Harry Darlington House, Allegheny West

Harry Darlington House

Half a block deep, four storeys tall, and one room wide—that is the adaptation railroad magnate Harry Darlington made to build a big mansion on a tiny lot. This narrow but substantial Romanesque pile was built in about 1890.

To the left of it is the Holmes house, about which more soon.

Sweetgum Fruits

Sweetgum fruits

The unmistakable dried seedpods of Liquidambar styriciflua on the ground in the West Park arboretum. Sweetgum is not native to our area—its range ends a little south of us—but it is so widely planted that it is one of our more common trees.

Byers-Lyons House

Byers-Lyons House

If you were a millionaire in Pittsburgh in the late 1800s, of course you expected to have a mansion by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow. They were Andrew Carnegie’s favorite architects, after all. This Renaissance palace on Ridge Avenue is particularly splendid. Although it now belongs to the Community College of Allegheny County, its grand interior spaces have not been altered very much.


The cloister-like arcade in front is one of the most striking features of the house.


This gate, which is either original or at least quite old, is kept in beautiful shape.

Dormont Presbyterian Church

Dormont Presbyterian Church

Dormont Presbyterian Church (now North Way Community Church) in winter sunlight.

The Pittsburgh Directory for 1815

Suppose you suddenly dropped through a hole in time and found yourself in the Pittsburgh of 1815. How would you find your way? What was the population? What were the street names then? Where would you find a watch, or a suit of clothes, or wholesale German imports? Was there a library? How would you post a letter?

In case that happens remember this name: James M. Riddle, on the south side of 3d, between Market and Wood streets, and nearly opposite the Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Bank. Mr. Riddle has published a complete directory of the booming Borough of Pittsburgh, and no visitor from the future should be without it.

You will notice that there are no addresses. Though it had already grown to be one of the ten largest cities in the country, Pittsburgh had not yet numbered its houses and buildings. Instead, an address would be given as “S side of Virgin alley between Wood and Smithfield,” and if you wanted anything more specific, you would probably have to ask someone on the street.