Today’s run embodied a simple plan; start in Lower Lawrenceville, struggle up the steep streets into Stanton Heights and come back around on Butler Street. It went pretty well and I covered a few holes in my map.
My rough approach to Stanton Heights was to ascend 54th Street, pick my way over the steps from Leydon Street to Kendall Street and go from there. In the top corner of Lawrenceville, it was interesting to see the differing housing type. That simple small house is on Kendall. The larger traditional house is on Duncan and the new modern condos are perched on the top of 54th Street, before it becomes a stairway. These are all within a couple of blocks from one another.
In an earlier blog I documented the stairs down to Upview Terrace and Woodbine Street. Today, I continued on Woodbine as it re-crossed Stanton Avenue into another section of suburban-in-the-city living. This is quite a contrast to the densely packed houses of Lawrenceville. Off to the left, down Oglethorpe Street, Garage Way and Drive Way (yes, that’s a real street name, “Drive Way”), the streets take you to the edge of bluffs where wildlife abound.
I would like to come here some quiet morning and just watch the birds. Continuing down to Morningside, I made my way to Baker Street with its nice view of the Allegheny. The road steeply falls toward Butler Street, where the sidewalk ends and the steps begin. From here, it was a flat fast run back to my car.
I’m now a half-block away from completing the streets between Butler and Stanton Avenue and have only a half-dozen streets in Stanton Heights itself. Once I get One Wild Place done and a couple of streets jutting off of Butler done, I will have run every street from Butler Avenue to North Negley Avenue.
Nestled between the hills of Allegheny Cemetery and Stanton Avenue is a rather suburban section of Stanton Heights. I grew up in neighborhoods like this, albeit in Alabama.
To get there, I parked near McCandless and Wickliff in Upper Lawrenceville. I scooted down the stairs to Upland Terrace, a one street suburb built in the 1950’s. Crossing Stanton Avenue on Woodbine brought me into this cul-de-sac heaven.
Three and four bedroom houses built in the 1970’s sit back on their green lawns from the wide, winding, tree-lined streets. The stately trees soared into the bright blue sky. Compared to some areas of Pittsburgh, this is amazing. While hills rule Pittsburgh, the idea of large lawns, wide and clean streets with decent housing has yet to catch on everywhere.
Of course, with such wide and winding streets, the mileage added up quickly. Just looping through most of these avenues took me over seven miles, two miles further than circumnavigating all of Riverview Park, as I did earlier this week. It also wasn’t a mecca for street art, or fascinating steps, or unique architecture. But that’s OK; what are kids going to complain about if there aren’t some boring parts of town to grow up in?
This Sunday afternoon run took me from Highland Park into Stanton Heights. The previous day’s run (that 18 miler Duck Hollow to Downtown one) had been all about mileage. Today’s run was about running on tired legs. My goal was to do a few streets in Stanton Heights. By parking at the Highland Park Reservoir, I was able to extend the route a bit and hit more streets.
The park was active in that sleepy park way. Hammocks were strung up between trees, some with snuggling couples and others with solo readers. Perhaps the couples were reading, too, but I didn’t investigate. There were men grilling burgers and kids playing tag. Highland Park has large swaths of trees dotted with glades and picnic shelters. I made my way out of Highland Park on Farmhouse Road, making sure to keep right to pick up Heberton St.
This is the high-side of Highland Park. On the right the hill drops off quickly about 200 feet. But here, on Heberton, the street was comfortably downhill and straight, making an easy start. This area has large houses. The smallest are three or four bedrooms Cape Cods. The largest are foursquare houses with high gabled roofs and spreading front porches. Most have decent sized front yards and a driveway into back yard garages. Most everything was neatly trimmed and planted with flowers, orange, yellow and red. Then things went downhill, but only literally. I hit Stanton at the bottom of Heberton and then came back up Sheridan. At the end of Sheridan, there’s a small, cozy stairway up to Bunkerhill St.
