When Westinghouse High School opened in 1917, Homewood had a diverse population including middle-class professionals, small business owners, domestic servants for the wealthy, and blue-collar workers. (Ethnographic study, 1993) George Westinghouse was a progressive employer, and his company, Westinghouse Electric, provided housing and a new school for the workers who came to Pittsburgh to work for him. George Westinghouse developed a reputation for hiring a world-class faculty for Westinghouse High School to educate the young minds of Homewood. (Bullock Williams interview)
In 1920, the students of Westinghouse published A Book of Verse that featured poetry by students describing life in and out of the school as well as their thoughts on the future, war, and women’s suffrage. One poem by Ruth McFarland, class of ’17, titled “Appreciation Class” featured a frustrated music appreciation teacher trying in vain to play classical records on the Victrola and trying to get the player piano to run. (p. 63)
In addition to English, mathematics, history, and science, boys could also take courses in engine repair while girls took home economics. These courses became popular in the United States in the 1920s, designed to give students skills that they would need in their work lives. (Kline)
The Alma Mater:
Oh,Westinghouse forever, loyal and true.
Nothing can ever change our love for you.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Oh,Westinghouse forever we're true to you,
we love our colors of GOLD and BLUE
Homewood was officially settled in 1832, when Judge William Wilkins built his estate there along with a train stop and line going downtown. The ability to travel via train to and from downtown attracted other rich white men, who wanted to be able to escape the dirt and noise of the city in their evenings. The growth of estates in Homewood led to a growing number of servants who lived there as well, with some of them becoming Homewood’s first black residents in the 1860s. These early black residents established the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1871 (Green).