Category: Bloomfield

  • Apartment Building in Bloomfield/Garfield

    Apartment building on Gross Street

    Father Pitt was so much taken with this apartment building when he glimpsed it from Penn Avenue in Garfield that he walked a quarter of a block or so out of his way to get pictures of it. The inset balconies are delightful, and the irregular side uses space efficiently while still flooding the rooms inside with light from multiple angles. But old Pa Pitt’s favorite thing was the oversized arch with orbiting leaded glass at the entrance.

    Front of the building
    Perspective view
  • Building on Penn Avenue at Winebiddle Street, Garfield

    Building at Penn and Winebiddle

    If we read our old maps correctly, this building on Penn Avenue at Winebiddle Street, probably built in the 1890s, housed the Garfield Bank. But since the name “Garfield Bank” does not appear before the 1923 layer, it may not originally have been built for that institution. It is a curiously eclectic building, hard to assign to a particular style, and the architect (or probably builder-with-a-pencil) seems not to have known quite how to deal with the front, leaving a disturbingly asymmetrical arrangement of windows. But it is an interesting construction, and it has been preserved in very good shape.

    Penn at Winebiddle

    On city planning maps, Penn Avenue is a neighborhood border, and the south side of Penn Avenue is in Bloomfield; but both sides of the Penn Avenue business district have always been called “Garfield” by Pittsburghers, as we see from the fact that a Garfield Bank occupied this building in 1923.

    From the west
  • The Ambassador, Bloomfield

    Brass plaques
    Ambassador, Bloomfield

    This Art Deco apartment block was built in 1928 or shortly after. At first glance it looks like a simple rectangular modernist box, but a second glance reveals some rich decorative details.

    The building is on Centre Avenue, which is a neighborhood border on city planning maps; thus it is technically in Bloomfield, but most Pittsburghers would probably say Shadyside.

    Wrought iron
    Terra cotta
    East side

    Addendum: The architects were Marks & Kann, according to the Charette, the magazine of the Pittsburgh Architectural Club.

  • Woolslair Public School, Bloomfield/Lawrenceville

    Woolslair Public School

    This fine Renaissance palace, built in 1897, was designed by Samuel T. McClaren. It sits on 40th Street at Liberty Avenue, where it is technically—according to city planning maps—in Bloomfield. Most Pittsburghers, however, would probably call this section of Bloomfield “Lawrenceville,” since it sticks like a thumb into lower Lawrenceville, and the Lawrenceville line runs along two edges of the school’s lot.

    For some reason the style of this building is listed as “Romanesque revival” wherever we find it mentioned on line. Old Pa Pitt will leave it up to his readers: is this building, with its egg-and-dart decorations, false balconies, and Trajanesque inscriptions, anything other than a Victorian interpretation of a Renaissance interpretation of classical architecture? Now, if you had said “Rundbogenstil,” Father Pitt might have accepted it, because he likes to say the word “Rundbogenstil.”

    Northern side
  • St. John’s Lutheran Church, Bloomfield

    St. John’s Lutheran, Bloomfield

    This is on 40th Street in the end of Bloomfield that sticks like a thumb into Lower Lawrenceville. It is another of those city churches where the sanctuary is on the second floor, as we often find in dense rowhouse neighborhoods where the church must make the most of a tiny lot. Like many of those churches, it is now apartments.

    Addendum: According to a city database of historic buildings, the architect was Frederick Sauer, famous for attractive and competent Catholic churches and the strange flights of whimsy he built in his back yard in Aspinwall.

    St. John’s Lutheran
    St. John’s Lutheran
    Choir Loft Condominiums
  • Wilson Drugs, Penn Main

    Wilson Pharmacy

    The district around the intersection of Penn Avenue and Main Street is commonly called Penn Main; it’s on the border of Lawrenceville and Bloomfield, and functions as a secondary commercial spine for both neighborhoods. Because the streets do not meet at a right angle, the buildings on the corner are various odd Pittsburgh shapes. This attractive commercial building is an irregular pentagon. Wilson Drugs, one of the diminishing number of independent neighborhood drug stores in the city, seems frozen in 1948, in spite of its electronic displays.

    Wilson Drugs
  • Pearl Street, Bloomfield

    Pearl Street

    The last rays of evening sun strike little rowhouses on Pearl Street in Bloomfield. This picture was taken in 1999, but except for the cars the view has changed very little. Bloomfield still has one of the city’s best collections of Kool Vent aluminum awnings.

  • Bloomfield in 1999

    Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield

    Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield, as it appeared in 1999. The picture was taken with an old folding Kodak Tourist camera.

  • West Penn Hospital

    Originally the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, but what was the nickname has become the official name in hospital literature. The side that faces Liberty Avenue is modern in an unimpressive way, but the side that faces Friendship Park is a landmark of hospital architecture. By stitching a large number of photographs together, we can get a picture of the whole building the way the architect imagined it.

  • First United Methodist Church

    Camera: Kodak EasyShare 1485 IS.

    Technically in Bloomfield, this church sits on the corner where Bloomfield, Shadyside, and Friendship come together. The architects, Weary & Kramer, were a firm from Akron that specialized in heavy Romanesque and Gothic. This church is obviously inspired by H. H. Richardson’s designs, especially his courthouse and his Trinity Church in Boston.

    According to the Architectural Record, this congregation used to be called Christ’s Methodist Church.

    Camera: Canon PowerShot S45.