Were it possible to travel back in time to 1868, when the area known as Morningside was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh as part of Collins Township, one could choose no better place to alight than the top of the hill between present-day Greenwood and Baker Streets. There, on a site once occupied by Civil War trenches, one would have a spectacular view of one of, if not the, loveliest valley in Pittsburgh. Glancing south and east, our traveler would see an expanse of dairy and vegetable farms occupied by a dozen or so settler families. To the north and east the Allegheny River with several small islands and the towns of Etna and Sharpsburg would already be visible.
Looking below and to the west, towards Butler Street, orchards, several oil works, the Allegheny Valley Railroad and old 62nd Street bridge would be on display.
The neighborhood of Morningside used to be a farm community and no significant changes occurred until 1905, when the Chislett Street trolley line was introduced. This momentous arrival brought with it the beginning of the end of the “garden” farms and introduced development that would ultimately lead to the beginnings of the community as we know it today.
The early 1900s saw modest development. Farms began to break up as they were gradually bought up by developers. Business was pretty much limited to the occasional drug and grocery store, and later churches and schools.
Then, in the period of 1924 to 1928, a major building boom occurred, resulting in the construction of some 600 dwellings, ushering in Morningside’s tenure as a full-fledged neighborhood.
A Brief History of Morningside – Andrew Peters/ Joel Tarr