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West Oakland (Pittsburgh)

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West Oakland (Pittsburgh)

This article is about the neighborhood in Pittsburgh. For other uses, see Oakland (disambiguation).

Oakland is the academic and healthcare center of Pittsburgh, one of the city's major cultural centers, and is Pennsylvania's third largest "Downtown". Only Center City Philadelphia and Downtown Pittsburgh can claim more economic and social activity than Oakland.[1] The neighborhood is urban and diverse and is home to several universities, museums, and hospitals, as well as an abundance of shopping, restaurants, and students. Oakland is home to the Schenley Farms National Historic District which encompasses two city designated historic districts: the mostly residential Schenley Farms Historic District and the predominantly institutional Oakland Civic Center Historic District. The Pittsburgh Fire Bureau has Fire Station No. 14 on McKee Place and Fire Station No. 10 on Allequippa Street in Oakland.

Neighborhoods

North Oakland
Neighborhood of Pittsburgh
Schenley Farms Historic District
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny County
City Pittsburgh
Area[2]
 • Total 0.499 sq mi (1.29 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 10,551
 • Density 21,000/sq mi (8,200/km2)
Central Oakland
Neighborhood of Pittsburgh
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny County
City Pittsburgh
Area[2]
 • Total 0.281 sq mi (0.73 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 6,086
 • Density 22,000/sq mi (8,400/km2)
South Oakland
Neighborhood of Pittsburgh
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny County
City Pittsburgh
Area[2]
 • Total 0.508 sq mi (1.32 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 2,969
 • Density 5,800/sq mi (2,300/km2)
West Oakland
Neighborhood of Pittsburgh
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny County
City Pittsburgh
Area[2]
 • Total 0.215 sq mi (0.56 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 2,604
 • Density 12,000/sq mi (4,700/km2)

Oakland is officially divided into four neighborhoods: North Oakland, West Oakland, Central Oakland, and South Oakland. Each section has a unique identity, and offers its own flavor of venues and housing. Oakland is Pittsburgh's second most populated neighborhood with 22,210 residents, a majority of these residents being students.

North Oakland

North Oakland can be loosely defined as the area of Oakland between Neville and Bouquet Streets, encompassing all of Craig Street and running north to Polish Hill. The Cathedral of Learning, the engineering or midsection of the University of Pittsburgh campus, and the Craig Street business district are in North Oakland.

Central Oakland

Central Oakland is bordered by Schenley Park, the Boulevard of the Allies, Fifth Avenue, and Halket Street. This is where the majority of non-dormitory students reside, though as noted below, those between Forbes Avenue and the Boulevard of the Allies almost universally believe that they live in South Oakland. 74.1% of the population of Central Oakland is between the ages of 18 and 24.[3] It is home to many of their favorite eateries, fraternity houses and club houses. It is also the location of the relatively isolated neighborhood of Panther Hollow which runs along Boundary Street in Junction Hollow. Although it is formally designated as a separate section, Central Oakland is commonly grouped together with South Oakland, and the "central" name is rarely used by residents.

South Oakland

South Oakland runs along the Monongahela River and forms a triangular shape between the Monongahela River, the Boulevard of the Allies, and the western bank of Junction Hollow. Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is a major landmark of this neighborhood. The neighborhood is split between a riverfront flood plain to the southwest and a plateau to the northeast. The plateau is divided into two primarily residential areas which are separated from one another by Bates Street, which runs up a valley from the flood plain to the plateau. The flood plain was previously packed with industrial sites such as the Pittsburgh Works Consolidated Gas Co. and the Jones & Laughlin Steel Co.,[4] but presently, it hosts facilities such as the Entertainment Technology Center of Carnegie Mellon University.

It is important to note that residents of Central Oakland often misidentify that neighborhood as being part of South Oakland. In other words, the border between Central Oakland and South Oakland is much further south than is commonly believed by residents. The area between Forbes Avenue and Boulevard of the Allies, almost universally referred to as South Oakland by its residents, is officially part of Central Oakland. For example, an entry for "South Oakland" in the Urban Dictionary lists its boundaries as Forbes Avenue, the Boulevard of the Allies, and Schenley Park—an area which actually lies entirely within Central Oakland and which includes none of South Oakland.[5] Articles in news media also make this error; for example, a column about street cleanliness near the University of Pittsburgh used the term "South Oakland" to describe an area entirely within the boundaries of Central Oakland.[6]

South Oakland is referred to by some as being an example of a student ghetto, but in fact, only 36.9% of its population is between the ages of 18 and 24, compared to Central Oakland's figure of 74.1%.[3] This discrepancy is largely due to the fact mentioned above that the area between Forbes Avenue and the Boulevard of the Allies—which primarily houses undergraduate students—is commonly misidentified as being in South Oakland, when in fact it constitutes the heart of Central Oakland.

