Establishing a 3000 acre area of land north of the Allegheny River in 1783, Pennsylvania laid the groundwork for John Redick to create Allegheny City, 36 blocks surrounded by a common grazing area, in 1784. Today, that first planned area is now Allegheny Center, on the north side of the city of Pittsburgh. The grazing area, now Allegheny Commons, still surrounds 3 sides of this Pittsburgh Neighborhood.
The original plan for Allegheny City was for it to be the seat of Allegheny County. Therefore, a market house and post office were built. The main road, East Ohio Street, stretched from Allegheny West through the neighborhood and then Allegheny East beyond.
Until 1907, the neighborhood was the center of downtown Allegheny City. Pittsburgh annexed the city this year, and it became part of Pittsburgh’s greater north side. The Great Depression and rationing in World War II proved to be as hard on this neighborhood as any in Pittsburgh, with many of the residents out of work, and the more affluent residents moving further to the west.
The 1950s saw the community begin an effort to revitalize the historic area of Allegheny City. A modern plan for Allegheny Center was established, along with Alcoa Properites. The mall on the site was constructed, razing about 518 buildings, mostly by eminent domain. The mall, apartment complexes, townhomes and office buildings replaced the old historic buildings. The mall opened in 1965 and remained in operation until the 1990s, when the last of the stores close. Today there is a redevelopment of this property taking place with modern living spaces and office areas planned.
Allegheny Center is home to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the New Hazlett Theater (the old Carnegie Free Library) and the National Aviary.