The period of 1870-1900 saw the development of California-Kirkbride as a primarily industrial area with tanneries, slaughterhouses, and the local rail yard all flourishing within the boundaries of what was then Allegheny City. The workers needed housing for their families and several business owners bought land in the area to build rowhouses. Thus, this area is primarily residential in nature. As with other local neighborhoods, many of these homes are now on the National Register of Historic Places as the Old Allegheny Rows Historic District.
Historically, California-Kirkbride had been considered part of Manchester, but the barrier between the areas created by heavily trafficked railroad tracks created separation.
The Great Depression brought plight to the neighborhood that continued through the 1960’s and into the 1970’s. Many of the older homes not designated historically significant have since been demolished to create more green space. There are some initiatives currently in place to bring redevelopment back to this significantly historic neighborhood in Pittsburgh.