Lost in your Hazel Highs

Hazelwood InfoGlen Hazel Info

Ah, Hazel, that bewitching color between brown and green, subtly shifting with the light. There was lots to think about on this run. I started running through South Squirrel Hill and into the Summerset subdivision. It’s relatively new and was built on the mountains of slag dumped there during between 1922 and 1972. (NYT article: Houses Are to Replace A Pittsburgh Slag Heap) . That development spurred some other interesting things, including the Nine Mile Run Organization which has done a lot of work to clean and take care of the Nine Mile Run watershed. This has directly impacted Frick Park, with improved natural areas and the removal of some old playgrounds. For those not familiar with local usage, a “Run” is a creek. Many have “mile” designations which approximate how far upriver (from the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny) the creek empties into the river. Thus Nine Mile Run empties into the Mon approximately nine miles from the Point.

Running out of Summerset, I carefully crossed Browns Hill Road and made my way up Imogene Road. Taking a quick detour down Desdemona Avenue, I skipped the stairs which would have taken me back to Browns Hill Road and went up Johnston Avenue. Summerset was a dense subdivision. Desdemona was lined with modest houses. Johnston Avenue was deserted. A long trek up a big hill with not much around. A high slope to the right and a sharp drop to the left. But after the crest was one of the Kane Centers, Kane Center, Glen Hazel. After that, just a number of small cul-de-sac’s with modest homes which look like they were built with great expectations but have been neglected a little. With just this one run, I ran most of the street mileage in Glen Hazel.

Happy to be out of that somewhat eerie area, I descended to Second Avenue and made the brave decision to climb Hazelwood Avenue. Late in most of my runs, I stop worrying about streets to see and start worrying about how to get back to my car. It was the same here, I knew Hazelwood Avenue would eventually take me back to a familiar area. One mile and nearly 400 feet of elevation later, I was back on Browns Hill Road. Whew!

Running through the area, and looking at the map afterwards, I was thinking about why some areas are expensive, why some are cheap. I reflected on the location of the Kane Center in a hidden, deserted part of Pittsburgh. I thought about how big the Calvary Cemetery is and how much space in Hazelwood is “greenway”, while right down the road, houses are pressed together. No answers here, but invitations to think about how the city has evolved.

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