Pittsburgh’s oldest park, Allegheny Commons, dates to 1867 when it was designed to provide “breathing places” for the citizens of what was then the sooty city of Allegheny. The name derives from its previous use as public grazing land, or “common."
In the 1960’s a massive urban redevelopment project demolished the cores of historic Allegheny City, leaving only the Commons and its surrounding neighborhoods to evoke the area’s past. The neighborhoods of Allegheny West, Manchester, Mexican War Streets, Central Northside, and Historic Deutschtown are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The park’s original design is still visible in its north and east sections, where symmetrical paths flank the center walk. Grand trees from the park’s earliest years are planted throughout. Allegheny Commons is a City Historic District.
Its 80 acres provide a variety of thriving recreational and cultural opportunities, among them the National Aviary and the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum.
The Allegheny Commons Initative is spearheading restoration of the Commons pursuant to a master plan. The pilot phase in the Southeast quadrant was completed in 2007 and planning and fundraising are underway for the Northeast quadrant. Northside Leadership Conference provides administrative support for the initiative.
The Northside is also home to Pittsburgh's 4th largest municipal park, Riverview Park. This is a densely wooded and hilly park with walking trails and horseback riding just minutes from the city.