The Bluff (also known as Uptown) was once known as Soho and, prior to the 20th Century as Boyd’s Hill. It’s located just southeast of Pittsburgh’s central business district, or Golden Triangle. The Bluff is bordered on the north by the Hill District and on the south by the Monongahela River and the South Side. The area is home to UPMC’s Mercy Hospital as well as Duquesne University.
The Bluff was known by colonists in the mid 1700’s as Ayer’s Hill in honor of an English commander who constructed a fort in the area. Legend has it that sometime around the Revolutionary War and through the 19th Century it was referred to as Boyd’s Hill after a businessman left his office and hanged himself on the hill.
The Bluff was developed in the late 18th through the early 19th Century by an eccentric Englishman, James Tustin, who constructed an estate with a fruit orchard on the hill. It was considered one of the most beautiful areas in Pittsburgh, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times in 1915. He named his estate “Soho” after his residence in Britain, and the name stuck… for a while.
Originally part of Pitt Township, the Bluff was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh in 1846. This annexation was part of Pittsburgh’s efforts to revitalize following the fire of 1845, which destroyed over 1000 structures and 56 acres of the city.
The area is currently undergoing many revitalization efforts to bring businesses and residents back. The Bluff is located directly east of the Golden Triangle, or the business district in downtown Pittsburgh, thus the business, shopping, dining, educational and healthcare connections of the area add many amenities and opportunities. Most recently, Duquesne University has begun expansion and construction in the area, and the recently completed PPG Paints Arena (formerly the Consol Energy Center) has added appeal to this historic and well positioned neighborhood.