PCC Car and Schoolhouse, Bethel Park

Schoolhouse Arts & History Center

This old school is now a community center for Bethel Park. In front is a Pittsburgh PCC car, the ideal Art Deco streetcar that dominated Pittsburgh transit for a generation, restored to its Pittsburgh Street Railways livery. (It was one of the last PCC cars to run in Pittsburgh, and had been repainted in the 1980s Port Authority livery.) Yes, we do have quite a few pictures of it, because old Pa Pitt is an unashamed fan of PCC cars, which always look to him like trolleys that would run on the planet Mongo in the old Flash Gordon serials. More modern, but less futuristic, trolleys still run on the Silver Line just a block away.

PCC car
PCC car
Schoolhouse

Castle Shannon

Castle Shannon

The center of Castle Shannon is the intersection of Castle Shannon Boulevard and Willow Avenue, which carries the trolley line. The only way to get a good visual impression of this oddly shaped business district is with a series of broad panoramas.

Trolley crossing Castle Shannon Boulevard

Silver Line Trolley in Castle Shannon

Silver Line car crossing Castle Shannon Boulevard

The only active street trackage left in the Pittsburgh streetcar system is on Broadway in Beechview, and on Warrington and Arlington Avenues when the cars are detoured over the top of the hill instead of through the Transit Tunnel. But there are several sections of what we might call semi-street trackage, where the trolleys run in a separate right-of-way either beside or in the middle of the street. Willow Avenue in Castle Shannon is one of them: half the street is reserved for trolleys. Here a Silver Line car crosses Castle Shannon Boulevard.

Pittsburgh Myanmar Christian Church, Castle Shannon

Here is another wooden Gothic church whose details have been obscured by modern siding, and old Pa Pitt suspects the job was done by the same contractor who pasted siding over the First Presbyterian Church in Castle Shannon. The tower has been obscured beyond recognition—but note the railing on top, which suggests that it may be a fine place for a bird’s-eye view of the borough. This was the Castle Shannon United Methodist Church, but now it belongs to a lively congregation of immigrants from Myanmar.

A more than usually lush growth of utility cables is also prominent in this picture.

First Presbyterian Church, Castle Shannon

First Presbyterian Church, Castle Shannon

A wood-frame country church whose most identifiable feature is its big square belfry. Artificial siding has eaten up some of the trim and made the walls a little monotonous, but the shapes of the various masses still make an interesting composition.

Belfry