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Manchester House
Manchester Menu


The residential portion of the Manchester neighborhood is roughly bounded by Chateau Street to the west, Western Avenue to the south, Allegheny Avenue to the east, and the Conrail railroad tracks to the north and northeast.  The Manchester Historic District is contained within these boundaries; however, the district does not include the sections of the neighborhood with new housing, later commercial buildings, or stretches of vacant land.  (top)


Manchester is located approximately one-half mile west of Allegheny Center along the east bank of the Ohio River.  Major streets such as West North Avenue and Allegheny Avenue provide access from Allegheny Center, and Routes 65 and I-279 provide alternate approaches from the north and east.  The West End Bridge also connects the neighborhood to the southern side of the Ohio River.  (top)


For the past twenty years, the Manchester Citizens Corporation has provided an active voice for community residents interested in the preservation of Manchester's character as a livable, historic neighborhood, and continues to serve as a catalyst for local rehabilitation.  Additionally, the Bidwell Training and Cultural Center offers innovative programs for training in the arts and crafts.  Manchester is almost exclusively residential; however, the community is served by nearby commercial districts along Western Avenue, Federal Street, and East Ohio Street, as well as by the Allegheny Center Mall.  The parks surrounding Allegheny Center, as well as the Children's Museum, the Aviary, the Carnegie Science Center, a local branch of the Carnegie Library, and Heinz Field offer a variety of recreational opportunities for visitors and the city at large.  (top)


Manchester was part of the preserve of the Shawnee and Delaware Indians until the late eighteenth century, when all Indian lands in Pennsylvania were ceded to the State.  In 1787, the land was surveyed and laid out as a section of the Reserve Tract, which was conferred as partial compensation to Pennsylvania's Revolutionary War veterans.  Development in Manchester was encouraged by its division into large parcels of land, which were sold in conjunction with smaller town lots located in the city of Allegheny.  Situated on one of Pittsburgh's few riverside plains, the level nature of the land allowed the community to be laid out in a standard grid pattern in 1832.  Manchester became a borough in 1843, and in 1867 it merged with the city of Allegheny.  In 1908, Allegheny was annexed to the city of Pittsburgh.  Manchester was largely built up between 1860 and 1900, and attracted residents from Pittsburgh and Allegheny who desired to escape the density of the city.  The installation of a streetcar network in the late nineteenth century linked Manchester to both cities, and stimulated its development as a suburban neighborhood.  The community grew into a middle-class suburb, populated largely by local businessmen and their families.  (top)

The name Manchester seems to have originated from the English immigrants who first settled in the area and named the community after its industrial English counterpart.  Manchester was an important industrial center for the city of Allegheny.  The neighborhood was originally supported by industrial and wharf activity situated on the shore of the Ohio River, and factories loosely woven into the community. The Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works was a notable Manchester industry which produced the first Allegheny-built locomotive.  Manchester's historical boundaries extended beyond Chateau Street to the shores of the Ohio River, with a neighborhoof commercial district along Beaver Avenue.  However, the western section of Manchester was severed in the 1950s when the elevated Route 65 Expressway was constructed.  The expressway bisected the original neighborhood and created a separate commercial district called Chateau.  Thus, today's Manchester is a remnant of a neighborhood that was once closely linked to the commercial and industrial sections closer to the river.  (top)

Manchester, along with other city neighborhoods, began a slow decline after 1915, when residents began to move to outlying suburbs to escape the encroaching and unpleasant effects of heavy industry.  During the ensuing years, many of the finest houses in Manchester deteriorated and were demolished, and the neighborhood as a whole was neglected.  In the 1970s, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), the Manchester Citizens Corporation, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and private developers formed a partnership that was successful in renovating many Manchester houses.  Renovation projects continue in Manchester on a smaller scale, and the restored residences will be highlighted in this tour.  (top)


Manchester remains primarily a Victorian neighborhood.  The term "Victorian," however, does not refer to a specific architectural style, but instead to the era of Queen Victoria's reign from 1837- 1901.  During that time, many different architectural styles were popular.  "Victorian" styles prevalent in Manchester are the Italianate (ca. 1860-1885) and its contemporary, the French Second Empire (ca. 1855-1885); Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne (ca. 1880-1900), which were superseded by the Classical and Colonial Revivals at the turn of the century.  Examples of all these styles can be found in Manchester.  Clearly, these styles overlap in their periods of popularity, and individual houses often incorporate elements from more than one style.  Sometimes this combination is due to the creativity of the original designer or builder, but in many cases, it is the result of the remodeling of the facade.  The identifying characteristics of all of the styles noted above are described in the architectural tour narrative.  (top)


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