Hazelwood is a neighborhood about 4 miles down the Monongahela River from downtown Pittsburgh. It is currently experiencing significant change, at least in the Hazelwood Green portion. The area that I’m designating as Hazelwood Flats, is a small predominantly residential enclave. On the north-south axis, it is sandwiched between the former site of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Mill (now Hazelwood Green) and a mixed commercial/industrial area that includes the city’s recycling processing center. On the east-west axis, it is sandwiched between the river and the railroad tracks.
Given the extent of disinvestment in the Hazelwood in recent decades, this enclave is relatively intact with far fewer vacant lots than in the remainder of the neighborhood. The housing stock ranges from boarded up to maintained with vibrant yards.
Only two streets cross the railroad tracks to connect this enclave with Second Ave, the neighborhood’s main street and a main artery for the city. A small road with car-swallowing potholes connects the enclave directly to Hazelwood Green bypassing the black wrapped fence surrounding Uber’s test track.
While Uber has a veiled presence in the neighborhood and robots are being tested nearby, the question is what will happen to the residents and the neighborhood. Through this photographic series, I will periodically return to the neighborhood to document the physical changes to the Hazelwood Flats to capture a part of the answer to that question as it unfolds. This is in conjunction with two related series documenting the changes to Hazelwood Green and the slope portion of Hazelwood on the other side of the railroad tracks.
Since I last visited Hazelwood Flats, work has begun on the renovation of the former Hazelwood Brewery (image 5a). The proposed new use of this site is a hub for craft brewers. I noticed a vacant lot on Blair Street (image 9a) that may have been newly vacant or was just more noticeable as a staging area for the water main replacement in the neighborhood (similar to the water main replacement in Uptown this summer). As I’m becoming more familiar with the neighborhood, I’m seeing more details – such as noticing the rowhouses tucked along the Ways (image 15) similar to other worker housing neighborhoods in Pittsburgh like Lawrenceville and Garfield.