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WQED TV producer and PITTSBURGH Magazine back-page writer writes about his current work and assorted other things.

Looking for the Vale of Cashmere!

January 15th, 2012 · 10 Comments

My friend and sometimes editor Matt Conrad sent me an email today and said some folks on reddit.com were posting questions about how to find the ruins of the Vale of Cashmere that we showed in our recent IT’S PITTSBURGH program called NORTH PARK VS. SOUTH PARK.  (You too can read and comment here.)









The Vale doesn’t look like this anymore.  It’s overgrown and somewhat hidden with no signs to point the way in.  If you get the official county map of South Park, I believe the Vale of Cashmere is in quadrant 4D or maybe in 4C (just to the left — or North — of the number 92.)

I walked in there that day, but I’m not sure exactly where we were in that part of the park.  We walked down a slight hill from the road, but we were on a path the whole time.  South Park manager John Stibrik took us in, and we weren’t too far north of the Oliver Miller Homestead if I remember correctly.








If my remembered directions are of no help, I think you can find John Stibrik at the Park Office in the Administration building across from the Fairgrounds.  Everybody there was very helpful.








And I think I have a pamphlet on the Vale that Ron Block, the historian whom we interviewed, shared with me.  I’ll have to see if I can find it in the editing room.

I googled “Allegheny County South Park Vale of Cashmere” just now, and it led me to a Post-Gazette article I’d never seen before.  Written by architect and County Parks Director Henry Hornbostel in 1938, it includes Major Hornbostel’s pertinent opinion:  “…There is one little valley with tiny lakes, a place in South Park which is known as the Vale of Cashmere, and this is the proudest showplace that I know.  It is one of the most sentimental bits of landscaping yet produced.”

It’s sad that the Vale’s stone structures are just ruins now, but they may be worth searching for.  Maybe they are easier to see now in the winter when the park is not so green.

Tags: "It's Pittsburgh & A Lot Of Other Stuff"

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 JoeP // Feb 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Have been mtb’ing for years through these ruins w/o ever knowing what they were. Thanks for taking the time to reveal this little bit of Pgh history. And for the record, South Park beats North Park! :) lol

  • 2 Rick // Mar 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm


  • 3 Jim Houk // May 9, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I’d like to see you guys do a theme show on just the county fairs. From the air during the day and at night with all the lights. Also shoot film on the grounds during the fairs.
    Maybe even some footage during off season activities. The fairs are so much a part of the area and need to be captured on film. The Butler fair, Hookstown, Stoneboro, Lawrence county, to name a few.

  • 4 Ron Block // Jun 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    The Vale is located in the valley between East Park Drive and 100 Acre Drive. It is located downstream of the bridge that connects those roads. The site is about midway between that bridge and the clearing along E. Park Drive near the Kilmer Circle. The stream that once fed the pools now skirts around them, but if you follow it from either direction you should find the rockwork. Or you can park on a turnout between those two points and search that way.

  • 5 Chuck Macey // Jan 31, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    I live next to South Park. Have been taking photos for some 10 years. After viewing North Park vs South Park, it was easy to find The Vale. Took photos last year. Thanks!

  • 6 Len Marraccini, South Park Historical Society // Dec 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    From the research done by myself and the South Park Historical Society, the rock lined pools and rock lined stream that ran thru the Vale of Cashmere were built by the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Civilian Conservation Corps, Company 1301 arrived at the South Park site in October 1933 and conducted many projects inside the park. They finished their projects in April 1935 and left for another assignment.

  • 7 Sue Wargo // Apr 11, 2014 at 7:14 am

    If you try to find this site, looking as it was in the old photos, you will be greatly disappointed. It is just a partially overgrown path and one would have to have a vivid imagination believing that the hard to find stones and rocks held a nice pond. I would suggest that the old picture satisfy your curiosity. On the other hand, one can still see the deteriorated old Stone Manse “pools” and remember what it was going there as a child in the 50′s to splash around in the hot summertime. The other place I remember with fondness is the old white mansion-looking house near the South Park Skating rink which has fallen into disrepair and I understand will be demolished.

  • 8 Krista Trovato // Apr 26, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    The approx coordinates of the vale are
    N40 19.449 W80 00.435
    Over the bridge.

  • 9 PEG BITTNER // May 23, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    This Vale Cashmere is one of many historical spots in South Park that many people today do not know about but those of us who have been around the park for many many years are familiar with the areas and the happenings. The park has many stories in its trees.

  • 10 Mick Hewitt // Dec 12, 2014 at 10:11 am

    It’s a shame South Park administrators let tons of the history of South Park be forgotten. There has to be some grants or someone that can help bring back all the places I remember as a child.
    I use to love the flowers in the shape of the logos of the county and state at the fairgrounds. We’ve had weddings in the houses and school picnics throughout the park.
    It’s a real shame it’s gone.

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