

By Chris Zurawsky SHUC Vice President & Stormwater Taskforce Chair

The old saying, “If these walls could talk …”, took on new meaning for Rabbi Mordy Rudolph, executive director of The Friendship Circle, during interior demolition last year at the organization’s new Murray Avenue home, in the former Gullifty’s restaurant. Workers removing a slab of concrete found newspaper scraps filling spaces in the walls, not an uncommon discovery during building rehabilitation. But this wasn’t just any newspaper, according to Rabbi Mordy, it was the Philadelphia edition of di Forverts (The Forward), written in Yiddish, from 1937. The historical remnants of the country’s premier Jewish-American chronicle are an apt echo of the past, given the building’s new use as a gathering place for Jewish teen volunteers to help children and young adults with special needs connect with the wider community. Other memorabilia hidden in the building’s bones included old Isaly’s paper cups, pull tab cans, and Levinson Steel beams crossing the ceiling (Levinson, once based on the South Side, grew to become the country’s 11th largest steel manufacturer. Its founder, Aaron P. Levinson, was a Taylor Allderdice High School graduate). “Even though it’s going to be a new building, it’s nice to have a sense of nostalgia,” Rabbi Mordy said. According to the website, the Murray Avenue landmark housed a movie theater for more than 40 years, opening as the Princess Theatre before being renamed the Beacon Theatre in 1937 and, in 1954, the Guild Theatre. Its final feature film, “Animal House”, starring John Belushi, flickered on the Guild’s screen in 1979. A brief Pittsburgh Post-Gazette item from December 16, 1954, reported that the Guild would open on Christmas Day with “Romeo and Juliet”, co-starring Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall. According to S. Ralph Green, the Guild's managing director, more than $50,000 had been spent remodeling the theater. Former Squirrel Hill resident and KDKA Radio traffic reporter Jay Pochapin remembers The Guild running “artsy” and risqué movies in the late 1960s like “I Am Curious (Yellow)” and Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow Up”. PAGE26

On his personal blog, Pochapin also recalled that it was the only theater in the city with an illuminated clock next to the screen: “You couldn’t come home late and hope to sell your Mom on the excuse that you didn’t realize what time it was when you had sat through three continuous screenings of Peter Sellers in “Casino Royale.” Later, the Guild became a revival house. Pochapin recollected seeing Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in “The Big Sleep” and “To Have and Have Not”, W.C. Fields and Mae West in “My Little Chickadee”, and even Three Stooges marathons. Post-Gazette theater critic and Squirrel Hill resident Christopher Rawson mused online a few years back that exposure to Marx Brothers festivals at the Guild likely influenced two of the neighborhood’s top celebrity products—Hollywood director Rob Marshall and his sister, choreographer Kathleen Marshall. The Guild Restaurant and Deli had a short run in the space from the theater’s closing until 1982, when Gullifty’s restaurant opened. Today the building, purchased by the Friendship Circle in 2013, is undergoing a thorough transformation. Outside, the theater marquee, preserved by Gullifty’s through the years, will remain. The building’s façade, however, will catapult the 1900 block of Murray into the 21stCentury with a futuristic melding of gray metallic panels, a row of street-level windows, and vertical, multicolored decorative strips. While original plans featured an array of five accent colors, Rabbi Mordy said that after meeting with representatives from the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition to discuss the building’s integration into the streetscape, a decision was made to restrict the palette to blue and purple, reflecting The Friendship Circle’s logo.

