ABSTRACT

This article investigates the destruction of the Beaver Avenue commercial corridor and removal of 954 families in Pittsburgh’s Manchester neighborhood to create a 164-acre industrial park during the early 1960s. Known at the time as the Chateau West Redevelopment Project, the massive undertaking occurred in the context of national highway construction and industrial park development. These trends fueled a growing African American rebellion in Pittsburgh during the 1960s. With more than 5,700 families relocated throughout the city for fourteen urban renewal projects underway in 1963, the turmoil impacted a disproportionate number of low-income and Black residents. While the renewal story of Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District and East Liberty neighborhoods is more familiar, there is little detailed research about Chateau West. This investigation discusses more fully the relationship between planned industrial districts and highway development to the emerging civil rights movement of the 1960s.

URBAN RENEWAL: STOKING THE FIRE OF REVOLT

Smoke poured out of buildings in the Hill, Homewood, and Manchester as looters and rioters set commercial properties afire in Pittsburgh’s Black neighborhoods in the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death in April 1968.1 Immediately following the destruction, then–Pittsburgh mayor Joseph M. Barr convened a committee to study the causes of the disturbances and make recommendations for an action plan so “local government, the state and federal governments, and the private sector” can work together. It was like a “Kerner Commission” for Pittsburgh.2 Although Mayor Barr’s “Special Task Force” made no indictment of “white society,” as the Kerner Commission did, the report noted that “the seeds of discontent in ghetto areas encompass years of frustration born and bred in poverty, poor housing, deteriorated neighborhoods and continued discrimination in Pittsburgh and in the nation’s other urban areas.”3 However, the report failed to mention the numerous construction sites across the city that displaced thousands of mostly Black residents.

Despite the passage of new civil rights laws, more than a decade of redevelopment provided conditions for rebellion by 1968. As Mindy Thompson Fullilove writes, “By my estimate, 1,600 black neighborhoods were demolished by urban renewal,” creating colossal disruption to a vulnerable Black population with few attractive housing alternatives and even fewer job prospects.4 Just five years earlier, the city of Pittsburgh had fifteen urban renewal projects under way that relocated 5,784 families on nearly 1,000 acres.5 The second largest of these projects, the Chateau West Redevelopment Project, on the western edge of Manchester, on the city’s North Side, demolished 164 acres and displaced 954 families to construct an industrial park. Whites were able to move to other parts of the city with relative ease. African Americans, on the other hand, unwelcome in the suburbs and other White city neighborhoods due to racially restrictive covenants, bank redlining, and outright racism, faced a narrow range of housing choices. More than ten years of displacement, empty promises, and top-down planning with little community input left African Americans in Pittsburgh disoriented and disillusioned.

Aside from the looting and property destruction in 1968, resistance assumed more productive responses from neighborhood residents contending with urban renewal displacement. Formation of community development corporations (CDCs), such as the Manchester Citizens Corporation (MCC) in 1965, provided one measure of nonviolent neighborhood resistance.6 Though CDCs had limited ability to create large numbers of jobs and housing, they generated greater interest in urban real estate, a topic covered by several authors.7

UNVEILING THE CHATEAU WEST REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT

FIGURE 1

Lou Malkin, “Former Mayor Joseph M. Barr speaking at the Samuel and Ettie Klein Frank Wing dedication of Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood,” 1964.

Source: The Montefiore Hospital Photographs, c. 1885–c. 1990, MSP 286, Box 1, Folder 16, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 1

Lou Malkin, “Former Mayor Joseph M. Barr speaking at the Samuel and Ettie Klein Frank Wing dedication of Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood,” 1964.

Source: The Montefiore Hospital Photographs, c. 1885–c. 1990, MSP 286, Box 1, Folder 16, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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In the morning of January 24, 1963, with a stiff wind blowing off the Ohio River on the shore of Pittsburgh’s Manchester neighborhood, Pennsylvania governor David Lawrence announced the construction of a new two-story headquarters for the Mellon Stuart Company, an engineering and contracting firm. The project was an extension of the city’s Renaissance I, which Lawrence spearheaded while serving as mayor between 1945 and 1958. Called the Chateau West Redevelopment Project, it continued his dominance over large amounts of federal aid for urban renewal projects throughout the city and state. Using the lexicon of Renaissance I, Lawrence claims the project offers “ample evidence that the growth and development of this area is assured.”8 In less than a decade, more than ninety acres of what was known as the west side of Manchester—a mix of commercial, residential, and industrial properties—became an exclusively industrial zone known today as the Robert J. Casey Industrial Park.9 Following in Lawrence’s footsteps, Pittsburgh mayor Joseph M. Barr lauded the project as having the “greatest number of parcels” sold by the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).10 In 1958 this area was home to more than 900 families and more than 200 businesses. But by 1963 nearly all residents had been relocated and their properties demolished by the URA using funds from the state Department of Highways.11

Originally called “Redevelopment Area 11,” Chateau West was one of fifteen urban renewal projects under way in Pittsburgh that, combined, cost more than $173 million dollars in 1963.12 Just a few years after demolition of the Lower Hill District, renewal projects on the North Side, including Chateau West, Woods Run, Allegheny Center, and Three Rivers Stadium, occurred simultaneously. Pittsburgh’s other major commercial center, East Liberty in the city’s East End, also succumbed to the wrecking ball. Throughout the 1960s these disruptive projects fueled growing discontentment among the city’s African American residents, who struggled to secure quality housing and jobs.

This article situates freeway revolts and industrial park development in the broader struggle for civil rights, which manifested itself in numerous ways as mass displacement rippled across American cities. Urban renewal projects of the late 1950s and early 1960s accelerated the struggle for economic justice and intensified calls for affordable housing. Residents had varied and widespread responses to rapid physical and economic changes. It is no accident that the modern civil rights movement gained momentum as neighborhoods fractured and families relocated during the 1960s. Raymond Mohl reinforces the notion that “in some cities, freeway construction coincided with black political empowerment and the rising civil rights movement, developments that took on added significance when black neighborhoods were targeted by the highwaymen.”13 Urban renewal exacerbated racial antagonisms in cities large and small, and Pittsburgh was no exception. Whites erected barriers (seen and unseen) in some neighborhoods while racial restrictions fell in other areas.14 But citizen fights against freeways and large urban renewal projects did not always assume the same strategy. By the end of the 1960s, reform-minded planners shifted their approach as Black community leaders formed CDCs and other organizations as a counterpoint to big government-financed renewal projects.15

