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Highland Park History

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Highland Park history goes back to the late 18th century when the area was settled by Alexander Negley and his family.

This simple timeline highlights some of the significant events in Highland Park history.

There is also some content of interest at the archive of the Highland Park website from before the Highland Park Community Council website was created.

18th Century


Alexander Negley and his family settled in the areas we now know as "Highland Park" and "East Liberty". The Negleys called their land "Fertile Bottom".

19th Century


The Farmhouse near present-day Heberton Street at Grafton Street was probably built around this time.


The Negleys' land holdings were subdivided by county surveyor Robert Hiland. He gave his own name to Hiland Avenue (now "Highland Avenue").


The City of Pittsburgh annexed areas including those we now know as "Highland Park" and "East Liberty".


The reservoir at the top of Hiland Avenue (now "Highland Park Reservoir No. 1" and "Highland Avenue") began operation.


The spelling of "Hiland" (Avenue) was changed to "Highland".

In the following year, the name "Pittsburgh" was officially changed to "Pittsburg" in an attempt to standardize the spellings of place names across the country. The name was officially changed back to "Pittsburgh" in 1911.


Highland Park opened as a city park, thanks primarily to Edward Bigelow, Pittsburgh Director of Public Works.

Fulton Academy (now Fulton Academy of Geographic and Life Sciences) on Mellon Street was built.


Lake Carnegie was completed. Work began in 1892 to convert an unused lower reservoir into a small recreational lake to be used for used for boating, swimming, and ice skating.


The piers and statues at the North Highland Avenue entrance to Highland Park were erected. Giuseppe Moretti sculpted the statues.


The Highland Park Zoological Gardens (now Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium) opened.


The Stephen Foster statue by Giuseppe Moretti was installed just inside the main park entrance on Highland Avenue. See the entry for the year 1944 below.

The piers and statues at the Stanton Avenue entrance to Highland Park were erected. Giuseppe Moretti also sculpted these.

20th Century


The Rhododendron Grove shelter on Lake Drive was built.

The former Highland Park bridge was built. This bridge spanned the Allegheny River from Butler Street across Six Mile Island to 19th Street in Sharpsburg.

The Parkview Flats apartments on North Saint Clair Street at Callowhill Street were built.


The lower Highland Park Reservoir No. 2 began operation.


The first services at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Hampton Street were held on Easter Sunday. The church was designed by the prominent Philadelphia architectural partnership of Carpenter and Crocker.

St. Andrew's was founded in 1837 and originally located on Hand Street (now 9th Street) in downtown Pittsburgh.


Part of Lake Carnegie was filled in and converted into swimming pools: the one that exists to this day, and a larger wading pool.


The present Highland Park bridge was built. It connected Butler Street with present-day Freeport Road in Sharpsburg. The ramps to PA 28 opened in 1963.


The Stephen Foster statue which had been just inside the main park entrance on Highland Avenue was moved to its present location on Forbes Avenue in Oakland in Schenley Plaza near the Carnegie.

Across Forbes Avenue lies the Stephen Foster Memorial at the University of Pittsburgh. The memorial was dedicated in 1937.


The Highland Park Community Council was founded.


Robert King and hundreds of others defeated a plan to build a new amphitheatre for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera on part of his estate at the end of North Negley Avenue.

In 1962, the CLO moved into the new Civic Arena (now the Mellon Arena, which building's future is in jeopardy now that the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team plans to build a replacement facility nearby).


The dividing wall in Highland Park Reservoir No. 1 partially collapsed and was mostly removed in ensuing repairs.

The earth removed during the repairs to the reservoir was used to fill in the shallow swimming pool in the park.


The 48-year old Highland Park bridge was renovated.


Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation designated Highland Park as a historic landmark.


The community raised about $120,000 to build a "super playground" in the park.


The community club erected three signs at prominent entrances to the neighborhood: the corner of Stanton and North Highland Avenues, the corner of Stanton and North Negley Avenues, and at the top of The Hill Road (now One Wild Place) near the corner of Bunkerhill and Mellon Streets.
The sign at Stanton and North Negley Avenues was replaced sometime around 2000. The replacement matches the style of the sign for the Highland Park Council apartments.

Raymond Hair Designs opened on Bryant Street.


The Highland Park Community Development Corporation incorporated.


The Reservoir of Jazz August concert series began.


Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation designated the Klages house on Beverly Place as a historic landmark.

The Klages house (1922) was designed by Pittsburgh architect Frederick Scheibler. He also designed an apartment building (1907) on Mellon Street and the Johnston House (1921) on Jackson Street. His other work in Pittsburgh includes the Old Heidelberg Apartments (1905) on South Braddock Avenue in Point Breeze and the Highland Towers (1913) on Highland Avenue in Shadyside.


The park gate piers and statues were restored.


The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority agreed to build a micro-filtration plant rather than cover Highland Park Reservoir No. 1 to comply with a new state law. Highland Park Reservoir No. 2 was covered.

Lawrenceville artist Mark Runco completed his mural of Highland Park on North St Clair Street at Bryant St. City Councilman Jim Ferlo commissioned the mural on the side of the building housing the "At the Park" tavern (now "Six & Slice") to draw attention to the planned restoration of the Highland Avenue entrance to the park.

Pittsburgh's Historic Review Commission gave preservation awards to Debbie DeAngelis, the Highland Park Community Council, and others to recognize the conservation of the sculptures at the entrance to Highland Park. Debbie DeAngelis initiated the restoration project.


Enrico's Tazza d'Oro cafe and espresso bar opened on North Highland Avenue.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation gave Awards of Merit to Pittsburgh City Councilman Jim Ferlo, David Hance of the Highland Park Community Council, and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority hydraulic engineer John Kasper for their efforts in averting the threat of covering Highland Park Reservoir No. 1.


The Highland Park web site began operation.

The Farmhouse was damaged by fire.

21st Century


The Highland Park Community Council, City of Pittsburgh Parks and Recreation Department, and Councilman Jim Ferlo sponsored a salsa party in the park.

Sitar of Pittsburgh Indian restaurant opened on Bryant Street.


Severe storms hit the Pittsburgh region, including Highland Park.

The Farmhouse reopened after extensive repairs and renovations.

The park gate piers ("Welcome" at North Highland Avenue, and "Horse Tamers" at Stanton Avenue) gate) were designated as City Historic Objects.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation designated Fulton Academy of Geographic and Life Sciences on Hampton Street between Mellon Street and North Saint Clair Street as a historic landmark.

Volunteers from the community held a maintenance day for the Super Playground.

The new Micro-Filtration Plant in Highland Park opened.


A gas leak forced the temporary closure of the Farmhouse.

A week-end snow storm led to a fun Snow Day in Highland Park.

The Highland Park Community Council, the East End Neighborhood Forum, and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church sponsored a "Meet the Candidates" forum to help residents make their choices for the upcoming Council District 7 special election.

Leonard Bodack, Jr. won the special election to fill the remainder of Jim Ferlo's term as City Council representative for District 7.

The Children's Committee co-sponsored an Egg Hunt with Citparks.

Highland Park's Patrick Dowd won a seat on the School Board in the primary election and Leonard Bodack, Jr. retained his seat on City Council.

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