If you ever find yourself on the East End of Pittsburgh near Shadyside, Garfield, Bloomfield, and East Liberty, don't drive too fast, you might miss the second smallest neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Friendship is exactly one tenth of a square mile large and is a strictly residential neighborhood that is approximately four miles from Downtown Pittsburgh. Originally known for its immense Victorian homes, Friendship is now known for it's tight-knit community that has continued to blossom throughout the years.
Just as the neighborhoods of Bloomfield and Garfield were acquired, Friendship was also acquired by Casper Taub who claimed Friendship from the Delaware Tribe just before the American Revolution. Eventually, Taub's daughter went on to marry Joseph Conrad Winebiddle, and one of their daughters, Kitty, inherited the land of what is now known as Friendship. Friendship was initially built as a streetcar suburb, which is a residential community whose expansion was forged by the use of streetcar lines as the main means of transportation. The homes in Friendship were designed for professional-class families during the Victorian era. The neighborhood was populated by prosperous families from 1890 to the 1950's, however many families relocated to the suburbs in 1960, seeking more opportunities outside the city. Zoning changes also took place throughout the Friendship neighborhood and by 1980, over 70% of the housing stock was owned by landlords who broke up the Victorian homes and turned them into multi-unit apartments. Friendship's rebirth didn't come until the late 1980's when the urban homesteaders moved into the neighborhood. Once the urban homesteaders moved in, the Friendship Preservation Group and Friendship Development Associates were formed. Today, although Friendship is an explicitly residential neighborhood, it is still on the rise, attracting artists and architects to the neighborhood, bringing with them a much needed revitalization.
Since Friendship is such a small neighborhood, there is not much to do or see except houses. However, there is one park in this residential community, Baum Grove Parklet! The lot that this park sits on was bought from a business for one dollar by the Friendship Preservation Group and Friendship Development Associates. It was transformed into a quarter acre triangular parcel that houses two rows of large ginkgo trees and ivy covered walls. This green space features gardens with benches and paths as well. It has quickly become known as the heart of the neighborhood and is the site of the annual Friendship Flower and Folk Festival. This is the number one gathering place in Friendship!
There are a couple of restaurants that could be considered a part of the Friendship community as well. First, there is Spork, a small plates, chef-owned restaurant. Their food is made from scratch and the chef's work with local farmers to make all their offerings fresh and healthy. Spork won the Open Table Diner's Choice Award in 2017 making them a must try restaurant. Their menu features many different items including various meat and cheese boards. The other restaurant in Friendship is Avenue B. Avenue B is a neighborhood bistro known for its approachable and evolving menu. This restaurant is bring your owns beer and the cuisine is considered of the upscale new American variety. Avenue B also features inventive dishes and a rotating seasonal menu. Since there are only two restaurants in Friendship, trying both shouldn't be a problem!
Being that Friendship is exclusively residential, if you want to shop you will have to go to the nearby neighborhoods, but don't worry everything is still withing walking distance! You can shop in Garfield and East Liberty along Penn Avenue. Then there is Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield that has tons to offer. Finally check out Walnut Street in Shadyside! All of this is less than three miles away, making it just another stop on your morning walk.
Do you remember the Friendship Flower and Folk Festival mentioned earlier? Well, this festival is the neighborhood's biggest block party that everyone is invited to! The Flower and Folk Festival is held every year the day before Mother's Day. At the festival you will find local bands performing, food, children's activities, and a bounce house. The festival offers flowers and vegetable plants for sale as well as local artist's works. This is a great way for the community to spend time together and get to know one another, making the Flower and Folk Festival a can't miss event!
Although Friendship is small, it has so much to offer! Today it is hard to find a close-knit community where everyone looks out for each other and enjoys spending time together in a safe and friendly environment. Friendship is the perfect community for all of that. The residents truly love their home and have worked hard to develop it into what it has become today!