Summary of Neill Log House Restoration Efforts


Squirrel Hill Historical Society (SHHS) involvement with the Neill Log House began in August 2020

  • The Neill Log House, the oldest existing domestic structure in Pittsburgh (dating to 1783), was selected for inclusion on “The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience” website. 

  • Research indicates that Meriweather Lewis may have stopped close by the house on his last trip to Pittsburgh in 1803, prior to launching his keelboat from the Point for his westward journey.

  • Two articles, with research by SHHS, appeared in the October, 2020 newsletter titled : “Meriweather Lewis and the Nemacolin Trail through Squirrel Hill” and “The History of the Neill Log House” (view these by clicking menu link on homepage of website,, “Link to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience.”
    Partnership by Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC) with the Trail Experience Website

  • Though the Point is the official beginning of the Lewis and Clark Trail, Neill Log House in Squirrel Hill is the easternmost historic site on the Trail Experience website.

  • Unlike other sites maintained for Park Service dealing just with history of the Trail, the Trail Experience site is designed to promote tourism along its route.

  • For this reason, SHHS subsequently was asked by the project manager to nominate additional sites in our area that would appeal to tourists following the Lewis and Clark Trail;

  • SHUC was deemed the neighborhood organization best suited to promote tourism.

  • SHUC entered into partnership with the Trail Experience, generating a large number of commercial, cultural, and recreational sites which were subsequently posted on that site, making Squirrel Hill and Pittsburgh one of the most vibrant areas along the entire route of Lewis and Clark Trail (sites can be viewed by going to, clicking on the Interactive Map from the top of the homepage and following the trail to its easternmost point in Pittsburgh).

Formation of the Neill Log House Restoration Team

  • Parallel efforts up to the present to advocate for restoration as well as future uses of Log House.

  • Team members enlisted over past year include representatives from every major historic and preservation group in the city: Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Preservation Pittsburgh and the Sen. John Heinz History Center.

  • At the center of Team’s efforts are individuals from the Pittsburgh Department of Public Works who have direct responsibility for maintaining this most unique public property (with team meetings and communications coordinated by members of SHUC and SHHS).

  • Other volunteers have varied backgrounds, from that of a retired architect with professional experience with the log house and a SHHS member who is the fourth great-grandson of Robert Neill, who built the structure.

  • SHHS contracted inspection in December, 2020, noting same but worsening conditions reported by Parks Conservancy inspection in 1975 – immediate need for stabilization; structure renovated several times over years, recently as 1969 by PHLF after total collapse.

  • Current challenges include moving ahead with a Request for Quotations (RFQ), to seek out contractors with historic restoration expertise who can then provide costs for both stabilization and renovation; grants to fund entire project; and a local entity to act as fiduciary for large and small donations.


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