The Guild Theater

Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection, 1901-2002, AIS.1971.05, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

, s t h g i L , a r e m Ca ! y r o t s i H

The Historic Space at 1922 Murray Avenue Transforms Once Again

SHUC also encouraged Friendship Circle to convene a green roof task force to provide input on the best uses for the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2,000 square foot rooftop space. The task force included environmental experts from Phipps Conservatory, Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation, and Civil and Environmental Consultants, Inc. Major goals for the roof renovation include: â&#x20AC;˘ Fulfill the need for outdoor recreational space in the new facility â&#x20AC;˘ Set an example of environmental responsibility for the community â&#x20AC;˘ Create something with the roof thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s innovative/that people will remember â&#x20AC;˘ Balance the desired conservation and recreational functions of the roof

Rabbi Mordy said that the roof will likely be split in half, with one side given over to heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, and the other containing a patio. He is also planning for rain barrels and a garden, including vegetables, which may be sold at the Squirrel Hill farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; market operating in the parking lot at the back of the building. The second floor will include a play space for younger children, a parent lounge, and office and conference room space for staff. The first floor will feature a performance stage, teen lounge, and a kitchen. Overall, the renovations will cost roughly $4 million and will nearly double the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s usable space from 5,200 square feet to about 11,000. Work is expected to be completed by the end of this year. SHM

Capriccio now offers plus size clothing.


%&'() *+  ,-,-,


 ! !  " #$    

Join us in welcoming Troy Eans D.M.D to our practice 



  !"# $%  &' (# ()# 


Pittsburghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Premier Cosmetic Dentistry


 ** &+)## *   ' 412-621-0200


Sept. 29 • 9 am

Reserve a spot to hear renowned educational consultant Pat Bassett’s keynote speech on “Schools of the Future”


Nov. 12 • 9 am or 5:30 pm Dec. 10 • 9 am or 5:30 pm

a place to grow MUSIC œ9JLœOGJD<D9F?M9?=KœH@QKA;9D=<M;9LAGFœKOAEEAF?


learner-centered curriculum


award winning robotics and forensics clubs


arts and STEM woven throughout the curriculum


service learning


ST. EDMUND’S ACADEMY Personalizing Education to Maximize Success

Age 3-8th Grade • Private | Independent | Co-Ed | Nonsectarian 412.578.6158 | 3333 FIFTH AVENUE | PITTSBURGH, PA 15213 Located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s educational and medical communities

5705 Darlington Road, Squirrel Hill Minutes from Oakland’s Medical & University Communities

Looking Looking to mak make e

the best the educatio educational choice choice for your your child? ch for

Choose Pennsylvania’s e Pennsylvania’s most experienced, tuition-free, K-12 online public school. tuition-free, K -12 o nline pub

Visit V iisit

good news from our schools

Share your school updates with Squirrel Hill Magazine! Do you have news to from your school? We’d love to hear about it! Please email

Community Day School to Open 3-Year-Old Classroom By Meghan Poisson-DeWitt

The Early Childhood Education program at Community Day School is pleased to announce the addition of a 3-year-old classroom to their already popular preschool program. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, CDS will be offering this expansion to their Reggio Emilia inspired pre-k program. Reggio Emilia teaching theory allows children to be active participants in their own learning, making them co-partners with their teachers. “We actually sit the kids down and we dialog with them,” said Melissa Harmon, Director of Early Childhood Education at CDS. She continues to explain that teachers ask their students not only what they want to learn, but how they want to learn it. What projects interest them? How would they like to explore these topics? While they may have to adapt their current practices a bit to better suit the incoming younger students, CDS teachers will use this model with their newest class as well.

The new classroom will be housed in the CDS Annex, currently the home of many of staff offices. Renovations began by combining three offices into one classroom space, while making many updates including new lighting and refinished floors. While the space remains unfurnished, teachers and staff hope to make the room as inviting, safe and sensory as they can. While the classroom won’t be ready for this school year, CDS is already taking applications for their 3-year-old program. Visit their website, academics/pre-k to apply or call Melissa at (412) 521-1110 x2192.

