The Long Way Home


E. 9th Avenue
May 22, 2013, 7:53 PM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , ,
e. 11th avenue

this is a house we found on e. 11th avenue

The first place I lived was on E. 9th Avenue in Homestead. My father worked at US Steel, a few blocks away, and my mother worked the front desk at the downtown Hilton. The mill is now closed – replaced by mall development – and so is the Hilton, a ghostly structure overlooking the Point where three rivers meet. The house though is still there, and it’s for sale; on Sunday, Jeff and I stood in front of it, imagining what it would be like to live there. I remember the dark, wooden bannister leading up to the third floor apartment where my aunt Linda lived; the fireplace in the front room where a Pepsi bottle exploded, shattering glass over my hair (this memory, my mother told me enough times it feels like mine). There were blue beaded curtains in my bedroom instead of a door. When Jeff asked me what it looks like inside, I tried to explain how the rooms were all cast in blue – that same blue that seems to cover all of Western Pennsylvania on most days: cloudy, chance of rain, a part of my historical landscape.

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st. michael's, e. 9th avenue

st. michael’s, e. 9th avenue

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14 Comments so far
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I love how the color is treated in these photos.

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Comment by Bill

thanks, dude – it’s all in the light (and the unpredictability of instant film, which i love!).

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Comment by Lisa

The first photo is incredible!

I can’t believe that Hilton is closed. My husband & I stayed there once, in 1996, I think. They upgraded us to the top floor and we felt positively rich.

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Comment by thevintagetraveler

thanks, lizzie! when we saw that house on our way to my old house, i made jeff pull the car over so i could take photos. and yes, sadly, the hilton is closed. it’s supposed to be under ‘renovations,’ but nothing much has been done for a few years.

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Comment by Lisa

The house on 11th is amazing–I like how the red hue blends in with your hair. The second photo is beautifully done too–the overgrown patio/porch. St. Michaels is a tad forbidding! And the blueness you mention, the overcastness of everything.

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Comment by Michael Williamson

hi michael – the house is incredible. after we took a peek around on the property on sunday, we google-viewed it and just a few years ago it had a beautiful wooden door and the original windows still intact. i’m curious to know what happened since then. thanks for stopping by!

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Comment by Lisa

St. Micheal’s looks crazy scary- I wish we could get in there!

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Comment by jeff

After I scanned the photos, I looked for ghosts in the windows. I’ll keep checking them!

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Comment by Lisa

I went to grade school in Homestead. St John’s. I think it was on 10th or 8th Ave. We spend some time at St. Michael’s as well. This post brought back memories for me. Lovely.

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Comment by motherblue212

We spend so much time at the Library over there as well.

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Comment by motherblue212

thanks, lady! i have a soft spot for the library – the house where we lived is across the street from the park. it’s cute, but would need a lot of work. st. michael’s is closed now too, i think, but the convent looks like it was turned into apartments.

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Comment by Lisa

All of those places are long, long gone. I should drive over there and check out how different it all has become. It has been far too long.

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Comment by motherblue212

It is also amazing to think that we could have crossed paths way back when.

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Comment by motherblue212

My friend Ralphie lived on the corner of Amity and 10th too. It would be too wild if somehow our parents all knew each other or connected in some way.
Also: I promised you a Pola-date, so maybe this is the area where we do the shoot: Homestead, Duquesne – the Mon Valley.

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Comment by Lisa




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