Resurrecting Allegheny City
‘A Regional Best-Seller’
Praise for Allegheny City: The Land, Structures & People of Pittsburgh’s North Side
“This book will be an essential resource for anyone seeking to know what [Allegheny City] once was.” –Hattie Fletcher, Pittsburgh Magazine
“This book will be of special value in school libraries in the Pittsburgh area.”
“What is true of personal papers is equally true of those of a community, particularly one that grew from a settlement to a village to a borough to a city. While the memory of old Allegheny still lingers, sometimes quite vividly, along the banks of the river of that name, it has largely dimmed elsewhere. With this book, Lisa Miles has opened the trunk…. Like papers in the attic, [it] resurrects this partly forgotten city, progressive in its era, and deserved of remembrance.” –Jerry Ellis,
“Exciting… the first work to sift through tons of documents that present a much broader picture of the history of Allegheny City. It introduces us to new ways of looking at how Allegheny, and other cities of that period in history, developed… examin[ing] the nuts and bolts of an American city’s transformation in the 19th century. This book will open a big door that will motivate others to seek out their part of Allegheny City’s story.”
“I received your book and read it in two days. I couldn’t put it down…. A great job. The historical flow of the book was wonderful and the amount of detail amazing. The way that you used the found records made Allegheny come to life…. Thank you for the wonderful trip back in time to Allegheny City.” –B. Heil
“I so appreciate your recording the Allegheny history and anecdotes before any more of them get lost.” –Ray S., Architect
“I enjoyed your presentation at Border’s last Thursday evening…. ” –David S.
“My mother is 87 years old and was fascinated by the write up in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about your book “Resurrecting Allegheny City”, since she remembered many of the places from when she was a girl and lived on the North Side….” –Beverly D.
“Just got the books…. Thank you for signing both books and including the bookmarks – a fantastic excellent touch.” –D. Gallagher
“Thanks so much for your prompt attention to my email. It’s really a step above.”– Matt D.
This book is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission & the Buhl Foundation
One hundred years have passed since Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania annexed a large land tract that already had an illustrious history as a city of its own. What became known from December 9, 1907 on as the North Side of Pittsburgh was originally a place called Allegheny City.
In population, land size and economic power at that time, the first-ranking city in the state was Philadelphia. The second and third, respectively, were Pittsburgh and Allegheny City. Flourishing in all ways imaginable, Allegheny City was “consolidated” against its will. Despite eventual acclimation and further prosperity as part of Pittsburgh, the identity of Allegheny City, indelible, hangs as a mist over the land– for descendants of original families, for historians, and for visitors that today see all the modern spectacles set on the age-old stage that is the lowland at the juncture of three majestic rivers.
“The largest amount of material in the state on the cultural and social history of a region” describes the recently-unearthed archives of Allegheny City. They inform this book, along with much else, to give perhaps the most proper look, finally, to this lost city, this society that was Allegheny. Meticulous municipal detailings, housing surveys and discourse of the day tell so much of the 1800s. This work is also the first to look in-depth both at the natives who first put down footpath and peopled it, and, filled with significant maps, at the long transformation of the land. The latter went from early-on forest and remarkable witness to the French & Indian War, to common pastures to estate holdings to residential developments. Though now part of Pittsburgh for one hundred years and counting, the hills and valleys, woods and runs, early “Burying Ground,” and overlooks and sunken islands are all imprints of the numerous catalysts that happened here.
This portrait of a place tells a tale up to present day– tracing land-plot histories, showing a forward-moving society of the 1800s still centered around a town square of the 1790s, presenting life within pre-twentieth century homes, and even addressing the recent era where modern homesteaders have successfully battled challenges before and into the new millennium. Resurrecting Allegheny City explains why, in 2007, many Pittsburgh Northsiders are sacredly tied to their neighborhood, their historic homes, and the very land upon which they find themselves rooted. They are defined, still, by Allegheny City.
An unmistakable opportunity exists, at the time of the Centennial of the Consolidation, to celebrate the legacy of Allegheny City, but to also understand how that legacy can transform the North Side of Pittsburgh as it moves toward its future. The publication of Resurrecting Allegheny City for the Centennial date vividly brings to life what indeed still survives to this day in the spirit of the land, structures and people– connecting history to the current work of every resident, employer and visitor to the northern bank of the Allegheny River. In so doing, it will also educate and entertain all individuals even slightly curious about the goings-on centuries ago in early southwestern Pennsylvania.
New Non-Credit Course Offered at Community
College of Allegheny County in March 2009:
4 Thursdays March 5-26, 2009 (6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.)
Allegheny City’s Legacy: North Side’s Transformation
Examine Allegheny City’s legacy– both her rich and storied history, as well as the controversy that was her Consolidation. This discussion will inspire residents to appreciate their neighborhood’s noteworthy past, and help visitors see her acclaimed place in early southwestern PA. Also a must for anyone desiring to spark the fire of curiosity and civic involvement in young people. This course will help all Pittsburgh and Allegheny County citizens better understand the forces behind the shaping of not only neighborhoods, but larger metropolitan areas. It will utilize Miles’ book, “Resurrecting Allegheny City: The Land, Structures & People of Pittsburgh’s North Side,” included in price of workshop.