Allegheny HYP Club History

Alumni of Harvard, Yale and Princeton had been active in western Pennsylvania for many years, but no one group was large enough to maintain a clubhouse. In 1929, efforts were made to band together and procure a joint headquarters. The small tenement buildings on the corner of William Penn Place and Strawberry Way seemed to offer the best location, combining proximity to many of the larger office buildings with the restful atmosphere of a quiet street.

Built in 1894, the buildings originally contained 12 three-room apartments and served as workers’ row housing. Pittsburgh architect and club member Edward B. Lee (Harvard Class of 1899) was commissioned to transform the space into a private club. Some of his other works include the City County Building and various buildings at CMU. The fact that it was a re-use project made it unusual for the time. The exterior of the club was remodeled in the Georgian style to be reminiscent of the London of long ago. Lee also designed much of the interior, as well as donated an antique grandfather clock from Amsterdam that still chimes in the Member’s Lounge today. Following many months of extensive reconstruction, the Club opened its doors on November 7, 1930.

One side of the courtyard is now occupied by offices and the other structure forms the headquarters of the Club. The courtyard itself has been ornamented with columns, capitals and other materials salvaged from demolished buildings formerly at the three founding universities and around Pittsburgh.

The Club is registered as a National Historic Landmark and is part of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation downtown walking tour. It continues to be the last remaining tenement housing from the 1890’s.

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