One of Henry Hornbostel’s most impressive works, Rodef Shalom, built in 1906, is notable for its colored terra-cotta decorations, which—according to the interpretive sign on the temple grounds—were among the earliest uses of polychrome terra cotta in the United States.
A fine Gothic building with a prominent tower in the west front, this church sits right on the border between Shadyside and Oakland—it would be in Oakland if it were on the other side of the street. The view is marred by utility cables, which is true of most things in most American cities. Europeans put those things under the ground; Americans seldom even notice what an aesthetic blight they are, not to mention how often storms bring them down.
Thousands of commuters pass the little shelter on Fifth Avenue just east of the Highland Avenue intersection every day, but how many ever give it a second glance? Perhaps it was an especially luxurious trolley shelter, suitable to its rich neighborhood, or just a decoration for the expensive condominiums above it.
But in fact it was a public spring, of which Pittsburgh has more than one. The water no longer flows from this one, but the little Greek temple remains, and perhaps the nymph of the spring still weeps occasionally for her lost worshipers. The current structure, built in 1912, was designed by W. H. Van Tine; it replaced one by Alden & Harlow that had been destroyed by the city, causing, according to the Wikipedia article, a monumental stink.
This fine apartment block stands at the corner of Aiken and Centre Avenues, right on the edge of Shadyside. This afternoon the sun illuminated the whole Aiken Avenue front, so Father Pitt enlisted the aid of modern technology to get a picture of the entire façade from multiple photographs. There are some noticeable stitching errors, but this is probably the best impression you will find of the Aiken Avenue front of this building—at least until old Pa Pitt gets a better picture.
The original picture is about 55 megapixels and more than 22 megabytes of data, so don’t click on the picture if you’re on a metered connection.
“Mrs. Thaw’s Chocolate Church,” as it was called when it was put up, this splendid building was designed by Theophilus P. Chandler, Jr., and opened in 1903. Mary Thaw, the widow of Henry Thaw, paid for most of it, and doubtless specified the architect; Chandler had also designed the Thaws’ mansion, which (alas) is long gone. Chandler was also the architect of First Presbyterian downtown and the titanic Duncan mausoleum and column in the Union Dale Cemetery.
The picture of the front above is put together from eight different photographs, which is the only way old Pa Pitt could get the whole building from this angle.
Designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, the successors to H. H. Richardson, this church has an honest Richardsonian pedigree to go with its Richardsonian Romanesque style.
Can you tell that old Pa Pitt is enjoying his new software toy? The picture above is a wide-angle shot stitched together from nine separate photographs. The fisheye view below is stitched together from six; if you click on it, you can have it at about 38 megapixels.
The Spanish inspiration is unusual for a Pittsburgh building, but this one has all the Moorish elements to make it properly Iberian—tiled roof, series of small arches, geometric mosaics. It faces a triangular park at the intersection of Centre, Aiken, and Liberty Avenues—a place that could have been one of Pittsburgh’s most splendid urban spaces, if Baum Boulevard on the other side had not developed as a row of car dealers.
In American terminology, the Queen Anne style is a hodgepodge of every style of architecture except, perhaps, anything that was popular during the reign of Queen Anne. With its oversized front-facing gable and multiple textures, this house perhaps fits in the “Shingle Style,” often regarded as a division of the Queen Anne style.