In late 2010 community involvement with the West End Elliott Citizens Council ceased after
47 years of service.
This started with the loss of two very active friends and neighbors:
Elmer Clark who passed on in 2009,
and Norene Beatty who moved to another nearby community. The last known
participant was Matt Hogue.
These pages are no longer maintainted,
and remain online for historical review.
Overlook Dedicated In Memory Of Elmer
Elmer M Clark
Sept. 29, 1940 - Dec. 3, 2009
He was one of the greatest assets that the West End Elliott Citizens
Council ever had. He lived and breathed
for the children and the community. - Norene Beatty
Elliott is the hill that is located on the western side
of Saw Mill Run Creek where it empties into the Ohio River.
is on the left side of Saw Mill Run Creek. At the top of the hill in Elliott is
the finest view of Pittsburgh.
You are looking directly at the confluence of the Allegheny and MongehalaRivers
that form the Ohio River. From this very
vantage point the Indians could see any movement on all three rivers flowing
downstream. Beneath the crest of the overlook were caves and paths where some
Indian relics were said to have been found.
Through this portal where Saw Mill Run Creek flows into
the Ohio River three very important roads began.
The plank road to Washington, Pennsylvania
up what is now called Green Tree
Plank Road also leading towards WashingtonCounty
and Steubenville Pike. Steubenville Pike is now know as Steuben Street and went to FortSteuben
and on to the Northwest Territory. Steubenville
Pike cuts through Elliott climbing the steep backside of the hill. When England
surveyed this area it would become part of Saint Clair Township.
Elliott received its name in the time period between 1825
and 1830 because the area was owned by West Elliott. Some would continue to
call the area “River Hill” while others would refer to it as “Elliott’s
Delight”. With its beautiful view of the rivers and fertile land the hill was
dotted with farms; it truly was a delight.
As industry grew along the banks of the Ohio and around Saw Mill Run Creek the
workers needed homes near their jobs. It was the welcoming hillside of Elliott where
they first built their homes over looking Saw Mill Run Creek. Then they began
to move up Steubenville Pike and Chartiers
Road leading towards McKees Rocks. Elliott farmers
had new neighbors. A great number of those early residents were Germans and
Irish. In Elliott they found more room
for their gardens surrounding their homes and they were removed from the grime
of the industry below. As more workers were needed in the steel mills along the
banks of the Ohio
other nationalities would build their homes also in Elliott.
was found very close to the surface in Elliott. The residents realized they
could dig into the rich hillside for coal to heat their homes. This form of mining
coal is called slop mining. The tunnels that were dug into the hillside were so
small that the miners often crawled on their knees. Large dogs were used to
pull the carts holding the coal from the mines. Hence Elliott also received the
nickname of DogTown.
Trails were replaced by roads and later streets. Many of those
early roads and streets received their names name’s from land owners. Elliott Street
which marks the beginning of the community and runs parallel to Steuben Street was
named after West Elliott. Lorenz Avenue that became
the center of Elliott running down the back of the hill from the top was named
after the proprietors of the glass works in Old West Pittsburgh Borough, near
which was later replaced by the FortPittBridge.
Chartiers Avenue began as it turned right off Steubenville Pike and travel west
through Elliott and Sheraden winding on to McKees Rocks crossing Chartiers
Creek. Lorenz Avenue and Chartiers Avenue became the main arteries
of Elliott both branching off of Steuben
Elliott became a very self efficient borough with
taverns, stores and industry. Just beyond the corner of Lakewood Street and Lorenz Avenue a brickyard produced many
of the bricks that built the surrounding homes and were sold in Pittsburgh. The brickyard on
had competition with another brickyard that was located between Steuben Street and Chartiers Avenue on
Industry was not the only interest in Elliott after the
brickyard at Azalia Street
had excavated all the clay they abandoned the area and it became know as the
“oat field”. On the oat field a race track was built by lovers of fast horses. It
was said to be a quarter of a half mile track. Baseball was another favorite
past time in Elliott. Elliott was the home grounds of the B. D. Woods and later
the J. D. Woods’s baseball clubs that were consider some of the best in the
county during their days. Another place
that the gentleman folks of Elliott could be found was in the many taverns that
were in Elliott. Saloons and taverns were plentiful in Elliot since alcoholic
beverages were not permitted to be sold in the community at the foot of the
Tavern owners were opposed to Elliott becoming annex to
the City of Pittsburgh
in 1904. The saloonkeepers would be required to pay more for their licenses if
they were part of the city of Pittsburgh.
However with a vote of 357 for annexation and 117 votes against in June of 1904
Elliott became apart of Pittsburgh
and the 36th ward.
A streetcar line was built from the downtown to Sheraden
and it would run through Elliott on Chartiers
Avenue. Businesses continued to grow along the Lorenz Avenue and
Chartiers corridors. In the time period between 1920 and 1950 Elliott would
have its own movie house, small grocery stores, butcher shops, shoemakers, and
a wide variety of small business. Everything you needed you could purchase
without leaving Elliott.
WestlakeElementary School was the first school in Elliott it
would be replaced in the late 1930’s by ThaddeusStevensSchool. Churches soon
found their place also in Elliott. The EvangelicalUnitedBrethrenChurch
still had services in German into the late 1940’s. When the UnitedBrethrenChurch merged with the Methodist faith
the church became the EmanuelUnitedMethodistChurch. Guardian Angles
Catholic Church on upper Steuben
Street was home to the Polish in the community,
the German Catholics attended St. Martins on Steuben Street in the West End and the
Irish attended St. James Catholic Church also in the West
End. St. Martins even had a cemetery on the western hillside of Elliott.
You could be born in Elliott, work and
live all your life in Elliott and die and be buried in Elliott. Elliott was a
self efficient little town within the city.
The 1960 saw the decline in small business in the
community as people rushed to the shopping centers and malls. The mom and pop
stores could not compete with the big grocery chain stores. The two drug stores
on the corners of Lorenz Avenue
and Chartiers were forced out of business by the chain pharmacies and insurance
companies that dictated where patients had their prescription filled. Slowly
the lights went out in the stores and little lunch counters. Changes in the
public schools, lost of industry with in the area and the rush to suburbia all
took their toll on Elliott.
Yet, there were those who stayed, who watched the house
next door change from proud ownership to absentee landlord and tenants who seemed
not to care. It was the dreams and determination of these staunch believers in
Elliott that in the 1990 they began to plan and to work for renewal in Elliott.
In 1994 they developed and idea if they
could refurbish and bring attention of the city and others to their community
and its assets it would bring a renewal. So with hard work they were able to
have the overlook at the top of Lorenz
Avenue off Rue Grand Vue expanded and refurbished.
At the other end of Lorenz Avenue
at the corner of Crucible Street
one block below Steuben Street
they had WestlakeSchool torn down. In its
place a senior apartment building was erected to house seniors from the
community and the city.
the endeavors of the West End Elliott Citizens Council and others of Elliott they
continue to work on plans and dreams to not only rebuild Elliott but to build a
better Elliott for today and the future. Our history is an ongoing history of
change and overcoming adversities.