German immigrants built the majority of the Liberty Avenue storefront buildings. It wasn’t until after World War I that waves of Italian immigrants, largely from the Abruzzi region, came to the neighborhood. The original Italian “main street” was located on Lorigan Street, which runs parallel to Liberty Avenue, and as German businesses moved on, Italian business owners took over their spaces.
Bloomfield, Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, was built for working families, many of whom were first generation immigrants. Many of Bloomfield’s residents today grew up on the same block or went to school together; some of their grandparents went to school together. Houses were handed from one relative to another without ever coming onto the market.