Photo by Tom Barnick The West End Overlook looks out at the Pittsburgh skyline.
-DID YOU KNOW?-
By Tara Bailey
→ Did you know that while any born and bred West-sider would call their park at the top of the hill “the overlook,” that’s not its only name? Its official name is actually the West End-Elliott Overlook Park, and that magnificent vista of the landscape has been part of people’s lives for generations. With fantastic views of the Allegheny, Monongahela River, and downtown, the scenery has served as a backdrop for birthday parties, wedding photos, prom pictures, Fourth of July fireworks, and (later in the evening) a place for pecking.
There is no place more cherished to West Siders than the “Overlook.” Lifelong West Sider Dontika Hall of McKees Rocks remembers vividly her first time going to the Overlook.
“When I was 13 years old, I went on my first date, and we walked to the overlook,” said Hall. “We walked from Greenway, and it was horrible. I was wearing clear ‘jelly’ shoes and my feet were killing me. I did my best not to let him know that I was not enjoying the walk. But once we reached the top, all that pain was worth it. With our 25 cents Huggies and potato chips, we spent the afternoon gazing at the city. The afternoon went perfectly. The walk back, that’s a different story.”
From first dates and break-ups to reconciliation, the Overlook is the place to begin a life-long love or finally end a dead-end relationship. William James of Sheridan recalled his first heartbreak, saying “I was in high school, and I was dating my teenage sweetheart for six months. Back then it was considered long-term. Young minds change minds constantly and she didn’t want to go out anymore. We went to the Overlook after school and she broke up with me. It was messed up, but that view somehow made the break-up easier. The Overlook is home to countless memories and without a doubt will continue to help people make more.”
→ Did you know the West End Overlook resides in the Elliott neighborhood in a spot called “Elliott’s Bluff?” Merriam-Webster dictionary defines bluff as “rising steeply with a broad flat or rounded front.” The Bluff was a site where American Indians would watch the settlements at the present-day Point State Park.
Did you know the 340-acre Elliott neighborhood is named after West Elliott, the first settler of the area? According to Historic Pittsburgh, in 1815 Elliott built a home on the banks of Saw Mill Run. Coal mining became the major industry in the neighborhood and early settlers were English, Welsh and Irish farmers. As Elliott became industrialized the hilltop community attracted German and Irish mill workers. Elliott’s elevated terrain provided mill workers the ability to escape the pollution from the industrial riverbanks while remaining close to jobs.
With its unique view of the Pittsburgh skyline, Elliott’s Overlook continues today to be an attractive feature that sends people flocking west of the Ohio River.
→ Did you know you can rent the Elmer Clark Pavilion at the West End Elliott Overlook Park? It has a 24-person capacity. The hours of operation are from Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Must give a four-day notice to rent the pavilion. The pavilion has indoor heating and air conditioner with a rooftop deck. The amenities include tables and chairs, indoor restroom facilities, under-counter refrigeration and electric outlets. The facility permit fee is $375 and an alcohol permit is included. For more information on renting the pavilion call (412)255-2370 Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. or online at registerparks.pittsburghpa.gov.