So you’ve come from far and wide to visit the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St., 412/237-8300, www.warhol.org ), and now you’d like to discover some of the sites that transformed the shy Pittsburgh boy into a pop-art superstar? The following suggestions, adapted from a tour formerly offered by the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, will take you to a number of locations essential to young Andy Warhola’s growth as an artist.
Your first stop on the DIY Warhol Tour should absolutely be the Warhola family home in South Oakland, which still sits at 3252 Dawson Street. Don’t expect much, just a typical rowhouse with a green and white striped awning and a collection of hedges. The Warholas were a family of especially modest means — Andy’s father Andrei toiled as a construction worker during the Depression and was often without gainful employment.
An easy walk from the Warhola home is Schenley High School, at 4101 Bigelow Boulevard. Warhol was a student here, and this is also where some of his earlier artistic impulses first flourished.
Near the Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill is Greenfield, where you’ll find St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church. The church, at 506 Saline Street, is where the Warhola family worshipped regularly. Call 412/421-0243 for service schedules.
In between Oakland and Squirrel Hill is the campus of Carnegie Mellon University, which was known as Carnegie Tech when Andy Warhol attended as a student in the department of painting and design.
You’ll need a car for this one: St. John the Baptist Cemetery is located in the South Hills neighborhood of Bethel Park, at the corner of Route 88 and Conner Road and not far from South Hills Village Mall. Warhol is buried here next to his parents. The tombstone, located on a sloping hillside, is very modest and is sometimes decorated with a Campbell’s soup can or two.
In the somewhat rough-and-ready neighborhood of McKees Rocks is the Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church, where Warhol’s funeral service took place. Feel the need to pay your own belated respects? The church is located at 1437 Superior Avenue.
Two of Andy Warhol’s nephews, George and Marty Warhola, who both continue to live in Pittsburgh, are currently operating competing scrap metal businesses within three miles of each other on the North Side. Marty runs Paul Warhola Scrap Metals at 825 Pennsylvania Avenue, and George owns AJ Warhola Recycling Inc., located at 203 Chesboro Street.
On March 18, 2005, the 7th Street Bridge was renamed (with much fanfare) the Andy Warhol Bridge. Start on the Downtown end and walk across for a beautiful view of the city and the Allegheny River. Once you reach the North Side you’ll be within spitting distance of the Andy Warhol Museum itself.