Category Archives: Shadyside History

Wallingford Street and the Hunt for Early Shadyside Images

Construction extending Devonshire Street between Wallingford Street and Centre Avenue on May 2, 1913. Image courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh, the Digital Research Library at the University of Pittsburgh.

Yesterday a Wallingford Street neighbor asked me about old images of their house. Old is relative but I typically think of old as about 100 years or more and getting old images of Shadyside is typically difficult. Until the second decade of the twentieth century Shadyside was a private suburb. Early images were made or commissioned by families that owned the large estates existing in Shadyside from around 1860 to the early 1900s.

1911 Platt Map, Plate 1 showing a detail of Shadyside. Centre Avenue is along the top edge. Wallingford Street is parallel to the bottom edge. Devonshire Street meets Wallingford Street at bottom left of center. Map courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh, the Digital Research Library at the University of Pittsburgh.

The old photograph above, taken May 2, 1913,  is the only one of Wallingford Street that I know of. The photographer stood on Devonshire Street just south of its intersection with Wallingford Street, right about where the 50 is in the map detail shown at right.

A city photographer took this image to document the Devonshire Street expansion. Before the 1910s streets in Shadyside were private. The relatively prolific documentation of Shadyside by city photographers started as Shadyside transformed from suburb to city neighborhood during the 1910s and 1920s.

Please contact me if you or someone you know have old photographs of Shadyside. It’s not necessary to give them up! High resolution scans are all that are needed for research on Shadyside’s history.


Fifth Avenue View of Shadyside, 1918

A building at left on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Neville Street (this building still exists) and Rodef Shalom behind that are easily recognizable in this view of Shadyside taken on July 25, 1918. Image courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh, the Digital Research Library at the University of Pittsburgh.

A photographer took the image above on July 25, 1918 while standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue, looking toward Shadyside from what is now Oakland. Today the Shadyside community comes up to Neville Street, which crosses Fifth Avenue in the foreground from behind the sign with the Coca-Cola ad at left to behind the automobile at right, and the Oakland community is on the other side of Neville.

During the late 1910s Shadyside was transforming from a railroad suburb into a city neighborhood. Shadyside was established in the middle of farmland during the late 1860s, when the Shady Side Train Station opened at the end of Amberson Avenue next to the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks. Around 1918 automobiles were increasingly prevalent and the city of Pittsburgh built up around Shadyside.

In the image above you can see the various kinds of transportation on Fifth Avenue (click the image to get a closer view). In the foreground at right is an automobile. Further back at left is a horse, and in the distance is a trolley. Notice the trees standing between the sidewalks and the street along Fifth Avenue. Today it would vastly improve our Fifth Avenue walking experience to bring back this buffer between roadway and walkway!