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Group seeks designation for former city stable

Pittsburgh Tribune ReviewBy Bobby Kerlik
Monday, January 29, 2007

Erected 112 years ago, a three-story building on West North Avenue on the North Side once stabled horses for the Allegheny City public works department.
A local historic group wants to designate the building — now used as a private garage — as a historic structure.

“There are very few municipally owned buildings left from the city of Allegheny,” said Timothy Zinn, 43, of the Allegheny West historic group. “The Department of Public Works had several stables at one point. This appears to be the only one left — from Pittsburgh or Allegheny.”

Built in 1895 for $12,260, the stable housed horses used for everyday tasks such as hauling water tanks to clean the streets, Zinn said.

After Pittsburgh swallowed Allegheny City in a forced annexation in 1907, Pittsburgh continued using the building as a public works stable until horses were phased out. The stable then was used as a garage, said Michael D. Eversmeyer, chairman of city’s Historical Review Commission.
“In 1928 the city of Pittsburgh still used 300 horses in various departments,” said Eversmeyer, chairman of city’s Historical Review Commission.

Pittsburgh sold the building in 1969.

The commission will consider the proposal Feb. 7, although City Council will have the final say on the designation. Once a building is designated as historic, the owner must get approval from the commission before doing work on the exterior.

Building owner Jim Rutledge could not be reached for comment.

Tenant Al Land, of Spring Hill, rents the building from Rutledge to work on cars. He said historical buffs have asked to film or take pictures of the building in the past.

“I used to work here as a kid when it was a delivery company,” Land said. “I like the building. I hope they don’t kick me out. I don’t know what I would do with these cars.”

Zinn admitted the building is in poor condition. Windows on the first floor have been filled in with concrete bricks, and many of the windows on the second and third floors are broken or have been boarded up.

A faded sign, proclaiming “DPW Bureau of Highways and Sewers 8th Div.,” still hangs outside the building.

Inside the building, dim lighting reveals crumbling arched ceilings with ornate exposed beams and chipped paint.

Carole Malakoff, a member of the Allegheny West historical committee, said the building could be repaired and saved. She said the building was rumored to be targeted for demolition by a prospective buyer.

“We thought we ought to hurry up and do something,” Malakoff said. “It’s probably the last stable left in the city, and it can be developed. It’s important to reflect the history of Pittsburgh. People want to live in neighborhoods that have character.”

Bobby Kerlik can be reached at or 412-391-0927.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633