Journalist To Speak at History Lecture and Recall Past Visits from Celebrities to Oakland

On Thursday October 14, 2021, the 4th Annual Lecture in the “Exploring Our Roots” series will be held at the newly renovated and repurposed historic building at 4338 Bigelow.   This was previously  home to the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, and is now the new home for the Latin American Studies Assn Cultural Center.

The speaker will be Len Barcousky,  who wrote an Eyewitness History column for the Pgh Post Gazette for many years.   All SF residents are invited.  The event is also open and free to anyone interested in local history.   Face Masks are required as a public health measure.

SPEAKER:   Len Barcousky

TOPIC:  Everybody came to Oakland: Residents of Schenley Farms had front-row seats to visits by, among others, a renowned physicist, a U.S.president and a popular preacher.


Len Barcousky got his first job in journalism in 1970, and this year he marked the 51st anniversary of the start of his newspaper career. He spent almost 30 years as a reporter and editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

          A graduate of Penn State with a degree in English, he has a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

          Len is the author of three books about the region:

“Remembering Pittsburgh: An ‘Eyewitness’ History of the Steel City” (The History Press, 2010); “Civil War Pittsburgh: Forge of the Union” (The History Press, 2013); and “Hidden History of Pittsburgh” (The History Press, 2016).

          For 12 years he wrote a bi-weekly “Eyewitness” column for the Post-Gazette. In it, he investigated how now historic and not-so-historic events were reported originally in the Post-Gazette and its predecessor publications.  

          Len lives in Ben Avon with his wife, Barbara, also a Penn State graduate.



New Electric Scooter Program causing concerns – property abandonment, safety


Several neighbors have noted and reported that the new SPIN electric scooters have been found inappropriately left on sidewalks in the neighborhood.   See photos (submitted by S. Weinberg).

There have also been concerns of zipping riders weaving along Bigelow, posing new challenges for drivers, pedestrians and bikers.

On 9/14/21, the Post Gazette had an oped piece about the issue.   Pgh City Council will be having hearings soon, planning to draft legislation to regulate use.

Just a few pertinent points:

  • City entered pilot program with scooter company SPIN on July 9, allowing 900 electric scooters to be available.   Complaints quickly came in.
  • Some of the issues:    underage use, inappropriate use on roads, safety issues,  abandonment of property.
  • Anyone who has a complaint can call either to City ( 311 or MyBurgh app), or directly to company Spin ( or 1-888-249-9698.)    Each scooter has a large ID # and  this should be part of report.

This issue will take a more time and thought, but reports of concerns are helpful to city council staff, who are working on appropriate legislation.


Insects a threat to trees – Spotted lanternflies and how to handle

Submitted by S Weinberg:

Dear Neighbors –

On August 25 there was a local news report about Spotted Lanternflies in our region.

Because these pests can cause widespread destruction of trees, it is important to know what they look like and what steps you can take to mitigate their spread.  This is particularly important as we enter the Fall, when these insects lay their eggs.  Destroying the eggs is the best opportunity to slow their spread.

Below are a few relevant YouTube videos

What is a Spotted Lanternfly?

How to Remove Spotted Lanternfly Eggs

Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses – Scrape Crusader

This video describes how you can build a simple device which can be used to remove Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses from your trees

Annual History Lecture to be held October 14

WHAT:    Evening featuring a fun educational lecture on Pittsburgh History

WHEN:  Thursday, October 14, 2021   7 – 9 p.m.

WHERE:  4338 Bigelow Blvd.    Auditorium at the newly-established Latin American Cultural Center.    This is a beautiful newly-renovated building (of great historical significance!) with an exciting new purpose.   This building is part of our neighborhood, and this event will be a great opportunity to welcome and learn about our new neighbors!

WHO:   lecture is for SF neighbors, and their guests/invitees who share an interest in history and preservation.      Lecturer is Len Barcousky, long-time journalist with Post-Gazette writing a serial eye-witness column for years.   Mr. Barcousky has written numerous books about Pittsburgh history.

This lecture is part of the annual “Exploring Our Roots” series, which features evening social-educational lectures focusing on history, legacy, preservation!




Schenley Farms Civic Association is hosting a summertime outdoor gathering of neighbors ….. for fun, socializing, enjoying.

The time is Sunday, July 11, 6 – 8.

The location is Tennyson Avenue, which will be closed to thru street traffic.

There will be free food while it lasts:

There will be music, guitar/banjo performer  John Marcinizyn

Small children are encouraged to attend, and will have a backyard for play at 210 Tennyson.



UPMC Plans new Heart and Transplant Hospital in Oakland, to start 2022

At SFCA annual meeting 5/20/21, John Krolicki will present early plans for a new Heart & Transplant Hospital in Oakland.   The location is at Fifth Avenue and DeSoto.    These are early plans.   Meetings to solicit community input will be starting in 2021.

A copy of his presentation, with architectural renderings, can be found on this link:

Schenley Farms Civic Assoc Bed Tower May 2022

Annual SFCA Membership Meeting 5/20/2021

An annual meeting is held each May.    The initial part of meeting features updates from Community Leaders.  This is followed by a short business meeting, which include updates from current board members of issues and activities, and elections of new board members for next three year term.   This year format (due to Pandemic Health Recommendations) will be with ZOOM, and meeting links have been sent to neighbors.

Speakers this year will include:

Erika Strassburger, Councilperson for City District 8

Derek Dauphin, Sr. Planner with City of Pgh City Planning, Oakland Focus

John Krolicki, UPMC, VP of Facilities and Support Service

Paul Supowitz, Univ of Pitt, Vice-Chan for Community and Government Relations

Bob Reppe,  CMU, Sr. Director of Planning and Design



CMU beginning Institutional Master Plan

CMU Director of Planning and Design, Bob Reppe, will present at SFCA annual meeting.    Ideas for Campus Design and Facility Development are starting now, part of 2022 Institutional Master Plan.


Click link to see power point presentation:

2021 05 18 – Sch Farms1


City Planning holding workshops and tours for two Oakland locations, in May


Dates, Times, and Locations

Boulevard of the Allies and Zulema Street Site

  • Workshop: Saturday, May 15, 10 a.m. to noon via Zoom (link sent with registration)
  • Optional Tour: Monday, May 10, 5-7 p.m. — Meet on the southeast side of Isaly’s Building in the parking lot.

Forbes Avenue and Meyran Avenue Site

  • Workshop: Thursday, May 20, 5-7 p.m. via Zoom   (link sent with registration)
  • Optional Tour: Thursday, May 13, 5-7 p.m. — Meet on the corner of Semple Street and Fresco Way


Please use the link below to register for all events you intend to attend:

A map of areas of interest can be found in this link:                Outlook-3zrb4vok 


A Note about in-person tours, led by City staff persons:  These will be Optional Socially Distant Tours, in accordance with current Covid public health recommendations

Staff will lead socially distant outdoor tours of the sites during the week of May 10th prior to the workshops. These tours are not essential for participation in the workshops, but will allow you to explore the sites and surrounding areas before we dig into the details at the workshops. Masks will be required for all attendees and social distancing will be practiced.