A Brief & Early History of North Charles Street – Pleasant Valley

Mar 28, 2015 | | 3 comments

As a child in the 1970’s, I remember riding the 19c City View to Allegheny Center Mall.  After crossing the Swindell Bridge, the bus went into the Valley of Charles Street.  In the 70’s I recall that area being filled with extremely old homes, especially at the bottom.  I’ve also walked through the area, and went to the Y.O.U., which was located not far from some old row houses called Brightridge.  If you are like me, I use to wonder what this area use to look like in the distant past.  I now know, and would like to share this information with you.  This is a quick rundown on the history of lower Pleasant Valley.

Flash Card Taggart Street 4

As the City of Allegheny grew in the 1880’s a ravine known today as Pleasant Valley became of great interest.  A row of houses were constructed on Charles Street in 1887.  The developers named it Pleasant Valley.  In 1868 the Federal Street & Pleasant Valley Railway was chartered. The line was completed in 1871 and went from Federal Street to this station on Brighton Road. The 1st street cars were pulled by horses on rails.

Flash Card Taggart StreetJohn & Farris Streets 1908 City Photographer Collection

The section of Charles Street from Farris to Nixon Street was named Union Avenue from around 1872 til 1890. From around 1890-1920, the name was changed to Taggart Street.  It was extended all the way to the corner where it intersects with Brighton Road.

Flash Card Taggart Street 5

Between 1883-1885 sewers were created, and the street was paved.  In 1885 William Stone developed row houses on both sides of Brightridge, which ran between Taggart Street and Brighton Road.  Two years later he built 25 row-house units on Charles Street matching the units on Brightridge.  The row houses were rentals and the 1st tenants consisted of some native born Americans but mostly immigrants from England, Germany and Ireland according to the 1900 census.  The occupations of neighborhood were listed as railroad workers, shop keepers, laborers and men with skilled trades.  Josh Gibson famous catcher for the Homestead Grays lived there in the 1920’s.

In 1889 the Ridgewood Incline was built on Taggart Street opposite Nevada (Nixon) Street.  The trestle over Irwin Avenue burned down the same year.  There are still remnants of the incline’s wall, fencing and railroad ties located just over the hillside of Ridgewood where it intersected with Yale Street.

Flash Card Taggart Street 2Flash Card Taggart Street 3

Posted in: History

3 Responses

  1. So interesting….do you have pictures of the carbarn that was located on Strauss Street or the Millershoen Bakery? I can’t remember them too well but I grew up at 2472 N. Charles ST. In the 50s and 60s….a true Valley Girl!!!

  2. Sheila, I grew up at 2534 Charles St. between 1933 1nd 1939. I remember Millershone’s bakery and the candy store across the street, next to the City steps. We also lived in the row houses across from the Brick Yard just below Wilson Ave. At that time there was a Garage at Strauss St and Charles, but I remember it as Bankert’s Garage. My Father used to send me down to Millershones for five cents worth of Vanilla Cookies, they were really good.

  3. I grew up on melrose ave a few houses above where Irwin Ave crosses Melrose and becomes city steps. I remember many of those buildings, never knew they were so old. In late 40s early 50 s ther were remnants of old work shops and buildings along Charles. I will try to find pics.

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