Commercial Building in Beechview

Commercial building in Beechview

This building sits at the complicated corner where Broadway, Hampshire Avenue, and Beechview Avenue come together. Except for the ground floor in the front, it has changed little since it was put up as one of the first commercial buildings in the neighborhood. For many years the fondly remembered Johns’ Drugs (the apostrophe could have gone either way, since the founder was John A. Johns) was here.

We mentioned “the ground floor in the front” because, like many Beechview buildings, this has ground floors on more than one level. On the Hampshire Avenue side is a little speakeasy in what would be the basement level if the ground were flat.

The street sign with “Hampshire St” is anomalous. The street is called “Hampshire Ave” on other signs, including the one across Broadway. Most streets are “avenues” in Beechview, even if the “avenue” is a concrete stairway.

Community of Christ, Beechview

Community of Christ, Beechview

A fine example of the modest Arts-and-Crafts interpretation of Gothic that was fashionable for small churches in the early twentieth century. The building has hardly changed at all since it was put up in 1921, and it is still in use by the congregation that built it. The Community of Christ was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; it is a fairly liberal church that accepts but does not insist on the Book of Mormon as scripture and otherwise gets along better with mainstream Protestant denominations than it does with the much larger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which accounts for about 98% of Mormons.

Beechview Methodist Church

Beechview Methodist Church

This neat little church was probably the first church to be built in the new neighborhood of Beechwood, which was later renamed Beechview when it was taken into the city of Pittsburgh. It has been well refurbished for a Spanish-speaking congregation. Some of the original stained glass is gone, and the tower is bricked in, but on the whole it looks much the way it looked more than a century ago. We also note the aggressive slopes for which Beechview is notorious.

Date stone

Beechview itself was laid out in 1905, so this would have been one of the earliest buildings.

Street names

Beechview’s streets changed their names when the neighborhood entered the city, because Pittsburgh didn’t need yet another set of numbered streets. Sixth Avenue is now Methyl Street; Pennsylvania Avenue is now Hampshire Avenue.

Street Interrupted, Part 2

Sebring Avenue

An out-of-towner might think that some horrible territorial war had happened to make Beechview residents throw a concrete wall right across the middle of Sebring Avenue. But the culprit is topography again. The streets in Beechview are laid out in a grid in defiance of the hills, and the only way to make Sebring Avenue intersect Westfield Street was with terracing.

Terracing on Westfield Street

We’ve seen terraces like these on the South Side Slopes, and here is a similar construction for a similar reason in Beechview. As you might guess from the parked cars, the street is two ways on both sides of the divide, which only adds to the delightful confusion. You can turn any which way from Sebring Avenue. The only thing you can’t do is continue on Sebring Avenue.