William G. Dooley's Central Meat Market
at the corner of Stetson and West Liberty Avenue in March 1912.
A great place to view vintage photos of
Pittsburgh and it's many communities is through the University of Pittsburgh
online digital archive. There are over 300 photos of Brookline, and most of them
have been used on this website. There is also a zoom feature, which allows a
more detailed glimpse of different locations in each photo. Shown here are
the zoom-ins of images already posted on the Brookline Connection. One master
photo can be made into multiple separate images. Shown here are the pictures
within the pictures.
West Liberty Avenue was the central
roadway through the borough of West Liberty (which comprised mostly the
present-day Beechview and Brookline communities). Once known as Plummers
Run (due to the creek that ran down the valley), development along
West Liberty Avenue began in earnest after the opening of the Mount
Washington Transit Tunnel, which brought streetcar service and rapid
residential development to the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh. These
photos give a glimpse of what West Liberty Avenue looked like from 1909
Click on images
for larger pictures
May 10, 1903 - A Pittsburgh Railways traction car brings
investors and home buyers to West Liberty Avenue at Cape May,
part of the Beechwood Improvement Company's West Liberty Plan #3. The photo
appears to have been
taken from the roof of the two-story building that stood along West Liberty
at this intersection. That building was the original West Liberty Schoolhouse.
A trolley car passes homes along West Liberty
Avenue, just to the north of Brookside Avenue (circa 1903).
Laid down in 1901, at the time of this photo these tracks were part of the Pittsburgh
Railway. By October of 1905 the line along West Liberty Avenue would be
The Pittsburgh Coal Company power plant at
the Brookline Junction (left), and Kerr's blacksmith shop, in 1909.
The Brookline Junction (left), at the corner
of West Liberty Avenue and Brookline Boulevard in 1909, and a
billboard near Cape May advertising available lots in the newly
developing Brookline neighborhood in 1910.
Many of these photos show construction
workers along different points of West Liberty Avenue when the initial city
sewer lines were being laid in 1910. The men are hard-working craftsmen and
laborers that were the backbone of the Pittsburgh "Melting Pot" culture. Without
the benefit of modern machinery, these men used the tools available and played
a major part in helping to build the infrastructure essential to the development
of the community of Brookline.
Workers laying a sewer line south of
Pauline Avenue (left), and north of Ray Avenue, in 1910.
Workers laying a sewer line north of Ray
Avenue in 1910. The Capital Avenue intersection is visible in the left photo.
Along West Liberty Avenue
there were several areas that were more developed than others. One of these
places was the junction with Warrington Avenue, near the present-day
Liberty Tunnels. This was a crossing point for most traffic from Fairhaven and
West Liberty heading towards Pittsburgh. It was also a hub for the suppliers and
contractors that helped build the developing community of Brookline. Along with
hotels, general stores and pubs, the intersection had two lumber suppliers,
building contractors, a blacksmith and a wagon repair shop.
An ad for the Gazette Times on a fence (left),
and a building contractor's garage at the Warrington Junction, in 1912.
Ads along the side of Shaffner's wagon
repair shop (left), and the Hill Building Company office, in 1912.
Peter Shaffner stands in front of his home
at the corner of West Liberty Avenue and Pioneer Avenue (left),
and Shaffner's Horseshoeing and Wagon Works, next to the family home, in
1912. The Shaffner family
once owned much of the terrain near the intersection of Warrington and West
and sold the land that would one day be the South Portal of the
As residential development moved south
from Pittsburgh, commercial development soon followed. By 1912, there were
many businesses located between Warrington Avenue and the city line in Dormont.
These establishments, which included markets, bars, hotels, restaurants,
liquor stores, poolrooms and clothing stores, were usually situated near the
major intersections and car stops along the broad avenue.
Kerr's Horseshoeing and Wagon Building (left),
located at the intersection of West Liberty Avenue and Wenzell,
and J. Claude Groceries, located between Belle Isle Avenue and Pauline,
J.L O'Donnell's wholesale liquor store (left),
and another store across from Capital Avenue, in 1912.
The billboard advertises lots in Beechview's Curran-Alego housing plan.
A Pool Room near the intersection with Capital
Avenue (left), and a small market near Brookside Avenue, in 1912.
