In the wooded north hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the Squaw Run Stream meanders across acres of parkland, sits the beautiful residential Borough of Fox Chapel. Incorporated in 1934 and covering nearly eight and one-half square miles, Fox Chapel is 100 percent residential, except for churches, private clubs, and schools. Fox Chapel offers its residents the best, from the 171-acres Field Club built in 1915, 130-acres Shady Side Academy School in 1922, and the 140-acres Fox Chapel Golf Club built in 1923, home to a Seth Raynor-designed course.
The Borough of Fox Chapel owns over three hundred acres of parkland. The Borough’s parkland mainly consists of a longitudinal park system and trail that starts at the southern border of O’Hara Township and bisects through the Borough for over four miles. The system connects on the northern border with Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve/Audobon Society. All but five acres of this property are used as open space for bird watching, walking, and enjoying the outdoors. The Borough has five acres of parkland on Hemlock Hollow Road, known as McCahill Park, set aside for active recreational use.
McCahill Park is home to Annie’s Field of Dreams, a revitalized playground dedicated to Annabel (Annie) Whittingham. A beautiful wooden playground, swings and slides, playhouses, and a circular reading bench accompanied by a lending library were all part of the first phase of changes made at the park. The second phase will add a trail to encircle the playing fields, a multi-purpose court for winter ice skating, basketball, and pickleball. In addition, the two existing ballfields will be upgraded. Park improvements will incorporate innovative stormwater features like rain gardens.
The Borough of Fox Chapel continually strives to protect and maintain its unique ambiance. It opened Hardie Valley Park on October 17, 2020. This seventeen acres parcel of land was a vital missing link that was added to the park system. With the help of the Mayor, Walter A. “Alex” Scott, III, the Borough was able to raise over one million dollars for the park’s acquisition and improvements. Hardie Valley Park is a unique property with the high-quality Squaw Run Stream running through it, a pond, waterfall, and meadow.
Fox Chapel is also known for the residents who have called it home. Many of the most prominent families in Pittsburgh history have lived in Fox Chapel, in sprawling estates that still stand today. Fox Chapel’s wooded hills, parkland, and residential developments with an average of one acre or greater are valuable regional assets. Its proximity to the business and cultural hub of downtown Pittsburgh, as well as its award-winning school district, makes Fox Chapel a premier community in which to live. Fox Chapel is a classic example of what can be done to preserve a rural atmosphere that includes tree protection and steep slope preservation amid urbanization.