TABLE 1

URA Relocation Projects in 1963

ProjectCostAcresFamilies Relocated
Lower Hill $29,142,901 95 1,551 
Chateau Street West (Including Woods Run) $19,941,621 164 954 
East Liberty, Section B (Residential District) $31,707,900 153 750 
Allegheny Center $28,000,000 103 534 
Bluff Street (Duquesne University) $10,000,000 58 489 
East Liberty, Section A (Commercial District) $14,347,279 100 450 
J&L Hazelwood No. 5 $1,451,100 74 405 
J&L Southside $1,159,400 32 203 
University of Pittsburgh Area No. 8 (Centre-Morgan Area) for Trees Hall Athletic Facility $1,606,000 26 142 
10 J&L Hazelwood No. 4 $548,900 13 120 
11 Graduate School of Public Health $550,300 48 
12 Three Rivers Stadium (1963) $23,332,038 84 63 
13 Children’s Hospital $216,000 30 
14 Gateway Center $11,891,500 23 25 
15 Broadhead Fording (“renewal of the Chartiers Valley”) 180 single family homes to be constructed 
 Totals $173,894,939a 928 5,764 
ProjectCostAcresFamilies Relocated
Lower Hill $29,142,901 95 1,551 
Chateau Street West (Including Woods Run) $19,941,621 164 954 
East Liberty, Section B (Residential District) $31,707,900 153 750 
Allegheny Center $28,000,000 103 534 
Bluff Street (Duquesne University) $10,000,000 58 489 
East Liberty, Section A (Commercial District) $14,347,279 100 450 
J&L Hazelwood No. 5 $1,451,100 74 405 
J&L Southside $1,159,400 32 203 
University of Pittsburgh Area No. 8 (Centre-Morgan Area) for Trees Hall Athletic Facility $1,606,000 26 142 
10 J&L Hazelwood No. 4 $548,900 13 120 
11 Graduate School of Public Health $550,300 48 
12 Three Rivers Stadium (1963) $23,332,038 84 63 
13 Children’s Hospital $216,000 30 
14 Gateway Center $11,891,500 23 25 
15 Broadhead Fording (“renewal of the Chartiers Valley”) 180 single family homes to be constructed 
 Totals $173,894,939a 928 5,764 

* $1,494,666,781 in 2021 dollars.

Sources: URA Annual Report, 1960; “Stadium Proposal,” Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, November 8, 1963.

Derived from the David L. Lawrence Papers at the Pennsylvania State Archives, Urban Redevelopment Authority reports, and archives at the Heinz History Center, this article fills a scholarship void about the creation of the Chateau West neighborhood.16 While much has been written about the demolition of Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District and, to a lesser extent East Liberty, little has been said about clearance for the industrial park or the elevated Pennsylvania State Route 65 that cut Manchester in half.17 In 1965 the city requested an additional $1.3 million from the state to add five acres in Woods Run to the Chateau West Redevelopment Project to accommodate the Allis-Chalmers Company, makers of equipment for the electric utility industry.18 With a total of 164 acres under development in 1963 (eliminating at least 949 structures), the Chateau West Redevelopment Project, including Woods Run, was the city’s largest at the time. The 954 families who moved out represented the second-largest number of urban renewal relocations. The Chateau West project extended David Lawrence’s narrative of “progress” that had begun nearly twenty years earlier.19 Furthermore, most of those relocated from western Manchester were White, making the narrative of minority displacement more complicated. While Whites were able to relocate to other parts of the city far more easily, African Americans faced numerous housing barriers.

Three factors drove completion of the Chateau West project. In 1960 plans proceeded unabated despite some early resident opposition that faded quickly, Manchester’s weak political position relative to other neighborhoods, and the city’s emphasis on the preservation and creation of industrial jobs. There were citizen objections to such a large project, to be sure. But this study shows the high level of importance that city leaders placed on industrial development as a form metropolitan growth, a view reflected in a number of studies.20 As Roy Lubove notes in Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, vol. 1, these renewal projects “‘helped stabilize the city’s supply of jobs, particularly in managerial, administrative, professional and skilled industrial occupations.’”21 In particular, the Chateau Street West project demonstrated, according to URA executive director Robert Pease, “‘the use of urban renewal as a key tool in industrial development’ within the ‘congested central city.’”22

At the time, Pittsburgh not only competed with new suburban industrial-office parks, but also with other metro areas such as Boston and the Bay Area. Patrick Vitale argues that “in postwar Pittsburgh, scientists and engineers and their suburban families were the ideal figures around which the region’s elite crafted their narrative of renewal.”23 To “sell” an in-town industrial development such as Chateau West to political leaders, the city’s Planning Department promoted the intended benefits of the project to assure Pittsburgh City Council support. “When completed,” a City Planning report noted in 1959, “it will provide additional jobs for an estimated 3,500 employees, provide additional parking, and improve circulation in the area. . . . It is felt that renewal of the Chateau Street area will provide an impetus for the continued improvement of the North Side, and the entire City of Pittsburgh.”24 The suburban pitch did not extend to African American families, and rarely did industrial development within the city limits include people of color or low-income workers.

In the courts, too, forces promoting urban renewal overwhelmed opposition. In the case Schenck v. Pittsburgh (1950), Albert W. Schenck, owner of a property on Penn Avenue within the city’s “Golden Triangle” district (Downtown), sued the city, which had targeted his property for demolition. In deciding the case against Schenck, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania noted the “blighted” condition of the area that was to be taken by the Urban Redevelopment Law of May 24, 1945 (P.L. 991). In justifying its decision, the state Supreme Court identified the land parcel in question “had been laid out on a street pattern which dated from the year 1784 and which was wholly unsuited to the needs of a modern city because of poorly located street space and failure to provide for the ever increasing traffic.”25 The ruling set a legal precedent for future lawsuits that challenged private property takings by municipalities through eminent domain. Thus, the legal groundwork was laid for the unraveling of Pittsburgh’s Victorian city in favor of a twentieth-century automobile-centric city planning model.

Finally, Manchester suffered from political weakness. Redevelopment of the Lower Hill District ripped out the heart of Pittsburgh’s largest and most politically powerful Black community, thus creating a substantial backlash. The Hill’s state representative in Harrisburg, K. Leroy Irvis, who served from 1958 to 1988, became the first Black speaker of the State House in 1977. Manchester, on the other hand, existed on the city’s geographic and political periphery. After all, in 1960 Manchester was not a majority Black neighborhood.26 In an essay on the “Black experience in Pittsburgh,” Laurence Glasco explains that Blacks in Pittsburgh existed in a patchwork of geographically fragmented neighborhoods, making the city’s Black community economically stagnant and geographically dispersed.27 At the same time, the Chateau West project yielded unintended consequences with the rise of one of the city’s most effective and enduring CDCs, the Manchester Citizens Corporation, a grassroots response to top-down demolition.28

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF MANCHESTER

FIGURE 2

Manchester aerial looking toward West End Bridge—Chateau Street West project site, 1962, August 11, 1958.

Source: MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 2, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 2

Manchester aerial looking toward West End Bridge—Chateau Street West project site, 1962, August 11, 1958.

