Suburban House

Friendship

Suburban House

About the Community of Friendship

Just before the American Revolution, early settler Casper Taub claimed Friendship, along with neighboring Bloomfield and Garfield, from the native Delaware tribe. In 1762, British Colonel Henry Bouquet recognized Taub’s title to the land in exchange for Taub’s promise to sell crops to the British garrison at Fort Pitt.

Taub’s daughter Elizabeth married Joseph Conrad Winebiddle, a German immigrant who moved to Lawrenceville in 1771, founded a tannery, and used the profits to buy Taub’s land. Winebiddle’s holdings then passed to his four children. One daughter, Kitty Winebiddle, inherited what constitutes Friendship today. Many of the streets in the area take their names from members of the Winebiddle clan, including Winebiddle, Roup (Kitty Winebiddle married a John Roup), Aiken, Negley, and Baum.

The City of Pittsburgh annexed the East End in 1868, and the Winebiddle clan began dividing their land into plots and selling them. What is now Bloomfield was developed first and was divided into narrow plots and used for rowhouses. The Roup holdings—today’s Friendship—began to be developed later, when trolleys running along Baum Boulevard extended beyond Bloomfield in the 1890s.

Friendship was therefore built as a streetcar suburb, and its houses are large, square homes designed for professional-class families in the Victorian period. These homes have elaborate architectural embellishments, and are located on some of the only flat streets in the City of Pittsburgh. As a streetcar suburb, Friendship lacks its own business district, but its residents have access to shopping on Penn Avenue in nearby Garfield and East Liberty, on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield, and on Walnut Street in Shadyside.

From the 1890s through the 1950s, Friendship was inhabited by prosperous families. Beginning around 1960, many of these families moved to the suburbs: they were attracted by perceived opportunities outside the city, and repulsed by the construction of massive housing projects in nearby Garfield, and by a misguided urban renewal project’s wholesale demolition of East Liberty. After a zoning change in the 1950s, landlords broke the massive old Victorian houses up into multi-unit apartments, and ripped out or painted over many of their amenities in the process. By the 1980s, over 70% of the housing stock in Friendship was owned by landlords, many absentee.

Friendship experienced something of a second birth in the late 1980s. Urban homesteaders began to move into Friendship, looking past the blight to see an opportunity to buy large homes with features—high ceilings, plaster walls, stained-glass windows, and ornate woodwork—that were not available in newer suburban homes.

Because these new residents were focused on the housing stock, they saw Friendship as a unique neighborhood in its own right, with homes distinct from those in any of the bordering neighborhoods. By the early 1990s, the newcomers had succeeded in getting the neighborhood known as “Friendship,” and had organized a Friendship Preservation Group to advocate for the area, and a subsidiary, the Friendship Development Associates, to buy and rehabilitate the most dilapidated properties. By 2004, a number of artists and architects had gravitated to the neighborhood, and its future seemed bright.

All information about Hoffman Estates courtesy of Wikipedia.

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