City Scenes: Spring Hill Cemetery & City View

This weekend I traveled over to Pittsburgh’s Spring Hill neighborhood to take in some of the local fare as well as the killer city views. My roommate had recently biked to this North Side neighborhood to visit the Threadbare ciderhouse, and he returned with rave reviews of the brewery and the panoramas afforded by the nearby hilltop cemetery. Our visit to a graveyard seemed serendipitously timed one week out from the Halloween holiday.

We weren’t cycling this time around so that meant walking up the neighborhood’s steep streets toward the summit. Pittsburgh is of course famous for its vast network of public steps and stairways. We saw some impressive (and intimidating) examples of Pittsburgh steps during our walk, and even got to make use of some.

The undulating topography of Spring Hill results in some unique neighborhood layout, and we passed a few houses with fantastic mosaics and designs laid into their facades.

We had been referring to the graveyard as the Spring Hill cemetery, but it is actually the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery.

The city views from the hillside were indeed worth the trek. Looking toward downtown we had a panorama stretching roughly from the 16th Street Bridge to the West End Bridge.

One of the things I especially appreciated about the perspective was that it allowed one to view the headstones and memorial monuments as if they were on the same level and scale as the skyscrapers of the downtown skyline. This perceptual shift enabled a rather philosophical vista where the towering buildings seemed like more funereal markers in a vast and sprawling cemetery.

There was evidence of some nocturnal seance or occult ritual having been recently performed among the tombstones: three red x’s scrawled on the backside of a grave marker, along with a candle emblazoned with an image of Santa Muerte.

From the hilltop we also had a great vantage point to watch the Goodyear blimp flying toward downtown ahead of the Pitt football game at Heinz field.

It was an awesome location and great outing overall. I’ll have some additional info from our Spring Hill trip in the near future.

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