Category: Dutchtown

  • St. Mary’s Church, Dutchtown

    St. Mary’s German Catholic Church

    Father John Stibiel specified this church, which was built in 1854 for his German parish, and he is usually credited as the designer of it. Some architectural historians, however, think that the architect may have been Charles F. Bartberger, the elder of the two Charles Bartbergers, who made similarly Romanesque designs for St. Paul of the Cross Monastery Church and St. Michael’s, both on the South Side Slopes.

    The vestibule in front was designed by Sidney F. Heckert and built in 1906.


    The church narrowly escaped demolition for the Parkway North. Along with the adjacent priory, it was bought by a Pittsburgh businessman who successfully turned the priory into a hotel and the church into “Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall,” a place for weddings and other events.

    Front of the church

    This composite view suffers from the inevitable distortion of the towers, but it otherwise gives us a good notion of the whole front of the church.

  • Allegheny Elks’ Lodge, Dutchtown

    Allegheny Elks’ Lodge
    Sony Alpha 3000.

    Men’s clubs live in terror of windows, which they gradually block up with glass blocks, bricks, or whatever else is handy. But the outlines of this dignified clubhouse remain as the architect drew them. It was designed in 1924 by Edward B. Lee, replacing an earlier lodge (designed by William E. Snaman) that had been destroyed by fire.

    The style is noticeably similar to the style of the Americus Republican Club, also by Lee. The buildings are radically different shapes, but Lee applied the same design vocabulary to make both clubs look respectable in their different locations.

  • Robinson House, Dutchtown

    408 Cedar Avenue

    This magnificent home was built for the Robinson family, probably in the 1890s, on a prominent corner facing the East Commons. It replaced an earlier brick house that had stood on the same spot. Locals tell us it is magnificent on the inside as well. One claims to have a mantel from this house in his own house: the Robinson house spent decades as a funeral home, and when the owners tore out interior walls, they offered some of the remains to the neighbors.

    Robinson house
    Porch columns
    408 Cedar Avenue
  • A Stroll on Avery Street in Dutchtown

    617 Avery Street

    The part of Dutchtown south of East Ohio Street is a tiny but densely packed treasury of Victorian styles. Old Pa Pitt took a walk on Avery Street the other evening, when the sun had moved far enough around in the sky to paint the houses on the southeast side of the street.

    611 Avery Street
    Gable ornament on 611
    609 Avery Street
    607 Avery Street
    539 and 537 Avery Street
    527 and 525 Avery Street
    521 and 519 Avery Street
    517–511 Avery Street
    515 and 513 Avery Street

    Is this the most beautiful breezeway in Pittsburgh? It’s certainly in the running.

    507 and 505 Avery Street
    613 Avery Street
    621 Avery Street

    Cameras: Sony Alpha 3000; Canon PowerShot SX150 IS.

  • Eberhardt & Ober Brewery, Dutchtown

    Eberhardt & Ober was one of Pittsburgh’s favorite beers for many years—E & O, for “Early and Often,” as the advertisements put it. (What a cheery slogan—and yet one that would probably not be tolerated today.) The building is a fine example of German-American brewery architecture.

    Mr. Eberhardt and Mr. Ober were not only business partners, but also friends for life—and even beyond life.

    Though Eberhardt & Ober conscientiously brewed beer to the strict German standards of purity, the beer that comes out of this building now is probably better than anything E & O ever produced. This is now the home of the Penn Brewery, which—in addition to making some very good beer—operates a restaurant serving the kind of German food that makes beer sing.

    The buildings you see here are on Vinial Street, which is the arbitrary dividing line on city planning maps between East Allegheny and Troy Hill. No sane Pittsburgher would call this Troy Hill, though, or say that the brewery is in a different neighborhood from the bottling plant a few yards across the street. By any reasonable standard, the brewery is in Dutchtown—which, fortunately, is not an official neighborhood name, and so can have any arbitrary boundaries common usage would like to assign to it.

    Addendum: The architect of the buildings was Joseph Stillburg, one of our most successful mid-Victorian architects. Many of his buildings are gone, but his influence on Pittsburgh architecture was huge. Teenage Frederick Osterling worked in Stillburg’s office, where he would have seen firsthand how to manage the kind of large architectural operation that his own practice later became.

  • Teutonia Männerchor

    The Teutonia Männerchor in Dutchtown is a strange and happy anomaly: most of the old German singing societies have long since vanished, but the Teutonia is flourishing. This amazing half-timbered building was designed by the relatively obscure Charles Ott, and it certainly does look like a little bit of Germany.

    Camera: Olympus E-20n.