Last Saturday, Urban Hike explored the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Hazelwood. I have shared a few of the photos from the hike on Instagram and there have been several comments asking about the John Woods house.
The John Woods House has a long history in Hazelwood and is currently waiting for someone to take a liking to it. The house is currently owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, URA, and is listed on the URA website without a price. I have reached out to a few people to see if I can get some more information about this property.
Here is some more information about the history of the John Woods House and Hazelwood:
Architectural Significance of the John Woods House
The website Living Places has a detailed history of both John Woods and the house. Here is some information about the historical significance of the house:
The Woods House is significant as a rare survivor of a late 18th century vernacular style house. Historians George Swetnam and Helene Smith note that this house along with the Ft. Pitt blockhouse and the Neil house are the only surviving 18th century buildings in Pittsburgh. The late 18th century Robert Neil House is a small, one-and-a-half story log building with stone chinking. Presently located within the Schenley Park Historic District, the house collapsed in 1968 and was dismantled. It was reconstructed by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.
Timeline of John Woods House & Some Key Hazelwood Dates
Here are some of the dates I came across while researching the John Woods house. This is not meant to be a comprehensive history of the area. I thought others might be interested in the dates and articles about Hazelwood.
1792 – John Woods House was built in what is now known as Hazelwood.
1794 – Pittsburgh is incorporated as a borough.
1816 – December 16, 1816 John Woods died in Brunswick Co., Virginia at age 55. [Living Places John Woods House Hazelwood]
1869 – Hazelwood is incorporated into the city of Pittsburgh. [Wikipedia]
1977 – Pittsburgh City Council adds the John Woods House to the list of historic designations. [Wikipedia]
1988 – Theresa Curran Gallagher spends the summer working at the LTV Coke Works. The Post-Gazette published her memories of working at the mill in a 2015 article that describes some of the chracter of the mill and Hazelwood in the 1980s. [Local Dispatch: Dirty Hazelwood mill produced splendid memories, Post-Gazette, March 20, 2015]
1993 – The John Woods House is added to the National Register of Historic Places. [John Woods House]
1998 – Hazelwood Coke Works closes.
1999 – The stacks from the LTV site are demolished. [Farewell to the city’s last Big Steel plant, Post-Gazette, July 12, 1999]
2001 – The URA buys the John Woods House from Andre Keith Houser for $25,000. [Allegheny County Real Estate website]
2002 – Almono partners purchases the formed LTV Steel site in Hazelwood.
Hazelwood Happenings: ALMONO, Greenway, Hazzelwood Summer Marketplace
Now could be a the perfect time for the John Woods house to take on a new role in the neighborhood. Here are just some of the things happening in Hazelwood today that are important to what this neighborhood will look like in the future:
- The former site of the LTV steel works is now refered to as the Almono site (Almono is short for Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio) will begin the first phase of development later this summer.
- The John Woods House is located right next to the Hazelwood Greenway. There isn’t much about the Hazelwood Greenway online but from what I understand it is a quasi-park like designation. A greenway is a bunch of land, much of which is owned by the city, which has been set aside, but it isn’t considered a park.
- Another exciting development for Hazelwood is the Summer Marketplace. On Saturdays during the summer local food vendors are setting up shop on Second Avenue. Hazelwood has not had a grocery story since Dimperio’s Market closed in January 2009 (Thieves cause Hazelwood grocery to give up, Post-Gazette, December 23, 2008).
More information about Hazelwood
- Hazelwood Initiative – Hazelwood CDC (Hazelwood Inititive Facebook page, @HazelwoodIntInc)
- Almono Website
- Remaking Hazelwood – 2009 Report from CMU Remaking cities
How would you like to see the John Woods House repurosed? Know of other Hazelwood resources we should include in this list? Leave a comment below.