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.