Our History

Our History


From the start, innovation has been pivotal to our impact in the lives of children and youth.

In 1901, Howard Heinz, the son of prominent businessman H.J. Heinz, started a small boys club on Pittsburgh’s North Side called the Covode House, which would later become Sarah Heinz House. Howard’s passion for helping young children was inspired while he was a college student at Yale and saw the tough life of boys on the streets of New Haven, Connecticut.

The Covode House provided recreational and social activities for boys who were the sons of newly arrived immigrants to Pittsburgh. Girls were later admitted in 1903, making the club the first of its kind to include boys and girls.

By 1913, the club had become so successful that it outgrew its space. A new building was constructed and named in memory of Howard’s mother, Sarah. The building still stands today at our current location and features a brick and stone exterior with stained glass windows depicting the concepts of character and virtue.

In the 1930’s, Sarah Heinz House became one of the first members the national Boys and Girls Clubs of America, an affiliation which continues.

Over the decades, the need for additional space grew. Construction began on an environmentally green-certified structure connected to the original building. In 2007, the new building was completed featuring a state-of-the art Baierl gymnasium and swimming pool as well as a dance studio and fitness center. Today, the 75,000 square feet structure serves more than 1,000 youth each year through our after school and summer programs.”