A Brief History of Homewood
Judge William Wilkins founded Homewood in 1832. It was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1884 and was also was the home of famous Pittsburghers Andrew and Thomas Carnegie until the late 1880s. In the 1900s during the immigration boom in the U.S., Irish, Italian, German and African American families moved in. The neighborhood was known for its great diversity.
50 years later, in the 1950s, the city took land for the Civic Arena in the Hill District. This in turn displaced thousands, forcing many less affluent African Americans to rent apartments in the neighborhood. This turned the population to over half African American. Due to the large population of African Americans, they felt the effects of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. His assassination caused riots all over the U.S., including Homewood. The rioters caused so much damage to the business district that a lot of the retail was completely ruined.
The ’70s and ’80s brought in drug dealing gangs but it wasn’t until the Homewood-Brushton Revitalization and the Development Corporation created an effort to rebuild the area that it helped open (and reopen) businesses.
Today, Homewood’s population is 98.3 percent African American. Some of the more notable residents include photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris and Mary Cardwell Dawson, founder of the National Negro Opera Company. Some interesting places to visit in the area include the Afro-American Music Institute, Carnegie Library and Homewood Cemetery. The neighborhood is divided into 3 different areas, North, South and West.