The little triangular park at Broadway, Shiras Avenue, and Bensonia Avenue is cluttered with monuments. There’s one for the First World War, one for the Second, one for Vietnam and Korea, and one for wars since then and “going forward,” as the city’s Twitter account put it when it was announced. The eagle above sits on the World War II memorial, the largest of the lot.
The latest memorial, for everything after Vietnam.
This unassuming little church, like most of the Protestant churches in Beechview, is easy to miss: it sits on the main business street in the middle of the main business district, and it is not much larger than the small storefronts along Broadway. But it seems, if old Pa Pitt’s research is correct, to have been the work of a distinguished architect: Thomas Hannah, who designed the Keenan Building, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral (formerly a Methodist church), and the Western Theological Seminary (now West Hall of the Community College of Allegheny County), along with many other smaller projects like this one.
The angle is not exaggerated in this photograph: Pittsburgh streetcars really do have to climb absurd grades like this. This is one of the small number of remaining streetcar safety islands in the city. Behind it is a tiny Central American restaurant with a reputation for excellent food; it inhabits a little building in the Spanish Mission style, which seems appropriate.
A commercial building like a thousand others in the city, but nicely restored, with attractively varied brickwork and a subtle polychrome scheme to pick out the details of the trim. Because old Pa Pitt happened to be out for a walk in the neighborhood, we get to see it from all angles.
In most cities you can ask how many floors a building is and get a reasonable answer. In Pittsburgh, that’s a complicated question.
A friend from Beechview was complaining that no one believes streetcars still run in Pittsburgh. Pittsburghers from between the rivers know there’s a subway, but they seem entirely unaware that the subway fans out into various lines that meander through the city neighborhoods south of the Monongahela and far out into the South Hills. The next time you run into a doubter, you may offer this photographic proof that streetcars (as people in Beechview still call them) still run on the street in Pittsburgh. This is a Red Line car stopping at the outbound Hampshire stop in Beechview, and then continuing around the bend past the Beechview Community Center.