Located in Beechview, the Seldom Seen Greenway was once the site of a small German settlement that was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh in 1924. Seldom Seen was an isolated village tucked into the valley beside the railroad tracks and the Saw Mill Run river. The only access to the area was through a tunnel beneath the railroad, built in 1902, along what was then known as Watkins Lane.
Even well into the 20th century, the neighborhood was an anachronism– families lived simply, farming their own food and raising chickens. The last residents moved out in the 1960s, and the forest quickly reclaimed their homes. In 1985, the area was designated as a greenway and currently encompasses about 90 acres of undeveloped land.
Few official trails exist, but the greenway is criss-crossed with unofficial footpaths, many of which converge, loop around, peter out or go nowhere. Some areas are used as dump sites or local hangout spots littered with trash, but others are pristine. There is a surprising amount of tree graffiti here — something I am not used to seeing in Pittsburgh.
Entering the greenway is easier said than done. The main entrance is right off of 51, but if you miss the exit or approach from the south, you may be tempted to enter on Crane Ave where you can see the sign pictured below. The trail here is short and littered with trash, and dead-ends behind Beechwood Elementary. You can also enter the greenway from behind the Brashier football fields, where a loose system of trails loop and meander along the hillside. The main trail in this area will lead you steeply downhill and let you out along the railroad tracks, which you can walk along to reach the main entrance area (warning: climbing down a bridge support is required.) See the photo captions below for more details.