Source: MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 2, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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Situated on Pittsburgh’s North Side adjacent to the Rivers Casino and bounded by Route 65 and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks, Manchester is a historically low- to moderate-income African American neighborhood, one of seventeen majority-Black neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Unlike these other communities, Manchester is distinguished by its stately rowhouses, quiet tree-lined streets, and brick sidewalks situated on a floodplain along the Ohio River. The neighborhood’s primary residential development occurred between 1860 and 1900, when it was still part of Allegheny City (annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907).29 Designated a City Historic District on July 30, 1979, it contains one of the city’s largest collection of Victorian architecture, with 609 houses in the Italianate, Romanesque, Classical, and Colonial Revival styles.30 Originally a mixed-income and mixed-race neighborhood until 1970 (it was 42% Black in 1960), Manchester lost most of its population between 1960 and 1970, in part due to White flight, property abandonment, and urban renewal projects on the neighborhood’s fringes that substantially shrunk the neighborhood’s borders.31

Before 1960 Manchester included a mix of small manufacturers and warehouses interspersed among residential properties. Known as the city’s Twenty-first Ward, the neighborhood had boundaries extending from the Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks to the shoreline of the Ohio River. Throughout its history, Manchester supported a number of large manufacturers, primarily located on the western half of the neighborhood, as well as small industrial firms scattered throughout the community.32 In addition, the Beaver Avenue commercial district provided plentiful shopping and retail employment options for residents.33

FIGURE 3

“Beaver Avenue, Chateau Street West,” 1960.

Source: Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Series I: Box 4, Folder 3: Neighborhoods–North Side–Chateau Street West/Manchester, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 3

“Beaver Avenue, Chateau Street West,” 1960.

Source: Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Series I: Box 4, Folder 3: Neighborhoods–North Side–Chateau Street West/Manchester, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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Like many urban neighborhoods across the country, post–World War II Manchester was the subject of numerous “renewal” proposals that promised new vitality for a worn community. In 1947 the Allegheny Conference on Community Development conceived a Le Corbusier–inspired scheme to replace Manchester’s nineteenth-century homes with rows of block-style housing reminiscent of Corbu’s 1926 Plan Voisin for Paris.34 Another plan, developed in 1952, proposed to construct a state highway that would cut through the neighborhood east to west. Both plans were ultimately abandoned. However, in the 1960s Manchester residents found themselves under assault from three major projects that forever changed the neighborhood boundaries: creation of the Chateau industrial park, clearance of land for construction of State Route 65 that would destroy Manchester’s commercial district, and construction of Three Rivers Stadium from 1968 to 1970.35

FIGURE 4

“Chateau Street West (Old Beaver Ave., looking south toward West End Bridge),” 1962.

Source: Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Series I: Box 4, Folder 3: Neighborhoods–North Side–Chateau Street West/Manchester, MSP 566, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 4

“Chateau Street West (Old Beaver Ave., looking south toward West End Bridge),” 1962.

Source: Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Series I: Box 4, Folder 3: Neighborhoods–North Side–Chateau Street West/Manchester, MSP 566, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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As a result of these developments and rezoning that occurred under the administration of Mayor Pete Flaherty in the 1970s, Manchester’s identity changed from mixed industrial-residential to primarily residential. At the same time, the neighborhood’s demographics shifted rapidly, from a racially mixed community in the 1950s to a predominantly Black one by 1970. African American residents displaced by urban renewal of the Lower Hill and other areas moved to increasingly Black neighborhoods such as East Liberty, Homewood, and Manchester. These changes also stimulated community organizing, neighborhood preservation, and a culture of protest within the neighborhood that continues to this day.36

COMPETING WITH THE SUBURBS

Planners in the 1950s envisioned the Chateau West industrial park would resurrect the city’s declining industrial supremacy and enhance America’s Cold War standing. Competition with the suburbs was a main objective. Exclusive industrial zones, segregated from residential areas, became “an important tool for communities in their efforts to direct future urban growth into more esthetic, orderly, and efficient patterns,” noted a 1954 US Department of Commerce report. “To the suburban city or the smaller community anxious to attract industry, or to the central city seeking to keep dispersed plants within its general trade territory, the organized industrial district offers a useful device.” Some districts were conceptualized within city boundaries to “offer an ideal solution for the redevelopment of blighted in-town areas.”37 A 1955 master’s thesis echoed a similar purpose:

It is possible in the future for planned industrial districts to become even more useful than in the past. Among the possibilities are the use of various types of planned industrial districts to rebuild the usefulness of aging central city areas, to alleviate geographically localized chronic unemployment, to serve as the nucleus for new towns and to improve Civil Defense.38

In response to these concerns, city leaders established the Regional Development Industrial Corporation (RIDC) in 1955 to promote industrial development in the greater Pittsburgh area. The Pennsylvania state legislature followed up a year later with the creation of the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) to facilitate suburban industrial and office development across the state.39 Both RIDC and PIDA joined the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and the city’s planning department to advocate for “an aggressive program directed toward keeping the City’s industry and assisting in industrial plant expansion.”40 When funding for a study of the Manchester industrial park was announced in 1956, it was framed as “industrial expansion.” Officials were blunt about the projected impact on residents: “Industrial expansion is contemplated on the North Side and this means the elimination of houses,” exclaimed Theodore L. Hazlett Jr., an attorney for the Urban Redevelopment Authority.41

The Chateau West project recruited industrial corporations such as International Harvester Company, Fierst Distributing Co. (a distributor of floor tile), Coffee Break Enterprises (a provider of coffee and soft drinks for vending machines), and the Duquesne Light Co. In addition, the project approved a five-acre site for the Revenue Properties Company, Ltd., of Toronto, to construct a shopping center.42 The director of the URA at the time, Bob Pease, explained that the Chateau West project was a “demonstration of the use of urban renewal as a key tool in industrial development” in a “congested central city.”43

City leaders also envisioned repositioning Pittsburgh as a center for research and development. In the city’s Oakland neighborhood, home to several universities and hospitals, University of Pittsburgh’s chancellor Edward Litchfield “set out to remake Oakland and its surroundings into a futuristic center of science and academe.”44 But for most of the region’s industrial laboratories, suburban locations proved more attractive.

Beginning in the 1950s, armed with state funds, numerous Pittsburgh area firms relocated to outlying areas, far from historic core communities. For instance, Westinghouse Corporation, founded in Wilmerding, moved in 1955 to a new laboratory in suburban Churchill. In 1964 RIDC constructed an office park on 700 acres of former farmland in O’Hara Township, on the fringes of Blawnox, a few years after the Allegheny Valley Expressway, State Route 28, and local interchanges provided quicker access to Pittsburgh and neighboring employment centers. These suburban developments pressured city politicians and planners to keep or relocate industrial firms within Pittsburgh’s city limits.45

In addition to a thirty-two-acre expansion of the Jones & Laughlin steel plant on the city’s South Side in 1951, the Chateau Redevelopment Project was the city’s valiant attempt to address the industrial exodus.46 City planning documents from 1960 point to the need to accommodate plants that “constitute a large and still serviceable investment within the Chateau Street area [and] face a growing need to expand and improve their facilities.”47 Blight remediation was another point the URA emphasized to City Council. Writing about Manchester’s decline, the URA opined, “To walk some of the streets through this Project Area is an experience no citizen of Pittsburgh could realize and not support this project.” Furthermore, the report noted, “It was determined that the highest and best use for the re-planning and redevelopment of the Project Area is industrial because of the presence of some major heavy industries with the need and desire for expansion, access of the area to railroad transportation, convenience of the area to raw material and labor sources, and an in-city location.” Industrial development was seen as “an essential part of Pittsburgh’s economic life blood,” as called for in the Redevelopment Law of Pennsylvania.48

FIGURE 5

“A Suggested Development Plan.”

