The Greater Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh and Cultural Center was founded by JaQuay Edward Carter in January of 2018, which coincided with Hazelwood's Sesquicentennial 150th Anniversary (1868).
Born in 1983, when Second Avenue was known as the "Depression Corridor,"JaQuay Edward Carter, award-winning historian, is deeply rooted in the Greater Hazelwood neighborhood, stretching back 4 generations. In 2018, he was directed back to his hometown with a passion for history and a commitment to community service.
JaQuay Edward Carter was born to serve others, with a long history of community service, military service, and human services advocacy. He is deeply rooted in the Greater Hazelwood community, stretching back four generations to the year 1942. JaQuay was born and raised in this same community during the 1980s and 1990s respectively, when the main drag in Hazelwood was known as the "Depression Corridor."
This derogatory colloquialism was given to Second Avenue as an economic decline of industries related to steel production ceased operations. In the early 1990s, JaQuay and his family moved across the Monongahela River to nearby Homestead, where he was educated within the Steel Valley School District. The community of Greater Hazelwood remained an integral part of his life. He regularly visited family and friends, while remaining an active member of the Hazelwood Presbyterian Church congregation. Upon graduation, he joined the United States Marine Corps - serving as a Logistics/Embarkation Specialist at Albany, Georgia. He was honorably discharged in 2002.
JaQuay began his post-secondary education at the Community College of Allegheny County, earning an associate degree in Ethnic and Diversity Studies. Soon after, he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, where he received his undergraduate degree in History Education/Africana Studies. He continued to serve his community, working for the Corporation of National and Community Service as a KEYS AmeriCorps Service member at Propel Charter School in Homestead. JaQuay worked in the non-profit sector for the next few years at both the Garfield Jubilee Association’s YouthBuild program and the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhood. More opportunities to volunteer his time and talent would follow, including a mentorship at Seeds of Hope Church & Earthen Vessels Outreach in 2012.
JaQuay struggled to find work as an historian. He worked for the International Hotel Group as a Front Office Manager, and then later as the Director of Hospitality. In 2016, he started to research the history of his beloved hometown. Mr. Carter began sharing his wealth of knowledge on social media, where he quickly developed a large following. In 2018, JaQuay was directed back to Hazelwood through his passion for history and neighborhood pride. He founded the award-winning Greater Hazelwood Historical Society (GHHS) and Cultural Center in January 2018 with its mission "to preserve pillars of the community's past." From its inception, the GHHS has worked closely with the local community development corporation, Hazelwood Initiative (HI). GHHS provided historical content for the Hazelwood Homepage newspaper, distributed by HI. At the beginning of February, GHHS had begun a campaign to save the Historic Carnegie Library of 1899.
By the end of February, GHHS had raised over $1700 in grassroots funds; assembled a Board of Trustees; gained over 550 petition signatures; established rapport with URA; met with Councilman O’Connor; and assembled a preservation team. GHHS was awarded a Neighborhood Investment Fund grant from Hazelwood Initiative. Hazelwood Initiative was a sponsor, along with the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, in a GHHS event to honor the 150th Anniversary of Hazelwood's founding. JaQuay and GHHS were featured prominently in a June 2018 front-page Post-Gazette profile.
On October 5, 2018, JaQuay was awarded the Dr. Dan Holland Promise Award by the Young Preservationists Association (YPA) “for his work in creating the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society and for igniting interest in preserving the old Hazelwood Carnegie Library.” JaQuay traveled with YPA to Woodbridge, Virginia as a facilitator of an historic preservation lecture at the Creighton’s Corner FUTURA Center. In December of 2018, the GHHS was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Heinz Endowments in partnership with Propel Hazelwood Charter School and the Heinz History Center. In February 2019, GHHS was profiled for WESA’s 90 Neighborhoods, 90 Good Stories in celebration of people making a difference in Pittsburgh. In August of 2019, GHHS was featured in the Heinz Endowments’ “h” magazine. GHHS has contributed scholarship and historical research to artists, developers, students, residents, stakeholders, and the community-at-large.
GHHS has also worked with the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) and the Hazelwood Green development; Rivers of Steel; Center of Life; the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative. GHHS, in collaboration with Duquesne University’s Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research, will exchange knowledge and resources related to public service initiatives, teaching, programming, and research.
