Melvie Blackwell, a former employee of the Hill House Association, poses for a portrait in front of the James F. Henry Hill House Center. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Pittsburgh City Paper)

Voices of Hill House: How decades at the community center shaped the lives of these three women

For five decades, the Hill House served as a community anchor in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Residents across generations saw it as a community center, a hub for services such as dental care and work training, a venue for local performers and headliners like John Legend, and also a neighborhood employer.

Its legacy stretches back through much of the 20th century to several community organizations that merged to eventually create the Hill House Association in 1964. But financial struggles led the Hill House Association to shrink its staff from the nearly 300 employees it had a decade ago and eventually close its doors, selling four of its facilities in June 2019 to E Properties and the Hill Community Development Corporation.