If he had known that the church would be demolished the next year, Father Pitt would have been more careful to document it. As it is, he happened to be passing in 2001 with one of his many odd old cameras, and he decided to take this quick picture before rolling on. The architect was probably John T. Comès, who gave this German congregation an Italian Romanesque church, because why not?
The church had been vacant for several years when the Sisters of Divine Providence demolished it and built a new Family Support Center. The front of that building bears a mural with a picture of St. Leo’s in it.
A fine example of the modest Arts-and-Crafts interpretation of Gothic that was fashionable for small churches in the early twentieth century. The building has hardly changed at all since it was put up in 1921, and it is still in use by the congregation that built it. The Community of Christ was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; it is a fairly liberal church that accepts but does not insist on the Book of Mormon as scripture and otherwise gets along better with mainstream Protestant denominations than it does with the much larger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which accounts for about 98% of Mormons.
William P. Ginther, an Akron-based architect who also gave us St. Mary’s in McKees Rocks, designed this magnificent church, but much of the labor was done by the Polish railroad workers who formed the congregation. The design is inspired by St. Peter’s in Rome; this church isn’t quite on that scale, but it certainly dominates the neighborhood, and it would make a fine cathedral.
This neat little church was probably the first church to be built in the new neighborhood of Beechwood, which was later renamed Beechview when it was taken into the city of Pittsburgh. It has been well refurbished for a Spanish-speaking congregation. Some of the original stained glass is gone, and the tower is bricked in, but on the whole it looks much the way it looked more than a century ago. We also note the aggressive slopes for which Beechview is notorious.
Beechview itself was laid out in 1905, so this would have been one of the earliest buildings.
Beechview’s streets changed their names when the neighborhood entered the city, because Pittsburgh didn’t need yet another set of numbered streets. Sixth Avenue is now Methyl Street; Pennsylvania Avenue is now Hampshire Avenue.