A Resident Views the Past
By long time Hill District resident, Walter Worthington, from Hill District Project Area Committee brochure, "The Hill District: A Community on the Move," (c1980s)
Toward the middle of the nineteenth century a tiny
people of color settled in the eastern end of a rapidly growing city named
Pittsburgh, in a community called Haiti. Pressured by the rapid growth of
Pittsburgh, Haiti soon moved up to what was then known as Quarry Hill
(Herron Hill after the Civil War). This community of blacks kept moving
upward and eastward, entering Arthursville, Lacyville, Minersville and
still later, Springfield. As it grew, the names Haiti, Lacyville,
Minersville, and Springfield were abandoned and the area became known as
just the "Hill."
New arrivals, white immigrants (Welsh, German, Irish, and English), swelled the area, followed by immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe (Greek, Italian, Syrian, and Russian). The community that resulted was an ethnic and racial melting pot, one of the largest in the city, stretching from Tunnel Street to Herron Avenue and beyond.
The history of The Hill mirrors America's history with all the races and ethnic groups weaving a rich and vibrant tapestry of great strength and beauty. Hill District residents supplied the labor for mines, mills, business, and government. As Hill District residents toiled, raised their children, and contended with each other, they slowly established, by trial and error, a community which left an indelible mark upon the region's religion, politics, and economy.
There are so many opportunities for this new community, not be be what it was but what it ought to be. As in the 1950s, so in the 1980s new residents are welcomed and we in The Hill say to you, "Come, build your enterprises, live your faith, share your hopes and dreams, and pass on to coming generations that legacy of freedom in mind, body, and spirit which is ours. After years of neglect, Our community is on the move."