JaQuay is currently in pursuit of dual degrees in Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Carnegie-Mellon University. In the distant future, Mr. Carter plans to obtain a doctorate degree in African Studies from Howard University in Washington, DC. - the Department of African Studies at Howard University being one of the oldest African Studies departments in the United States, housed in one of the largest historically Black institutions in the United States.
15th Ward Honor Roll, W. Elizabeth Street
Photo by Bill Muldoon - August 2018
The Greater Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh serves as a non-profit organization whose mission is to restore neighborhood pride and joy, preserve its diverse culture and heritage, and developing a positive outreach to our all-inclusive membership population, and the community-at-large. We are dedicated to safeguarding the histor
The Greater Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh serves as a non-profit organization whose mission is to restore neighborhood pride and joy, preserve its diverse culture and heritage, and developing a positive outreach to our all-inclusive membership population, and the community-at-large. We are dedicated to safeguarding the history and culture of Hazelwood and its environs. We look to the past for an inspiration to help us meet our future goals. The Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh will work together to support all efforts of local preservation and promote international diversity awareness through education, history, and human service.
The Society was founded by JaQuay Edward Carter on January 8, 2018, but Its story really began around 1942...This was when JaQuay's maternal great Grandfather was relocated to the Greater Hazelwood community - by way of Homestead - when the mill expanded during World War II. They settled in the newly-built Glen Hazel Heights projects - ab
The Society was founded by JaQuay Edward Carter on January 8, 2018, but Its story really began around 1942...This was when JaQuay's maternal great Grandfather was relocated to the Greater Hazelwood community - by way of Homestead - when the mill expanded during World War II. They settled in the newly-built Glen Hazel Heights projects - above Hazelwood. His father's family would later settle in Hazelwood by the Spring of 1970. His parents attended Gladstone High School in Hazelwood, where they would meet and become high school sweethearts. The rest is history. While researching the story of his own family and how it led to back to him, he also uncovered the untold stories of how Hazelwood came to be.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, JaQuay Edward Carter, was born and raised in and around the Greater Hazelwood community. Over the past 3 years, JaQuay has built relationships with many neighborhood stakeholders, such as Hazelwood Initiative, Center of Life, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Hazelwood Branch, Propel Hazelwood Charter
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, JaQuay Edward Carter, was born and raised in and around the Greater Hazelwood community. Over the past 3 years, JaQuay has built relationships with many neighborhood stakeholders, such as Hazelwood Initiative, Center of Life, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Hazelwood Branch, Propel Hazelwood Charter School, and The Woods House. This work has also led to many partnerships, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Gateways, the Heinz Endowments, the Senator John Heinz History Center, Rivers of Steel Corporation, and the Young Preservationists Association (YPA).
Also received a $1200 grant on behalf of the Board of Directors of Hazelwood Initiative and the Neighborhood Investment Fund "for making a positive impact in June of 2018.
YOUNG HISTORIAN TAKES PRIDE IN HAZELWOOD: "Stand on any street corner in Hazelwood and it’s likely JaQuay Edward Carter knows something about its history."
It was such a wonderful opportunity to be a mentor to an amazing group of 10 young boys, including my 17 year-old nephew, as part of the Saturday Light Brigade's "Crossing Fences," connecting African-American men and boys through the oral history tradition. I supported the students all week long working as a Teaching Artist and mentor on the project. The mentees all received notebook computers and publishing credits for their work in documenting history.
Received the 2018 Dr. Dan Holland Promise Award for "creating the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh and igniting interest in the redevelopment of the Historic Carnegie Library of Hazelwood."
A $25,000 Heinz Endowments mini-grant in partnership with Propel Hazelwood Charter School, exposing 5th-8th grade scholars to the people, places, and things that have contributed to Hazelwood's history and cultural heritage.
90 NEIGHBORHOODS, 90 GOOD STORIES:
Like many areas in Pittsburgh, renovations and major structural changes are taking place in the city’s Hazelwood neighborhood. It is with that in mind that JaQuay Edward Carter says he started the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh in 2018 with an eye toward "restoring neighborhood pride and preserving the pillars of our community’s past."
Picture taken at the top of "Tullymet Street Steps" in Hazelwood, a set of 259 total steps starting from Chance Way, running up to Sylvan Avenue, then climbing their way to the top here on Gladstone Street.
Photo: Pete Marovich
"We thank you for your dedication to the unveiling of the historical richness of the Glen Hazel, Glenwood and Hazelwood communities as the founder of the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society."
