Earlier this year Pittsburgh's City Council moved to designate Roslyn's wooden street as a Pittsburgh Historic Landmark. Earlier this week Preservation Pittsburgh, in partnership and support of the neighbors of the street, nominated Roslyn Place to become a City Historic District.
Like the street, the houses on Roslyn Place were designed by Thomas Rodd, the chief engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad on all lines west of Pittsburgh. From his home adjacent to Roslyn Place, Rodd oversaw the neighborhood's construction from 1914-1917. The eighteen homes on the street are grouped into ten distinct buildings with only one of the homes, built for Mary Belle Hogg Childs & James A. Childs, not facing the street directly.
The other Georgian Revival homes on Roslyn Place would remain rentals until they were sold by the Rodd family in the 1950s. Many of the neighbors on Roslyn Place today were part of the first generation of home owners on the street. The neighborhood's exceptional design and planning approach is widely recognized, perhaps most notably by internationally acclaimed urban planner Allan Jacobs. Despite the neighborhood's esteemed notoriety, its designation as a City Historic District would be the first official recognition of its rich history.
Neighbors approach a City Historic District designation for different reasons. For some it's because they help ensure the neighborhood will continue to exist and look respectful to the period when they were designed. For others it's to protect the community and help increase property values. For many it's to celebrate a community's unique history. And when it comes to Pittsburgh neighborhoods, Roslyn Place is indeed exceptional. Should City Council move to designate the district, it would be the only neighborhood where the entire environment (both the buildings and the street) is protected.
We are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to support the neighbors of Roslyn Place in this pursuit. It's our hope that the HRC, Planning Commission, and City Council will also support the nomination and officially recognize one more piece of Pittsburgh's rich history.