New Beginnings at Pittsburgh Colfax By Carolyn Ludwig

Colfax K-8 may be commencing its 104th school year, but many new beginnings are taking place. We welcome new Principal Dr. Tamara Sanders-Woods, who joins us after her tenure as Principal at McKeesport High School. We also welcome a new Assistant Principal, Ms. Joanie Murphy, who has joined us from Pittsburgh CAPA. Fiesta, our annual back-to-school celebration, will take place in mid-September. It’s a great chance to meet new Colfax families, staff and teachers and catch-up with our entire school community. Colfax is expected to have a student population of over 800 again this year. We are excited to begin our invaluable clubs, sports programs and other enrichment activities once more. And, new this year, we are thrilled to report that our fourth graders have been accepted into the Stewardship Program at the Frick Environmental Center. This program will be incorporated into their science class. We also hope to produce a middle-level dramatic play into our busy Fall. New initiatives are always on the horizon for all our student body to embrace!

The Landmarks Issue PAGE29

squirrel hill treasures

2015 Squirrel Hill Treasures Mike Chen Mike Chen has spent nearly half his life living and working in the Squirrel Hill and Shadyside neighborhoods. The owner of four Asian restaurants in the Pittsburgh area, as well as founder of the Pittsburgh Chinese Restaurant Association, he prides himself on the authenticity of his food and the innovativeness of his restaurants. But his passion for cooking hasn’t always been so strong. When he moved to Pittsburgh with his wife, a Pittsburgh native, in 1983, opening a restaurant was the last thing he wanted to do. Having grown up in and around restaurants, he wanted to branch out and move away from the family profession. He began his professional life here in Pittsburgh by taking over a small Asian grocery on Murray Avenue. Though his venture was very successful, he still found himself drawn back into the restaurant business. “It seems like the restaurant business is in my blood,” he said. On August 8th, 1988, Mr. Chen opened his first restaurant — China Palace in Monroeville. Rave reviews and a dedicated pocket of return customers arrived soon after. Following in the success of this first location, he opened a second China Palace in Shadyside in 1990. Then, always looking to bring innovative and authentic cuisine to his customers, Mr. Chen branched out, opening the Japanese eatery Sushi Too in 1992. Mr. Chen’s most innovative and, arguably, most popular enterprise to date is Squirrel Hill’s own Everyday Noodles. Specializing in authentic Taiwanese food with a theatrical flair, Mr. Chen is incredibly proud of his latest venture. It was even awarded a quality and authenticity designation by the Taiwanese government. Mr. Chen is dedicated to keeping Squirrel Hill vibrant and diverse by supporting his fellow businesses and working with local organizations to maintain the same high standards he demands in his restaurants for the greater community. He chooses to lead by example and always provide the best he has to offer.


David Stock David Stock is Professor Emeritus, Duquesne University, where he conducted the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble. He has been Composer-inResidence of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seattle Symphony and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, and is Conductor Laureate of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, which he founded in 1976. He retired as Music Director of PNME at the end of the 1998/99 season, after 23 years of dedication. In November 1992, he was selected by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to receive the “Creative Achievement Award for Outstanding Established Artist.” His large catalog of works includes six symphonies, ten string quartets, a dozen concerti for various instruments, chamber, solo, and orchestral music, as well as work for dance, theater, TV and film. Mr. Stock has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, five Fellowship Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, five Fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and grants and commissions from Ella Lyman Cabot Trust, the Paderewski Fund for Composers, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, Boston Musica Viva, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Richard Stoltzman, Duquesne University, the Erie Philharmonic, and many others. As guest conductor, he has appeared with Australia’s Seymour Group, Poland's Capella Cracoviensis and Silesian Philharmonic, Mexico's Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva, Eclipse (Beijing), the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Monday Evening Concerts, the Syracuse Society for New Music, the Minnesota Composers Forum, the American Dance Festival, Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, the New England Conservatory Contemporary Ensemble, the Chautauqua Symphony, the American Wind Symphony, and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. Mr. Stock has served as panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and as a host of Da Capo, a weekly series on WQED-FM in Pittsburgh. His television credits include the theme music for the award-winning PBS series “Kennedy Center Tonight.”

