Dan Rooney’s Connection to His Childhood Home on the North Side of Pittsburgh Remains Strong
Dan Rooney’s impact on the NFL cannot go unnoticed. His success within the league cemented his place as a legend in Pennsylvania. What’s more legendary is his passion for the North Side, where he grew up and also met his wife, Patricia. Growing up on the North Side instilled important lessons in him that would serve him well in his career both on and off the field. For a man so well known and so successful throughout his career, to move back to his childhood home says a lot about his passion and care for his roots.
He and his wife moved back to his boyhood home on North Lincoln Avenue in 1993, after their nine children were grown and gone from their family home in Mt. Lebanon. At that point in time, making a move back to his childhood home wasn’t trendy, his family told him. Not many agreed with Dan and Patricia’s decision.
Dan and Patricia had met at St. Peter grade school, only a half-mile away from his home, and that’s where they married in 1952. Like any other family in the area, they would walk to Mass, hang out with neighbors, host dinners, and ultimately lived a normal suburban life.
When the time came for the two to return to the North Side, it felt like an easy transition back to home. What really shows Dan Rooney’s character is his modest approach to living, knowing his fame in the area. He and his family would host Christmas parties each year, where you’d find family, coaches, politicians, but also the Rooneys’ new neighbors and North Side friends they’d had since they were children.
Dan Rooney’s Legend
Daniel Milton Rooney was an American executive and diplomat best known for his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is also the son of the Steelers' founder, Art Rooney. The family's ties to the Steelers and community go back decades, and is a crucial part of why the family is so ingrained with the North Side. There’s also something to be said about the success of the Steelers, currently tied for most Super Bowl wins with the New England Patriots, making the team one of the most successful NFL franchises to date.
"If you didn't know better, you wouldn't know the man owned an NFL franchise. He was just, you know, a fellow down the street,” said Mark Fatla, Executive Director of the North Side Leadership Conference.
Carol Peterson, of Lawrenceville, had been commissioned to do a history of Rooney’s North Lincoln Avenue home years before his passing. When they began working on the book, Dan suggested they co-write a history of the North Side. The best way for them to start? Taking a walk, and showing Ms. Peterson his hometown.
“It was like walking on the North Side with Santa Claus,’’ Ms. Peterson said. “He loved the North Side and the North Side loved him back.’’
People would walk up to shake his hand, a big deal to them, yet it was Mr. Rooney saying ‘thank you,’” she said. “It was a real example of humility.’’
Dan Rooney’s Home
This was the home of Dan Rooney, and previous home of Art Rooney, Sr. The house is within view and walking distance of Heinz Field - home of the Steelers. The home was built in 1880 for the McCreery family, who were the owners of one of Pittsburgh’s most popular and fashionable department stores. The tearoom at “McCreery’s” was known by generations of Pittsburghers as the place to meet while shopping downtown.
The median home value in Pittsburgh is $179,972. Pittsburgh home values have gone up 5.5% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will fall -1.1% within the next year.
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