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The WEECC Is No Longer Active

Our community is now represented by the:
Elliott Community Group

In late 2010 community involvement with the West End Elliott Citizens Council ceased after 47 years of service. This started with the loss of two very active friends and neighbors: Elmer Clark who passed on in 2009, and Norene Beatty who moved to another nearby community. The last known participant was Matt Hogue.

These pages are no longer maintainted, and remain online for historical review.
Overlook Dedicated In Memory Of Elmer

Dedication Plaque Family and Mayor Elmer M. Clark
Elmer M Clark
Sept. 29, 1940 - Dec. 3, 2009
He was one of the greatest assets that the West End Elliott Citizens Council ever had. He lived and breathed for the children and the community. - Norene Beatty

View and sign Elmer's remberence guestbook
Also see Post Gazette: news story, and obituary.

- The communities with a view -




Norene M. Beatty


            Elliott is the hill that is located on the western side of Saw Mill Run Creek where it empties into the Ohio River. Mountain Washington is on the left side of Saw Mill Run Creek. At the top of the hill in Elliott is the finest view of Pittsburgh. You are looking directly at the confluence of the Allegheny and Mongehala Rivers that form the Ohio River. From this very vantage point the Indians could see any movement on all three rivers flowing downstream. Beneath the crest of the overlook were caves and paths where some Indian relics were said to have been found.

            Through this portal where Saw Mill Run Creek flows into the Ohio River three very important roads began. The plank road to Washington, Pennsylvania up what is now called Green Tree Road, Noblestown Plank Road also leading towards Washington County and Steubenville Pike. Steubenville Pike is now know as Steuben Street and went to Fort Steuben and on to the Northwest Territory. Steubenville Pike cuts through Elliott climbing the steep backside of the hill. When England surveyed this area it would become part of Saint Clair Township.

            Elliott received its name in the time period between 1825 and 1830 because the area was owned by West Elliott. Some would continue to call the area “River Hill” while others would refer to it as “Elliott’s Delight”. With its beautiful view of the rivers and fertile land the hill was dotted with farms; it truly was a delight.

            As industry grew along the banks of the Ohio and around Saw Mill Run Creek the workers needed homes near their jobs. It was the welcoming hillside of Elliott where they first built their homes over looking Saw Mill Run Creek. Then they began to move up Steubenville Pike and Chartiers Road leading towards McKees Rocks. Elliott farmers had new neighbors. A great number of those early residents were Germans and Irish.  In Elliott they found more room for their gardens surrounding their homes and they were removed from the grime of the industry below. As more workers were needed in the steel mills along the banks of the Ohio other nationalities would build their homes also in Elliott.

Coal was found very close to the surface in Elliott. The residents realized they could dig into the rich hillside for coal to heat their homes. This form of mining coal is called slop mining. The tunnels that were dug into the hillside were so small that the miners often crawled on their knees. Large dogs were used to pull the carts holding the coal from the mines. Hence Elliott also received the nickname of Dog Town.

            Trails were replaced by roads and later streets. Many of those early roads and streets received their names name’s from land owners. Elliott Street which marks the beginning of the community and runs parallel to Steuben Street was named after West Elliott.  Lorenz Avenue that became the center of Elliott running down the back of the hill from the top was named after the proprietors of the glass works in Old West Pittsburgh Borough, near the Point Bridge, which was later replaced by the Fort Pitt Bridge. Chartiers Avenue began as it turned right off Steubenville Pike and travel west through Elliott and Sheraden winding on to McKees Rocks crossing Chartiers Creek.  Lorenz Avenue and Chartiers Avenue became the main arteries of Elliott both branching off of Steuben Street.

            Elliott became a very self efficient borough with taverns, stores and industry. Just beyond the corner of Lakewood Street and Lorenz Avenue a brickyard produced many of the bricks that built the surrounding homes and were sold in Pittsburgh. The brickyard on Lakewood Street had competition with another brickyard that was located between Steuben Street and Chartiers Avenue on Azalia Street.

Industry was not the only interest in Elliott after the brickyard at Azalia Street had excavated all the clay they abandoned the area and it became know as the “oat field”. On the oat field a race track was built by lovers of fast horses. It was said to be a quarter of a half mile track. Baseball was another favorite past time in Elliott. Elliott was the home grounds of the B. D. Woods and later the J. D. Woods’s baseball clubs that were consider some of the best in the county during their days.  Another place that the gentleman folks of Elliott could be found was in the many taverns that were in Elliott. Saloons and taverns were plentiful in Elliot since alcoholic beverages were not permitted to be sold in the community at the foot of the hill..

            Tavern owners were opposed to Elliott becoming annex to the City of Pittsburgh in 1904. The saloonkeepers would be required to pay more for their licenses if they were part of the city of Pittsburgh. However with a vote of 357 for annexation and 117 votes against in June of 1904 Elliott became apart of Pittsburgh and the 36th ward.

            A streetcar line was built from the downtown to Sheraden and it would run through Elliott on Chartiers Avenue. Businesses continued to grow along the Lorenz Avenue and Chartiers corridors. In the time period between 1920 and 1950 Elliott would have its own movie house, small grocery stores, butcher shops, shoemakers, and a wide variety of small business. Everything you needed you could purchase without leaving Elliott.

            Westlake Elementary School was the first school in Elliott it would be replaced in the late 1930’s by Thaddeus Stevens School. Churches soon found their place also in Elliott. The Evangelical United Brethren Church still had services in German into the late 1940’s. When the United Brethren Church merged with the Methodist faith the church became the Emanuel United Methodist Church. Guardian Angles Catholic Church on upper Steuben Street was home to the Polish in the community, the German Catholics attended St. Martins on Steuben Street in the West End and the Irish attended St. James Catholic Church also in the West End. St. Martins even had a cemetery on the western hillside of Elliott.  You could be born in Elliott, work and live all your life in Elliott and die and be buried in Elliott. Elliott was a self efficient little town within the city.

            The 1960 saw the decline in small business in the community as people rushed to the shopping centers and malls. The mom and pop stores could not compete with the big grocery chain stores. The two drug stores on the corners of Lorenz Avenue and Chartiers were forced out of business by the chain pharmacies and insurance companies that dictated where patients had their prescription filled. Slowly the lights went out in the stores and little lunch counters. Changes in the public schools, lost of industry with in the area and the rush to suburbia all took their toll on Elliott.

            Yet, there were those who stayed, who watched the house next door change from proud ownership to absentee landlord and tenants who seemed not to care. It was the dreams and determination of these staunch believers in Elliott that in the 1990 they began to plan and to work for renewal in Elliott.  In 1994 they developed and idea if they could refurbish and bring attention of the city and others to their community and its assets it would bring a renewal. So with hard work they were able to have the overlook at the top of Lorenz Avenue off Rue Grand Vue expanded and refurbished. At the other end of Lorenz Avenue at the corner of Crucible Street one block below Steuben Street they had Westlake School torn down. In its place a senior apartment building was erected to house seniors from the community and the city.

Through the endeavors of the West End Elliott Citizens Council and others of Elliott they continue to work on plans and dreams to not only rebuild Elliott but to build a better Elliott for today and the future. Our history is an ongoing history of change and overcoming adversities.

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Modified: 9/12/2009 2:24:16 PM