Polish Hill

Polish Hill is a small neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a place near and dear to my heart. My family lived there for more than 50 years.

When I see pictures, it reminds me of when I was a kid. Not much has changed even 100 years later. Polish Hill faces north and overlooks the Allegheny River. Polish Hill overlooks Bloomfield and the Bloomfield bridge to the north. My grandfather used to take me down to the train tracks that run along the river to throws stones in the Allegheny.

The family home on Melwood Street was 4 stories. A basement and 3 stories above the street. There were two balconies on each of the first two floors. I remember we used to prop the windows open with a wooden stick. Pretty amazing.

The third floor was an attic. When I was kid, we would walk up the creaky old wooden steps and turn on the lights and sit for hours and look at the most amazing collection of items. It was like a time warp. There were old trunks full of old stuff.  I remember we would dig through those trunks and find all sorts of old top hats, costumes, jewelry and other stuff. My Grandfather was a  Vaudevillian actor. I recall seeing costume items in some of the trunks.

Thought I would share some of the street scenes and buildings that are so etched in my mind. Really quite a remarkable place.

Polish Hill

This is one of the famous panorama shots of Polish Hill. The neighborhood is dominated by the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. When I was a kid, my Grandfather would take me to ring the bells to announce Mass in the bell tower. I remember holding onto the rope and the bell would pull me off the floor of the bell tower. 

Street in Polish Hill

This is a typical street scene in Polish Hill. The houses haven’t changed much. Metal awnings, Asphalt tar siding, 2 step walk ups off the sidewalk. No front yard. Parking on the street.

Mothers Bread sign on house

The Mother’s Bread sign painted on the side of the house is a landmark. Seems like it has been there forever.


Street scene showing the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

Inside Immaculate Heart of Mary Church

Inside Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Pictures do not do this church justice.

House in Polish Hill

Typical house and lot in Polish Hill.

Polish Hill steps

Polish Hill is built on the side of the hill. The quick way to cut through from street to street if you are not using the streets are these very steep steps. They are everywhere. This on on Herron Avenue is in need of some repair.


Well, that’s a quick trip back home. It is a far cry from my Summerlin Las Vegas lifestyle of today. But I have to say, it was a great a experience and I wouldn’t trade the earthiness of that place for the world.

I “go back” via google earth once in a while and “walk the streets” just like I did when I was a kid. When I do I get the feeling I am really there.

They say you can’t go home. Or do they say you can?

Doesn’t matter. Polish Hill will always be there.

Hope you’ll share your comments or drop me a line. dpatlarge@yahoo.com.

Cheers!  -dp



3 thoughts on “Polish Hill

    • Polish Hill was built up in the 1880s when Eastern European immigrants flooded into Pittsburgh to work in industrial jobs. When the steel mills got going in the early 1900s PH had it’s hey day that went for quite a long time. The story was the towns were buildings were built to mimic what the families left behind. It does look very European in that sense. I will look for and add pics as I find them. Cheers!


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