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Arden Ann Harrell, 80, lives in the same Hill District home where she grew up. (Photo by Aaron Warnick/PublicSource)

Arden Ann Harrell lives on Kirkpatrick Street in the Hill District in the same house where she grew up; she was one of nine children. Two blocks up from Centre Avenue, hers is a narrow house with a bright red exterior. Built in 1920, the home is the last in a row of four abutting a grassy vacant lot. One of the homes in the short row has been condemned.

Harrell, a Schenley High School alumna, is 80 with a full head of gray hair. She was a nurse for most of her life until retiring from the VA last January. Framed in her dining room is a rap verse that one of her brothers wrote for her 70th birthday about her toughness and sense of adventure.

The Hill has changed dramatically in Harrell’s lifetime.

Growing up in the Hill District — her father a steelworker at Jones and Laughlin Steel Company— Harrell recalls she and her neighbors being able to find everything they needed right within the community — clothing, shoes, food and fun. That’s not possible anymore. And more recently, she says, 20 homes on her block alone are no longer there. “There are blocks and blocks of streets where everything has been torn down,” she explained.


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