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Allegheny City

A History of Pittsburgh’s North Side

Dan Rooney with Carol Peterson

Publication Year: 2013

Allegheny City, known today as Pittsburgh’s North Side, was the third-largest city in Pennsylvania when it was controversially annexed by the City of Pittsburgh in 1907. Founded in 1787 as a reserve land tract for Revolutionary War veterans in compensation for their service, it quickly evolved into a thriving urban center with its own character, industry, and accomplished residents. Among those to inhabit the area, which came to be known affectionately as “The Ward,” were Andrew Carnegie, Mary Cassatt, Gertrude Stein, Stephen Foster, and Martha Graham. Once a station along the underground railroad, home to the first wire suspension bridge, and host to the first World Series, the North Side is now the site of Heinz Field, PNC Park, the Andy Warhol Museum, the National Aviary, and world headquarters for corporations such as Alcoa and the H. J. Heinz Company. Dan Rooney, longtime North Side resident, joins local historian Carol Peterson in creating this highly engaging history of the cultural, industrial, and architectural achievements of Allegheny City from its humble beginnings until the present day. The authors cover the history of the city from its origins as a simple colonial outpost and agricultural center to its rapid emergence alongside Pittsburgh as one of the most important industrial cities in the world and an engine of the American economy. They explore the life of its people in this journey as they experienced war and peace, economic boom and bust, great poverty and wealth—the challenges and opportunities that fused them into a strong and durable community, ready for whatever the future holds. Supplemented by historic and contemporary photos, the authors take the reader on a fascinating and often surprising street-level tour of this colorful, vibrant, and proud place.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Front Cover

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pp. 1-4


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p. 5-5


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pp. 6-7

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pp. vii-ix

Ask Don “Red” Livingstone about Pittsburgh’s North Side, and old stories tumble from him as easily and as naturally as kids once tumbled down Monument Hill. Red was one of those kids back in the 1940s. That’s when his slice of the North Side ...

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p. xi-xi

We would like to thank Beth Reiners for her assistance with historical research and Sam McUmber for translating Pittsburgh German newspapers to ...

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Chapter 1. Beginnings in Wilderness: The Colonial Era to 1840

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pp. 1-21

In 1783, at the close of the American Revolution, the area that later became Allegheny City—and even later Pittsburgh’s North Side—was a wilderness, home to perhaps a few hardy white squatters and an uncertain ...

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Chapter 2. Allegheny’s Early Boom: The 1840s to the Civil War

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pp. 22-40

On April 13, 1840, Allegheny Borough became Allegheny City. Census takers that year, walking the new city’s streets and alleys, found 10,089 residents among the roughly two square miles of mills ...

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Chapter 3. Conflict and Newfound Prosperity: Allegheny in the Civil War

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pp. 41-58

On Tuesday, November 6, 1860, voters streamed to Allegheny’s polls. They knew that the imminent threat of Southern secession and war placed the country’s future at risk and thus overwhelmingly ...

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Chapter 4. The Boom Continues: The Civil War to 1877

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pp. 59-82

After the Civil War, industry and transportation networks in Allegheny and Pittsburgh continued to expand, and the cities’ economies became ever more intertwined. Indeed, the robust postwar ...

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Chapter 5. The Heyday of the Middle Class: 1877–1890

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pp. 83-106

In late 1874, fifty-seven of the city’s men and women gathered to organize a new financial institution that would provide mortgages and small business loans to its members. Most were workers of modest means, ...

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Chapter 6. The City of Millionaires: Allegheny’s Elite, 1890 –1910

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pp. 107-129

An increasing number of wealthy families lived in Allegheny City in the closing decades of the nineteenth century, particularly in the small neighborhood that has come to be called Allegheny West. ...

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Chapter 7. Annexation: 1907

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pp. 130-144

Allegheny City ceased to exist on December 9, 1907, the sixtyseven- year-old city’s colorful and storied neighborhoods absorbed into the larger city across the river to become Pittsburgh’s North Side. ...

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Chapter 8. Middle-Class and Working-Class Allegheny: 1890 –1910

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pp. 146-167

Amid the chaos and controversy brought by annexation, daily life for most citizens continued as usual, whether they were called Alleghenians or Pittsburghers. Area millionaires’ ability to escape to their ...

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Chapter 9. Maturity and Stability: 1910 –1930

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pp. 168-204

After several decades of expansion, the second decade of the twentieth century marked the end of the North Side’s steady growth. Between 1910 and 1930, the North Side’s commercial districts and ...

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Chapter10. The Great Depression and World War: 1930 –1950

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p. 205-205

The American stock market crashed on October 29, 1929. On a single day, stocks lost 12 percent of their value. North Siders and other Pittsburgh residents may have been worried, but few, if any, ...

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Chapter 11. Decline and Rejuvenation: 1950 to the Present

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pp. 206-226

At midcentury, Pittsburgh, like so many American cities, had an aging stock of buildings that had suffered disinvestment during the Great Depression and World War II. The city’s business leaders ...

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Afterword: The Future

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pp. 227-228

Where does the North Side go from here? As we all must remember, “We are Pittsburgh.” Once before Allegheny City put everything together in a uniform effort to move forward, to be successful ...


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pp. 229-234


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pp. 236-250

E-ISBN-13: 9780822978619
E-ISBN-10: 082297861X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822944225
Print-ISBN-10: 0822944227

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 102 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2013