At Babb, Inc. we are fortunate enough to get to work in a historic building located in Pittsburgh’s smallest neighborhood, Allegheny West. The building is the former William Penn Snyder Mansion on Millionaire’s Row. Fortunately, much of our neighborhood has been restored and is beginning to return to its former glory.
Native American tribes took up most of the area that we know as Allegheny West until the late 18th century, around Revolutionary War times. In 1787, David Redick did a survey of the land so it could be split up into lots that would then be given to soldiers as part of their payment for fighting in the Revolution. It wasn’t until 1846 that the first streets and home lots began to be laid out and built.
In the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, Pittsburgh was home to a large percentage of America’s millionaires. These men flocked to Allegheny West to build their homes, which were extraordinary mansions along Ridge and Irwin Avenues. Ridge Avenue became known as “Millionaire’s Row”, and many of the leading industrialists lived there, including William Penn Snyder. Many of these men made their fortunes in the iron and steel industry, but many other professionals flocked to the neighborhood as well, including lawyers, doctors, well-to-do merchants, and bankers.
After World War I, Allegheny West began to see a mass exodus of home owners. These families moved to Sewickley, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill, allowing their beautiful homes to waste away into disrepair. After the Second World War, many of the buildings became completely abandoned and began to fall apart.
During the 1960s numerous mansions were torn down to make way for the Community College of Allegheny County’s central campus. In response, the Allegheny West Civic Council was formed in order to begin a revitalization of the Allegheny West Neighborhood. By the 1970s, the older homes began to be bought and renovated. This spurred the Council to create the Old Allegheny Victorian Christmas House Tour and Home and Garden Tour to show off the magnificent Victorian architecture that prevails throughout the entire neighborhood. This past year, Babb, Inc. was honored to be featured as a house on the tour.
We are so proud to be a part of this wonderful neighborhood and the lengths that Allegheny West’s council goes to for the survival of our neighborhood.
To find out more about Babb, Inc., please visit our website.