Source: “Preliminary Redevelopment Area Plan, Chateau Street West,” Department of City Planning, March 1960, 22–23.

FIGURE 5

“A Suggested Development Plan.”

Source: “Preliminary Redevelopment Area Plan, Chateau Street West,” Department of City Planning, March 1960, 22–23.

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Highway construction was another dimension of urban revitalization. As Roger Biles demonstrates, “Business and political leaders such as Albert E. Cobo in Detroit and Richard King Mellon in Pittsburgh viewed the future Interstate as their central and indispensable tool for clearing blight and getting traffic moving again.”49 As a result, this ideology laid the pathway for the elevated State Route 65, connecting the McKees Rocks and West End bridges directly on top of Beaver Avenue, eliminating the neighborhood’s business district.

FIGURE 6

“Westinghouse Research Labs under construction in Suburban Churchill,” 1955.

Source: Allegheny Conference on Community Development Photographs, 1892–1981, MSP 285, Box 21, Folder 15, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 6

“Westinghouse Research Labs under construction in Suburban Churchill,” 1955.

Source: Allegheny Conference on Community Development Photographs, 1892–1981, MSP 285, Box 21, Folder 15, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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Roadway access to the Chateau West industrial park was paramount to the development’s success. The original pathway for Route 65 had two options. One, known as the “Upper Route,” would have cut diagonally through Manchester. Another, known as the “Lower Route,” was to run along the Beaver Avenue corridor.50 A civic organization, the North Side Civic Promotion Council, pushed back against the upper route. “The Ohio River Boulevard route as announced by the state will create an intolerable situation on the North Side,” the Promotion Council declared. “Not only will it split one of our greatest assets but will utterly destroy a desirable residential area north of North Avenue which has great possibilities for rehabilitation and future development.”51 The Lower Route became the path of least resistance. The elevated roadway featured access ramps to the industrial park and enabled vehicular traffic to quickly bypass Manchester’s residential area. Starting in 1960, URA acquired and demolished hundreds of buildings along Beaver Avenue on Manchester’s eastern edge to construct Route 65. Most of the clearance for the roadway’s right-of-way along Beaver Avenue proceeded from 1960 to 1963.52 Called the “China Wall” by residents when first constructed, Route 65 split Manchester in two parts. The new industrial park became Chateau, while the now mostly residential Manchester retained its original name.

FIGURE 7

Chateau Street West (1960), Metropolitan Street and Branchport looking south on East Side.

Source: MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 3, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 7

Chateau Street West (1960), Metropolitan Street and Branchport looking south on East Side.

Source: MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 3, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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RELOCATION OF MANCHESTER RESIDENTS

Several years before relocation began in Manchester, renewal projects outside the city limits also affected African American communities within Pittsburgh. Across the river from Manchester, in McKees Rocks sixty-seven African Americans grappled with displacement through that city’s “slum clearance program” in the late 1950s. A headline in the Courier, from April 26, 1958, shouted in big block letters, “negroes in ‘rocks’ are betrayed.”53 Just two years before Manchester residents experienced their own relocation, the neighborhood absorbed Black families relocated from McKees Rocks. One former McKees Rocks resident remarked, “It seems as though they want to throw us like dogs and cattle. The places to which we have been referred to are not worth living in. None of the places have the things which they said that it is necessary for us to have. They just wanted you to get out.” Another resident referenced the Allegheny County Housing Authority’s relocation manager, Sydney Frankenstein, by remarking, “Frankenstein told us that we would have to find a place to move. And so we moved again.”

FIGURE 8

Chateau Street West before renewal (1960), east side of Beaver between Nixon and Adams.

Source: MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 3, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 8

Chateau Street West before renewal (1960), east side of Beaver between Nixon and Adams.

Source: MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 3, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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The URA’s projected relocations noted the race of families, most of whom were White. Of those displaced by the Chateau West Redevelopment Project, 774were White, while 180 residents were “non-White.” But the bulk of the African American families displaced were poor. According to a proposal prepared by the URA and City Planning Commission, of the 954 total families to be displaced, 495 of them were eligible for low-rent public housing units. About half, or 459 families, were deemed ineligible for low-rent public housing units, and of those, 396 were White and sixty-three non-White. Of the 180 non-White families, 117, or 65 percent, were estimated to be eligible for public housing.54

City planners based Chateau West’s residential relocation on an assumption that there would be enough housing to absorb those whose homes were acquired through eminent domain. But planners failed to predict the long-term disruption upon residents. The mostly White Spring Hill neighborhood, about three miles from Manchester on the North Side, was one target for the “relocatee” families, a tough sell if one was Black. Additional sites for relocation included the Fairywood area of Pittsburgh, in the West End, a mostly White isolated area five miles from Manchester on the other side of the Ohio River.55 A City of Pittsburgh Planning Commission report prepared for City Council in 1960 promised that “Approximately 4100 public housing units are expected to be placed on the market during the three-year relocation period . . . This is far more than required to rehouse those families eligible for public housing, white and non-white alike, on the basis of this one project.” Furthermore, the report notes, “approximately 840 housing units will become available during the relocation period. This is also far more than ample.”56 But by 1970, Fairywood was still 93% White.57 The expectation that long-time Manchester residents would easily relocate to far-flung neighborhoods contributed to people’s sense of dislocation and powerlessness—what Fullilove calls “root shock.” Moreover, African American families were unwelcome in White areas.58

FIGURE 9

James McClain, “Chateau Street West Redevelopment Project,” 1963 (former Beaver Avenue corridor looking south toward the West End Bridge).

Source: Allegheny Conference on Community Development Photographs, 1892–1981, MSP 285, Box 33, Folder 2, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 9

James McClain, “Chateau Street West Redevelopment Project,” 1963 (former Beaver Avenue corridor looking south toward the West End Bridge).

Source: Allegheny Conference on Community Development Photographs, 1892–1981, MSP 285, Box 33, Folder 2, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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Some residents spoke in favor of the Chateau West Redevelopment Project. Writing of the Manchester redevelopment area, the principal of Manchester School exclaimed to Pittsburgh City Council, “Abandoned houses are left open so that children and adults are spending time in them. Children are endangering their own lives by crawling on the roofs. . . . There is much rubbish and garbage in some of the streets. Houses containing a foot or more of debris are open and next to inhabited dwellings.”59 Elite perspectives on renewal echoed similar sentiments. Slums, remarked Allegheny Conference on Community Development president Arthur B. Van Buskirk, “‘are cancers on the body politics of our communities.’. . .‘Without further action,’ he warned, [deteriorated neighborhoods] would become ‘a breeding ground for communism.’”60

Yet, as the project proceeded, opposition mounted. In a letter dated March 7, 1961, a group of Manchester residents wrote to Governor Lawrence asking for a “remedy” to the relocation scheme in Chateau West. The residents wrote:

Our homes are not palaces by far, but [the URA’s] so-called fair offers border on the ridiculous. . . . Families, large and small, widows, and old folks who have lived here the majority of their lives are now at a total loss. Where can they possibly go with the few thousand dollars allotted them. If you don’t like it, you can go to condemnation court. Those who have already been rattled into selling are slapped with rent so fast, it’s amazing.