squirrel hill treasures The 5th Annual SHUC Treasure Awards Written and Assembled by Meghan Poisson-DeWitt

Bill Isler Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Bill Isler’s career in education began soon after graduating from St. Vincent College when he taught sixth and seventh grade. Drafted into the army in 1970, it was his return as director of health agencies’ early childhood services in 1972 that led him to educational leadership. After complete his graduate studies in child development at the University of Pittsburgh in 1976, he went on to hold various positions with the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg before joining the Fred Rogers Company in 1984. While at Pitt, Mr. Isler met Fred Rogers through Fred’s mentor Margaret McFarland. They kept in touch over the years and then in 1984, Fred asked Bill to come back to Pittsburgh and be Vice President of his company. Mr. Isler’s experience made it a natural fit to take on the challenge of managing a non-profit and expanding the offerings from the well known TV program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, to professional development and training materials for all those who work with young children. As CEO, Mr. Isler works to keep the company focused on Fred Roger’s original vision of an innovative company dedicated to promoting healthy child growth and development. Perhaps most well-known around Squirrel Hill for his 16 years of involvement with the District 4 School Board, Mr. Isler will be retiring after four successful terms and 5 of those years as president. “I have mixed feelings about it, but it’s time,” he stated. “I said four years ago that this would be my last term.” Bill promotes education through active participation at the local, state and national level including; The Grable Foundation Board, Carnegie Museum Board, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences Board of Visitors, Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Early Learning Council, Treasurer, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Board, National League of Cities; Council on Children, Youth and Education, and Council of Great City Schools executive Committee. Mr. Isler is a huge supporter of Squirrel Hill and greater Pittsburgh, advocating for important causes and working actively to make our city great. Bill is honored to be chosen as a Squirrel Hill Treasure.

Taylor Allderdice High School This year’s Place Treasure, Taylor Allderdice High School, was chosen not only for its historical and cultural value to Squirrel Hill but for consistently educating many of the finest minds in the city. Even their sports teams, the Allderdice Dragons, have excelled both athletically and academically throughout the school’s long history. Allderdice has been a pillar of Squirrel Hill education for almost 90 years. Construction of the school began in 1926. Designed in the Georgian style by architect Robert Maurice Trimble, the school was named for Squirrel Hill resident, school board member and industrialist Taylor Allderdice. Allderdice himself began work in a steel mill at age 18 before obtaining a college degree and rising up to become president of the National Tube Company by the 1920’s. Opening for students in 1928, the school soon outgrew the original buildings, which included an auditorium and pool. A new addition was constructed behind the original building in 1930. Over the years, other additions were made, including new chemistry and physics laboratories as well as an updated entryway from Shady Avenue. In 2002, Allderdice was awarded a Historic Landmark plaque by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. Allderdice graduates come from a long line of successful alumni. Alums include many local celebrities, such as past Mayors Bob O’Connor and Richard Caliguiri, as well as world famous celebs like Wiz Kalifa and Mac Miller. Other past graduates went on to make careers in professional sports, various forms of the media and entertainment, as well as the arts and sciences. As part of the Pittsburgh Promise, Allderdice helps all of their students to attain a college education, a very real problem in our modern world. If its storied past is anything to go on, Taylor Allderdice High School will continue its path of excellence in education well into the future.

The Landmarks Issue PAGE31


(412) 363-4000 x503 BUSINESS (412) 512-0414 CELL (412) 363-7551 FAX

REAL ESTATE SERVICES 5996 Penn Circle South, Suite 301 Pittsburgh, PA 15206 Owned and operated by NRT, LLC.







