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North Hills Monthly

Community Guide: Oakmont

Jul 30, 2015 01:36PM ● By Clare Heekin Lynch
A Piece of History
The Allegheny River community of Oakmont is roughly 1.5-square miles of small hills and wooded areas, nestled near Plum Creek along the Allegheny River. This walking community, located 14 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, houses roughly 7,000 residents and 100 independently owned businesses. It was founded in 1816, when farmer Michael Bright bought a large tract of land 15 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, and named it after a landmark tree.

As walkable neighborhoods gain in popularity, more people are shunning big houses on large lots in favor of sidewalk communities like Oakmont, where residents can enjoy easy accessibility to the city, reap the benefits of a strong school district, and live within walking distance of shops and restaurants. “Oakmont has an extremely vital business district,” said Oakmont Chamber of Commerce Director Summer Tissue, adding that the area has been able to weather the storm of construction projects caused by steady growth. “We’re very fortunate to have dual main roads—Allegheny Avenue and Allegheny Boulevard—that run through the heart of the town, so we can shut down one roadway for construction or events, but still have another route to get in and out. This really benefits all of the businesses in the town and draws new ones here, as owners want to set up their shops for an already strong client base, as well as high street and foot traffic.”

Shopping and Dining
Oakmont prides itself on being the place to find special and unique gifts for any and every occasion. Visitors can find anything from fashionable clothing and imported ceramics and collectibles, to handcrafted jewelry and home furnishings. “What you buy here, you won’t see everywhere else,” said Tissue.

According to Gary Rogers, Oakmont History Society president, the area is really thriving. “With 10 restaurants ranging from pizza shops to full-service restaurants, eating in Oakmont is a foodie’s delight. Whether you choose American, Italian, Chinese or a combination thereof, you don’t need to leave town to find something to suit your appetite.” And don’t forget, the Oakmont Bakery is within easy walking distance for a sweet ending to any meal.

Play and Explore
For the history buff, Oakmont is part of the backbone of the Pittsburgh region. “The recently revitalized Oaks Theater offers movies and discussion groups; the 114-year old Oakmont Carnegie Library boasts a variety of book groups and genealogical information; the Oakmont Historical Society offers area tours, and the 19th century, Victorian-style Kerr Memorial Museum brings to life the middle-class experience in the area at the dawn of the 20th century,” explained Rogers.

The borough is probably best known for the nearby Oakmont Country Club which, from 1919 until the present day, has been the renowned site for amateur, PGA, and U.S. Open tournaments. The course, which is rated fifth in the world, will once again host the Men’s Open in June 2016. Not to be outdone, the Oakmont Yacht Club hosts the Oakmont Regatta every July. This three-day, family-friendly event features fireworks, fun, and ‘big boy toys’ like remote-controlled boats, planes and trucks.

Those who love the outdoors can relax on a bench along the Oakmont Arboretum trail, enjoy a peaceful walk around Riverside Park beside the Allegheny River, or take an invigorating hike through Dark Hollow Woods to enjoy the sounds of Plum Creek. In addition, Riverside Park has tennis courts, a basketball court, a running track, multiple pavilions and a children’s playground.

Small Town Charm
In addition to playing prominent roles in the community, both Tissue and Rogers are also proud residents. “Everyone here in Oakmont works together to not only help newcomers discover and explore the town, but to help each other as well,” said Tissue. “Business owners share each other’s social media posts, offer specials in conjunction with each other and they just overall support each other.”

Rogers agreed. “There is always something going on in the community, which is amazing for the size of our town!”

Upcoming Events
  • Oct. 7: Celebrate Oakmont, 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 24: Halloween Hustle 5K Fun Run & Walk, 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 21: Oakmont’s Hometown Christmas and Parade, 5 p.m.
  • Dec. 5: Holiday Gala, 6:30 p.m.