Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Bedford Public School, South Side

Bedford Public School

Built in 1850 for the borough of Birmingham, this is the oldest public-school building left in the city of Pittsburgh. It was built in the still-fashionable Greek Revival style, and it originally had a cupola in which the Birmingham town clock was installed. It remained a school of some sort until 1960; then it was sold to be used as a warehouse. In 1997 it was converted into lofts by serial restorationist Joedda Sampson, who has left a trail of beautiful restorations wherever she went.

Note the identical but separate entrances. As in many mid-nineteenth-century schools, one was for girls and one was for boys.


If your eye detects a not-very-subtle difference between the name “Bedford” and the rest of the inscription, you can tell your eye that it is because the old Birmingham Public School No. 1 was renamed after Birmingham was taken into the city of Pittsburgh in 1872. The name “Bedford” honors Dr. Nathaniel Bedford, who had been a surgeon at Fort Pitt before the Revolution, and later laid out the borough of Birmingham on his wife’s family’s land.

Oblique view

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