The South Side

When you go across that little bridge that doesn't have a name from 9th street in the South Side over PJ McArdle Roadway to the Liberty Tubes, you look to the right and you see everything: the domes of St. John's church, the South Side Stadium, Civic Arena, the river, the Contrail tracks below you, and if the sun's shining it's really cool 'cause then those domes are really gold. I think it's just a beautiful convergence of shape and form that makes me feel a sense of possibility like anything can happen you can go anywhere here, you can do anything here. A lot of people don't feel that way about Pittsburgh, but I do.
--Jan B.

Mabel Meyer's Store

She still sells penny candy to the kids and she only stays in business 'cause of the kids. She's a friend of mine. I took my grandson up there and I gave him a dollar and I said here, go have fun. He came out with a big bag of candy. She's goodhearted to the kids——she's real good-hearted.
--Dorothy N.


Used to take cars up, horses and wagons. They'd take two cars up when weather was bad and they'd bring two cars down when the weather was bad. It was a big asset to South Side, but it got too expensive,and they had to close it. They took it down in 1960. There was Robinson Park up here and we'd take children up. It cost 3 cents.
-- Mabel M.

Armstrong Playground

That's where my kids used to go down to play. There were two of them. And some of the neighbor's children and we would sit there on the bench talkin', while they went to play. You know, what else could we do? Because most of the homes on South Side don't have much of a yard.So they used to say, "take me down to the playground," and while we sat on the bench, they ran around, rode on the swings, the monkey bars, and that thing that goes around. And you know, you meet a lot of nice people there.
-- Helen M.

June: Oh yeah, we spend a lot of time in the playground.
Shawn: There's a big skull in the middle of the basketball court that says Billy Buck.
June: I used to spend time there when I was his age.
Shawn: There's a baseball field where I ride my bike.

--June & Shawn S.

Carson Street

My sister was here visiting and we were driving down Carson Street and I said, "This is an interesting town, because there's the old part and then there's the new part and meet in a kind of interesting fashion. " And at that point a Bingo party or something let out and there were all these older women coming out from the Bingo Parlor and then down the road there was this whole group of people who had just exited out of the Bee Hive and they were coming towards each other and it looked like this rumble, you know, sort of from West Side Story, and I said, "Well, see, this is a case in point. "
-- Carol K.

St. John the Evangelist Church

They tore down St. John the Evangelist Church, and that's where I was married. I went to school there, I went to church there. And they tore it down. There's nothing there but an empty lot. And there's some buildings there, but they tore the church down. It was a sad thing. I took some bricks for remembrance.--Irene P.


There's these public sidewalks that cut through the middle of the block between 17th and 16th and then 16th and 15th. They're little sidewalks that you walk between the houses. They're the best things in the world. I kinda wish I had grown up here and that would have been my secret little hideout spot as a child.
-- Kathryn S.

18th Street Bus Stop

One of the first times I came down here, I got stranded for a few hours with a couple friends late at night it was just fun, actually. The buses weren't running and it was freezing cold out and we were just kind of sitting there shivering and banging our feet against the ground to keep them from going numb. So we missed a bus and then maybe the next one didn't come or something like that but it was a really long wait out in the cold.
-- Melissa N.

Fat Head's

The first time I tried Rusty Nails. They taste sweet, I didn't realize they were so powerful and I was out with some girlfriends here on the South Side and suddenly...they left, and I ran into a friend of mine, a guy, and I was suddenly, instantly drunk and I sort of don't remember what happened except that we went to the Chinese restaurant on Carson Street... he told me afterwards, because I said what did I do...he was a gentleman but he said you told everybody in the restaurant (it was in the winter and I had boots on) you told everybody in the restaurant that you took your hose off and they were in the car and I thought oh no I'll never be able to go in there again...ever. That was 2 years ago. I don't drink Rusty Nails anymore. I don't go into that restaurant..I started out at Fat Head's, actually that's where I had 'em. That was my mistake. Yeah.
-- Rebecca J.

Brashear Center

...I've been coming here for at least 23 years or so. Right after my husband died I started coming here. I serve and I come here everyday for lunch like and then we go shopping on Wednesday and we play Bingo on Monday and Friday. I'd be lost without it. Cause I live by myself, you know, so it's kinda hard. Especially when you get older. How much can you do in the house?... And if I didn't come here I'd be really lost. Because, where would I go? And this is so easy to walk to. I only live about 2 blocks away...So this for me is the best place.
-- Mildred P.

Three Dog Night

Michelle and I were walking late one night, and one block away from the Brew House, Michelle spotted this man walking his dogs. She started saying, "Look, look!" real loud and pointing and laughing. "Look at the little dog," At first I could only see the other two dogs, which were pretty sizable, so I was confused. Then this tiny running silhouette of a Chihuahua emerged. Michelle was doubled over laughing and pointing at the dog, saying, "I want to have a dog people can laugh at."
-- Emily B.

