Photo by Erika Gidley

(Photos of view of downtown, Carnegie Library, Tartine Cafe, James Gallery, West End Overlook, West End Village street view, and Artifacts antiques; Erika Gidley)

Nestled in a valley along the Ohio River, the West End Village is on the cusp of a comeback.

Just two miles from downtown, the community once considered a gateway to the city of Pittsburgh is striving to reclaim its place through the restoration of a vibrant main street that serves the 297 residents who live here.

Originally the Borough of Temperanceville, the community officially became the West End when it was annexed to the city of Pittsburgh in 1872. A bit of rebranding a few years ago lead to its new “village” moniker.

Through the years, the West End Village has struggled with its share of unfortunate redevelopment decisions. Several blocks along Main Street were razed to make way for the business district, a decision that saddened many over the loss of several local landmarks.

Despite the setback, the community continues to make positive gains assisted by its great location, location, location. In 2009, the Urban Redevelopment Authority declared the West End Village as a Main Street Pittsburgh District.

More than 150 businesses have moved into Main Street and continue to work together in promoting the area as a design district anchored by the success of businesses like James Gallery, Artifacts and Ceramiche Tiles.

Delightful restaurants abide as well. Tartine is a hidden gem with a classic French menu for breakfast and lunch. The Village Tavern and Trattoria is a family restaurant famous for its huge portions, pastas and pizzas.

The Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, one of the premiere training studios for dance, voice and theatre in the region, also calls the West End Village home. The West End Overlook Park on the hillside remains a popular place for walkers and skateboarders. The newly reconfigured West End circle has eased traffic flow considerably.

Real estate in the surrounding community has remained reasonable, home to residents and families of mostly modest means. One notable exception is an extravagant development that has yet to break ground, The Overlook at West End Pointe.

Four Craftsman-style homes will be built on the bluff. The 3,800 square-foot townhomes will be five-stories with a rooftop observation terrace and spectacular views. They will be listed starting at $890,000.

Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared...