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Walking Tour Offers A Glimpse Into Homestead's Storied Past, And What's To Come

Twenty businesses, including churches, a brewery and winery, firehouse, and a National Historic Landmark will be part of a walking tour in Homestead on Saturday, June 26. The Homestead tour will be hosted by Doors Open Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that offers historical architectural tours throughout the city.

“It's an amazing group of local stakeholders who are putting their heart and soul into this neighborhood,” said Bonnie Baxter, founder and executive director of Doors Open Pittsburgh. “I think people are going to be so pleasantly surprised and totally illuminated if they allow themselves to come and visit.”

Two guided tours will be offered along Eighth Avenue and inside Millie’s Ice Cream Factory. Local jazz artists will perform live in Frick Park and a community plaza will feature folk art vendors and an art exhibit by Roadkill Gallery.

Fire Chief Tim Eads of the Homestead Volunteer Fire Department.
DOORS OPEN Pittsburgh
Fire Chief Tim Eads of the Homestead Volunteer Fire Department.

Baxter said she wants the tour to tap into the rich history of Homestead, as well as the revitalization efforts of the neighborhood. She said her perception of the neighborhood completely changed after getting to know residents working to reimagine Homestead. These individuals are excited to open their doors and invite people inside, she said.

“They were genuine and they continue to be very grateful for this opportunity to show off their neighborhood,” Baxter said.

Baxter said she hadn’t been to Homestead in years, when a volunteer encouraged her to check out the neighborhood. As she became acquainted with the locals and the area’s history, she realized she wanted to help other people learn more about the region, too.

“There’s some really wonderful things going on in Homestead,” Baxter said. “I think it’s fun to explore and get to know what other neighborhoods are doing to uplift themselves.”

Doors Open put on their annual Pittsburgh event last fall with about 1,500 attendants. In a typical non-pandemic year, the events attract 3,000 or more people. Baxter said their goal is getting people into buildings and exploring new neighborhoods they’ve never encountered.

“I think the first thing that comes to people's minds is, ‘Wow, I've lived in Pittsburgh all these years and I have never known this building was here or I never took the time to step into it,” Baxter said.

The Homestead event will last from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with free shuttle bus service and free surface lot and metered street parking. Baxter said most buildings are compliant with accessibility. Event tickets and more information can be found on the Doors Open Pittsburgh website.