squirrel hill historical society

Ongoing Attractions By Helen Wilson Vice-President, Squirrel Hill Historical Society


ong-time Squirrel Hill residents like to recount the past—that is, count the types and number of business establishments that once lined Forbes and Murray. The recounting is often followed by a wistful sigh and the words, “That building is now a … “ The buildings that housed kosher butcher shops, bakeries, restaurants, retail stores and theaters are mostly still there, but their interiors and exteriors have been remodeled, reshaped and repurposed, often more than once. Squirrel Hill’s business district has always been in transition. The changes are gradual—one business closes, another opens. It’s different when a theater closes. Theaters are egalitarian—neutral places where people of different ethnic groups, races, religions and social classes can mingle. Perhaps that is why, when a theater closes in Squirrel Hill, it affects the whole community. Squirrel Hill residents have seen the closing of four theaters—the Orpheum, Guild, Squirrel Hill and Forum. Only one remains— the venerable Manor, its interior now very different from its ornate “movie palace” look in the 1920s. The other theaters in Squirrel Hill didn’t fare as well. The Orpheum, most likely the first, was located at the corner of Forbes and Murray. It opened around 1916 and showed Squirrel Hill silent films until it residents have closed in 1925. “Talkies” didn’t seen the closing become popular the late 1920s. of four theaters until The building is still — the Orpheum, there, now housing several stores and Guild, Squirrel restaurants.

Hill and Forum.

After the Orpheum and Manor came the 600-seat Guild,

located at 1922 Murray Avenue. When it first opened, it was called the Princess. In 1937 its name was changed to the Beacon because of its proximity to Beacon Street, and in 1954, its name was changed again, to the Guild Theatre. It closed in 1979. The building underwent further transformations. A deli opened after the theater closed, which in 1982 became Gullifty’s Restaurant, a “unique eatery” with fabulous desserts. The popular restaurant closed in 2013. Now the building is changing again. It was purchased by the Friendship Circle, a local nonprofit Jewish organization that seeks to foster relationships between children with special needs and teen volunteers. Go to page 26 for an in-depth feature on this location! A different kind of theater emerged in 1937 on Forward Avenue near the intersection with Murray at the other end of the Squirrel Hill business district. The 841-seat Squirrel Hill Theater was touted in a Pittsburgh Press article as being “a refreshing change from the elaborate ornateness of the old type of motion picture theater…a delightful difference from the gaudiness of the motion picture palace of yesterday,” perhaps an Art-Deco nose-thumbing at the ornate Manor. The article goes on to say, “From lessons learned at the late World’s Fair in lightning and color effects, the Squirrel Hill represents all that is new and modern in the theater world…the structure is first to be built in Pittsburgh expressly for sound.” The invention of sound Detail of embossed roundels from the former projection changed the motion Forum Theater. picture industry forever, in spite of an initial reluctance to interfere with the visual artistry of silent movies. Finally, up Forbes near the intersection with Shady was the ephemeral Forum, sometimes spelled Forvm. Except for the Orpheum, it had the shortest run, lasting only 15 years, from 1963 to 1978. Its 373 seats made it an intimate place to view the art films that would appeal to a select audience. One film shown was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The front façade of the building has given way to storefronts, but the back wall of the theater with its embossed roundels can still be seen from the rear parking lot. The story of the theaters in Squirrel Hill plays like a documentary illustrating the rise and fall of neighborhood theaters. Each stage is represented, from the early silent-film Orpheum to the ultra-modern renovation of the Manor. SHM Looking for more history? Visit for an expanded version of this feature! Anyone interested in learning more about Squirrel Hill history is invited to attend the meetings of the Squirrel Hill Historical Society held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. Go to to view upcoming lectures and events. Consider joining the SHHS. Membership is only $10 per year. There is no charge for attending the meetings. The Landmarks Issue PAGE33

squirrel hill feature

Landmarks Interview and Photos by Barbara Shema

We asked residents about their

favorite Squirrel Hill landmarks. Here are just some of their answers: Squirrel Hill Café, now...