"Getting to Know Our Neighbors: The History of Hazelwood"
It is an honor to be 1 out of 70 black men and women chosen as a 2020 BMe Community Vanguard Fellow for the Next Narrative of Black America. I am also blessed to share this honor with 14 brothers and sisters in service from my hometown, Pittsburgh.
JaQuay's first time working with the Heinz History Center was with his History Makers after-school Club (funded by the Heinz Endowments) at Hazelwood Propel Charter School in 2019. In July of 2020, he began a partnership Heinz History Center toward a common goal of elevating issues around social justice, with a focus on black history and storytelling.
JaQuay is especially proud to be partnered with Rivers of Steel in a national effort to address inequalities in the landscape of historic and industrial heritage preservation. The Greater Hazelwood Historical Society and the Hazelwood neighborhood is officially apart of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area (National Park Service), which is situated in the eight counties of the Southwestern PA region.
JaQuay Edward Carter discusses the importance & legacy of Pittsburgh’s African American history with the Odd, Mysterious & Fascinating History of Pittsburgh's own, John Schalcosky.
JaQuay was named a "Community Champion" by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition. He has spoken at the Jewish Community Center, the Squirrel Hill Historical Society and John Minadeo School. The GHHS is very well connected to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood through our shared geographical border, common history, and community outreach.
JaQuay's quest to uncover the history of Hazelwood has been full of surprises, and there’s one local bit of history that he's been especially obsessed with: the invention of the game B-I-N-G-O. He’s poured over old newspapers, census records, army registration cards and family trees to uncover the story.
Thank you to all of our members for your support of our mission to "restore neighborhood pride and preserve the pillars of our community's past," including the 120 year-old original Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Hazelwood Branch building for use as the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society and Cultural Center - a place to create change, celebrate diversity, teach traditions, and collaborate together!
Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated!
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It was January 31, 2018 when I initially received a vision to restore the Historic Carnegie Library of Hazelwood as the home of the Society and Cultural Center. On February 1, I began a campaign to save the library, which had been deteriorating slowly after a 14 year-long vacancy. I started the "Hope For Hazelwood Fund," which received its first donation of $5 from Shannon Kuc. From $5 to $500 and even up to $1000, donations of different amounts, but it didn't stop there. I have been blessed to receive contributions to my work, such as: a painting, books, a tree planted in my name, sponsorships, photos, documents, grants, and priceless artifacts - which have made it possible for me to continue on.
I will never forget the investments you have all made in trust of my vision to restore pride and preserve the pillars of Hazelwood's historic past...I would like to give the utmost gratitude and sincere appreciation to Shannon Kuc, Gwen Pechan, Karen Fowler, Lynne Wingard, Mary Ann Kidd, Maralee Murray, Melissa Kaczorowski, Missy & John Anobile, Helen Connelly, Paul Kossey, Tara Terlecki, Sharon Slobodnyak, Donna Iannone, Terri Shields, Patti Melodini, Matthew Craig, Dan Holland, Nancy Fialla Kruljac, Denise Carter, George White & Shelley Dzura-White, Maury Burgwin, Barbara Paisley, Mark Pearson, Peggy Mitchell Goodison, Deana Whetstone Gamrat, Debbie Knox, Kristina DiPietro, Pastor Tim Smith, Allen Dieterich-Ward, Stanley Benovitch, Pat Schmeltz, Maria Cohen, Nita Melodini Cullison, Dave Brewton, Sonya Tilghman, Judy Garritano Butscher, Linda Pringle, Tracey Meszaros, Todd Kinavey, Laurie Marshall, Deborah Terry, Bill Muldoon, Mary Ann McHarg, Terry Kennedy, Amy Baldonieri, Nathan Rodda, Mariruth Leftwich, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, Young Preservationists Association, Heinz History Center, Hazelwood Initiative, Ron Baraff, Rivers of Steel Corporation, the Figlar Family, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Heinz Endowments, and the Squirrel Hill Historical Society for their benevolence!
I cannot begin to tell you all how much these gifts have meant to me and my mission of preservation and service in the community of Hazelwood, which is so near and dear to my heart...You have all demonstrated that Hazelwood is just as near and dear to your hearts! I thank you all so very much for your love and gifts of support, from the bottom of my Hazelwood heart!
All my love...JEC