Lasting legacy: 6 Pittsburgh places with ties to H.J. Heinz, family |

Lasting legacy: 6 Pittsburgh places with ties to H.J. Heinz, family

Joe Napsha
Courtesy of Senator John Heinz History Center
The Senator John Heinz History Center on Smallman Street, Pittsburgh.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Dane Jackson leads the Pitt Panthers on the field for warm up before playing Virginia at Heinz Field on Aug. 31.
Joe Napsha | Tribune-Review
Heinz Lofts at site of former H.J. Heinz Co. plant on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
H.J. Heinz Plant smokestacks, now part of the Heinz Lofts on the North Side.
Heinz Memorial Chapel on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland.
Courtesy of Heinz Hall
Courtesy of Senator John Heinz History Center
H.J. Heinz Estate, Greenlawn, in Point Breeze.

One hundred and fifty years after what became the H.J. Heinz Co. launched in Western Pennsylvania, the family name lives on in Pittsburgh.

If you want to learn about the region’s rich history, listen to classical music from a world-class symphony, cheer in the stands at a football game or get married on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, then you will be at a place with the Heinz name on it.

Here are five highly recognizable locales and one that is not so well-known:

Senator John Heinz History Center

1212 Smallman St., Strip District

Named after late U.S. Sen. H. John Heinz III, who died in 1991 when his plane collided with a helicopter. He was the great-grandson of H.J. Heinz, founder of the global food giant. The 370,000-square-foot facility, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is the Pennsylvania’s largest history museum. It houses the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and the Detre Library and Archives. The museum has been at its current location, the former Chautauqua Lake Ice Company building, since April 1996.

Heinz Field

100 Art Rooney Ave., North Shore

The place to watch football in the region also happens to be about a mile from where H.J. Heinz built his factory complex. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers have played at the field since it opened in 2001. The stadium also hosts WPIAL high school football championships, major outdoor concerts and other special events.

Heinz Lofts

300 Heinz St., North Side

The 17-building factory complex H.J. Heinz Co. built in the 1890s is now a luxury apartment development. Heinz constructed it to house the “Heinz Pickle Works” and other production facilities. From its beginnings, the forward-thinking Heinz included a roof garden, indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, locker rooms, emergency hospital and even a dining room for employees. The site was added to the list of Pittsburgh historic landmarks in 2004.

Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts

600 Penn Ave., Downtown

Built in 1927 as the Loew’s Penn Theater, the opulent movie house was regarded as the most magnificent theater between New York and Chicago. When Loew’s Penn closed in 1964, it was destined for the wrecking ball, were it not for the vision of John Heinz II and the Pittsburgh Symphony. Heinz and symphony officials saw potential in the old building and embarked on a three-year, $10 million renovation. The 2,660-seat Heinz Hall was dedicated in 1971 and is a keystone in the cultural life of downtown Pittsburgh.

Heinz Memorial Chapel

326 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland

The neo-Gothic, non-sectarian chapel is located on the main campus of the University of Pittsburgh. It was a gift to the university from H.J. Heinz and his children. Heinz included a provision in his will that Pitt be given money in honor of his mother for a building for religious training and social activities. It was intended as a companion to Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning and was designed by the same architect, Charles Klauder. Ground was broken in 1933 and work was completed in 1938.


7000 block Penn Avenue, Point Breeze

All that remains of the mansion where H.J. Heinz lived is the ornate iron and stone fence that surrounded the estate, known as Greenlawn. It was located a block from Henry Clay Frick’s Clayton mansion, and two blocks from George Westinghouse’s estate, Solitude. Other neighbors included R.B. Mellon and Andrew Carnegie’s mother. Heinz bought the former Hopkins mansion in 1892. He hired Pittsburgh architect Frederick J. Oesterling to remodel the French Renaissance mansion. The grounds contained a conservatory with 10 greenhouses.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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