Orr’s Jewelers

Squirrel Hill Café, then. Photo: University of Pittsburgh

“The Library and the big blue slide [in Frick Park]” Carla, David & Victor Nernberg

“The Intersection of Forbes & Murray business district and Pamela’s!” PAGE34

Joyce Murray & Steve Russel

PNC Bank Carnegie Library, Squirrel Hill Branch

Little's Shoe Store JCC Forbes Avenue

“Little’s Shoes, Aiello’s and Mineo’s Pizza” Sylvia Haffner & Rose Goldstein

The Landmarks Issue PAGE35

Incorporated in 1878, The Homewood Cemetery is a nonprofit, non-denominational cemetery in the East End of Pittsburgh. Homewood continues to provide a final resting place and a vital urban greenspace for the living. As an n Arboretum Arboretum,, T The he H Homewood omewood Cemetery Cemetery serves serves aass aan eeducational ducational ccenter, enter, p providing public, roviding p ublic, students, students, and and naturalists information about its collections, educational programs and recreational opportunities. W Wee invite you to visit the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition “2014 T Treasure reasure r Place Award Recipient” to tour our grounds and historic Award w Chapel and Reception Center Center, r, which is available to the public by scheduling a reservation with our main office.

1599 S. Dallas Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 412-421-1822


squirrel hill real estate

A Realtor’s View By Barbara Rabner Realtor for Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services

Homebuyers are attracted to Squirrel Hill because it’s a vibrant, walkable community with a diverse population. Just minutes away from renowned educational and medical centers, the area is close to great parks and restaurants. A variety of prospective buyers move here because of career changes, retirement or to return home to their families and many current residents tend to remain in the area. Statistics reflect that property values in Squirrel Hill have increased over the last few years. This is the result of strong demand and limited supply, low mortgage rates, and an influx of first time homebuyers. I examined the residential single-family home market in the 15217 area code between 2013 and 2015 and my research revealed many promising trends: • In 2013, 176 homes were sold. The average price was $360,800 with the highest selling price at over a million dollars.

This New Year, bring hope to people in despair. Nurture and sustain Jewish Pittsburgh. Your contribution to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh makes it possible, all year long. Donate at, or call Jessica Brown Smith at 412.992.5248 to learn about the 2016 Annual Campaign.

• In 2014, 166 homes were sold. The average price increased to $409,000. The most expensive sold for $1,880,000. • In 2015, as of August 9th, 122 properties have been sold. The average price again increased, to $435,600. I conferred with a well-known appraiser who is extremely familiar with the Squirrel Hill market and he emphasized that Murdoch Farms, a prominent Squirrel Hill area, recently hit a new benchmark when a residence was purchased for over $2 million this year! During the last year, agents have experience an escalation in multiple offers competing to purchase a property. Many prospective buyers have missed out due to how quickly homes in the area have sold. In addition to maintaining a thriving real estate market, Squirrel Hill enjoys a rich history. Named by Native Americans for its topography and abundance of squirrels, the area retains its ties to the past with two log homes still nestled in Schenley Park. The Martin and Niell homes, named for their late owners, date back to 1760. I suggest you make it a point to find them, you’ll be amazed! jfedpgh


Many other structures in the neighborhood are architecturally significant. These local heritage sites have been awarded plaques from the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. The most recent designations were given in 2014 to two homes: the Lydia A. Reismeyer House at 5318 Ayelsboro and the Tillie S. Speyer home at 1500 Wightman Street. With its thriving housing market, eclectic community, and fascinating history, Squirrel Hill is more than just a place to live; it’s a place to flourish. SHM The Landmarks Issue PAGE37