The Pool Room was located at the site of the present-day West Liberty Auto
A Stableing barn across from Capital Avenue
(left), and looking south towards the intersection with Curran Hill, in 1912.
J.E. Sill Roofing and Repairing, located
north of Brookside across from the present-day Matthews Bronze (left),
and a General Store owned by Estella Flanders, across from the Ray Avenue
steps, in 1912.
In addition to the many
commercial establishments, by 1912 there were several homes along West Liberty
Avenue. Many of these dated back to the mid-1800s and were the family residences
of some of the more prominent landowners of the time, like the Shaffners, Flanders,
Beltzhoovers, Wenzells, Kerrs and Knowlsons. In some places West Liberty Avenue
resembled an average residential street. Many of the homes shown here were
torn down during the expansion of West Liberty Avenue in 1915, and most of the
others were bought out, and the hillsides cut back, during later commercial
expansion. Only a few of these vintage homes remain.
The side porch (left), and a dog on the
front porch, of a home north of Cape May in 1910.
Ground-level and hillside homes north of
Ray Avenue (left), and wagons parked at a store north of Brookside, in 1910.
A ladder rests against a tree (left)
above West Liberty Avenue, and a nearby home
on the hillside across from Pauline Avenue, in 1912.
A Brookline home between Belle Isle Avenue
and the Brookline Junction (left), and the Beinhauer estate and
Livery Stables at Wenzell Avenue, in 1912. The family residence also served
as the Mortuary until 1921.
Before modern indoor plumbing became commonplace,
the outdoor well pump and the outhouse
were essential amenities for all of the homes along West Liberty Avenue.
Homes along Woodward Avenue above Stetson
Street (left), and a multiple-family dwelling across the street, in 1912.
Homes along the Beechview side of West Liberty
Avenue, looking north towards Capital Avenue (left),
and the home of Jacob Beltzhoover, across the street at the bend leading to
Capital, in 1912.
Homes on the Beechview side of West Liberty,
heading north towards Capital (left), and south towards Saranac, in 1912.
Another home belonging to the Flanders family
(left), north of Pauline Avenue,
and the Knowlston residence, south of Pauline, in 1912.
A small contracting office north of Pauline (left),
and homes just north of the city line, near Dormont, in 1912.
Looking south towards homes near Cape May (left),
and looking north from Sauter Place towards Pioneer Avenue, in 1912.
Back in the early 1900s,
seeing a photographer was a novelty. There was a lot of equipment involved in
the craft, and oftentimes residents would peer out the windows to see the
process unfold. Little did they know that 100 years later, we would be viewing
them with curiosity, wondering what life was like a century ago in
A home north of Pioneer Avenue, at the Sauter
Place intersection (left) and a curious onlooker in 1912.
This home stands where the present-day Matthews Bronze facility is located.
Homes along West Liberty Avenue near Cape May
(left), and a young boy in the window with a dog on the porch, in 1912.
A stately home at the corner of Pauline
Avenue (left) with a young boy peering through the window in 1912.
Many of these photos above were taken in
preparation for a construction project along West Liberty Avenue that would take
place in 1915. The roadway would be widened and paved, and the streetcar line
upgraded. The city of Pittsburgh was embarking on a major road building phase
and within ten years most of the roads in Brookline and the surrounding
communities would be paved in either brick or belgian block. The look of
the Brookline and Beechview communities would rapidly change from the rural
atmosphere pictured here to a more modern urban residential and commercial
Beinhauer's Funeral Home and Livery Stables
(left), and the intersection of Wenzell and West Liberty Avenue, in 1913.
Other than the block roadway along the line of the streetcar
tracks, all local roads were dirt roadways at this time.
Mensinger's Stone Quarry was located along
the hillside near the junction of West Liberty Avenue and Warrington.
Shown in 1913, the quarry stood above Saw Mill Run Creek near where the Liberty
Tunnels would be cut in 1922.
From Sauter Place looking north towards Pioneer
Avenue, which can be seen heading up the hill from left to right, in 1912.
Also visible are the West Side Belt Railway line and a home on Richter Street,
on the other side of the tracks. In
the early days, Pioneer Avenue did not turn left towards West Liberty, but
ran straight over the tracks and
on to Saw Mill Run. When the railroad was upgraded, the
roadway was diverted to West Liberty Avenue.