Category: Carnegie

  • Masonic Hall, Carnegie

    Masonic Hall, A.D. 1904

    The Masonic Hall in Carnegie is a fine example of small-town Rundbogenstil, taking its details from Renaissance architecture and its rhythm from industrial Romanesque.

    Perspective view of the Masonic Hall

    If Father Pitt owned this building and had to put up with those two modern blisters on top, he would have them painted to look like cat ears.


    The goat ornaments were doubtless intended to reassure the Masons’ neighbors that Masonry has no satanic connotations at all.

  • Commercial Building at Third & Third, Carnegie

    Commercial Building at Third Street and Third Avenue, Carnegie

    Father Pitt took these pictures more than a year ago, but for some reason he never published them until now. This Rundbogenstil building at Third Street and Third Avenue takes full advantage of its corner site, and the details of the pediment and cornice have been lovingly picked out in tastefully balanced colors.

    Third Street side
  • Art Deco Telephone Exchange in Carnegie

    Telephone exchange in Carnegie

    Press C. Dowler was almost certainly the architect of this classic Art Deco telephone exchange, since he designed most of the buildings for Bell Telephone in our area during the Art Deco era.

    The blankness of the first floor is probably original. As much of the switching equipment as possible was on the ground floor, because copper was expensive, and anything that shortened the distance that had to be cabled saved a lot of money.


    The polychrome frieze is an unexpected flash of color on what is otherwise a monochrome building that makes its decorative statements with cleverly patterned brick, a few stone accents, and small terra-cotta ornaments.

    Entrance decoration
    Terra cotta
    Street names

    It used to be usual for corner buildings to carry the names of the streets in lieu of street signs. It was already old-fashioned when this building went up, but who could resist those elegant Art Deco letters?

  • Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church, Carnegie

    Onion domes

    These deep-blue onion domes are one of the distinctive features of the Carnegie skyline as motorists see it from the Parkway West. This Russian church, originally known in English as St. Mary’s (according to the cornerstone), sits right next to the Ukrainian Orthodox church by Titus de Bobula; it was built in 1920, about fourteen years after the Ukrainian church. Though Holy Virgin is not so extravagantly eccentric, it holds up well against its neighbor; and the two of them together form a memorable composition that makes us wonder for a moment what continent we landed on.

    Front of Holy Virgin Church
    Perspective view
    Onion domes
  • St. Peter & St. Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Hall, Carnegie

    St. Peter and St. Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church

    Originally Ukrainian Greek Catholic, this church, built in 1906, was designed by Titus de Bobula with an extravagantly broad range of materials that no sane architect would attempt to harmonize. We are tempted to say it was fortunate that De Bobula was no sane architect; at any rate, he has pulled the rabbit out of his hat and made harmony out of dissonance.

    Central dome
    Left dome

    De Bobula did not sign the cornerstone, as he did at the First Hungarian Reformed Church and St. John the Baptist, but the lettering is certainly in his style.

    Church and hall

    Next door to the church is a parochial hall. Old Pa Pitt does not know whether the hall was built at the same time; if it is not by De Bobula, it successfully imitates some of his quirks.

    Inscription: Ukrainska Parochiyalna Galya

    Father Pitt, who admits he does not speak Ukrainian, would translate “Ukrainska Parochiyalna Galya” as “Ukrainian Parochial Hall.”

    Hall and school
  • Carrick

    Seen from a hilltop in Brookline. St. Basil’s is prominent on the skyline.

  • St. Luke’s Church, Carnegie

    St. Luke’s R. C. Church

    Now St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church of St. Raphael Parish, because the history of parish consolidation in Carnegie is complicated even by Catholic Pittsburgh standards. Built in 1881, this church was out of commission for a while after the Hurricane Ivan floods in Carnegie, but it is now restored and expanded, and in fact is the only remaining Western Catholic church in Carnegie. (There’s a Byzantine-rite Ukrainian church, too.)

    Date stone
    St. Luke’s School

    The parish school behind the church closed some years ago, but the building still belongs to the church and has been adapted to other uses, including Sunday school and offices.

    Addendum: The architect of the school was Albert F. Link.1

    School and church
    1. Source: The Construction Record, January 13, 1912: “Carnegie, Pa. — Architect A. L. Fink [sic], 407 North Craig street, Pittsburgh, is drawing plans for a two-story brick fireproof parochial school, to be constructed on Third avenue and Fourth street, for St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Congregation. Building will contain 12 school rooms and auditorium on first floor. Cost $45,000.” The magazine was sloppily edited, but every once in a while we wonder whether one of the misprints was deliberate. ↩︎
  • Queen Anne House in Carnegie

    Queen Anne house on Doolittle Avenue

    This splendid house sits on the hill overlooking the part of Carnegie that was formerly the borough of Chartiers.

    From the right-hand side
    Across a grassy meadow
  • Carnegie National Bank

    Carnegie National Bank

    Architecture is a kind of message that we instinctively read. When we see a bank that looks like this, we think without even articulating the thought, “That bank is stable and respectable.” The richness of the materials tells us that the bank has plenty of money; the traditional classical design tells us that it is not some fly-by-night institution that somehow swindled its way into a few bucks and will be gone as soon as its trendy design is passé. This bank on Main Street in the borough of Carnegie hits all the right notes with perfect pitch. We have forgotten how to send these architectural messages, but curiously enough we have not forgotten how to read them.

    Decoration over the entrance
    Oblique view
  • Doolittle House, Carnegie

    Doolittle house from the front

    A splendid country house overlooking the town of Chartiers (now the western half of Carnegie). Several real-estate sites on line list this house as built in 1900 or 1901, but clearly it is decades older, and very well preserved. According to our old maps, it appears to be the Doolittle house (but old Pa Pitt would be happy to be corrected). This section of Carnegie northwest of the railroad, the “Doolittle Place Plan,” was built on the former Jacob Doolittle estate, and Doolittle Avenue runs along the northeast side of the house.

    From the side
    From the rear