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Identity & Community

Often Overlooked, Historic Beltzhoover Building Is One Of The Oldest In Pittsburgh

Built in 1794, the Beltzhoover Homestead, located in the Beltzhoover area of South Hills, is one of the oldest buildings in Pittsburgh. According to historian Jessica Cox,  the home was present when the immediate area was just a “rugged” outpost.

It survived through industrialization, mass immigration and neighborhood decline. Buildings were raised around it and later torn down, but the Beltzhoover Homestead remains.

“It was there, and it was utterly forgotten,” said Cox.

The building is designed for use as a residence and storefront, but it is currently owned by an absent landlord, who Cox guesses is using it for storage, as the house does have electricity. It has been occupied or owned for as long as it has been there, but in its current state it would be impossible to restore.

“It’s in a very bad state of preservation. The important thing now is recognition and documentation,” said Cox.

The home and neighborhood in which it resides are named for the Beltzhoover family. Melchior Beltzhoover moved his family of nine children to the area when he was 54, and the family’s businesses included farming, tavern keeping and coal mining.

Despite maintaining status as a standing relic of Pittsburgh past, Cox says the timing was never quite right to have it named a historic landmark.

“When it was looked for it was not threatened and when it was threatened it was not looked for,” said Cox. “It fell through the cracks.”

Cox has reached out to the current owner about the historical integrity of the building, but the owner has not responded.

The home is located at the corner of Climax Street and Curtain Avenue.

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