The letter concludes,

We the adult residents of this area do hereby affix our signatures to this plea and beseech you to do whatever is in your power to remedy, to review, and to rebut these so-called human beings whose only thought is to get us out for the least possible amount.

Thirty-five individuals signed the letter with “more coming!” scrawled in red pencil at the bottom of the paper.61 The protest from thirty-five brave Manchester residents had begun a citywide protest that gained momentum throughout the 1960s.

When it came time to move out Manchester residents, relocation proceeded swiftly and, with one exception, orderly. In 1962 the URA evicted two elderly sisters who initially refused to leave. A URA staff reported noted, “We were forced to evict a former property owner in the Chateau Street Project this week. This is the first time, in a Title I Project, that we have had to have the Sheriff actually move the furniture out of the house in order to relocate the site occupant.”62 By 1963 most of the groundwork was laid for construction of Route 65 and the industrial park.

On the whole, though, the Chateau West Redevelopment Project was a net loss for residents of Manchester. It created few jobs for neighborhood residents and their commercial district vanished. The Allis-Chalmers factory in Woods Run closed just ten years after state funds were secured, a loss of 1,100 jobs.63 A mini-mall that had been constructed in Chateau to serve Manchester residents failed in the late 1970s.64 Due to the bifurcation and depopulation of the neighborhood, the number of Manchester residents plummeted from 10,588 in 1960 to 5,492 in 1970, a decrease of 48 percent in a decade. By 1980, only 460 people lived in Chateau, while Manchester’s population further declined to 3,142.65

CHALLENGES TO URBAN RENEWAL’S PROGRESS NARRATIVE DURING THE TURBULENT 1960S

As a result of these redevelopment projects across the city, the 1960s represented a major economic, social, and physical upheaval for Pittsburgh’s Black residents. By 1967 “19 renewal projects were completed . . . [and] encompassed approximately 1500 acres.”66 A new housing project at Broadhead Fording, in the city’s West End, would be designed to provide 180 new homes for displaced residents from Manchester.67

North Side residents felt the disarray most profoundly. In addition to the Chateau West industrial park and Route 65, other projects included Woods Run, a 126-acre extension of Chateau West (1967), 103 acres of Allegheny Center (1961), the 84-acre Three Rivers Stadium, and the 56-acre Reedsdale-Ridge area (1965), which in total placed more than 467 acres of land under redevelopment on the North Side in a ten-year period.68 While planners pointed to blight elimination, North Side residents noted the loss of familiar landmarks, such as the North Side Market House, Manchester School, churches, and neighbors’ homes.

African American challenges to the city’s urban renewal plans by the end of the 1960s is a familiar narrative. Works by Lubove, Fullilove, Dieterich-Ward, and others highlight African American protests of promised economic advantages, namely jobs and affordable housing, which failed to materialize. Frankie Mae Pace’s now-famous billboard at Crawford Street and Centre Avenue in the Lower Hill District, which read, “No Redevelopment Beyond This Point,” was just one of a number of objections to urban renewal in the late 1960s.69

African American resistance also resulted in more productive outcomes in housing and employment. In 1968 North Side community activists Dorothy Richardson and Ethel Hagler established Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) to provide high-risk loans to revitalize historic homes in Pittsburgh’s Manchester and Mexican War Streets neighborhoods.70 In the early 1970s, activists appealed for African American employment, particularly in the building trades. Manchester’s James “Swampman” Williams advocated for greater minority participation in large construction projects. In 1974 the United Black Front led by Clyde Jackson protested against the URA’s proposed housing development projects in Manchester and the Hill District over concerns that the new homes would be unaffordable to low-income residents. Additional organizations, including Nate Smith’s Operation Dig, the Black Construction Coalition, and Pittsburgh Black Action, Inc., pushed back against the rise in drug dealing, a lack of affordable homes, and physical changes that many felt had been forced upon residents with little input.71

Activist appeals in Manchester focused on improvements to the residential sector. In 1969 Pittsburgh Black Action penned an opinion column in the Courier calling for affordable housing. “We barely have 8,000 people left in Manchester and we can ill afford to lose anymore. If we lose many more in such large chunks, we won’t have any political base left to use as a lever on the ‘man’ downtown. Our most pressing need, contrarily, is more housing.” It echoed community opposition to the forces of displacement and articulated an urgent need for community control. The column continued, “To face the issue squarely, ‘they’ don’t want us to control our lives. ‘They’ will shift us from ghetto to ghetto to keep us from getting used to anything better; thereby, they are assured that the same old bitterness will render us impotent to act.” Referring to the “Chinese Wall,” Black Action, Inc. denounced the Chateau Plaza shopping center built on the other side of Route 65. The group demanded “more and better housing to better their lives and attract more black people to our community.” Their appeal concluded, “If we lose our beloved heritage, where can we go?”72

Some in Manchester even called the elevated roadway a “conspiracy plot.” In 1970 the Reverend Jimmy Joe Robinson, a pastor at Bidwell Presbyterian Church and one of Manchester’s central African American leaders, exclaimed, “That Chinese Wall built all along Chateau St. is obviously to wall the black community off from the rest of the North Side. Agents of industrial firms are making fantastically fabulous land-price bids to Negroes in attempts to acquire property sites in this area.”73 Betty Jane Ralph, a founder of the Manchester Citizens Corporation, said of Route 65,

That Chateau St. thruway is also another of the moats or buffer zones around the black community. . . . On foot, the black community can’t even cross it except at their own peril. You know we had three black senior citizens killed this year just trying to cross Chateau St. to go to the shopping center there.74

Route 65 construction, along with the stadium site, Allegheny Center, and many other renewal projects taking place simultaneously across the city, left Blacks dismayed with urban renewal.

The multitude of developments pressing upon Manchester encouraged neighborhood residents to form their own community-based development group, the Manchester Community Development Corporation, in 1965. It eventually became the United Manchester Redevelopment Committee in 1967 funded by Great Society funds from Washington, DC (the name was changed to the Manchester Citizens Corporation, MCC, in 1978).75 Under the direction of Stanley Lowe as its first paid director in 1972, MCC gained control over key parcels of real estate, which enabled the organization to attract new residents to the neighborhood.

FIGURE 10

Liverpool Street, ca. 1960s. This block is where the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation began their preservation work.

Source: MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 3, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 10

Liverpool Street, ca. 1960s. This block is where the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation began their preservation work.

Source: MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 3, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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In addition, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), formed in Manchester in 1964, influenced the protection and preservation of the neighborhood’s residential fabric. In 1970 PHLF provided a quantitative study of Manchester for the URA that encouraged the preservation and reuse of older homes in the community.76 As a result of the study, the URA recommended to City Council the reprogramming of federal urban renewal funds for the preservation of 1,407 housing units in Manchester, the first use of such funds for rehabilitation in the United States (approved in 1972).77 Since 1978 Manchester has been recognized nationally and internationally for its historic preservation track record from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 1980 the National Trust expanded its scope in the 1980s to emphasize “the ‘reassertion of the citizens’ rights to determine the destiny of their neighborhoods,’” based on the Manchester experience.78

FIGURE 11

Chateau Street West project site under construction, 1970.

