Pittsburgh Neighborhoods: Shadyside

A Brief History of Shadyside

history of shadyside

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Shadyside, located in the East End of Pittsburgh, is a vibrant neighborhood with plenty to eat, drink and see. The Niche company named Shadyside as the best neighborhood in the ‘burgh for millennials.

Shadyside is home to retail-driven Walnut St., home to Pittsburgh’s oldest jewelry store, Henne Jewelers. In addition to retail, there are multiple restaurants on Walnut St., including Pamela’s Diner. Pamela’s has been serving breakfast to the Shadyside neighborhood for nearly 40 years (even President Obama and First Lady Michelle stopped by in 2009!).

The history of Shadyside starts with farmland, believe it or not. It became residential in the late 1800s and in the ’50s, the Walnut St. retail area began. For those who grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, did you visit Shadyside when it was what the Pittsburgh Press dubbed “Our Greenwich Village.” The neighborhood was nicknamed this because it was a place for hippies to enjoy themselves in the 1960s and ’70s.  The original farm was annexed to the city of Pittsburgh as Shadyside in 1868.  Long ago, Shadyside also was home to an iron furnace and a small oil refinery!

UPMC Shadyside was originally in down town Pittsburgh, and known as  Homeopathic Medical and Surgical Hospital and Dispensary.  In 1910, it moved to Shadyside and in 1938 changed it’s name to Shadyside Hospital.  Early in it’s history, Shadyside Hospital performed the first X-ray in Western Pennsylvania and also established the regions first school of nursing.  The current structure of the hospital was built in 1972 and became part of UPMC in 1997.

Shadyside has 2 main shopping districts.  Walnut Street, and Ellsworth Avenue.  Both contain many blocks of locally owned stores and boutiques, as well as some well known national chains like the Shadyside Apple store.  Art galleries and antique shops are also present, as well as some great restaurants in Shadyside.

This vibrant area is host to many events in Pittsburgh every year, including the Shadyside Arts Festival.  Residents of the area, Pittsburghers as a whole and visitors from all over the world attend to shop, dine and enjoy themselves along Walnut Street.

Shadyside is bordered by Oakland, Bloomfield, Friendship, East Liberty, Larimer, Point Breeze and Squirrel Hill.

8 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Neighborhoods: Shadyside”

  1. I was born and raised in Shadyside in the 1950’s. Loved living there as a small child. It was a safe family neighborhood. From Schillers Drug Store, Joe Mariano’s Variety Store to the old Rexall, Walnut Street was great.

  2. Me too. I just called it Joe’s Variety. Shopped with my Mom for school supplies. What was the name of the theater? Used to be $0.25 for the matinee. Went to the Manor in Squirrel Hill for the Saturday show. 13 cartoons. 3 shorts and a double feature. Great times and a great place to grow up.

  3. John P. Studeny, Jr.

    Lived in Bloomfield but worked at Shadyside Boy’s Club all through High School and College (late 60’s and early to mid 70″s). Loved hanging out on Walnut Street during lunch and dinner breaks, and remember fondly some of the purchases I made during the Arts festival

    1. Edwina McMullen Lockridge

      We were born and raised in Shadyside in the 50’s. It was a family, kid friendly quaint little town and a great place to grow up.

  4. In the 50s (and decades before I expect) there was an after hours club down an alleyway off Walnut St. Probably started during Prohibition. It had a wonderful kitchen. One special was the Devonshire sandwich–heavenly. Can’t recall the name of the club. It was frequented ball ages and certainly well-to-do types.

  5. The club name was the Hollywood Social Club and you walked up a narrow walkway to a set of stairs that took you to the front door of the club and then, as a member, you would be admitted. As a private club it had extended hours and served alcohol on Sundays, a real feature in the 50’s. The Devonshire was an incredible hot sandwich and I ate a lot of them. I grew up spending summers at the Liberty school playground. Also worked at the Walnut Pharmacy. Also drank a few beers at the great Fox Cafe and watched many movies at the Shady Side theater. What memories from 70 plus years ago.

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