806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Documentary Reveals Pittsburgh’s “Quiet Soldier” for Civil Rights

City of Asylum (2018)

Sembène – The Film & Art Festival Presents

Wendell Grimke Freeland:
A Quiet Soldier in the Fight for Civil Rights

Monday, June 17th
7:00 pm

Tuskegee Airman. Civil Rights attorney. Powerful advocate for the poor and the disenfranchised.

Wendell stands at the top. He was that kind of guy, with a deep-seeded sense of commitment.” — Civil rights advocate and New Pittsburgh Courier columnist Louis “Hop” Kendrick

Wendell Freeland

Wendell Freeland devoted seventy years to fighting injustice wherever he found it, from the age of Jim Crow to that of Barack Obama. Though a Baltimore native, Freeland made the most impact in Pittsburgh. He blazed a trail for racial equality by working largely behind the scenes in America’s courtrooms, boardrooms, and political backrooms. He served as Chairman of the board of directors of Pittsburgh’s Urban League and as Senior Vice President of the National Urban League Board of Trustees.

This is his inspirational story and a significant piece of American history.

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PHLF: How to List Your House in the National Register of Historic Places

PHLF 2017 Banner

Location: Landmarks Preservation Resource Center, 744 Rebecca Avenue
Date: Thursday, June 6th
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Contact: or (412) 471-5808 ext. 527

National Register of Historic Places

Have you ever wondered about what it means—or what it would take—to get your house or a building listed in the National Register of Historic Places? Do you know the potential benefits of National Register listing? Are you interested in pursuing National Register designation for your house, but are unsure of the procedural requirements?

Join us for this lecture and learn about the history of the National Register Program; the criteria for listing a property, and learn the basic components of a National Register Form. This lecture will also touch on tips for conducting research on your property, the procedural requirements for completing a nomination, and the benefits of listing a property in the National Register.

About the Presenter: Jesse Belfast is an architectural historian at Michael Baker International, where he is involved in numerous aspects of historic preservation through National Register-designation of buildings and management of mitigation processes around real estate projects involving historic buildings.

Based in Michael Baker’s Moon Township office since 2003, his work revolves around Section 106 compliance, historic context studies, National Register of Historic Places nominations, historic architecture surveys, state inventory form preparation, criteria of effects evaluations, and other aspects of compliance regarding historic buildings and resources. Some of his prominent projects include National Register nominations for the Strip Historic District and the Lawrenceville Historic District, Historic American Engineering Record documentation for the Civic Arena, and historic architectural inventories for seven Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

A native of San Diego, Mr. Belfast holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Duke University and a Master of Arts degree in History from Carnegie Mellon University.

This lecture is FREE and open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated: or (412) 471-5808 x 527.

Free Tickets for Northsiders: Her Holiness, The Winter Dog

Her Holiness

Presented as Part of the Community Support Art Series
May 30-31

This contemporary opera takes place in a dystopian future, where humans cause the extinction of nearly all animals and must use people to replace their sacred pets. To protect their status and religious values, three sisters hire a guardian of faith who dresses and lives as a dog. As their spiritual leader, the Winter Dog incites change— but not in the way they expect.

You’re Invited

Northside residents and workers can in for free by using the coupon code:


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Discounted Tickets for Northsiders: Bright Star

Bright Star

Presented by Front Porch Theatricals
May 17-26

A sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier and author just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past – and what she finds transforms both of their lives.

You’re Invited

Northside residents and workers receive $10 off admission on Sunday, May 19 & Thursday, May 23 by using the coupon code:


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Poet Corrine Jasmin Navigates Trauma with Resilience

City of Asylum (2018)

NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania Presents

Stories That Heal

Thursday, May 30th
7:00 pm

Stories That Heal — presented by NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania — returns with their monthly reading series highlighting local authors who live with and/or have a loved one who lives with mental health conditions. Their stories promote empathy, foster resilience and uncover the truths about living with a mental health diagnosis.

Corrine Jasmin

This May features Corrine Jasmin, local writer, artist, and filmmaker. Corrine uses her work as a tool for healing, loving and making sense of a chaotic world. Her work frequently features her “Trifecta” narrative: being black, being a woman and being queer. She will read from Tread, her poetry collection that touches on mental health, childhood trauma, falling in love, heartbreak and self-loathing.

Corrine presented a moving multimedia performance at Alphabet City in April 2017, and we’re thrilled to welcome her back as we celebrate Pittsburgh literature and fight stigma!

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One of “The 14 Best Queer International Films of 2018”–Indiewire

City of Asylum (2018)

ReelQ Presents

A Moment in the Reeds

Wednesday, May 29th
7:00 pm

Set on the quiet and secluded shores of a Finish lakeside, A Moment in the Reeds tells an intense emotional story of a young Finnish man who embarks on a whirlwind love affair with the Syrian refugee his father has hired to help renovate their summer home.

A Moment in the Reeds

“This gay love story defies borders … [the] chemistry in the film is palpable.” – The Advocate

A response to an absence of queer narratives in Finnish cinema, this film is among the first queer feature films made in the country. Viewing Finland from the perspectives both of an immigrant and an emigrant, the film casts the long-marginalised voices of sexual and ethnic minorities center-stage.

Weaving themes of national identity, queerness, and outsiderness into an engaging and steamy drama, this is a story about the search for a place to call home.