Source: Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 2, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

FIGURE 11

Chateau Street West project site under construction, 1970.

Source: Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, MSP 566, Box 4, Folder 2, Melvin Seidenberg Photographs, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center.

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Though urban renewal had negative consequences in Manchester and many other areas of the city, the neighborhood may not have achieved critical acclaim for its preservation and renewal efforts. In the wake of the 1968 rebellion, Manchester did not burn like the Hill District, in part due to the nascent preservation efforts. In addition, Manchester’s Beaver Avenue commercial heart was gone by 1968. For most older Manchester residents, the western half of the neighborhood is but a distant memory.

Today Chateau remains an industrial zone, but it has been the target of new development speculation. In addition to the Robert J. Casey Industrial Park, the area supports a number of cultural institutions, including the Manchester Bidwell Training Center, Bicycle Heaven (a bicycle museum), and the Chateau Café and Bakery. The North Shore trail, an extension of the Great Allegheny Passage, passes along the edge of the Ohio River. The closed Pennsylvania State Prison is under consideration for riverfront redevelopment. The area also supports a small marina. In 2018 Millcraft Industries announced a $700-million, fifteen-acre “Esplanade” mixed-use project for Chateau that includes housing, businesses, and a “Crystal Lagoon.”79

Although the unique history of Chateau has long been erased, future developments continue to reshape land along the banks of the Ohio River. As calls for more affordable housing rang out across Pittsburgh during the 2021 mayoral race, Chateau West and other redevelopment projects from the 1960s serve as a lesson for planners. Displacement, whether through gentrification or forced removal, is no way to create an inclusive, welcoming environment for African Americans in Pittsburgh.

NOTES

1.

Steve Mellon and Julian Roth, “The Week the Hill Rose Up,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 1, 2018, B4. See also “Cities Burn as Aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Death,” New Pittsburgh Courier, April 13, 1968, 2; “A Nation Mourns. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929–1968: Future of America at Crossroads,” New Pittsburgh Courier, April 13, 1968.

2.

President Lyndon B. Johnson established the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in 1967 after a series of urban riots swept across the United States from 1965 to 1967. Comprised by eleven high-profile public officials, labor representatives, and civil rights advocates, the commission became known as the Kerner Commission after its chair, Illinois governor Otto Kerner. The Kerner Commission, Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1968), 1. In this report, the Commission concluded, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white–separate and unequal. Reaction to last summer’s disorders has quickened the movement and deepened the division. Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life; they now threaten the future of every American. . . . What white Americans have never fully understood but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”

3.

Pittsburgh Mayor’s Special Task Force on Civil Disturbances, “Progress Report,” 1968, University of Pittsburgh Archives, Historic Pittsburgh, https://historicpittsburgh.org/islandora/object/pitt%3A31735001395189#page/1/mode/2up/search/Pittsburgh+Mayor’s+Special+Task+Force+on+Civil+Disturbances.

4.

Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do about It (New York: Ballantine Books, 2004), 20.

5.

“Proposal for the Redevelopment of Redevelopment Area No. 16 in the Twenty-First and Twenty-Second Wards of the City of Pittsburgh, County of Allegheny, Pennsylvania,” Submitted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh to the Council of the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, in accordance with Section 10 of the Urban Redevelopment Law, Act of May 24, 1945, P.L. 991, November 1, 1963, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Archives, Pittsburgh, based on a public records disclosure request.

6.

For more on the Manchester Citizens Corporation, see Dan Holland, “Forging a Consistent Vision: The People Who Shaped Manchester’s Renewal, 1964–2014,”Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 86, no. 2 (Spring 2019): 254–86.

7.

For more on this topic, see Elise M. Bright, Reviving America’s Forgotten Neighborhoods: An Investigation of Inner City Revitalization Efforts (New York: Routledge, 2003); Robert Halpern, Rebuilding the Inner City: A History of Neighborhood Initiatives to Address Poverty in the United States (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995); and Gregory D. Squires, ed., From Redlining to Reinvestment: Community Responses to Urban Disinvestment (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992).

8.

“North Side Project Gets Big Send-off,” Pittsburgh Courier, January 26, 1963. Weather information obtained from Ben Gelber, The Pennsylvania Weather Book (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002), 89. The high that day was negative four degrees Fahrenheit.

9.

Robert J. Casey was chairman of the board and owner of the Duquesne Electric and Manufacturing Co., in Etna, PA.

10.

Perry J. Molinaro, “Chateau West Plan Showing Progress,” Pittsburgh Courier, November 10, 1962.

11.

The Department of Transportation was created on May 6, 1970 (PL 356) to replace the Department of Highways and the Pennsylvania Aeronautics Commission.

12.

“URA Annual Report,” 1960, David L. Lawrence Papers, 1959–1962 (hereafter Lawrence Papers), Pennsylvania State Archives; “Stadium Proposal,” URA, November 8, 1963. The total of the fifteen projects in 1960 was proposed to be $173,894,939 ($1,494,666,781 in 2021 dollars).

13.

Raymond A. Mohl, “Stop the Road: Freeway Revolts in American Cities,” Journal of Urban History 30, no. 5 (July 2004): 674–75.

14.

Ralph Proctor details African American efforts to integrate the Greater East End Multi-List Corporation, which controlled the sale and leasing of homes and apartments in the area. After being denied membership in the organization, Black realtor Robert Lavelle sued the corporation in federal court in 1967 and won. Ralph Proctor Jr., Voices from the Firing Line: A Personal Account of the Pittsburgh Civil Rights Movement (Pittsburgh: Introspec Press, 2014), 97–98. See also Thomas J. Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996); Robert O. Self, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton. NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003); Howard Gillette Jr., Camden After the Fall: Decline and Renewal in a Post–Industrial City (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005); Joe W. Trotter and Jared N. Day, Race and Renaissance: African Americans in Pittsburgh since World War II (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010); and Christopher Klemek, The Transatlantic Collapse of Urban Renewal: Postwar Urbanism from New York to Berlin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011).

15.

See Ted Muller’s article on John Ormsbee Simonds, who edited The Freeway in the City (1968), which “sought to shift the perspective on highway planning from one that privileged high-speed, high-volume attributes to one that also embraced environmental and community values.” Edward K. Muller, “Acceptably Pleasing: The Urban Advisors and the Struggle to Improve Freeway Design,” Journal of Urban History 40, no. 5 (2014): 897.

16.

The URA reports were retrieved from a public records disclosure request submitted to the agency.

17.

See Roy Lubove’s Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, vol. 1, Government, Business, and Environmental Change (New York: Wiley and Sons, 1969; rpt., Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996), and vol. 2, The Post-Steel Era (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996); Mindy Thompson Fullilove’s Root Shock (2004); Allen Dieterich-Ward, Beyond Rust: Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Fate of Industrial America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016); and Mark Whitaker, The Untold Story of Smoketown: The Other Great Black Renaissance (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018). Of these authors, Lubove dedicates one sentence to the Chateau West Redevelopment Project.

