An Orbit Obit: Goeller Generator, R.I.P.

faded sign for Goeller Generator, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Goeller Generator in Lawrenceville, 1946-2015

It was mere weeks ago that I finally took note (and, thankfully, took photo) of the beautifully faded Goeller Generator sign against the equally-transfixing rough weathered multi-color wall of the retail space next door (current home of gift shop Divertido).

Imagine my surprise, then, to pass this week by a pile of rubble and big hole in the ground where Goeller used to be.  The squat, one-story pair of cinder-block structures were no architectural marvel, and I can’t say that I’ve ever required the offerings of a generator sales and service shop (so maybe I’m part of the problem!) but I liked the fact that it was there–a constant among all the change that’s happened around it on Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

construction site with a large hole dug in the ground

A big hole in the ground

The move is so recent that there’s no mention of it on Goeller’s website, which still states proudly “We have been in the same location since 1946,” and had only in the last year or two gotten a new lit-up painted sign/mural on the wall facing 36th Street.

I e-asked around, my neighbors delivered, and the story is predictable. Zoned-retail real estate on Butler Avenue is worth a pretty penny right now and Goeller cashed-in to make way for a new development featuring a hamburger restaurant called Burgh’ers on the first floor and apartments upstairs. One report mentioned that Goeller will continue operating in a new location.

cinder-block wall of partially demolished Goeller Generator, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Over-the-Wall Club bonus: Goeller’s last wall standing with Our Lady of the Angels

Now, this blogger can eat the hell out of a fancy hamburger, even if he’s disgusted with himself for doing so. I’m also glad the neighborhood’s empty storefronts have mostly filled up and I like having more than Hambone’s and Barb’s Country Kitchen as walkable dining options. [No disrespect: I still patronize both!] But the whiplash rate of development/gentrification in Lawrenceville is pretty scary. Forever we’ve heard about this stuff happening in other cities, but I naively imagined it would never be so in Pittsburgh, let alone right in my neighborhood. Sigh.

If Frankie’s closes, it’s time to move to Rankin.

4 thoughts on “An Orbit Obit: Goeller Generator, R.I.P.

  1. Hipstre says:

    I trust you to pick “the next” Lawrenceville, and buy twenty houses there after you sell yours for $2,000,000 to a bearded, skinny-jeans-wearing, 23 year old, Google programmer from San Francisco who is excited to be getting a place for “so cheap.”


  2. Walter Cunningham says:

    I am sorry they had to move. Took all my business, of that type,there in the seventies before the mills began to close and I left the steel transportation business. It is had to picture the burger flippers who will be there now compared to the skilled folks who were working there for so many years.


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