A section of Grant Street, between Forbes and Seventh Avenues, is part of the Pittsburgh Central Downtown National Register Historic District, which also includes significant buildings west of Grant Street.
This tour will visit some of these buildings and a unique urban garden located in the Historic District. Grant’s Hill was the outer limit of Pittsburgh 250 years ago, founded by the British on November 25, 1758 and named for British statesman William Pitt the Elder. (Just two months earlier, British Major James Grant had been defeated by the French and Indians on the hill that would bear his name.) Grant’s Hill formed a natural eastern boundary to downtown Pittsburgh, but its height was an impediment to development.
In the late 1830s, in order to accommodate construction of a new county jail and courthouse and provide access for fire equipment and public transit, the top of the hill—”the Hump”—was lowered; by 1913 some sixty feet of soil had been removed. The oldest surviving buildings on Grant Street are the present Allegheny County Courthouse (1884–88) and the First Lutheran Church (1887–88). Grant Street was widened in 1929, and in 1990 an end-to-end scheme of paving, planting, and lighting was completed.
Start the tour at Mellon Green Parklet near the fountain,
on the corner of Grant Street and Sixth Avenue.