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Pittsburgh Magazine.

Shadyside - A Proud Tradition That Continues to Evolve

The city of Pittsburgh is virtually defined by the neighborhoods that comprise it, and Shadyside has always been considered a unique area.

To families, college students, professionals, and other individuals who live along its tree-lined residential streets--hence the name Shadyside--the neighborhood is home; a quiet community where exquisite Victorian Homes stand side-by-side with multi-unit apartment buildings.

To those who visit Walnut Street to shop for treasures, browse through its variety of stores, mingle with friends or meet for dinner, the area is a combination of Rodeo Drive, Aspen Village, and New York's Fifth Avenue neatly rolled into one six-block package of specialty shops, restaurants, clothing stores and more.

Shadyside's business district, centered on Walnut Street and bordered by South Negley Avenue to the east and South Aiken to the west, has evolved over the past several decades.

Shadysiders will remember the former mainstays, such as Loft's Candies, The Gazebo, Gentry Gentlemen's Outfitters, and Brendan's. And before it housed the balcony and Stylegate, the Shadyside Theatre really did show movies. But Shadyside has a proud tradition that goes back to the turn of the century.

Longtime Establishments Provide the Heritage

Henne Jewelers was founded in 1887 by Rudolph John Henne and was originally on Centre Avenue in East Liberty, just a few minutes away from its present location. In 1n1978, Henne's grandson, John R. Henne, moved the store to Shadyside, an action that brought immediate growth to the family business. Recently, Anne Henne and John Henne, both great-grandchildren of the founder, joined the business, completely remodeled the interior, and moved the store to its present location at the corner of Filbert and Walnut. For more than 100 years, Henne Jewelers has been servicing several generations of Pittsburgh families with a commitment to quality.

"It is not unusual for a customer purchasing an engagement ring to say that both his mother's and grandmother's rings came from our store," says John Henne. "We've been given opportunities to move or to add a second location in some of the newer malls and shopping districts, but there is no place I would rather be than in Shadyside. We have found Shadyside to be the place where we can offer unique quality jewelry ranging from $50 to $50,000.

Where C.F. Walter Texaco now stands at the corner of Walnut and Ivy Street once stood a house that was demolished in 1935 and rebuilt as a service station 10 years later. Originally called the Shadyside Service Station, it was owned by the McCargo family and operated independently until it was sold to Texaco in May 1961. C.F. (Chub) Walter worked at the station during that time and finally took it over in October of that year. At that time, rent was $120 a month, plus a penny for every gallon of gasoline sold. In 1982, Chub and his wife Henrietta (Hank) bought the property, which they have owned and operated since.

"This is truly a mom-and-pop business," said Hank, who noted that all three of her sons have worked at the station. Their son, Tim, continues to serve as mechanic. "We like to think that we go a step beyond what is expected in taking care of our customers. Not only are we good at what we do-we're also incredibly friendly."

Since the 1920s, Rollier Brothers Servistar Hardware has been serving the Shadyside community. It was founded in the 1920s as a plumbing service company and evolved into a hardware/housewares specialty retailer. The appearance of the store today is a world apart from the original plumbing and hardware business. The dusty plank floors, crude homemade fixtures, and dimly lit displays of years past have long since been replaced by a brightly lit, clean, well-organized modern retail showroom.

The store's pleasant atmosphere allows people to feel comfortable about just browsing. Rollier's carries basic hardware, paint, plumbing, and garden products, as well as a wide assortment of kitchen, bath, and closet items. And the salesclerks, as well as the family members, are always eager to help you need to solve a problem.

Schiller's Pharmacy and Cosmetique has been in business since 1904, filling customers' prescriptions and providing a wide range of sundry items. A few doors away is the Aiken Market, a meat market and delicatessen all in one.

Shadyside has always maintained a strong association with the arts community and has been a home to many galleries and shops specializing in arts and crafts. The Clay Place has been a part of Shadyside for 23 years. It was originally located on the second floor of the 5600 Building on Walnut Street, which housed artists' studios. In the beginning, the gallery had only a small space to sell pottery and teach students. Eight years ago, when the building was torn down, the gallery moved to a larger space in the Mineo Building. Since then, The Clay Place has grown in size and has become known across the U.S, for its exhibiting artists.

