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Hill District (Pittsburgh)

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Title: Hill District (Pittsburgh)  
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Subject: Pittsburgh, Lena Horne, Squirrel Hill (Pittsburgh), List of Pittsburgh neighborhoods, Oakland (Pittsburgh), Stanley Turrentine, Hazelwood (Pittsburgh), Bloomfield (Pittsburgh), Houseguest, Sophie Masloff
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Hill District (Pittsburgh)

The Hill District is a collection of neighborhoods that is considered by many to be the cultural center of African-American life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an American city. Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay once called the district "the crossroads of the world," referring to the neighborhood's heyday in the 1930s–1950s. It is known to many Pittsburghers as simply "The Hill."

It is bordered by the Downtown on the west, the Strip District and Polish Hill on the north, the Bluff (Uptown) on the southwest, and Oakland on the east and southeast.

The Hill District was the setting for nine of the plays in August Wilson's 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle.[1]


Bedford Dwellings
Neighborhood of Pittsburgh
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny County
City Pittsburgh
 • Total 0.179 sq mi (0.46 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 1,202
 • Density 6,700/sq mi (2,600/km2)
Upper Hill
Neighborhood of Pittsburgh
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny County
City Pittsburgh
 • Total 0.313 sq mi (0.81 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 2,057
 • Density 6,600/sq mi (2,500/km2)

The Hill District comprises five distinct neighborhoods. A recent new development near Downtown is Crawford Square. The neighborhoods are represented on the Pittsburgh City Council by the council member for District 6 (Downtown neighborhoods), and part of the Upper Hill is also represented under District 7. The 15219 ZIP code covers all five neighborhoods, and the 15213 ZIP code covers part of Terrace Village and the Upper Hill.

  • Crawford-Roberts
  • Upper Hill
  • Middle Hill
  • Bedford Dwellings
  • Terrace Village

Demographics and history

About 40 percent of the Hill District's residents live below poverty level, and the vast majority of residents are black or African American; about 6 percent of the population is white.[3]

Many residents view a major turning point in the neighborhood's history as the 1960s, when the city of Pittsburgh displaced about 8000 residents and 400 businesses in the Lower Hill to build the Civic Arena.[4] The displaced people moved into the East Liberty and Homewood-Brushton neighborhoods, causing (white & black) middle-class families to flee these areas.[5]

Recent initiatives have aimed to revitalize the area, which has struggled for decades with varying levels of dilapidation and crime.[6]

A project to open a new grocery store — the neighborhood lacked one for 30 years — came to fruition in late 2013.[7] The YMCA is building a $9 million branch in the neighborhood, complete with a rooftop garden. A group of investors have gathered to restore the New Granada Theater, a historic jazz club where Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington once performed.[6] Local college Duquesne University opened a new pharmacy in the neighborhood in December 2010,[8] the first university-operated community pharmacy in the US.[9]


The TV Show 2002 NYT

From the 1960s to 1982 the Pirates' Hall of famer Willie Stargell owned a fried chicken store on the Hill. Patrons would receive free chicken if they were in the store at the time Stargell hit a home run. Pirates' radio announcer Bob Prince coined the phrase "Spread some chicken on the Hill with Will."

See also

Pittsburgh portal


Further reading

External links

  • Hill Community Development Corporation (Hill CDC)- Your front door to Pittsburgh's Hill District.
  • Carnegie Library's History of The Hill
  • City of Pittsburgh's Hill District page
  • Wylie Avenue Days Program log - Documents the Hill District's best years through the 1930s-1950s
  • Crossroads of the World -Pittsburgh Music History
  • “The Crossroads of the World”: A Social and Cultural History of Jazz in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, 1920-1970 - by Colter Harper

Coordinates: 40°26′43″N 79°58′47″W / 40.44528°N 79.97972°W / 40.44528; -79.97972

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