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  • 2015-17 Centre Ave.
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
  • Category: Landmarks
  • Sub-Category: African American History Guide
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Freedom House Ambulance Service/Johny's Bar/Hill District CDC

Brief History

Started in 1967, Freedom House Ambulance Service was reportedly the first paramedic service in the nation equipped with resuscitation equipment in a van-type vehicle rather than a limousine-type ambulance. It was first restricted to operating only in the Hill District because the police ambulances would not come into the neighborhood to pick up blacks. A grant from the city and the federal government allowed Freedom House Ambulance Service to expand its operations to include Downtown and Oakland. One of the most heroic moments for the service was the resuscitation of Pennsylvania House Speaker K. Leroy Irvis at Washington Plaza. This organization represented the pioneering and influential black business community, organized despite racial discrimination. This was also the site of Johny's Bar, a popular neighborhood leisure and social site; before becoming Johny's, it was Littman's Bar and Grill.

Condition/Architectural Notes

Two-and-a-half-story red brick building (c. 1880s)