Category: Munhall

  • St. Michael the Archangel Church, Munhall

    This Slovak church is no longer used, but the building is still kept in good condition.

    The Romanesque façade, with its colorful inlays, is something extraordinary even in a region of extraordinary churches.

    The relief of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, apostles to the Slavs, shows more than a little Art Deco influence.

    Until a few years ago, the tower held up a fine statue of St. Joseph the Worker, one of the last major works of the great Frank Vittor. It has been moved to St. Maximilian Kolbe parish, where you can see it at eye level.

  • Homestead and Munhall

    Homestead and Munhall, seen from across the Monongahela River.

  • Old St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral, Munhall

    Update: Some of the information about the architect was wrong in the original version of this article. Back in those days, the Society of Architectural Historians article on this church said, “Little is known about Budapest-born Titus de Bobula.” But Old Pa Pitt has fixed that. Now you can read his article about Titus de Bobula and know way too much.

    The cathedral moved farther out into the suburbs (though still in Munhall borough), and this is now the National Carpatho-Rusyn Cultural and Educational Center—an institution that keeps no regular hours and obviously can barely afford to keep the building standing. But the church is loved, and we may hope that whatever love can accomplish will be done for it. The architect was Titus de Bobula, a Hungarian who designed several churches around here. He is a fascinating character: he went back to Hungary in the 1920s and was imprisoned for plotting to overthrow the government; then he came back here and became an arms dealer, while simultaneously working on the designs for the structural aspects of Nikola Tesla’s fantastic, and possibly delusional, electronic superweapons, which of course were never built. It is not often that we find such a direct line from a Carpatho-Rusyn cathedral to the world of science fiction.

    Connoisseurs of elegant lettering should not miss the plaque identifying the architect, contractor, and building date. Father Pitt suspects that de Bobula himself designed it: there is nothing else quite like it in Pittsburgh, and the style seems very much like the Art Nouveau of Budapest. (Update: The style is identical to the lettering De Bobula used to sign some of his drawings, so we may be confident that it is his.)