Art is manifested in a variety of ways on Walnut Street. Not only is art found in the traditional paint brushes and pottery, but also in the area's many clothing stores and boutiques, like Stylegate, Footloose, and Pamar, which feature the fashions of talented new designers projecting their individuality and sense of style.

"As you walk along Walnut Street, notice the numerous signs and sandwich boards that push out onto the sidewalks," suggests Ed D'Alessandro of Stylegate, who also serves as executive director of the annual Shadyside Arts and Jazz Festival. "They reinforce our village feeling. Shadyside is always the litmus test for newly developed or renovated areas in the city."

Functional fashion is available at Shadyside Ski, which specializes in everything skiers need before they hit the slopes. Further down the street, Orr's Flowers offers floral arrangements, potted plants and more. A variety of fine writing papers is available at Margie Allon and pillows at Feathers.

Newer Businesses Set Up Shop

Shadyside has always been friendly to and represented by small business. Many of the stores, galleries, and dining establishments that line the streets of Shadyside are independently owned and operated. Then, in the 1980s, a new trend began. Upscale clothing chains began to discover the charm and allure of Walnut Street and the opportunity to serve a clientele that was somewhat different and perhaps more discriminating that those found in suburban shopping malls.

Banana Republic was one of the first chains to move in, setting up its only Pittsburgh area shop at the site of the old Razzberry Rhinoceros. With its vast array of khaki safari clothing, a rustic, jungle-like ambience, and piped-in World War II era music, the store was an instant hit. Classic women's fashions followed from Ann Taylor and the Limited, as well as casual men's and women's clothing from The Gap. Non-clothing chains include General Nutrition Center.

At the same time, independent establishments continue to come to Shadyside. One boutique for women is e.b. pepper, whose namesake owner calls Shadyside, "the most unique experience in shopping that Pittsburgh has to offer. Within a few blocks you can find the finest assortment of wares available and get the finest personalized service you can ask for."

Among the dining establishments that are newer in the neighborhood, the Pittsburgh Deli Company on Copeland Street is a lot like the Carnegie Deli and others like it in New York, only more comfortable in atmosphere and lower in price.

"The three of us grew up in the Shadyside community and always wanted to open a business in the area," said Gregg Caliguiri, who co-founded the eatery with Marc Hourvitz and Craig Blank. "Becoming part of one of the most charming business districts in the city is a dream come true. Shadyside has such unique, quality-oriented retailers and fantastic restaurants, we feel privileged to have succeeded for almost two years. We hope to always have a positive influence in Shadyside and in the Pittsburgh area in the years to come."

Other newer restaurants include China Palace and Sushi Too, soon to be joined by BW Wings and Valentino's.

Unique is a word to describe Stampassion, a "rubber art" shop on Filbert Street. The store sells an enormous variety of rubber stamps and related products, including stamp pads available in 24 colors. Classes are offered to teach the art of stamping on many different types of materials.

The Linen Corner offers a full range of sheets, pillowcases, and other linen-related items.

Services Are Represented Too

Shadyside is the site of several businesses and organizations that offer services like health care and banking. At Shadyside Hospital, just moments away from Walnut Street, a wide range of primary care and specialty care services are available.

The hospital, founded in 1866, provides general medical care to the immediate community through its Family Health Center, Shea Medical Center, and numerous physician offices. The specialties of cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, geriatrics, home care, long-term care, subacute care, obstetrics, /gynecology, vascular medicine, sports medicine, rehabilitation, and others are provided to patients from across southwestern Pennsylvania.

Other organizations offering health and human services are the Ronald McDonald House and the Children's Home of Pittsburgh.

A Special Community

Shadyside is one of the most prestigious areas of the city, according to Gloria S. Gelb of Ruth Young. "It enjoys a reputation for being a melange of spirited people who enjoy the choice of wonderful shops that ranges from exquisite boutiques, fruits, and vegetables to exotic restaurants and art.

Shadyside provides its residents and visitors with a number of celebrations throughout the year, from the Arts and Jazz Festival to Halloween parties for the area's children; from Christmas Light-Up Night to the annual Shadyside House Tour.

As Edward D'Alessandro says, "Shadyside continues to be stable, individual, personal, and, most of all, civilized."

 

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