Discover the cultural and industrial heritage of Southwestern Pennsylvania
Nominate new places or
revise information. Click Here!

Trolley Station Oral History Center

Three Rivers

Trolley Station Oral History Center

thumbnailthumbnail

Location Details

ADDRESS: 7310 Frankstown Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
HOURS: phone ahead

Description

The Trolley Station Rides Again

Homewood's past, present, and future intersect at the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum Complex, and that's the way proprietor John Brewer likes it. In the beginning, however, the decision to take over a landmark that had seen better days wasn't high on his list of things to do. "I never dreamed of owning this facility," Brewer says. "That's just the way it worked out."

This Frankstown Avenue building had many lives. Dating back to the early 1900s, it was a trolley station, a Port Authority garage, and a skating rink. By the time Brewer assumed responsibility for the structure in 1989, it was little more than a "black hole."

It took Brewer nearly 10 years to renovate the complex into its current configuration — which includes a 14,000-square-foot ballroom, an upscale club and catering services (Ramseys II), a recording studio, and the Trolley Station Oral History Center.

Dedicated to preserving the traditions and history that define the African-American community, the Center is now home to a collection of Charles "Teenie" Harris photographs. Harris was the principal photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier from 1936 to 1975. In addition, the Center displays artwork and features a Westinghouse High School hall of fame. The ballroom serves as a gathering place for community fundraising events, reunions, and cabarets.

According to Brewer, who grew up in Homewood, the Coliseum Complex is an important part of his neighborhood — past, present, and future.

Rivers of Steel enewsletter sign up

Rivers of Steel enewsletter sign up