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Mission Hills

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1921, with additions. Along Jefferson, Orchard, and Parkway drs., Mount Lebanon Township

Mission Hills, one of the best of the interwar developments in Mount Lebanon, was promoted by local realtor Lawrence Stevenson in 1921, and modeled after its namesake, developer Jesse Clyde (J. C.) Nichols's subdivision in Kansas City. Stevenson put up three hundred homes on three-acre lots in the variety of styles preferred at that time. The street plan avoided replicating the regularity of Pittsburgh's street grid, and thus avoided a flaw in many other South Hills developments. Medieval Revival styles predominate, but one can find anything from Louisiana plantations to California bungalows. Visual continuity is maintained by the gently curving streets, common setback frontage, similarity of building materials, and design linkages through the employment of a limited number of architects. The landscaping is particularly noteworthy with houses sited on the hillside slopes. Marked by pillars and small parkways, the entrances from Washington Road give coherence and legibility to the street layout. The development is strictly a form of bedroom suburbia, but the tight town center of Mount Lebanon is only a few minutes away on foot, where one can catch the trolley to Pittsburgh—renamed the “T.”

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Mission Hills", [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 127-128.

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