Join Mercer Island resident, Carnegie Mellon University alumna and author Sarah Law as she takes us on a pictorial history adventure inside Point Breeze, the famed and most opulent neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Named for the famous early-19th-century Point Breeze Hotel that stood at the corner of what is now Fifth and Penn Avenues, Point Breeze has been home to some of the wealthiest families in Pittsburgh and the country. Moguls such as Carnegie, Westinghouse, Frick, Mellon, and Thaw all resided in Point Breeze, thus christened “Pittsburgh’s Most Opulent Neighborhood.” H.J. Heinz owned the first car in Pittsburgh, which was garaged at his estate in North Point Breeze, and present-day Wilkins Avenue was originally the private road to the 650-acre estate of senator, ambassador to Russia, and judge William Wilkins. However, many of these prestigious estates were later razed and divided to become smaller residential lots, driving the real estate market to create more homes to accommodate 20th-century families. In later years, the Point Breeze neighborhood became the home of several well-known authors, including Annie Dillard, Albert French, and David McCullough, as well as professional athletes Willie Stargell of the Pirates and L.C. Greenwood of the Steelers and everyone’s favorite neighbor, Mr. Rogers.