events & happenings

Calendar Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill Branch 5801 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill (412) 422-9650 or Genre Book Club Meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm September 16: The Martian by Andy Weir Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills -and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? Yoga with Phyllis Every Saturday at 10 am Wear comfortable clothing, bring a floor covering and enjoy the relaxation and healthy benefits of yoga. Classes lead by Phyllis Berkovitz. Please call ahead to check for class cancelations or schedule changes. Conversation Salons Meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 1 pm Conversation Salons provide a forum for active participation in the discussion of the meaningful and interesting events of our time. Salons meet once a month in hosting libraries to discuss the topics of their choice. Subjects are usually general in nature and are drawn from such diverse sources as current events, the arts social and cultural issues, political, ethics, entertainment, science and technology. ACLA provides training to volunteers who serve as group discussion facilitators. Teen Time: Full STEAM Ahead Every third Thursday of the month Build, concoct, explore, and enjoy cooking adventures at a STEAM inspired Teen Time. Every third Thursday of the month, you will find a new experiment in the works. This program is for teens in grades 6-12 or ages 11-19. Organizing Mindfully Workshop Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm Trying to get organized? All are welcome to participate in a seminar, conducted by Joyce Wilde, author of the book The Wilde Woman’s Guide to Organizing in Five Simple Steps: Using Mindfulness to Change Your Habits. The workshop focuses on assisting anyone who would like to be organized as a way of living. The key to this workshop is learning how to understand the emotional and mental roots that cause disorganization. This is a free program but registration is required. PAGE38

Classes French for Beginners Every 1st and 3rd Saturday at 10:30 am Polish for Beginners Every 1st and 3rd Monday at 6:30 pm Spanish for Beginners Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at 6:30 pm Mandarin for Beginners Every 2nd and 4th Monday at 6:30 pm For more information on these classes, email

Golf with SHUC Bob O’Connor Golf Course, 5370 Schenley Park Drive Friday September 11, 2015 – 2:30 pm Join SHUC and First Tee of Pittsburgh for a fun afternoon of golf, good eats from The Mac & Gold Truck, beer and other libations. Registration begins at 2:30 on the day of the event. The 9-hole shamble tees off at 3pm followed by a dinner at 5pm. Tickets range from $60 for an individual to $200 for a group of four. For more information or to RSVP please go to

Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition Community Open House Jewish Community Center – Levinson Hall Thursday October 15th, 5:30-7:30 pm Would you like to learn what has been happening in Squirrel Hill? What SHUC has been doing? You are invited to attend a Community Open House where you will have an opportunity to talk with SHUC volunteer citizens and board members regarding topic areas such as neighborhood development, transportation, stormwater, and our Gateway Project. Join us for a night a night of conversation and community building!

25th Annual Pittsburgh Irish Festival Riverplex at Sandcastle September 11-13th Celebrate the richness of Ireland through lively music, savory Irish food and world championship dancing at Pittsburgh Irish Festival! Discover the Irish culture firsthand. Enjoy an authentic Irish marketplace, extensive children’s area, and four entertainment/ cultural stages. Visit the variety of Irish dogs, dance the jig, play the harp and Irish drum, and learn the Irish language. Fun for the entire family ~ join us at the biggest Irish celebration of the year ~ the Pittsburgh Irish Festival! More information can be found at Continued on page 40

Law OfďŹ ces of

Wayne D. Gerhold A practice with emphasis on municipal, education and healthcare capital ďŹ nance.


355 Fifth Avenue Suite 400 Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Celebrating C e elebrrating a insuring suring our o rn neighborhood ne eighb hborhood rhood for fo over over 75 y years! ears! e CONTACT CONT TACT US FOR R A QUO QUOTE TE O TE ON Y YOUR OU OUR U HOME AND A AUTO UTO


Keystone By Design, Inc. We Help You Say â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thank Youâ&#x20AC;? to your Clients and Prospects!

k Web Design

j Graphic Design

i Print & Digital Marketing

h Promotional Products

412-421-3999 â&#x20AC;˘

events & happenings cont. Squirrel Hill Night Market

7th Annual Turner Cemetery History Walk

Murray Avenue September 26th - 6-10 pm The Squirrel Hill Night Market is Pittsburgh’s new destination for cosmopolitan fun. Modeled on the best night markets of Asia, NYC, and LA, NextGen:Pgh in association with I Made It! Market, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, and Uncover Squirrel Hill is delivering a marquee nightlife event in a monthly openstreet setting. Located on Murray Ave between Forbes and Bartlett, the Squirrel Hill Night Market will feature some of the city’s best shopping, music, food, art, and fun.