South Oakland was the childhood home of Andy Warhol, and later the residence of fellow pop artist Keith Haring. Haring had his first art show while living in Oakland. NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Dan Marino was also born in Oakland, not far from Warhol's home. Warhol and Marino actually grew up on the same block and their former houses are merely a few doors down from each other.

West Oakland

West Oakland, the smallest of the four districts, is bordered by Fifth Avenue in the south, DeSoto Street in the east, the Birmingham Bridge to the west, and Allequippa Street to the north. Carlow University and most of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center can be found there.

Commonly misidentified

It should be noted that although the campus of Carnegie Mellon University and parts of Schenley Park, including Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens and Flagstaff Hill, are often popularly referred to as being located in Oakland, they are technically located in the adjacent neighborhood of Squirrel Hill North.

Oakland History

The name Oakland first appeared in 1839 in a local paper called Harris' Intelligencer. The area got its name from the abundance of oak trees found on the farm of William Eichenbaum, who settled there in 1840. Oakland developed rapidly following the Great Fire of 1845 in downtown Pittsburgh, with many people moving out to suburban territory. By 1860, there was considerable commercial development along Fifth Avenue.

In 1868, Oakland Township was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh. Twenty-one years later, Mary Schenley gave the city 300 acres in Oakland for a park. Officials bought another 100 acres from her for "Schenley Park." And Mary Schenley gave another gift: land for Schenley Plaza. At Schenley Plaza, industrialist Andrew Carnegie built a library, museum and concert hall complex, which opened in 1895.

Oakland has long been considered Pittsburgh's university center. Carnegie Mellon University is the result of a 1967 merger of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, founded in Oakland in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie, and Mellon Institute, founded in 1913 by Andrew W. and Richard B. Mellon to conduct industrial research. The University of Pittsburgh, which is heir to the Pittsburgh Academy that was incorporated in 1787, relocated to Oakland in 1909 from its campus that was then in Allegheny.

Some of the most impressive architecture in Oakland is on Pitt's campus. In 1925, work began on what was then the world's tallest educational building, the 42-story Cathedral of Learning. Although the Cathedral of Learning is now the fourth-tallest educationally purposed building in the world, it remains the world's second tallest university building, the tallest educational building in the Western Hemisphere,[7] and the second tallest gothic-styled building in the world.[8] Oakland is also home to the university's french-gothic revival Heinz Memorial Chapel and St. Paul Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Baseball fans might know Oakland for the beloved Forbes Field, which was built in 1909 as the third home to the Pittsburgh Pirates and first home to the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Forbes Field was closed in 1970, some remnants of the ballpark still stand. Pirates fans gather on the site each year on the anniversary of Bill Mazeroski's World Series winning home run on October 13, 1960.

Oakland facts

  • Oakland is home to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, sponsor of the annual Greek Food Festival, as well as St. Paul Cathedral, mother church of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
  • Oakland's University of Pittsburgh Medical Center pioneered modern organ transplant surgery (home of Dr. Thomas Starzl). In 1955, the first effective polio vaccine was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
  • WQED, Pittsburgh's PBS station and the first community-sponsored television station in the United States, has been located in Oakland since 1954, although it moved from its original building to a new, larger one in 1970. WQED's first building, which had originally been the manse of a neighboring church, is now the Music Building of the University of Pittsburgh's main campus. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, the nationally syndicated children's show, was taped at WQED's studios in Oakland.
  • KDKA-TV, the regions first television station, went on the air at the Syria Mosque in January, 1949. The event was not only memorable locally but was also a world first as the station was the first to "network" East coast and Midwest feeds into a modern "television network."

Oakland attractions

Gallery

Flagstaff Hill

Notes and references

External links

  • Interactive Pittsburgh Neighborhoods Map
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Carlow University

See also

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