Category: Mount Lebanon

  • The Berkshire, Mount Lebanon

    The Berkshire

    We have seen the Berkshire before, but those pictures weren’t very good, so old Pa Pitt went back and got better ones. It’s a courtyard apartment building in the Mount Lebanon Historic District; as Father Pitt said the first time he visited, this building is in a simple but attractive Jacobean style, where a few effective details carry all the thematic weight.

    Gate and entrance
    Front door
    Lantern and gatepost

    Cameras: Kodak EasyShare Z1285; Nikon COOLPIX P100.

  • Mount Lebanon Station

    Mt. Lebanon Station

    A two-car train enters Mount Lebanon station from the subway tunnel that goes under part of Dormont and Uptown Mount Lebanon. Part of the platform is under reconstruction at the moment, so only the front car will open its doors.

    The Red Line is partly closed for the next two months as Pittsburgh Regional Transit sorts out an accumulated backlog of construction projects. The section from Potomac south to Overbrook Junction is still open.

    Two-car train at Mount Lebanon
    Outbound train, with stairway
    Kodak EasyShare Z981.
  • Mt. Lebanon Professional Building

    Inscription: Mt. Lebanon Professional Building

    First of all, old Pa Pitt hopes these aluminum letters are insured at replacement value, because it would be a crime against design to lose their cool perfection.

    Arthur Tennyson, a Mt. Lebanon native, was an architect who flourished in postwar Pittsburgh, when “modern” was the buzzword and simplicity was in demand. This building was designed in 1956 for medical offices. It opened in 1958, and although its population has diversified a little and a few minor alterations have been made, it remains, sixty-six years later, mostly unaltered and mostly in use for its original purpose.

    Mt. Lebanon Professional Building, front elevation

    From his preliminary sketch, we can see that the building grew a bit from Mr. Tennyson’s original conception. Because of the sloping lot, it would be hard to say exactly how much it grew; it would be safest to say that roughly a floor was added.

    Pittsburgh Press, September 23, 1956.

    The most eye-catching feature is the facing of mint-green glazed brick laid in a stack bond (that is, gridwise) rather than the usual running bond. The stack bond adds to the impression of horizontality and stability on a site where the lot plummets diagonally two floors.

    Mt. Lebanon Professional Building, perspective view from the east
    Lower end of the building

    The building was a bit unusual in that the doctors who originally had their offices here were shareholders in the building as well as tenants. “The idea of constructing the building,” said the Press article, “originated with the doctors themselves, who are share owners in Mt. Lebanon Professional Building, Inc., the backer of the project.”


    Mt. Lebanon Professional Building from Florida Avenue
    Nikon COOLPIX P100.
  • Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church, Mount Lebanon

    Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church

    Built in about 1930, this rich stone Perpendicular Gothic church was designed by J. L. Beatty.

    Front of the church
    Left-hand entrance
    It was not old Pa Pitt who left that tripod sitting around by the entrance.
    Entrance from the side
    Oblique view of the front of the church
    Front of the church
    Transept window
    Rear of the church
    Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church

    Cameras: Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z6; Canon PowerShot SX150IS.

  • A Stroll on Markham Drive, Mount Lebanon

    136 Markham Drive

    Markham Drive in Mount Lebanon is not yet included in the Mount Lebanon Historic District, but it ought to be. It is a street of architecturally distinctive houses, mostly from the 1930s, that are in an extraordinarily fine state of preservation, at least externally. We have already seen one of them: the “Transition House” designed by Brandon Smith to entice conservative home-buyers to accept modern construction methods. Here is a generous album from the rest of the street.

  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Mount Lebanon

    St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

    A richly stony church built for the ages in a tastefully modernized Gothic style.

    Anno Domini 1930
    Plaque: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, with service times
    Side entrance
    Rear of the church
    St. Paul’s
    Kodak EasyShare Z981.
  • Transition House, Mount Lebanon

    The drawing by Brandon Smith, architect, shows the “transition” house which is being erected in Mt. Lebanon for Dr. A. W. Coffman, of the Robertson fellowship at Mellon Institute. M. C. McCann ins the builder.
    Transition House

    What, you may ask, is a “transition house”? It is a house designed to look traditional but use the most modern construction methods available in 1936. The idea was that the public could be induced to accept modern construction if it came without the modernist offenses against traditional aesthetics. Architect Brandon Smith—best remembered for some extravagant mansions in Fox Chapel—gave it all the decorative flourishes a 1930s suburbanite might expect from a “Colonial,” but under the stone and brick were super-modern materials developed at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research.

    Decorative pillar
    Front door
    109 Markham Drive
    Front of the house

    Our information and the architect’s drawing above come from an article about the house in the Pittsburgh Press, published when the house was under construction in 1936. The whole article will interest a few architectural historians, so we have transcribed it below.

  • Sweet William

    Dianthus barbatus naturalized on a bank in Mt. Lebanon Park.

    Kodak EasyShare Z981.
  • Edwin Markham Public School, Mount Lebanon

    Inscription: Edwin Markham Public School, Mount Lebanon

    All the older schools in Mount Lebanon were designed by Ingham & Boyd, and here we see a fine example of their style. An Ingham & Boyd school is an implied guarantee that your children will grow up to be respectable citizens. The buildings are in a restrained classical style, with just enough ornament to show that good money was spent on this structure. This particular school is named for a poet who was a big deal in the early twentieth century and has been almost completely forgotten since then.

    Edwin Markham Public School
    Edwin Markham Public School
    Edwin Markham Public School
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.
  • Spanish Mission Style in Sunset Hills

    28 Jonquil Place

    Sunset Hills is a Mount Lebanon plan developed in the 1920s and 1930s. Most of the houses are more modest than the ones in Mission Hills or Beverly Heights. Many of them, however, are fine designs by their architects, and in particular several are among the best examples of the Spanish Mission style in Pittsburgh.

    28 Jonquil Place
    Front door
    Side of the house

    Does your garden shed match the architecture of your house? And does it have two floors?

    200 Broadmoor Avenue
    Front porch
    25 Jonquil Place

    This house is almost a traditional Pennsylvania farmhouse, but with Mission arched porch and stucco.

    25 Jonquil Place
    Canon PowerShot A540.