Category: Greenfield

  • St. Rosalia School, Greenfield

    St. Rosalia School

    A. F. Link designed this Romanesque school in 1912, a little more than a decade before he designed the magnificent church beside it. This design already shows Link’s trademark habit of abstracting and modernizing historic forms: here he combines a hint of Romanesque with some very Jugendstil abstract patterns in the brickwork.

    Fortunately the building has been sold to Yeshiva Schools, so it will not be abandoned to rot the way so many Catholic schools have been.

    Front of the school
  • St. Rosalia Church, Greenfield

    St. Rosalia Church

    Designed by A. F. Link, this Romanesque church was begun in 1923 and opened in 1925. The style is transitional: it uses traditional Romanesque elements, but it is already veering toward the Art Deco modernist interpretation of those elements that would become common in the 1930s through the 1950s.

    Cross

    The cross at the top of the (liturgical) west front sets the modernist tone for the decorations.

    West Front of St. Rosalia
    Entrance
    Capital

    These abstract capitals continue the streamlined modernist theme, as do the three lunettes (Mary, Jesus, Joseph) on the west front:

    Lunette with Mary
    Lunette with Jesus
    Lunette with Joseph
    Rose window

    Though it is a complex design, the rose window echoes the streamlining of the capitals and other details.

    Oblique view of the church

    In contrast to the Deco streamlining of the front, the side of the church, with its crenellations and complex brickwork, could almost pass for a middle-1800s church by Charles F. Bartberger. Yet the styles fit together; there is no dissonance between the different views of the church.

    For those who are interested, here is a Pittsburgh Catholic article published March 27, 1924, that identifies many of the contractors and artists who worked on the church.

    Imposing New Church of Saint Rosalia Is a Token of Parish Progress and Triumph of Architects and Builders
  • Concrete Rowhouses by Titus de Bobula, Greenfield

    Titus de Bobula houses

    These tiny houses on Frank Street have a historic importance far out of proportion to their cost and size. First of all, they are among the relatively few remaining works of the eccentric architectural genius and flimflam artist Titus de Bobula, the man who would have been Fascist dictator of Hungary if he had had better luck. Second, they are built of reinforced concrete, some of the very first American houses so built. Titus de Bobula was the apostle of concrete in his brief architectural career, and his influence would be hard to overestimate.

    A single house in the row

    The houses have had their separate adventures since they were built, including some artificial siding. This one has had windows and front door replaced, but at least it shows the simple outlines of the design, including the bay window in front.

    The row from the Greenfield Avenue end

    The house on the end may be the best preserved of the row.

    From the Lilac Street end

    Many sources say that twenty of these houses were built. Six remain, and old Pa Pitt believes there were never more than nine. The architect claimed to have built more, but we cannot rely on anything Titus de Bobula says about his work, because he was prone to exaggeration and outright fabrication.

    The houses were an investment by multimillionaire newspaper magnate Eugene O’Neill, owner of the Dispatch and no relation to the playwright of the same name. He owned the land on Frank Street and along Greenfield Avenue to either side. Some architectural historians say that De Bobula rowhouses went up on Greenfield Avenue, but that is contradicted by old maps and today’s evidence.

    Rowhouses on Greenfield Avenue

    These rowhouses on Greenfield Avenue, on the land once owned by Eugene O’Neill, were built at about the same time as the De Bobula houses, but these are standard brick. Old maps do show three more concrete houses on Lilac Street, perpendicular to the row on Frank Street, but those were replaced after the Second World War by two larger and more expensive houses:

    Where more De Bobula houses used to be

    These two houses stand where a row of three concrete houses, probably by De Bobula, stood in the first half of the twentieth century.

    For more on Titus de Bobula and his very surprising career, you can see Father Pitt’s article on Titus de Bobula in Father Pitt’s Pittsburgh Encyclopedia.

  • Cathedral of Learning from Greenfield

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    We took similar pictures in early spring; now here is the view in the late summer, considerably leafier.

  • Cathedral of Learning from Greenfield

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    Greenfield is a hilly neighborhood whose peaks sometimes open up unexpected views of the city. Here we see two different views of the Cathedral of Learning in the distance.

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