Our Lady of Fatima Chapel
One night I saw this huge Ryder truck backed up to the front steps of this church and I saw the priest was there and he was all dressed in robes and everything and he had the bible or his songbook and he was doing some sort of service by himself while these people were moving things out of church. I guess they were closing and he was kind of giving the church its last rites or something.And it just felt really sad.
-- Michelle I.

Neely's Nuts and Bolts Factory

I was sixteen when I worked at Neely's Nuts and Bolts Factory, down towards the river on 22nd Street. I was 16, I lied about my age too, I told them I was 18, but I was 16. They asked me when was my 18th birthday, I said oh, a long time ago, but I was 16 only. My mother needed money, she had 12 kids, so I had to help to help raise the kids. I worked putting nuts on bolts. All different sizes. You had to know your sizes. Then they put me on the machine. That was easier. That was piecework. I made my money. When I made my money in the morning, in the afternoon I went home. 26 dollars I made in the morning on the machine.
-- Regina L.

Stutz Pharmacy

When I was walking with Emily, we went into a little drug store and it was really cramped. There were two aisles and we were walking up the left one and it was really small and then we got to end, and I guess there was a prescription kind of place there and we went to turn and there were these two chairs sitting in the middle of the aisle so you couldn't turn. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't sure if they only wanted you to go like counterclockwise around or something like that. I don't know. I was about to go squeeze through the chairs and the lady was like, "Can I help you?" from the desk, and I was thinking should I go through or is this like no trespassing or something like that? It was really weird that in such a small space they would make it even more closed rather than trying to open it up.
-- Ellen L.

Birmingham Bridge
My friend Liz and I were coming back from Thor's one night, from one of these parties, and she was taking off for Nebraska, she was gonna be the first one to leave out of the group and we loved to sing together and we had our windows down and we started...I don't know what...we hit the Birmingham bridge and you know the moon was up and the whole water was you know everything was sort of very romantic looking in a way and we started singing Amazing Grace at the top of our lungs and she of course was doing her harmony, cause she liked to do her harmony. It was the corniest thing in the world, but kind of touching for us when we were in the middle of it, you know.
-- Sharon M.


I always associate the South Side with Mallorca, the restaurant, because it's one of the first places I went in Pittsburgh and every time I go there I get something spilled on me or on somebody at my table...Every time I take someone there I tell them, "Something always gets spilled when I come here." And sure enough, I took my sister-in-law there...they poured the water pitcher on her back. I took my girlfriend there...they cut the chorizo and one piece went on the floor and one piece went on the plate, and they brought our salads and a tomato fell on the floor...
-- Valentina V.

Morse Garden Apartments

I used to live near the Liberty Tubes. So here I went from hell to heaven. I was freezin' there and I fell so many times...slippy, icy. and carrying heavy bags. You know I got it good here. It's all electric. Now I get Access. It was the Morris School. And I'm the oldest there and the longest there. I moved there when they first opened up 12 years ago.-- Clara Z.

2503 Sarah Street
Across the street, the Lothes family made sauerkraut, and people used to come from everywhere to get it. They made it in those big barrels. At that time it was about 10 cents a pound. 3 pounds for a quarter...He was so nice, that old man. He used to tell me, "That place where your daddy built that building was an empty lot." See, he had been there before we moved in.
-- Anna K.

Door on Carey Street

Ellen and I were taking a picture of this door and this lady stopped and told us how her husband had carved this door. The leaves and stuff. She was nice. She said, "I had my husband make this for me."
-- Amy Byerly

Wobbly Joe's/Wild Sisters (Presently Antonini's)

There was a bar there called Wobbly Joe's in the 70's opened by a bunch of lefties...there was always lefty music and lefty talks and lefty beer I guess...whatever that is. And it was a place that you could go and all the left would be there. It was kind of the soft left, the liberal left, but it was an intentional social space for the self declared left of Pittsburgh, and it was interesting to have it there around the corner from the Union Halls, which I don't think they were very involved with but there was that implied relationship, that proximity. And after Wobbly Joe's shut...of course none of these places made any money...they were all just these collectives. After that it was taken over by a women's collective called Wild Sisters. I think it was a dozen women, which I think towards the end ended up being mostly a lesbian group. It became Bloomers in the second half of its incarnation...It became a sort of a site for the social life on the left....It was a place that you could do stuff on the left so that South Side somehow got linked into the life of the left, which often circulates around Oakland and the universities.
-- Steffi D.

The railroad tracks near Jane Street

That's where we used to steal the coal...the guys used to go up on the railroad tracks that have boxcars of coal and everybody knew in the neighborhood.... the men just kind of pushed it a little bit so it would fall... And we were desperate. You know, we had those pot-belly stoves. And the guys would go up there and push it off and hope to god the Detective didn't catch 'em. And everything that they pushed off we were like everybody had a bag of some sort. You know you had to prepare..... We would borrow and they called it stealing. We were trying to keep warm. But everybody had to do their share. They didn't have little families in those days.
--Irene D.