Observatory Hill (also known as Perry North) was once know as “The Douglas District” part of Pennsylvania’s third largest city… Allegheny City. In 1907 Allegheny City, including the Observatory Hill neighborhood, was annexed into the city of Pittsburgh.
At that time, Riverview Park was Allegheny City’s version of Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park. The citizens of the area desired a place where they could enjoy and keep their children from travelling what was then considered a long distance to the East End of Pittsburgh and Schenley, where they were not always welcome. A fund raiser ensued and the citizens purchased the land from Samuel Watson, a develpoer in Observatory Hill, to create Riverview Park. The opening day ceremony on Independence Day in 1894 brought almost 30,000 attendees! Riverview Park was once the home of another zoo in the Pittsburgh area. August Overbeck, a German immigrant living in Spring Hill in 1895, created the Riverview Park Zoo from a menagerie of animals that he was keeping on his land at home. Upon the merging of Allegheny City and Pittsburgh, the animals were moved to the Pittsburgh Zoo, in Highland Park.
1912 saw the addition of the landmark that would define the neighborhood and give it the name Observatory Hill. The Allegehny Observatory. In May of 1867 the observatory was donated to the Western University of Pennsylvania, which later became the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt still owns the Allegheny Observatory today.
Observatory Hill is bordered by Perrysville Avenue, I-279, Ivory Road and McKnight Road. It also borders Riverview Park and Brighton Heights.