Photo by Jonathon Denson
By Alyse Horn
Spring Garden is one of the oldest intact neighborhoods on the Northside, and it is nestled in the valley between Spring Hill and Troy Hill.
Back when the neighborhood was developing its community, it was home to meat packing plants and from that business stemmed others, such as candle-making factories, soap factories and tanneries.
Before it was home to manufacturing, local historian John Canning said it was a suburb of Allegheny City before it was annexed by the City of Pittsburgh. He believes the neighborhood got its name from “the first mayor of Allegheny City who owned a tract of land out there and called it Spring Garden. It may have been called that before, but that is what he called his property,” Canning said.
Now underneath the road, there is a creek than runs straight through the middle of the Spring Garden Valley called Butchers Run. Canning said there is also a stream under the road of East Street Valley called Saw Mill Run, and the two used to connect below East Ohio Street and run into the Allegheny River.
Most of the earliest settlers were German speaking, but Canning said that wasn’t always the case. The the 1830s, it was a family from Switzerland who owned most of the land in the lower part of valley.
Pittsburgh resident Jonathon Denson documented many of Spring Garden’s historical homes in 2012, and said “it has a large collection of surviving wood frame homes from the Antebellum period, which were once representative of a Pittsburgh vernacular architecture, but now are uncommon.”
“It’s a remarkable neighborhood that has gone through a number of different stages in history,” Canning said.
Today, some may or may not know that the neighborhood is still home a number of businesses that continue to add to the character of the community.
Some include Chris Candies, Artcraft Wood Production, Mr. Renovation, Kasunick Welding & Fabrication, Branded Solutions, Cabinet Sales Plus, John Carey Auto Upholstery, and Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse. Threadbare Cider, a Wigle Whiskey creation, will also be opening up down the street from the barrelhouse sometime in the future.
Paul Stalter, a resident of Spring Garden and owner of Artcraft Wood Productions, said the businesses in the neighborhood are an asset to the community. His business, which was started by his father, has been in the area since 1946.
Stalter said he and his wife have been members of the the Spring Garden Neighborhood Council for years, an organization that is working towards improving the neighborhood. The group, now known as the Community Alliance of Spring Garden and East Deutschtown, meet at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 1308 Spring Garden Ave.
The two communities neighbor each other and CASGED was created with the continued purpose “improve the individual and collective quality of life of our residents,” according to its website. Their office is located at The Brewery Innovation Center, 800 Vinial St., Suite B20.
Corrections have been made to this article.