The history of Friendship reflects the dynamics of social change in many of Pittsburgh’s older neighborhoods. Although the area was originally settled in the eighteenth century when Casper Taub, a German immigrant, claimed the land from the Lenape Tribe, it was not until the age of industrialism that Friendship began to grow and prosper. During this period, Friendship was a “streetcar suburb” and was home to many business owners, managers and professionals who easily accessed downtown via Baum Boulevard trolley lines.
The suburbanization of America in the 1960’s resulted in the decline of many urban neighborhoods. Friendship was no exception. As families moved out of the neighborhood, absentee property owners converted single-family homes into multi-unit apartment buildings and, in many cases, allowed the housing stock to fall into a state of neglect and disrepair. By the 1980’s, over 70% of the Friendship housing stock consisted of rental units.
In the 1990’s, attracted by the affordable magnificence and grandeur of Friendship’s homes, by the favorable location of the neighborhood, and by the genuine diversity of the neighborhood’s population, a new generation of residents invested their time, energy and financial resources into restoring many of the Friendship houses as single-family homes. They also organized as neighbors to create the Friendship Preservation Group and Friendship Development Associates to advocate for the well-being, safety and prosperity of the neighborhood and to have a role in shaping and safeguarding the community’s future. This positive activism magnetized additional interest and investment in Friendship over the years, and contributed significantly to the current health and vibrancy of the neighborhood.
Contrary to popular mythology, the name “Friendship” does not refer to the friendship between William Penn and the Winebiddles, original German immigrants and early settlers of what is now Friendship. Rather, the name derives from the Friendship Farm once located at the corner of Friendship and Roup, and owned by a member of the Quakers (aka The Society of Friends).