Preservation Opportunities & Awards

PHLF: Preservation Advocacy & Tour Event

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Featuring Easements as a Tool of Historic Preservation

Thursday, March 21, 2024
5:00 pm-6:30 pm

Mansions on Fifth Hotel
5105 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

This event is limited to 30 participants.

Click here to purchase a ticket

Join us at the historic Mansions on Fifth, a boutique hotel in the restored former McCook Mansion and residences in Shadyside, for a Preservation Advocacy reception to learn about the value of preservation easements as a critical tool in saving historic buildings.

Mansions on Fifth

Located in a stretch of Shadyside that was once famously known as Millionaire’s Row, what is now Mansions on Fifth Hotel was built in 1906 as the home of Willis McCook, a Pittsburgh lawyer and industrialist, who was Henry Clay Frick’s attorney. Designed by the Pittsburgh architectural firm Carpenter & Crocker, the house would go on to serve as a boarding house for many years before its complete restoration and conversion into a boutique hotel.

Join us to learn about our organization’s involvement in helping to save the building from demolition and the restoration of the main house and its sister building. The event will include a tour of the hotel, and you will also learn more about the use of preservation easements and how they can enable you to save and maintain your historic building. Our organization owns a preservation easement on Mansions on Fifth Hotel.

Hors d’oeuvres will be served.
Drinks and other refreshments available for purchase at the bar. 

Downtown Walking Tour: Market Square Area

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Friday, August 11
10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

$20.00 per person

This tour is limited to 20 participants.
Tickets will not be available after 11:30 pm on August 10.

Click here to purchase a ticket.

Ever since George Woods and Thomas Vickroy laid out the plan for the streets of Pittsburgh in 1784, Market Square has occupied an important place Downtown—geographically, economically, and culturally. In this area where the historic architecture meets recent construction, we will see how PHLF’s work has helped to revive a Downtown core that was once threatened by extensive demolition.

Market Square (2023)

The tour includes residential, commercial, corporate, and hotel buildings, several of which the U.S. Green Building Council has awarded its highest certifications for environmental sustainability. Together, the sites on the tour demonstrate how the combination of historic preservation and thoughtful new development can create a livable urban environment.

PHLF: Downtown Walking Tour of Fourth Avenue Historic District

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Saturday, July 15
10:00 am to 12:00 pm

$20.00 per person

This tour is limited to 20 participants. Tickets will not be available after 11:30 pm on July 14.

Click here to purchase a ticket

In 1889, Mary Schenley donated 300 acres of land to the City of Pittsburgh to create the park that bears her name. By the turn of the 20th century, the construction of other amenities transformed Oakland into Pittsburgh’s original cultural district. 

Downtown Walking Tour

This tour focuses on the section of Oakland that includes Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, and the main branch of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which drew people from around the growing industrial city for respite, enlightenment, and aesthetic pleasure. 

Stops at additional sites around these landmark institutions will reveal not only how the neighborhood has continued to evolve, but also the mix of features that still attracts people to Pittsburgh’s original home of culture.

2023 Allegheny West Preservation Award

The Allegheny West Local Review Committee, along with The Allegheny West Civic Council, announces the 13th Annual Allegheny West Preservation Awards. These awards are presented to property owners in Allegheny West who have completed projects over the recent years, 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 2023 Award Recipients Are:

Greg Kobulnicky for the restoration of 908 Beech Avenue, main house and ancillary building/electric shop.

The main house, built in 1868, is an example of the Italianate style, the most popular in the Pittsburgh area between 1860 and 1885. It is one of the oldest along Beech Avenue. The ancillary building was added in 1895.

Over the recent years the most prominent reconstruction projects that Greg has undertaken are the replacement of the side porch, highly visible from Beech Avenue, and the reconstruction of the ancillary building in the rear. On the porch, chamfered columns were used, with brackets that match those above the front door. The porch deck and ceiling are tongue and groove wood. The roof is standing seam metal, and the door onto the porch is paneled wood with a glass lite. The new porch reflects the Italianate style.

The new first floor windows along the porch side are wood.

The reconstruction of the ancillary building involved masonry work and the rebuilding of the roof and chimneys. New windows were installed, and a new door added.

This restoration is successful because of the extensive research, well thought-out plans, and adherence to our neighborhood guidelines.

Paula Cellini for the restoration of 929 Western Avenue

This is a very special award because Paula is no longer with us. Not only did she restore the Western Avenue façade of 929 and replace garage doors in the rear, but she served on the LRC and was a strong advocate of historic preservation in Allegheny West.

Paula had just received approvals to add a second floor living space above her garage. She was preparing to start construction. She related her experiences in getting City permits and approvals to LRC members. Her experience in restoration in historic districts, both Allegheny West and Manchester will be greatly missed.

What is the Allegheny West LRC and What is its function?

The Allegheny West LRC is a group of residents in the AW City Historic District convened by the City Historic Review Commission to review exterior renovation projects, to help property owners manage the building permit process, and to provide our recommendations to the property owner, and the City Historic Review Commission.

Because Allegheny West is one of 13 city historic districts, all exterior work that is visible from a right-of-way, a street or alley, needs a Certificate of Appropriateness, and, depending on the type of project, possibly a building permit. Once you have a concept, idea, or plan, check the Allegheny West Historic Guidelines. These guidelines are posted on the City HRC site. If your project fits the guidelines or if it is fairly simple and straightforward, such as painting, you may be able to get approval for a Certificate of Appropriateness “over the counter” at 200 Ross Street, Downtown. The persons that you will need to contact for this are Sarah Quinn, 412-255-2243 or or Sharon Spooner,, the City Historic Planners.

