In the holiday issue of South Hills Living’s sister publication, Mon Valley Magazine, I worked on a fun story where I asked the area’s prominent residents, as well as our readers, where they felt the geographical boundaries of the Mon Valley are. When we started the planning for this issue, to highlight some South Hills neighborhoods, Almanac sports editor Eleanor Bailey pitched a piece on the South Park Shops (you can read it on page 18). She wanted to find out why, if they are in Bethel Park, they are so-named.
A conversation began, and someone mentioned that even the park called South Park, straddles the boundaries of South Park and Bethel Park.
In light of that conversation, I realized that just as the perspectives on geographical boundaries of the Mon Valley vary, they also vary when it comes to the South Hills. Here at the magazine, our core distribution area is Peters Township, Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair and South Fayette. But, my college roommates hail from Baldwin (borough, not township) and West Mifflin.
I’ve always thought of them as being from the South Hills, just like I’ve always felt that growing up in Canonsburg, I am also from the South Hills. And while some people consider West Mifflin’s neighbor, McKeesport, as part of the South Hills, I don’t. For what it’s worth, I’ve always felt that the South Hills begins as soon as you come off of Mt. Washington and on to Route 51. To me, it follows Route 19 south all the way from the Liberty Tunnels to North Strabane Township. Once you hit Meadowlands, you’re in the Washington area, not the South Hills.
Much like in Mon Valley Magazine, I posed the question to our readers and our leaders. The answers, while there are some core municipalities in them, do vary. You can read them on page 12.
Another well-known spot, South Hills Village, also straddles a border. Depending where in the mall you are, you could be in Bethel Park or Upper St. Clair. Staff writer Brad Hundt went on a mission to find out just where the border runs, and you can find out for yourself on page 22.
Regardless of where you feel the South Hills starts and where it ends, there’s no arguing how special and unique our different boroughs and townships are. Telling our stories – your stories – is what I love most about my job.
Until next time,