About Friendship

History

Friendship’s name evolved from the friendship that existed between Joseph Conrad Winebiddle, the owner of an estate in the neighborhood, and the family of William Penn. Many of the streets in the area are named after the Winebiddle family. Roup and Negley Avenues were named after the husbands of two Winebiddle daughters, John Roup and Jacob Negley. Other streets include Winebiddle, Aiken Avenue, and Baum Baulevard.

As trolleys began to run along Baum Boulevard in the early 1900s, Friendship evolved into a streetcar suburb. Large, Victorian houses with ornate architectural embellishments, including high ceilings, elaborate woodwork, and exquisite stained-glass windows, began to line the streets of Friendship. The neighborhood was home to many middle and upper middle class families, shaping Friendship into a vibrant bedroom community.

With the decline of the steel mills in the 1960s, people began to leave the city and flock to the suburbs. As this occurred, the neighborhood steadily declined for nearly thirty years. The large Victorian houses were sectioned off into apartments and many of their amenities were removed or painted over. By the 1980s, over 70% of the housing stock in Friendship was owned by landlords.

With the neighborhood overpopulated by rental properties the future of Friendship was questionable. However, in 1989 a major turning point took place. A local car dealership on Baum Boulevard purchased a beautiful neighboring Victorian house and wood-framed 1800′s structure with plans to demolish the structures on 400 Roup Avenue and create a car lot. This did not sit well with Friendship residents and these angry neighbors joined forces to stop the demolition. Unfortunately, neighborhood action came too late and the homes were demolished. Friendship neighbors realized that they had lost because the lack of an organizational structure.

As a result, two organizations were created, Friendship Preservation Group (FPG) and Friendship Development Associates, Inc. (FDA). FPG resurrected as the neighborhood membership organization and advocacy group while FDA became the community development corporation.

With the creation of these two groups and as more people began to look beyond the blight and see the opportunity to purchase large, affordable homes with prominent features, Friendship took a step closer in returning to its roots. Through the 1990s FDA adopted a development strategy of selective renovation in the core of the neighborhood. With this strategy, the FDA has been successful in revitalizing the neighborhood. Historic renovations have occurred and homeownership has increased. Penn Avenue’s revitalization is underway and a vibrant multicultural community is being supported. As time elapses, Friendship is returning to the thriving, family-based community is once was.

Friendship Community Plan

Neighborhoods are constantly changing, and we need to keep looking ahead. Our community plan is a way to help anticipate changes in the neighborhood and provide a road map for insuring the neighborhood flourishes. Every five years, Friendship undergoes a community planning process.

A community plan is a process through which community residents and stakeholders articulate their vision of a common future. In community meetings, planning team discussions, and work sessions with the community based organizations, members of the Friendship community have said that they want to live in a neighborhood where:

  • Quality housing exists for all residents
  • Residents feel safe on their streets and in their homes
  • Local schools are strong
  • Streets are free of litter and graffiti

The Friendship community plan represents both a product and a process. It is a framework to guide development, fund-raising, programming, and other aspects of community planning. The community plan also represents a genuine effort to enfranchise the entire community in the planning process, by having community residents and stakeholders articulate their vision of a common future.

A community plan is a working document that is molded and changed as the needs of the community change over time. The format for this document reflects the fact that, over time, the plan’s sponsors and the Friendship community need the flexibility to change their strategies as programmatic goals are achieved.

Throughout the planning process, the planning team has heard a number of issues. The community plan is a process of taking these issues and turning them into doable strategies with real accountability. It is a framework for small, incremental changes that, over time, add up to noticeable change. We have created this plan because we care about our community.

Those of us who live or work in Friendship know it has a lot to offer: a wonderful diversity of people; beautiful architecture; easy access to downtown and other areas of the City; affordable housing; and neighbors who are concerned and willing to work together to improve the future of Friendship.