18.

Joseph P. Browne, “Renewal Funds Asked by City for 2 Projects,” Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, September 14, 1965.

19.

“Proposal for the Redevelopment of a Part of Redevelopment Area No. 11 in the Twenty-First and Twenty-Seventh Wards of the City of Pittsburgh, County of Allegheny Pennsylvania,” Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, March 10, 1960, 29, Lawrence Papers. An earlier report, from 1959, put the total gross acreage of the project at 164: Pittsburgh City Planning Commission, “Redevelopment Area Plan: Chateau Street West, November 1959,” URA Archives, Pittsburgh.

20.

Patrick Vitale, Nuclear Suburbs: Cold War Technoscience and the Pittsburgh Renaissance (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2021). Tracy Neumann, Remaking the Rustbelt: The Postindustrial Transformation of North America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016); Dieterich-Ward, Beyond Rust; Robert Lewis, Chicago Made: Factory Networks in the Industrial Metropolis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008); Robert Fogelson, Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880–1950 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001). Irving Cutler, Chicago: Metropolis of the Mid-Continent (Carbondale: University of Southern Illinois Press, 2006); Sam Bass Warner, Planning for a Nation of Cities (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1966).

21.

Urban Redevelopment Authority Digest of the Urban Renewal Program (September 1967), quoted in Lubove, Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, 1:128.

22.

Ibid., 129.

23.

Vitale, Nuclear Suburbs, 42.

24.

Pittsburgh City Planning Commission, introduction to “Redevelopment Area Plan: Chateau Street West, November 1959.”

25.

Schenck v. Pittsburgh, 364 Pa. 31, Jan. 11, 1950, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania No. 50, 364 Pa. 31, Schenck v. Pittsburgh, et al. See also Hoffman v. Pittsburgh, 365 Pa. 386 (1950).

26.

Blacks were only 15.7% of Manchester’s total population at the time, and even by 1960 African Americans comprised only 41.9% of the total. In addition to Manchester, other areas of the city supported small but significant Black populations, including East Liberty, Homewood, Beltzhoover, and Hazelwood. By 1970, however, Manchester was 67.1% Black. Social Explorer Tables (SE), Census 1940–2010 Census Tract Only, digitally transcribed by Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research; edited, verified by Michael Haines; compiled, edited, verified and additional data entered by Social Explorer. Census figures taken from Social Explorer tables, 1940–2010.

27.

Laurence Glasco, “Double Burden: The Black Experience in Pittsburgh,” in City at the Point: Essays on the Social History of Pittsburgh, ed. Samuel P. Hays (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989), 69–110.

28.

See also Holland, “Forging A Consistent Vision.”

29.

Manchester originally was a borough in 1843 and was annexed by the City of Allegheny in 1867. Allegheny became part of Pittsburgh in 1907.

30.

Rebecca M. Rieger, “Mixed-Income Neighborhoods: In Search of a Sustainable Model,” master’s thesis, University of Cincinnati, 2002, 95–100.

31.

While Manchester lost 48% of its total population between 1960 and 1970, its Black population grew nearly 81% between 1950 and 1960, before the Black population declined by nearly 17% between 1960 and 1970.

32.

Employers such as Power Piping Co., National Casket Co., Pittsburgh Box Annealing Co., Pittsburgh Knife & Forge Co., Crucible Steel Co., Carnegie Steel Co., Pittsburgh Clay Pot Co., Equitable Gas (with three huge gas tanks that exploded in 1927), Pittsburgh Gray Iron Foundry, Damascus Bronze Co., and the city asphalt plant occupied land along the Ohio River in 1925. Smaller firms included the Fort Pitt Bedding Co., United Oil Co., McKinney Mfg. Co., Manchester Bottling Works, and the Steel City Electric Co. (which became the American Electric Company). City of Pittsburgh Geodetic and Topographic Survey Maps, 1923–1961, sheet no. 7, January 1, 1926.

33.

Ibid., sheet no. 22, January 1, 1927.

34.

Allegheny Conference for Community Development files, Box 232, Folder 4, Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh. The Swiss-French Le Corbusier (1887–1965), also known as “Corbu,” was one of the preëminent architects of the mid-twentieth century. He was a founding member of the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) and heavily influenced modernist urban planning ideas that undergirded urban renewal projects throughout Europe and the United States. See Le Corbusier, The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning (New York: Dover Publications, 1987 [1929]).

35.

When Three Rivers Stadium opened in 1970, the Fort Duquesne Bridge linking the Parkway East with the North Side was not yet complete, earning it the moniker “Bridge to Nowhere.” Until that time, the Manchester Bridge (1913–70) connected Manchester with Downtown. Two plans to demolish Manchester—one in 1947 developed by the city’s business leaders, the Allegheny Conference for Community Development, and another conceived in 1952 to construct a state highway that would cut through the neighborhood east to west—were not pursued due to heavy neighborhood pushback against such invasive plans. Allegheny Conference for Community Development files, Box 232, Folder 4, Heinz History Center.

36.

Just six years after MCC’s founding in 1967, residents staged a protest in Mayor Pete Flaherty’s office in 1973 to advocate for the construction of new housing. “Manchester Residents Sit in City Hall on Housing Protest,” New Pittsburgh Courier, April 7, 1973.

37.

Theodore K. Pasma, Organized Industrial Districts: A Tool for Community Development (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Technical Services, June 1954), foreword, iii.

38.

Logan Alexander McKee Jr., “Planned Industrial Districts,” master’s thesis, Georgia Institute of Technology, June 1955, viii.

39.

Kenneth C. Wolensky, with George M. Leader, The Life of Pennsylvania Governor George M. Leader: Challenging Complacency (Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University Press, 2011), 63.

40.

Lubove, Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, 1:133.

41.

“Federal Loan Sought for Urban Renewal,” Pittsburgh Courier, July 14, 1956.

42.

Perry J. Molinaro, “Chateau West Plan Showing Progress,” Pittsburgh Courier, November 10, 1962.

43.

Lubove, Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, 1:129.

44.

Vitale, Nuclear Suburbs, 60.

45.

Nearly every major Pittsburgh-based industrial firm constructed a new research facility in the city’s suburbs in the 1950s, including Alcoa (Upper Burrell, a suburb of New Kensington), Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corp. (Brackenridge), Dravo Corporation (Neville Island), Gulf Oil Corp. (Harmarville), Koppers Co. (Verona), and Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. (Harmar Township). See Allegheny Conference on Community Development Archives no. 285, Box 21, Heinz History Center.

46.

In addition to Chateau West, the Jones & Laughlin Steel plant on Pittsburgh’s South Side was expanded on thirty-two acres, displacing more than 200 residents, while its Hazelwood operation expanded on seventy-four acres displacing more than 400 residents. Allegheny Conference on Community Development Archives no. 285, Box 13, Folder 29, Heinz History Center.

47.

Department of City Planning, “Chateau Street West Redevelopment Area Plan,” Redevelopment Area No. 11, March 1960, ii, URA Archives, acquired through a public records disclosure request.

48.

