Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

A Chimney by Frederick Sauer

Chimney of one of the Sauer Buildings

Frederick Sauer was the architect who designed some of our distinguished churches—St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Mary of the Mount, and St. Stephen’s in Hazelwood, to name three. They are all excellent designs within the conventions of late-Victorian style. The same can be said for the houses and commercial buildings Sauer built.

But in his old age, Sauer settled down on his big hillside property above the town of Aspinwall and started tinkering. Eventually, with his own hands, he built a group of whimsies that are not quite like anything else in the world. None of his clients ever got anything like these: Sauer was a reliable provider of the expected in architecture. But left to himself, he built a landscape from a fairy tale.

This is one of the houses he built, and the hand-crafted chimney above is emblematic of Sauer’s fairy-tale approach to building. The current owner was kind enough to spend a few minutes passing on the latest gossip on the Sauer Buildings. Most were held as rental properties, but they have now been sold off individually, and the new owners are for the most part reversing decades of neglect.

One of the Sauer Buildings

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