From the 1850s, the Pennsylvania Railroad provided daily commuter trains from the congestion and pollution of downtown Pittsburgh to the emerging suburbs to the east. Shadyside evolved into a particularly distinguished suburb for an upper-middle class that now had the possibility of creating villas within easy reach of the city. Succeeding waves of development (based on the car and bus, since the Shadyside railroad station closed around 1950) kept to the same standard.
Squirrel Hill is Shadyside's uphill neighbor, at least in its wealthy half. (Realtors call this district “North of Forbes,” to distinguish it from the densely packed streets south of Forbes Avenue.) Rarely visually dull, the affluent north half contains striking houses by such modern architects as Walter Gropius and Richard Meier, local modernists, as well as many survivors in the various academic revivals from the 1890s to the 1920s. The names of many of the clients for these homes, such as Mellon, Thaw, Mesta, and Kaufmann, are renowned.
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