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Historic Preservation Grants & Tax Credits Workshop

Historic Building Preservation Banner

Historic tax credits and Keystone grants are vital tools in revitalizing older buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. These financial incentives encourage private investment, create jobs, and return abandoned or underutilized properties to active service. Successful projects balance the building’s and neighborhood’s historic character with the property’s new or continued use by using the National Park Service’s Standards for Rehabilitation as guidance.

May 24th from 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Rodef Shalom Synagogue
Registration is requested by Friday, May 17th

How can architects, design professionals, communities and property owners take advantage of these programs? Join Preservation Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) for this workshop to learn more about these important state and federal incentive programs.

Agenda includes:

  • Understanding and applying the National Park Service’s Standards for Rehabilitation to historic properties;
  • Overview of the federal and state historic tax credit programs including program eligibility, the application & review process, and a best practices case study;
  • and introduction to Pennsylvania’s Keystone Historic Preservation Grant program.

Learn More and Register


For more information, please contact Bill Callahan, PA SHPO’s Western Region Community Preservation Coordinator
at or (412) 565-3575.

Letter from the President – May 2019

Spring is a wonderful time in Allegheny West, with the bright greens and colorful blooms popping up everywhere. It’s also a time for renewal, which fits perfectly with May as National Preservation Month. The Presidential Proclamation of May 1973 establishing National Preservation Week read in part:

“As the pace of change accelerates in the world around us, Americans more than ever need a lively awareness of our roots and origins in the past on which to base our sense of identity in the present and our directions for the future.”

In 2005, the National Trust extended the celebration to the entire month of May and we here in Allegheny West have a number of ways to celebrate our historic past.

As is tradition, the Local Historic Review Committee (LHRC) will present Allegheny West Preservation awards at the membership meeting on Tuesday, May 14th. The LHRC recognizes neighborhood property owners who have “rehabilitated, preserved, and continued use of old buildings consistent with the intent of the Secretary of the Interior’s ‘Standard for Rehabilitation’.”

On Friday, May 17th, 5:00 – 8:00 pm, Allegheny West Civic Council is hosting an opening reception for the Allegheny West Historic Timeline Exhibition, in collaboration with Community College of Allegheny County. The exhibition will be at the Gallery at West Hall at CCAC and will run through June 9th. Curators Doris Short and Greg Coll describe it as a “celebration of over five decades of rebuilding the smallest neighborhood in Pittsburgh.” The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Those of us fortunate enough to live in Allegheny West owe a debt of gratitude to the early pioneers who built the homes in the neighborhood and the more recent pioneers with the foresight to stop the destruction and focus on preserving and renewing what was here. I recently received an email from John Canning, noted historian and former AW resident, who saw the blooms on the beautiful pink dogwood in the 800 block of Western Avenue and forwarded an article he wrote about one of those later pioneers, Jane Johnson. (That article is reprinted with John’s permission in this issue of the Gazette.) It serves as a reminder of the beauty of spring and renewal and the power of an individual to make a lasting impact.

There is a lot of Allegheny West business on the agenda for the May membership meeting and I hope you’ll make an effort to attend, hear about these important subjects and vote on motions offered at the meeting. Like you’ll be hearing at every turn from now until November 2020, Make Your Voice Heard: Vote! (Your membership dues should be paid to Cathy Serventi, AWCC Treasurer, to be eligible to vote. Contact her at with any questions.)

Ann Gilligan
President, AWCC

AWCC Membership Meeting – May 14, 2019

Calvary United Methodist Church, 971 Beech Avenue
Tuesday, May 14th at 7:30 pm

  • 7:30 – Guests
  • 7:50 – LHRC 2019 Allegheny West Preservation Awards
  • 8:15 – Reading and Approval of April’s Minutes
  • 8:20 – Treasurer’s Report
  • 8:50 – House & Planning Committee Report
    • Western Avenue Neighborhood Improvement District
    • CCAC Workforce Development & Training Center
  • 9:30 – Committee Announcements
  • 9:45 – Adjournment

2019 Allegheny West Preservation Awards

Submitted by Carole Malakoff

The Allegheny West Civic Council along with The Allegheny West Local Review Committee announce the 11th Annual Allegheny West Preservation Awards. These awards are presented to property owners in Allegheny West who have completed projects over the past year, retaining or restoring appropriate elements of historic character and adhering to the neighborhood guidelines. The success of these projects was attained by doing research, creating well thought-out plans, following neighborhood historic guidelines and working with the neighborhood LRC and the City HRC to seek advice on the application process and guidelines.

The 2019 award recipients are:

828 West North Avenue

Owner, Q Development

This structure was built in 1902 as a warp and weavers supply business with carpet cleaning on the second floor. In 1925 it became the Katsafanas Coffee Co. It was purchased by Q Development in 2016 for their offices. The brick was cleaned. Parapets were restored. The 1925 limestone “Katsafanas Coffee Co.” sign on the main façade was restored. Limestone sills were gently cleaned. Windows were restored to match the existing. The one-story hand painted sign on the west façade was restored.

847 Western Avenue

Owner, Keane George

Keane and his architect, John Francona, worked with the LRC to select missing façade elements on this building, formerly a laundromat. After much discussion and on-site visits, the final selection of tiles was appropriate in color and material to reflect the existing.

The Visual Arts Center

Owner, Community College of Allegheny County

These three projects greatly add to the historic ambience of the neighborhood streets, contribute to the economic development of our neighborhood, and enhance the quality of life in Allegheny West. To celebrate Preservation Month, the awards will be presented at the this month’s membership meeting.