Unique Streets: 60
Miles Walked: 8.33
Street names (italicized have been walked on another day): N. Highland Avenue, Harvard Street, N. Sheridan Avenue, Broad Street, Larimer Avenue, Station Street, Princeton Place, Kalida Drive, Omega Court, Auburn Street, Indiana Way, Mayflower Street, Emans Way, Carver Street, Lenora Street, Pace Way, Meadow Street, McDonald Street, Venus Way, Shetland Avenue, Orange Way, Joseph Street, Sentinel Way, Orphan Street, Whittier Street, Deary Street, Paulson Avenue, Rowan Street, Odessa Place, Montezuma Street, Saxon Way, Grapevine Street, Lyric Street, Lincoln Avenue, Tennis Way, Laxton Street, Atwell Street, Renfrew Street, Turrett Street, Ladson Street, Armstrong Way, Tripod Way, Finley Street, Llewellyn Place, Winslow Street, Elmer L. Williams Square, Xenia Way, Rapidan Way, Lowell Street, Victor Way, Winfield Street, Vanilla Way, Relic Way, Thompson Street, Hooker Street, Regis Way, Maxwell Way, Stoebner Way, Reimer Way, Frankstown Avenue, Enterprise Street, Tangent Way, Hamilton Avenue, Putnam Street, Romley Way, Julius Street, Zodiac Way, Torrens Street, Kelly Street, Transit Way, 5th Avenue, Penn Avenue, Dahlem Place, Reizenstein Way, Melissa Street.
I think I overdid it today. How could I possibly resist the urge to almost completely walk a neighborhood and explore an entirely new one?
I parked near the Hotel Indigo in East Liberty and set my sights on Larimer. The boarded up St. Peter and Paul Church blocked out the sun as I walked down Larimer Avenue.
Housing projects on Auburn Street looked suspiciously empty and the dumpsters in front of them bore signs of a recent move out.
Shopping carts have replaced the people who lived here…
…and trees have taken back the land where stairs used to carry commuters down to Negley Run Road.
On Carver Street I saw an older woman standing in her open doorway wearing a pink wool skirt suit set and a full face of makeup. I smiled at her and started to say “Hello.” She looked at me, frowned, and shook her head quickly. Despite the warm weather and sun shining on me, a shiver ran down my spine. A primeval sense of dread came over me and I picked up my pace to get away from the area. I don’t know what she disapproved of but I got the feeling her nod was meant as a warning to me.
The next part of the walk wasn’t any less unnerving. The neighborhood that sits between Negley Run and Larimer Avenue is so far past urban prairie that it is urban orchard. Two-story trees sit in the middle of streets that used to be lined with houses. I started walking down Orange Way which was now, barely a path through the thicket. I got almost halfway down and quickly retreated. It did not feel safe and I didn’t feel like being murdered this day.
When I got home, I looked at the Hopkins Map to see what this neighborhood used to look like.
Many of the remaining houses sit waiting for the end of their days.
The wooden block barring the window on the second story of this house, gave me more chills. Maybe I’ve read Salem’s Lot a few too many times but what, other than a vampire, could possibly come knocking at your window that high up?
Dumpsites hid around every corner.
Once I was out of the woods, I saw a few people working outside their homes and they were quite friendly. I got back to Larimer Avenue and saw one of the more well-known businesses in this neighborhood: Henry Grasso, Co. Inc.
I didn’t stop in because it wasn’t quite lunch time but I’ve heard their sausage is out of this world. With a renewed feeling of optimism, I decided to cross a huge bridge. I had no idea what neighborhood I was walking into but had a hunch that it was Lincoln-Lemington. Spoiler alert: it was.
As I was walking on the bridge, that I would later come to learn runs over route 8, I spotted one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. The first picture gives you an idea of how far up the bridge was:
The second is zoomed in on what caught my attention.
Yes, that is an outside doorway that opens to a toilet. Surprisingly (or not if you’ve been following along) this was not the last toilet I would see on this walk.
I didn’t walk far in Lincoln-Lemington but I’m hopeful there’s more to see on another day. The only picture I took was to frame this garage door on Tennis Way. It spoke to me.
I made my way back towards Larimer via another bridge that spans Route 8. This time, I didn’t pause for a toilet, but to see massive arches holding up railroad tracks.
On the corner of Renfrew and Lincoln I spotted a shuttered Elks club. The Hopkins Map tells me the building used to house Fire Engine No. 27!
While I can’t post the picture here, I can link to a November 1955 Teenie Harris shot of a meeting in this building! See the picture here.
This area of Larimer was much more populated and while I didn’t see many people, I saw signs of their activities. On every block I could hear a cacophony of beeping smoke detectors. It reminded me to change the batteries in mine when I got home.
On Llewellyn Place, I came across a crime scene of sorts. I wondered what poor child lost his or her candy bounty here?
Regardless of the amount of houses in this part of Larimer, there were still areas that made me feel like I was lost in Oz. Instead of a Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys, I had to evade Japanese Knotweed and spider webs.
As I walked up and down the remaining streets in Larimer, I kept seeing a massive red brick building on the horizon. Soon enough, I was close enough to see it was the old Larimer Avenue Public School.
According to the website HistoricPittsburgh.org,
Larimer School was named for the street on which it was located. The school, located at Larimer Avenue and Winslow Street in Pittsburgh’s Larimer neighborhood, was originally a twelve-room Gothic style structure built in 1896. In 1904 an eight-story tower was added that was said to be a replica of one of the Campaniles of Italy. The tower’s clock was illuminated by 32 light bulbs and became a beacon for a most of the East End section of Pittsburgh. The school also held Americanization and citizenship classes in the evenings during the early part of the twentieth century. In 1986 Larimer School was added to the National Register of Historic Places.Source: https://historicpittsburgh.org/islandora/object/pitt:MSP117.B023.F06.I09
According to the website Onlyinyourstate.com, the school was closed in 1980 and is soon to be demolished to make way for affordable housing. The above-linked site also has shots of the inside of the school in all of its dilapidated glory.
I continued to plodge through Larimer and felt like my legs were made of jello. This pet bunny in the wild took my mind off my aching quads for a second.
I hope the bunny stays away from the African Healing Garden where lions are sure to roam.
As I continuously checked my map, a certain business kept showing up on the border of Larimer and Bakery Square.
I have been trying to visit this brewery since they debuted their new line of “You Are Here” beers. They will be releasing a new beer for every one of the 90 neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. So far released are: Allentown, Overbrook, Central Northside, Troy Hill, and East Liberty. It’s as if this collectible marketing was designed for me but the problem is that the brewery doesn’t open until 4PM. I am usually home by that point and with my kids. After walking by, I somehow convinced my husband to come with me later to get some of the beers. Bad News: They were out of Allentown and Overbrook! FOREVER. I almost cried.
After this post went up, some friends shared it and I have a few leads on a can of Allentown. I plan to display all of my collected beers in the Pittsburgh corner of my dining room.
Almost done with my walk and I stopped at Social at Bakery Square. I had another good beer and the french dip. The sodium in the au jus was just what my sweat drenched body needed.