Friendship is a tiny (.1 square mile) neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s East End. The neighborhood was originally developed as a streetcar suburb for the professional-class during the Victorian era. Until the 1950s, the neighborhood was inhabited by wealthy families who enjoyed their massive and ornate brick homes on serene, shaded streets.
Friendship’s story is largely a story of the surrounding neighborhoods. In Garfield, to the north, a massive housing project began during the 1950s, causing some Friendship residents to move outside the city. Around the same time, East Liberty, to the east, began a misguided urban renewal project that further caused Friendship folks to look elsewhere. The changes surrounding the neighborhood also coincided with new zoning laws that allowed Friendship’s stately homes to be transformed into multi-unit apartment buildings.
By the 1980s, 70% of the homes in Friendship were owned by landlords. By the end of the decade, though, folks started to recognize the incredible, albeit blighted, housing stock in the area and began to renovate the once grand homes.
Today, Friendship resembles what it must have looked like before the turn of the century. The houses are more often than not immaculate, and even though the pint-sized neighborhood is surrounded by some of Pittsburgh’s busiest business districts, the area feels as quiet as the leafy suburb it was originally envisioned to be.