Andy Warhol was born on August 6, 1928 in the city of Pittsburgh. During his first 6 years, Andy's family moved and lived in five different houses. The times were difficult since it was during the Great Depression. In 1934, Andy's father, Ondreij bought a three story, yellow brick house at 3252 Dawson Street in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. The two most important things to Ondreij were that the house be close to a school and within walking distance of a Byzantine Catholic Church. The location not only served these purposes, but it was also very close to Carnegie Museum and Library, Carnegie Institute, Forbes Field and the Schenley Theater. Andy lived on Dawson Street from 1934 until he left for New York City in 1949. These fifteen years were the most formative years of his life. It was here where the young Andy Warhola experienced the many aspects of life that would make him into one of the most important artists of the twentieth century.
In 1960 the house was sold out of the Warhola family. Julia, Andy's mother was living with him in New York and his two other brothers had moved away to start their own families. Over the next 40 years, it was owned by two different families. In 1998 the last of the owners passed away and subsequently the house fell into serious disrepair.
Fortunately, in 2005 a family heir to the most recent owner was contacted and the house was purchased by members of the Paul Warhola Family, Andy's oldest brother. Repairs were started immediately and the house was saved from eminent collapse. A new roof was completed along with many other important structural repairs. The restoration continues with great progress.
The Warhola Family understands the important historical significance of the Dawson Street house and aims to restore it to its original condition. Paul Warhola and other relatives have a wealth of knowledge on much of the house's history.
The house has also been a wonderful catalyst for spurring some very important memories of Andy's upbringing. For instance, there is a fruit cellar which Paul helped teach Andy how to develop photos from his first Brownie camera. There is also the dining room which was converted to a bedroom for several years while Andy was convalescing from his early childhood illnesses. The small backyard had a place for a garden and a rabbit hutch and it was a great place for the family to spend time.
The Warhola Family will continue to restore the house. Updates and photos will be posted as progress is made.
Portraits of the family, front porch of the Dawson house, 1940’s.