I came up onto the dead-end side of Bunkerhill St. On the right, within yards of the stairway, the street ended unceremoniously in gardens and driveways. On the left, Bunkerhill Street runs straight off the hill passing a grand entrance to Highland Park and down toward One Wild Place, where the Pittsburgh Zoo sprawls.
I came back to the top of the hill and this time, took Hampton St down towards Morningside. From Hampton St, I maneuvered over to Stanton Heights. Azure St off of the sweeping Mossfield St is one of the few entry roads into Stanton Heights. I don’t believe I had ever been in this section of town, either on foot or in a car. How was it different than Highland Park? Well, for one, the streets were mainly wide concrete roads instead of asphalt-paved. The houses were smaller, more ranches and split level houses, yet the yards were bigger. I ran on Schenley Manor Drive till it met with Coleridge St. It looked very suburban. Eventually I emerged onto Stanton Ave and made my way back up the hill to Highland Park.
The starting point for this Saturday run was from Caffè d’Amore Coffeeshop in Upper Lawrenceville. It was organized by Corbin for HPRC. By the time I met up with the group, I had done a quick warm-up through two miles of Lawrenceville alleys. The HPRC group had ten to fifteen runners and I fell somewhere between the faster runners and the slower ones. I decided to ad-hoc it, running roughly the suggested route, but on streets I had never been on before.
My first detour was going up 44th St instead of 40th St. This took me up a slightly longer hill with nearly the same elevation from Butler St to Children’s Hospital. Then, fearing both that I had shortchanged myself on distance and that I would run into the faster runners (who might assume I was taking short-cuts), I zigged-zagged down an alley and then went down 42nd St to Butler St at the bottom of the hill. Hill climbing again, I went up tree-lined Fisk St to finally reach Penn Ave, or rather an alley parallel to Penn. This alley was wishfully named Garden Alley. Finally I did emerge onto Penn in front of Children’s Hospital. BTW, Children‘s is ranked in the top ten children’s hospitals in the country.
Ironically enough I did pass Kristen, Cathy and Dayana who had just come out of a water stop at Children’s. We just shouted at each other as runners do and I chugged down Penn Ave. My next detour was to venture into Garfield instead of staying on Penn and Negley. I had a thought of going down Broad, but that felt that would take me too far out of the way. So I started up Negley meaning to take an early left before Stanton and take one of those streets across Garfield. Alas, I was one street too far east – North Fairmont would have been a good choice, but North Negley only had a few little dead-end streets on the left. Then, I saw Columbo! Aha! Whew, I have never driven on Columbo and never had run on this section of it. The elevation chart below shows why. Heart-pounding indeed.
Near the top and off to the right a big blue water tower stalks on stilts above the houses. These large brick houses are on steep wooded hillsides. Broad, undulating swaths of pavement plunge off the left, streets eventually intersecting Penn Ave and continuing into Friendship. Staying on Columbo brought me past North Atlantic and North Pacific, and onto Schenley Ave. Where Columbo meets Schenley Ave, new housing has sprouted. This surprising subdivision of beige bungalows is nicely kept. From here, I wanted to get to Stanton without retracing too many streets. Little Aisbette Way appeared on the right. It looked like a driveway beneath large trees, heavy with un-pruned branches nearing the ground. From my memory of the map, I was pretty sure it went through, but it looked touchy. About 50 yards in, as Aisbette Way makes a sharp left, slouched a dilapidated house on the corner. Turning the corner, instead of pit bulls and angry residents which my mind had conjured, I found the street opening up and winding down the hill, lined by a couple of quiet houses, tall and narrow. Whew!
From there, I caught the curve of Mossfield until it became Black St and eventually made a left onto Samantha Way. Since my daughter’s name is Samantha, I had to see where that went. It went far. It was flat. Eventually it landed me on Wellesley Ave in Highland Park. I made my way back to Stanton Avenue, then diverged once more onto McCandless Ave, circling around a little, just for fun. I finally landed on Butler and Caffe D’Amore where a few HPRC people were still hanging out. Got a coffee and chatted for awhile.
Looking back, I went through five large neighborhoods and ran mostly on streets I had not covered, I saw cool views, neat houses and nearly always friendly people. Nice run!