Carson Street is famous for its Victorian commercial buildings, but here and there among the Victorian masterpieces, and the later fillers, are a few that we might call pre-Victorian. Even though they were built during the long reign of Queen Victoria across the sea, these buildings betray little of the style that we think of as Victorian. They are hardly architecture at all. They are built in the simple vernacular style that was current for decades in the early and middle nineteenth century—and had indeed been inherited from the eighteenth. They are identical to houses of the same era, except with the front of the first floor modified into a storefront.
Here are two of them. Both of them have been through various alterations over the years, but they are easily recognized by their peaked roofs with narrow projecting dormers, making them look almost like a child’s drawing of a house. From our 1872 map, it seems fairly certain that both of them were here in 1872, when East Birmingham was taken into the city of Pittsburgh; they probably date from the period of rapid development in East Birmingham during and right after the Civil War.