3424 Beechwood Boulevard Saturday, September 19, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm The event includes self-guided tours of the graveyard, historical displays, military re-enactors and a soup and bake sale. Todd Wilson, author of Images of America: Pittsburgh’s Bridges, will give a presentation, “Evolution of the Roads and Bridges of Squirrel Hill and Greenfield,” at 11:30.

Squirrel Hill Farmers Market

Monday, September 21th, 7-8:30 pm Dispel the top college admission myths, uncover the mystery of the college admission office, understand how students can position themselves to be the best applicant possible, and discover Scholarship and Financial Aid opportunities. To register, or for more information, please call Eva Gelman at (412) 521-GRAD or email

Squirrel Hill Historical Society The Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Avenue Events are held on the second Tuesday of each month FREE at 7:30 p.m. September 8th: “Pittsburgh in World War I: Arsenal of the Allies” Speaker: Elizabeth Williams-Herrman, author and College Archivist at La Roche College October 13th: “Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition: History and Current Projects” Speaker: Wayne Gerhold, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition November 10th: “An Unbreakable Bond: The Brotherhood of Maurice Stokes and Jack Twyman” Speaker: Pat Farabaugh, Assistant Professor of Communications at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania

NAMI: Family to Family Classes Free Education and Support Program for Families Living with Mental Illness Classes begin Tuesday, September 8th, 6:30-9 pm NAMI Family-to-Family is a 12 session education program for families and friends of adults living with mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder and Depressive and Anxiety disorders. The program is designed to help individuals better understand and support their loved ones while maintaining their own well-being. The course offers specific training in the areas of problem solving, communication techniques and handling crises and relapses along with providing guidance on locating appropriate community supports and services. Classes fill quickly and Registration is required. Contact NAMI Southwestern PA at (412) 366-3788 to register.

5th Annual Point Breeze Neighborhood Yard Sale S. Lang Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15208 September 19th Get your thrift on at the 5th annual Point Breeze Neighborhood Yard Sale, Saturday, September 19, from 9am to 3pm! Food trucks and an estimated 100 houses will participate! Visit for more info. PAGE40

Adath Jeshurun Cemetery 4779 Roland Road Allison Park, Pennsylvania 15101 High Holiday Visitations Sundays: September 6, 13 from 9 am - Noon September 20 from 9 am - 1 pm Time for reflection and visitation of those we have loved traditionally occurs before and during the Jewish High Holidays. Adath Jeshurun Cemetery is an independent organization that represents the operational part of this once thriving Congregation Adath Jeshurun. With its on-site caretaker, it offers a serene environment maintained with loving care. A Visitation Committee greets visitors and assists them, as needed, in finding the family grave and in addressing all questions.

Beacon/Bartlett Parking Lot Sundays 9 am – 1 pm Running through late November, this joint effort between NextGen:PGH and the Citiparks brings a farmers market right to you! Make sure to stop in and support the 20+ local vendors.

Free College Planning Workshop: Demystifying College Admissions

Support our advertisers! Tell them you saw their ad in Squirrel Hill Magazine.

Your Squirrel Hill


We Have Delicious

Kosher Pareve Pies!!       


 Kosher Pareve Bakery on-site for special orders Store: 412-421-8161 Fax: 412-422-3128 1901 Murray Ave. Pgh. PA 15217


Profile for Squirrel Hill Magazine

Squirrel Hill Magazine Fall 2015  

The Landmarks Issue- Featuring Community Day School, Friendship Circle, Sixth Presbyterian Church, the History of local Theaters, and the Sq...

Squirrel Hill Magazine Fall 2015  

The Landmarks Issue- Featuring Community Day School, Friendship Circle, Sixth Presbyterian Church, the History of local Theaters, and the Sq...