Pittsburgh Heritage Sites
Freedom Corner Memorial
DESCRIPTION: Began as protest site directly across from St Benedict the Moor Church the protest was spurred when in the 1950s when Downtown development encroached on the lower Hill District, which is a traditional African American enclave. Protesters posted signs at this corner which said, “NO REDEVELOPMENT BEYOND THIS POINT”. They were modestly successful at preserving housing for African Americans, now the challenge is to prevent the displacement of the poor who would like to stay, while in-fill gentrification occurs.
ADDRESS: Centre Ave at Crawford Street, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
DESCRIPTION: This historic Jazz club was as elegant as any in the country. Nearly every great jazz musician in the 1930s-60s has played or visited here. Their photos used to grace this luscious interior. Sadly, the owners closed this historic club to focus activity at a downtown location, which has also closed.
ADDRESS: 2141 Wylie Ave, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
DESCRIPTION: One of Pittsburgh’s historic jazz nightclubs. This boarded up building was barely saved from the wrecking ball; rivaled Crawford Grill as the most happening spot in the 1940s-1960s.
ADDRESS: Webster Ave in the Hill District, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
DESCRIPTION: The ballpark of the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the personal playpen of the all-time greatest Negro Leagues Baseball home run hitter, Josh Gibson. He hit more home runs (962) than Barry Bonds (762) and Hank Aaron (755) in a career and more home runs (84) than either of them in a season. A well rounded hitter wrapped in a powerful 6’1″, 210 pound body, Josh displayed the skills of a Negro League Baseball immortal. Those who played with against Josh Gibson and Babe Ruth refer to Babe as the Josh Gibson of white baseball. The Crawfords won a string of championships here when Josh played for them in 1932-36. A Pittsburgh fixture, Josh also played in nearby city of Homestead for the Grays in 1929-31, 1937-40 and 1942-46.
ADDRESS: Ammons Recreation Center at 2221 Bedford Ave, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
DESCRIPTION: In its heyday as Pittsburgh’s black hotel of the mid 20th century, Ellis Hotel was the joint. The Pittsburgh Crawfords Negro League Baseball team had it going on and the great jazz was played at nearby clubs. Fortunately, the building has been saved from the wrecking ball.
ADDRESS: Centre Ave at Erin Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
Bethel AME Church
DESCRIPTION: Though its congregation began meeting in 1808, this AME church was chartered in 1818 and it is the oldest African American church congregation in Pittsburgh. Rev. Paul Quinn arrived in 1822 as a full time pastor. The congregation settled in its current location in 1959.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 11a
ADDRESS: 2720 Webster Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church
DESCRIPTION: Established in 1889, St Benedict became of inspiration to Hill District residents since the 1950s, the church has been a welcome gathering center for many civil and human rights meetings. It is also famous for installing of the first statue of a Moor on a catholic church in America in 1968. By 1970, the first African American pastor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Friar Augustus Taylor Jr., was installed.
ADDRESS: 91 Crawford Street, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
DESCRIPTION: Many a distinguished pastor has led this dubious and caring congregation, which is one of the bedrocks of the Hill District. Nearly every imaginable outreach ministry can be found for men, women, children, singles choir, fitness, Tae Bo and bible study. A Christian bookstore is located in the basement of the church. Part of the church was built over Ammons Field. “Never have I felt so warmly welcomed in only four months as a church member before moving to California. For all these reasons, Macedonia will always be my church”, Thomas Dorsey of Soul Of America.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 8a & 10:45a
ADDRESS: 2225 Bedford Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
Wesley Center AME Zion Church
DESCRIPTION: First organized in the home of Edward Parker in 1836, then moved to a one-room church called “Little Jim” on Peru Way. The congregation has steadily grew through several church edifices until 1944 when it moved to this historic building. It is still one of the largest AME churches in greater Pittsburgh and remains viable with numerous community outreach programs.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 11a
ADDRESS: 2701 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
First Church of God in Christ
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1924, it is the first COGIC in greater Pittsburgh. The church moved to the current edifice in 1996.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 11:15a
ADDRESS: 2502 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
Centre Avenue YMCA
DESCRIPTION: Though not the original building, this famous YMCA has been serving the Hill District since 1922. It serves as a sports center, after-school center, daycare center, family reunification center, food pantry, and medical clinic and emergency shelter center. The benefit it has delivered to the Hill District community is incalculable.
ADDRESS: 2621 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA MAP
Schenly High School
DESCRIPTION: This high school was famous for teaching music to several of Pittsburgh’s great jazz musicians. Earl Hines, Art Blakey and Ray Brown thank Schenley for providing their formative musical training.
ADDRESS: North Bellefield at Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA MAP