Now New Culture Church, this little Gothic building and its attached parsonage make the most of their steeply sloped corner lot. We note that the minister would have had to go up the equivalent of two storeys to get from his parlor to the church sanctuary right next door.
Almost all the pictures of the Corliss Street Tunnel on line are of the much plainer southern entrance. That is because there is nowhere to stand and get a picture of the northern entrance. Or at least so old Pa Pitt thought until recently, but it turns out that, with a long lens, it is possible to stand on the other side of the Ohio River and get a fair picture without being run over by a truck.
The fall foliage is an added bonus.
This was the first of Stanley Roush’s tunnel trifecta: he designed the entrances to the Corliss Street Tunnel, the Liberty Tunnels, and the Armstrong Tunnel.
This is is an especially fine example of the very last phase of Gothic church architecture in America. Old Pa Pitt does not know the whole history of this church. It was a congregation of the United Churches of Christ until ten or fifteen years ago; the current congregation is Southern Baptist.
This little movie house had 290 seats.1 It appears on a 1923 map, but not on a 1910 map, which brackets its dates. It may have closed in 1933, when the equipment was auctioned at a constable’s sale for non-payment of rent.
This is one of those cases where old Pa Pitt’s instincts served him well. Out for a walk in Elliott taking pictures of other things, he thought this had the look of a movie theater—narrow but deep, as theaters usually are—and took its picture. A look at the old maps confirmed that it was indeed a theater.
If you were on a budget of only $20,000, which was fairly modest for a church, you could still get yourselves some distinguished architects to make the most of your money. Vrydaugh & Wolfe designed some huge millionaires’ mansions and a number of glorious stone churches, but they put their usual care into this little project as well, using inexpensive materials to the best effect.1 It was built as Emanuel Evangelical Church; later it became Emanuel United Methodist Church, and now it is New Destiny Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
A small addition filled in one corner at some time when the church was a United Methodist congregation.
The attached parsonage is small but in perfect taste, neither too ostentatious nor unduly plain.
- The budget may have ended up being less than $20,000. As originally conceived, it would have been a stone-veneer building; perhaps the bricks were a later decision to shave some money off the cost. From the Construction Record, February 3, 1912: “Plans are being prepared by Architect Vrydaugh & Wolf, 347 Fifth avenue, for a one-story stone veneer church building for the Emanuel Evangelical Congregation, Crucible and Lorenza [sic] avenues. The building will be 85×100 feet and will cost $20,000.” ↩︎
A small firehouse, utilitarian but attractive; it would be more attractive with its original cornice.
It should be a standard requirement that all buildings must have a bronze plaque installed at the dedication identifying the year of construction and the architect.
Is the Kropf of Kropf & Dickson the Henry M. Kropff who would later design Alder Court in Shadyside? If so, it appears that his name is unspellable in bronze; the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation plaque on Alder Court spells it “Kroff.”
Old Pa Pitt is delighted to report that, since this picture was taken in the summer of 2000, this almost perfectly preserved carriage house has been restored and refurbished into a habitable building, with glass in the upper windows and other such modern conveniences (see the pictures below). Nevertheless, he reports it with a tiny bit of regret. There’s a fascination frantic in a ruin that’s romantic, and restoring the building inevitably takes it one more step away from its origin. Certainly it was good to restore it; the only alternative would have been to let it continue to decay and eventually vanish. But Father Pitt is happy that he was able to preserve this picture from the time when it had never been anything other than a carriage house.
An update: According to old maps, this seems to have been built in the 1880s; it appears in 1890 but not in 1882.
Note the perfect little I-house to the left of the carriage house.
Thomas Scott designed this elegant Arts-and-Crafts bandstand for West End Park, and it must have been a fine thing to sit out on the grass and hear a thumpy brass band on a lazy summer evening. It has probably been many years since a brass band played here, but the bandstand itself has been restored and is kept in excellent shape. Here we have similar pictures from two cameras with wildly different ideas of color balance.
West End Park is far off the beaten track, and few people outside its own neighborhood (which is technically Elliott, though it belongs at least as much to the West End) ever visit, or even know it exists. But it has one of our best war memorials by one of our best sculptors and one of our best architects.
The sculptor was Frank Vittor, who was already developing the streamlined style that would make him one of Pittsburgh’s two favorite sculptors (the other being Giuseppe Moretti). The architect was William Perry, whose most famous work is St. Bernard’s in Mount Lebanon, a church more magnificent than many cathedrals. Their collaboration produced a striking monument, simple but rich. Unfortunately some restoration has left it with two radically different colors of stone and concrete, which is not how it was meant to look, as we see in this picture from twenty-two years ago:
That picture shows us that the memorial has also lost some sort of bronze ornament on the bottom half of the shaft: we can see the shadow of what seems to have been a shield with double-headed axe set in a bronze band. (Addendum: The book Discovering Pittsburgh’s Sculpture, by Vernon Gay and Marilyn Evert, shows the ornament in place, with a bronze band all the way around the base. That book was published in 1983.)
This winding trellised walkway works well both as a pleasant place to be in its own right and to build anticipation for the view to come.