“Proposal for the Redevelopment of a Part of Redevelopment Area No. 11 in the Twenty-First and Twenty-Seventh Wards,” 3 5, 14.

49.

Roger Biles, Raymond A. Mohl, and Mark H. Rose, “Revisiting the Urban Interstates: Politics, Policy, and Culture since World War II,” Journal of Urban History 40, no. 5 (2014): 827–28.

50.

The proposed impact of the “lower route” would have relocated 2,700 residents and demolished 830 buildings, while the “upper route” had 7,700 residents displaced and 2,300 buildings demolished. Dan Rooney and Carol Peterson, Allegheny City: A History of Pittsburghs North Side (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013), 210.

51.

“Ohio River Boulevard,” Pittsburgh Highways, http://pittsburgh.pahighways.com/expressways/orboulevard.html (accessed October 5, 2019).

52.

The project proceeded in fits and starts throughout the 1970s and 1980s, in part due to construction delays, construction of Three Rivers Stadium, and competition between state, local, and federal governments over who will pay for the road. The project was ultimately finished on January 14, 1992, forty years after first being planned.

53.

“Negroes in ‘Rocks’ Are Betrayed! McKees Rocks Slum-Clearance,” Pittsburgh Courier, April 26, 1958.

54.

Pittsburgh City Planning Commission, “Chateau Street West Redevelopment Area Plan,” March 1960, 20, URA Archives.

55.

Broadhead Manor, a World War II military housing project built in 1944 in the city’s Fairywood neighborhood, was acquired by the city in 1949 to become low-income public housing. Another public housing community constructed nearby, Westgate Village (now called Emerald Gardens) was built in 1970. Lubove, Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, 2:149. See note 59, below.

56.

Pittsburgh City Planning Commission, “Chateau Street West Redevelopment Area Plan,” March 1960, 20–21, URA Archives.

57.

US Bureau of the Census, “1970 Census of Population and Housing: Pittsburgh, Pa. Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area,” tables P-1, P-15, US Department of Commerce, https://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/39204513p17ch01.pdf.

58.

Today, Spring Hill is less than a third minority.

59.

“Chateau St. Perils Cited,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 17, 1961.

60.

Vitale, Nuclear Suburbs, 32.

61.

Letter to Hon. David L. Lawrence from citizens of Manchester, March 7, 1961, Lawrence Papers, URA 1961, Harrisburg. The race of the residents cannot be determined.

62.

URA Staff Progress Report, November 30, 1962, 2, Lawrence Papers.

63.

Douglas Smock, “Allis Plant Material to Be ‘Cannibalized,’” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 20, 1975.

64.

“City Gives M’chester Fifty Days,” New Pittsburgh Courier, February 10, 1979; Ron Suber, “Market Closing Hurts Chateau,” New Pittsburgh Courier, September 15, 1979.

65.

As of 2010, Manchester’s population was 2,130. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Decennial Census, DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94–171).

66.

Lubove, Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, 1:128. One of these projects included a thirty-two-acre expansion of the Jones & Laughlin Steel plant on the South Side in 1949 and an eighty-seven-acre expansion of its plant in Hazelwood in 1952.

67.

The 448-unit Broadhead Manor was built in 1944 by the federal government in the city’s Fairywood neighborhood. Designed by James A. Mitchell and Dahlen Ritchey, with a site plan by Simonds and Simonds, it was among Pittsburgh’s earliest public housing projects and served as housing for those who worked at Dravo’s Neville Island plant. According to Historic Pittsburgh, “In 1953 the development was converted into low-rent public housing.” When the homes were first occupied in 1944, there were 492 whites and 64 African Americans. For more on Broadhead Manor, see: “Broadhead Manor,” Historic Pittsburgh, https://historicpittsburgh.org/islandora/object/pitt%3AMSP285.B012.F13.I12; Historic American Building Survey photos, Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/resource/hhh.pa3560.photos/?sp=1; Lubove, Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, 1:85–86; and Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, The First Seven Years: A Report of the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh for the Years 1937–1944 (September 1944), 21–24, 48–50, and 59, https://books.google.com/books?id=_Wlq1FKMUY8C.

68.

Lubove, Twentieth Century Pittsburgh, 1:129.

69.

Dieterich-Ward, Beyond Rust, 180; Whitaker, Untold Story of Smoketown, 321. See also the Charles R. Martin Photograph Collection of the “National Day of Mourning” march in April 1968 at https://historicpittsburgh.org/collection/charles-r-martin-photographs. Today, the area is known as Freedom Corner.

70.

In 1970 the Federal Home Loan Bank copied the NHS program in other communities, and by 1975, NHS was in forty-five cities across the country. In 1978 Congress established the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation to nationalize the NHS model (it became NeighborWorks in 2005).

71.

Proctor, Voices from the Firing Line, 281. 301, and 305; “Manchester Moves Against Dope Pushers,” New Pittsburgh Courier, May 9, 1970.

72.

“Black Action, Inc. Deplores Lack of Housing in Manchester,” New Pittsburgh Courier, December 20, 1969.

73.

“Manchester’s ‘China Wall’ Believed Conspiracy Plot,” New Pittsburgh Courier, November 28, 1970.

74.

Ibid.

75.

Lubove, Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, 2:153, and Walter C. Kidney, A Past Still Alive (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, 1989), 122.

76.

Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, “A Study of the Architecturally Significant Structures of Manchester, Pittsburgh, for the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh,” March 7, 1970, URA Archives. PHLF surveyed 2,389 dwellings (1,718 residences) housing 7,300 people in the neighborhood and found fifty-seven of the properties (3.3%) were vacant. At the time, the median income of Manchester was between $4,139 and $4,583 ($28,057–$31,067 in today’s dollars).

77.

Urban Redevelopment Authority, “Manchester Proposal for the Redevelopment of Redevelopment Area No. 27 in the Twenty-First Ward of the City of Pittsburgh, County of Allegheny, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” August 1970, URA Archives; Stephanie R. Ryberg, “Preservation at the Grassroots: Pittsburgh’s Manchester and Cincinnati’s Mt. Auburn Neighborhoods,” Journal of Planning History 10 (2011): 139, 143.

78.

Ron Suber, “NTHP Emphasizes Citizens Rights to Determine Neighborhood Destiny,” New Pittsburgh Courier, September 27, 1980. In December 2021 the URA voted to advance Phase I of the Esplanade project. “City & URA Partner with Manchester Citizens Corporation & Millcraft Investments to Advance Esplanade Development,” URA press release, December 15, 2021, https://www.ura.org/news/city-ura-partner-with-manchester-citizens-corporation-millcraft-investments-to-advance-esplanade-development.

79.

Tim Schooley, “Millcraft Exec Fleshes Out Vision for North Shore Riverfront Development,” Pittsburgh Business Times, December 13, 2018, https://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2018/12/13/millcraft-exec-fleshes-out-vision-for-north-shore.html; and Nick Eustis, “Chateau, A Fragmented History and a Colorful Future,” Northside Chronicle, September 20, 2017, https://www.thenorthsidechronicle.com/chateau-a-fragmented-history-and-a-colorful-future/