The Hidden Fences of August Wilson’s Birthplace: The structures both define and devalue a fabled Pittsburgh neighborhood.


Throughout this week, CityLab is running a series on borders—both real and imagined—and what draws so many of us to places on the edge.

I drove around The Hill District the other day in search of fences. You may have heard that The Hill is the historic Pittsburgh neighborhood where the legendary playwright August Wilson was born, and it’s also the setting for his award-winning play, Fences, which Denzel Washington recently adapted into a movie.
The Hill is also where I was born and where I lived until I was about five years old. I moved back to Pittsburgh as an adult, where I’ve lived off and on for roughly 14 years. However, after watching the movie Fences, I couldn’t shake this nagging thought that I didn’t remember any actual fences in The Hill District.

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