Motor Square Garden

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East Liberty Market
Motor Square Garden is located in Pennsylvania
Motor Square Garden
Location 5900 Baum Boulevard, East Liberty, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Built 1898-1900
Architect Peabody & Stearns
Architectural style Beaux-Arts
NRHP Reference # 77001121 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 12, 1977
Designated PHLF 1975 and 1988[2]

Motor Square Garden, also known as East Liberty Market, is a building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Located at 5900 Baum Boulevard in the East Liberty neighborhood, it today serves as the headquarters of the Pittsburgh branch of the American Automobile Association, which owns the property. The exterior of the building features a large tin-clad, steel-framed blue dome and a yellow brick facade. The industrial interior has a large atrium with exposed steel girders and skylights above.


Financed by the Mellon family of Pittsburgh, the building was built from 1898 to 1900 as a city market—after one of their real estate subdivisions failed to sell enough houses—calling it East Liberty Market House. The Boston, Massachusetts architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns designed the building. Motor Square Garden soon failed as a retail space, but in 1915 the new Pittsburgh Automobile Association bought it as a site for its auto shows. In the 1920s, it came into use as a sports venue, especially for boxing, and was used intermittently as the home court of the University of Pittsburgh's basketball team until the opening of Pitt Pavilion inside Pitt Stadium in 1925.[3] By the 1940s it was used as a new car dealership.

In 1988, AAA bought the property. Landmarks Design Associates of Pittsburgh redesigned it as an upscale shopping mall. The retail mall failed, but AAA expanded to occupy the building, along with a tenant, the UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing.



  1. Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Historic Landmark Plaques 1968-2009 (PDF). Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. 2010. Retrieved 2011-08-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Sam Sciullo, Jr. Pitt: 100 Years of Pitt Basketball pg. 14-17

External links

  • Collins, John Fulton Stuart, Jr. (1967). Stringtown on the Pike: Tales and History of East Liberty. Pittsburgh: privately published. ISBN none.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kidney, Walter C. (1997). Pittsburgh's Landmark Architecture: The Historic Buildings of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. ISBN 0-916670-18-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Toker, Franklin (1994) [1986]. Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5434-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Preceded by
Trees Gymnasium
Home of the
University of Pittsburgh Basketball
Trees Gymnasium/Motor Square Garden

19?? – 1924
Succeeded by
Pitt Pavilion