Category: Highland Park

  • House Turned Synagogue in Highland Park

    House turned synagogue

    Several synagogues in Pittsburgh have been adapted from private houses—one of them half a block away from here. This one seems no longer to be a synagogue, so it has gone from residential to institutional to residential again. The inscription is mostly in Hebrew, which old Pa Pitt regrets that he does not read, so perhaps a reader can inform us which congregation was here. The English part of the inscription memorializes Mr. & Mrs. Bennie Fineberg, perhaps the donors.

    We could try to imagine what the front of this house looked like before its conversion. But we needn’t put in the effort, because a nearly identical house is right next door:

    A similar house

    This one has been converted to apartments, and it has suffered some alterations, but nothing that takes very much imagination to remove in our mind’s eye and restore the original look of the house.

  • Pittsburgh Foursquare in Highland Park

    House on Negley Avenue at Jackson Street

    A particularly grand version of the Pittsburgh Foursquare house, this house on Negley Avenue at Jackson Street was one of four in a row built in the early 1900s for James Parker, who had a small real-estate empire in the nearby streets.

    From a 1910 map at Pittsburgh Historic Maps.

    All four were almost certainly designed by the same hand, and all four still stand in beautiful condition today.

  • Second United Presbyterian Church, Highland Park

    Second United Presbyterian Church

    This church has an unusually eclectic history. It began as the Second United Presbyterian Church. Father Pitt does not know the original architect, but in 1915 there was a devastating fire, and a large reconstruction project was supervised by the architect John Louis Beatty. In 1933 the Presbyterians moved out, and this became the East End Baptist Church. Now it is the Union Project (an arts venue) and the meeting-place of the Jonah’s Call Anglican congregation.

    About two and a half years ago, old Pa Pitt published some pictures of this church, but something seemed different about it. It took a moment to realize: the decorative details on the tower have been cleaned. Back in 2021, all the stone had been cleaned except for the very top of the tower:

    Tower with soot still on it

    But now the tower is clean to its very tip:

    Top of the tower cleaned
    Second U. P. Church
    Union Project
    Main entrance
    Main entrance again
    Gothic arch
    Black pinnacle

    This little pinnacle is still the color the whole church used to be.

    East End Baptist Church

    Map showing the location of the church.

  • Eaglemoor Apartments, Highland Park

    Eaglemoor Apartments

    These three attached units were originally named Howard, Delaware, and Norfolk, and you can still barely make out the ghosts of those names above the three entrances. They were built in 1901.

    Two of the three units have had their balconies filled in, apparently to make closets, judging by the floor plans on the Mozart Management page for the Eaglemoor. The third is almost certainly what all three originally looked like.

    Norfolk Apartments

    Some paint is being touched up along the side.

    Update: A correspondent with inside information mentions that the new paint job is meant to return the apartments to something like their original appearance. (We’ll have to come back soon to see the results.) The balconies did indeed turn into closets many years ago.

    Mozart Management has two tours of this building on YouTube:

    And here is a map.

  • Highland Park Reservoir in 2001

    Highland Park Reservoir

    In 2002, the Water and Sewer Authority installed a microfiltration system to purify the water while keeping the Highland Park Reservoir open. This picture from 2001 shows the previous water-purification technology.

  • Elliott–Fownes House, Highland Park

    Mansion on Highland Avenue

    Flemish Renaissance is not the most common style in Pittsburgh; this is certainly one of our most splendid examples of it. It is one of the surviving millionaires’ mansions on Highland Avenue. Father Pitt’s identification of it as the Elliott–Fownes house is based on two sources. The application for the neighborhood’s historic-district designation in the National Register of Historic Places mentions it as the home of “machine politician Robert Elliott”; a 1912 book has Henry C. Fownes, founder of the Oakmont Country Club, at this address.

    Robert Elliott house
    Henry C. Fownes house
  • Belgian Block

    Belgian Block

    A surprising number of Pittsburgh streets are still paved with Belgian block, which Pittsburghers usually call “cobblestone.” (Real cobblestones are irregular round stones.) In some better neighborhoods, all the streets were paved with Belgian block. In other neighborhoods, more-or-less flat sections were paved with brick, which is much cheaper but very slippery when wet, and the more expensive Belgian block was reserved for steep slopes.

    This pavement is on Elgin Street in Highland Park.

  • Baywood


    Perhaps the grandest Second Empire mansion in Pittsburgh, Baywood was built in 1880 for Alexander King. The house is listed for about three million dollars, and thanks to the real-estate agents you can “experience Baywood” virtually. According to the site, the house sits on “an unprecedented 1.8 acre lot,” and readers are invited to speculate on what the word “unprecedented” means in that context.

  • East End Baptist Church

    East End Baptist Church

    This was built for the Second United Presbyterian Church, but the Baptists moved in in 1933 (according to the History of the Churches of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association). It is now the Union Project, an arts center and events hall.

  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Highland Park

    Completed in 1909, this typical Gothic church was designed by Philadelphia architects Carpenter & Crocker, who also designed Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Homewood and at least one of the Fifth Avenue mansions in Shadyside.

    Camera: Kodak EasyShare Z1485 IS. The composite picture above is about 25 megapixels if you click on it.