Troy Hill: A Historic Neighborhood in Pittsburgh

Troy Hill, located on Pittsburgh’s North Side, is a neighborhood with a rich history and vibrant community. Its unique development can be attributed to its geography, tradition, and the influx of German immigrants in the 19th century. Over time, Troy Hill has become a cherished homeland for its residents, with a distinct cultural identity and close-knit community.

Early History

Troy Hill’s story begins in the late 18th century when the government of Pennsylvania designated a “reserve tract” of land opposite Fort Pitt to raise funds for the troops who served in the war for American Independence. Captain George Wallace, a prominent landholder in the area, acquired a large portion of Troy Hill in the late 18th century. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the village of New Troy emerged as a settlement for German-speaking immigrants.

New Troy and Deutschtown

The village of New Troy, located on the plateau overlooking the Allegheny River, attracted German-speaking Protestant and Catholic families in the mid-19th century. The area around Troy Hill, known as Deutschtown, became a vibrant neighborhood with shops, schools, churches, and taverns. The German immigrants brought their rich cultural traditions, including music, hymns, and religious practices, which shaped the character of the community.

Duquesne Borough and Annexation

In 1849, the Borough of Duquesne was established, encompassing Troy Hill and its surroundings. Duquesne Borough flourished with residential and manufacturing developments, including cotton mills, sawmills, and tanneries. However, in 1868, Allegheny City annexed Duquesne Borough, integrating it into the growing city. This annexation marked the beginning of Troy Hill’s transformation into a bustling neighborhood.

Most Holy Name Parish and Father Suitbert G. Mollinger

Most Holy Name Parish, established in 1866, played a pivotal role in the development of this neighborhood. Father Suitbert G. Mollinger, the pastor of Most Holy Name Parish, was a beloved figure in the community. He used his personal wealth to construct a chapel, named St. Anthony’s Chapel, adjacent to the parish church. Father Mollinger’s dedication to the community and his extensive collection of sacred relics made him a revered priest, attracting thousands of devotees to Troy Hill.

Troy Hill School and Education

Education was a vital aspect of Troy Hill’s growth. The first school in the area, Mount Troy School No. 1, was established in 1836. As the population increased, a larger school building was constructed in 1874. The Troy Hill School became part of Allegheny City’s school system. The School Sisters de Notre Dame, known for their teaching expertise, were enlisted to educate the students of the neighborhood.

Industrialization and Community Growth

The late 19th century witnessed significant industrialization and population growth in Troy Hill. The neighborhood became home to bakers, brewers, furnace workers, firefighters, and various other blue-collar workers. The village center, encompassing streets like Lowrie, Hatteras, and Rialto, flourished with shops, offices, churches, and taverns. Troy Hill’s working-class residents, predominantly of German descent, created a strong sense of community and belonging.

Landmarks and Historical Sites

Troy Hill

The neighborhood is home to several historic landmarks that reflect its rich history. The Troy Hill Firehouse, Saint Anthony’s Chapel, the Rectory of Most Holy Name of Jesus, the Troy Hill Incline Building, the Allegheny Reservoir Wall, and the Ober-Guehl House are among the notable landmarks that offer glimpses into the neighborhood’s past. These sites serve as a testament to the enduring heritage of Troy Hill.

Hollywood Films and Troy Hill

Troy Hill has also left its mark on the silver screen, with several Hollywood films featuring scenes filmed in the neighborhood. Movies such as “Hoffa,” “Innocent Blood,” “Striking Distance,” and “Adventureland” have showcased the unique charm and character of the neighborhood, attracting attention from the film industry.

City Steps and Connectivity

This cool area of Pittsburgh is known for its distinct city steps, which connect pedestrians to public transportation and the East Ohio Street trail. These steps, often featuring breathtaking views of the surrounding area, have become iconic symbols of the neighborhood. They serve as both functional pathways and cultural landmarks, enhancing the connectivity and accessibility of Troy Hill.

Surrounding Neighborhoods and Borders

The neighborhood shares borders with several Pittsburgh neighborhoods, including Spring Garden to the north and northwest, East Allegheny to the west, North Shore to the southwest, Reserve Township to the north-northwest, and Millvale to the northeast. The neighborhood’s proximity to the Strip District across the Allegheny River provides convenient access to a bustling hub of commerce, food, and entertainment.

Preservation and Community Engagement

Preservation and community engagement are crucial to maintaining the unique character of the neighborhood. The Troy Hill Citizens organization actively works towards preserving the neighborhood’s historic structures, promoting community events, and fostering a sense of pride and belonging among residents. Their efforts contribute to the ongoing vitality and sustainability of Troy Hill.

This beautiful area of Pittsburgh has a fascinating history and a vibrant community. From its humble beginnings as a rural village to its transformation into a thriving working-class neighborhood, The neighborhood has retained its cultural heritage and strong sense of community. The landmarks, institutions, and traditions that have shaped this Pittsburgh neighborhood make it a truly unique and cherished part of Pittsburgh’s North Side.

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