However, if you are planning a more significant project, such as replacement of windows or doors, installation of a fence, porch, addition, or a garage, you will need to have a hearing before the Historic Review Commission. In the second instance, please contact us, your local committee. We will review your plans, make recommendations, and help you get through the process. To be put on the LRC’s agenda, contact Carole Malakoff,

Warning – Do not proceed with work without a building permit or a CofA! Property owners who have done so in the past have been cited by Building Inspection. Time and money had to be expended to resolve the situations, and projects were delayed.

More information about the Allegheny West City designation can be found on the City’s web-site under City Planning/HRC:

  • guidelines for our neighborhood
  • the other 13 historic districts
  • applications to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness

PHLF: A Showcase of Pittsburgh Architecture

In June 2022, we launched a 10-part series of short videos to showcase Pittsburgh’s distinctive historic architecture. The series, titled “Past is Present” was meant to give viewers some insight into aspects of our city and region’s history and built environment. Through this series we profiled singular buildings, bridges and landmarks, and even how the landscape— hills, rivers, and valleys— help define the Pittsburgh aesthetic.
With this final episode, we take a broader look at the architecture of Pittsburgh and consider some of the themes and attributes that make this city and region an architectural gem. We hope you enjoyed the series, which we created as an aspect of our educational and advocacy programs.
CLICK HERE to watch the entirety of the series on our YouTube channel.
This program was funded by a grant from Colcom Foundation.

PHLF: Virtual Tour of Penn-Liberty Cultural District

Thursday, February 23
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm


This tour will be conducted via Zoom Conference. 

Click here to purchase a ticket. (Because this is a virtual event, please disregard the QR code information in the ticket e-mailed to you.)

You will receive an e-mail with a link to the Zoom event on February 23. (Tickets will not be available after 9:00 am on the day of the event.) Please log in at 5:45 pm so that we can start the tour on time.

The Penn-Liberty corridor in Downtown Pittsburgh was an important retail and commercial center in the 19th and early 20th centuries, featuring excellent examples of early skyscrapers standing cheek-by-jowl with more modest structures. Today, after a decades-long period of decline in the mid-20th century, it is the site of a thriving arts scene, much of it housed in stunning historic buildings that have been restored and creatively repurposed.

In addition to seeing many such examples of historic preservation in action, tour participants will learn of the crucial roles of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and PHLF in creating what has been called the country’s “most impressive and successful” example of urban economic revitalization through the arts.

Please Join Us Tomorrow for a Celebratory Check Presentation for the Renovation of the Allegheny YMCA

Allegheny YMCA Event

Please join us for a celebratory check presentation 

Tuesday, February 7 at 10:30 am
Allegheny YMCA Gymnasium | 600 W. North Avenue

Small group tours will be available following a brief program. 
The Allegheny YMCA Gymnasium will be closed for the duration of the event.


This project entails the renovation and update of all common spaces, the kitchen, fitness facilities including the wellness floor, pool area and locker rooms, and meeting rooms.  96 single room occupancy (SRO) units will be renovated on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors with a new configuration that replaces shared bathrooms with private facilities and provides a much-needed community room for the residents. Rooms and corridor renovations will include flooring, painting and ceilings. Additional work will include replacement of mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems and installation of a sprinkler system. Air-conditioning and new elevators will be added. The renovations will use high quality, environmentally friendly materials. The SRO units will be designed with thoughtful floor plans and natural light. This renovation ensures that the entire building is fully ADA assessable. 

Other important amenities for the residents of the Allegheny Y include access to the wellness facility and swimming pool, daily NA and AA group meetings within walking distance, access to local feeding programs and a small community garden providing fresh produce. 

PHLF: Walking Tour of Deutschtown

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Saturday, October 29
10:00 am to 12:00 pm

$20.00 per person

This is an in-person tour and is limited to 20 participants. (Tickets will not be available after October 28.)

Click here to purchase a ticket.

Deutschtown Walking Tour

Pittsburgh’s East Allegheny neighborhood was nicknamed Deutschtown because most of the area’s early settlers were from Germany. (“Deutschtown” literally means “Germantown.”) Joining them were large numbers from Switzerland, Austria, and Croatia. By the late 19th century, it was a thriving community with established businesses and institutions.  Although a 1970s interstate highway project bisected the Deutschtown area, causing the demolition of buildings and displacement of hundreds of people, the community retains a large part of its historic architectural fabric.

Join our docents as they reveal the rich history of this eclectic neighborhood. The tour will take participants through the Deutschtown Historic District and the E. Ohio Street business district, which lie in the western half of the neighborhood. It includes a wide range of building types, from well-preserved historic homes to old structures repurposed for contemporary uses—and an Elks Lodge that hosts the Pittsburgh Banjo Club every week.

PHLF: Walking Tour of the Strip District

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Tuesday, October 25
10:00 am to 12:00 pm

$20.00 per person

This is an in-person tour and is limited to 20 participants. (Tickets will not be available after October 24.)

Click here to purchase a ticket.

Strip District Walking Tour

The Strip District is a vibrant amalgamation of Pittsburgh’s past, present, and imagined future. It is probably best known locally for food sellers and other businesses that reflect the neighborhood’s long immigrant history. In its 200-plus-year history, however, the Strip has been a site of industry, the region’s wholesale produce distribution hub, a center for nighttime dining and entertainment, and, most recently, home to Pittsburgh’s burgeoning technology sector.

The Strip’s ongoing evolution is mirrored in its architecture. Across a sprawling neighborhood, you will see everything from a small, two-story building constructed as a public bathhouse in 1911 to recent office buildings for the technology companies that have given the Strip a new nickname, “Robotics Row.” Preservation and repurposing of historic buildings have been key to the revitalization of the Strip in the last 20 years, and the tour will center on the historic buildings through which the Strip’s fascinating history is told.