Motor Square Garden

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.

East Liberty Market
Location5900 Baum Boulevard, East Liberty, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates40°27′35.2″N 79°55′38.14″W
ArchitectPeabody & Stearns
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts
NRHP reference No.77001121 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 12, 1977
Designated PHLF1975 and 1988[2]

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. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. Historic Landmark Plaques 1968-2009 (PDF). Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  3. Sam Sciullo, Jr. Pitt: 100 Years of Pitt Basketball pg. 14-17
  • Collins, John Fulton Stuart Jr. (1967). Stringtown on the Pike: Tales and History of East Liberty. Pittsburgh: privately published.
  • 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.
  • Toker, Franklin (1994) [1986]. Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5434-6.
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