One of Pittsburgh’s Best Neighborhoods – Friendship

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Friendship is a quiet little residential area nestled between the bustling areas of Shadyside, Bloomfield and East Liberty; many say it is the best neighborhood to live in because everything is so close. You can walk to two first rate grocery stores, the Giant Eagle’s “Market District” and Whole Foods, buses downtown are everywhere and the universities are a bike ride away.

In the last few years, especially, Friendship has become popular among the younger crowd that’s looking to settle down in a nice, quiet, area. They’ve bought most of the big, old, Victorian style houses and restored them to their original beauty.

“It’s a great place to settle down,” says Nichole Merritt, Photographer. “If I had a family I’d want to live in Friendship.”

Living in Friendship offers a quaint neighborhood with a laid back feel and nice neighbors. But it is really the diversity of families, single professionals, retirees and many others that make dwelling in friendship so interesting.

Places to Eat, Drink, and shop… Penn Avenue is home to The Quiet Storm, a vegetarian café with good coffee on the corner of Graham St, an authentic Indian Restaurant on the corner of Winebiddle Street.

On the outskirts of Friendship, The Sharp Edge is a Belgian beer emporium and home to “the best food in Friendship,” boasts Merritt, a local frequenter of the joint. “You definitely get what you pay for – good food!” she added.

Soon the area will have many more shopping choices with a $230 million new complex planned called Baum-Liberty crossing. As the name suggests, The development is at the corner of Liberty and Baum the neighborhood’s south side and will start with an upscale hotel project on Baum and the develop massive retail space and amenities later.

Steeped in History… David Lawrence, mayor of Pittsburgh and then Governor of Pennsylvania, once called Friendship home. Lawrence was one of the leaders of Pittsburgh’s 1950’s Renaissance and lived in the stone house at the corner of Harriet Street and South Aiken Ave.

One of the nation’s first chiropractic institutes – the Pittsburgh College of Chiropractic – was located in Friendship from 1914 to 1921 at 130 South Fairmount St.

The Rite Aid at the corner of Baum Blvd and Roup Ave used to be a building owned by Firestone Rubber and Tire Company. The original structure was due to be demolished ten years ago but was kept in tact due to the input of local residents. 238 South Negley Ave was the Negley family mansion, built by one of the Negley’s who had been a Civil War general.

The spot of the Friendship School was said to have been a race track.

Places to Learn… Pittsburgh Montessori School located at 201 Graham Street is an innovative magnet school from the Pittsburgh Public School district, and the only public Montessori school in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Arsenal Family and Children’s Center located on South Aiken Avenue has a rich history. It was founded in 1953 by Dr. Benjamin Spock, and was originally located in Lawrenceville but relocated to Friendship in 2003.

Waldorf School located at 201 Winebiddle Street was once a mansion, then renovated and turned into an all girl’s school, before it became what it is today. The Waldorf School uses child-centered curricula and other innovative ideas inspired by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.

Interesting Architecture… Charles Bartberger, the architect of the Friendship School, laid the plans for the major structures in the neighborhood, laid the plans for the major structures in the neighborhood, and also designed and lived in his own house at 408 S. Pacific Ave.

The brown brick house at 5465 Coral Street has only two bedrooms. It was built in the 1920’s by a developer named Hully. He wanted to create a “modern” alternative to all the big houses in the Friendship neighborhood.

The 1870’s farmhouse at 5302 Coral Street is the oldest house in Friendship.

Film Coverage… Movies like Wonder Boys, Smart People, and the Piano Lesson all had scenes shot in Friendship. Walk around S. Atlantic Ave or visit the corner of Graham St and Harriett St. and reminisce about your favorite scenes.

Artistry… Spinning Plate Artists Loft is home to dancers, musicians, photographers, and other people who make a living in artistic careers. The first floor is very large, open, and specifically designed for art galleries and other events the tenants organize to showcase their talents, as well as the occasional themed party.

The Penn Avenue arts district (blocks 4800-6100) in Friendship is where art and perfoming art establishments call home and celebrate the first Friday of every month in an event called the Unblurred . Live art and performances can be viewed at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, Attack Theater and a dozen galleries up and down the street.

Landscaping… Only in Friendship can you find a shrub trimmed in the shape of a jumping dolphin (corner of Harriett St. and Pacific Ave), or a Hemlock as old as the one on Winebiddle Street.

Thanks to the Pittsburgh Tree Shade Commission, the area has received quite a few new trees over the last few years.

FDA Projects…Friendship Development Associates (FDA), the non-profit sister organization of the Friendship Preservation Group (FPG), has succeeded at many recent development projects including the Penn Avenue Glass Center and Clarendon Place Project, an amazing redevelopment of once badly maintained row homes at 1-15 Clarendon Place. Some of the largest homes in the neighborhood got a new start with the help of the FDA. Of recent, the FDA’s attention and expertise seems to be on helping to finish the redevelopment of Penn Avenue.

Thanks to Angele Ellis and Jessica Dempsey for help in gathering information for this article.

 

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