This Week in Pittsburgh History: World’s First Suburb Founded
Evergreen Hamlet was initially home to a small utopian society and overlooked an infamous hotel.
On May 16, 1851, Evergreen was founded in a hillside over what is now the intersection of Babcock Boulevard and Peoples Road in Ross Township. The hamlet, which claimed to be the world’s first suburb, was home to a small, self-sustaining utopian society that offered its elite residents an escape from the noise and smoke of Pittsburgh.
The founders envisioned 16 families living, working and building their community together. They made plans to build stables, orchards, cow pastures and a school for their children.
However, the secluded utopia failed under the weight of strict rules that governed its residents. Left behind were four Gothic Revival, cottage-style homes. One of these is the Hill-McCallam-Davies house, known as Rosehill. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the home, along with the three others remaining from the hamlet, has remained intact since 1852.
Below the hamlet was the infamous Evergreen Hotel, which opened in 1874. The hotel was built by Matthew Cridge, who owned and operated the hotel and the Evergreen Passenger Railroad, which was a rail line that ran from Bennet’s Station in Millvale to the end of Evergreen Road. Rumors of hauntings, speakeasies, murders, prostitution and more riddled its past before its demolition in 2011.
Learn more about the city’s past at The Odd, Mysterious & Fascinating History of Pittsburgh Facebook page.