Category: Shadyside

  • Rodef Shalom Temple

    Although it’s technically in Shadyside, Rodef Shalom stands at the east end of the Oakland monumental district, the long row of dazzling architecture along Fifth Avenue. Much of the dazzle was contributed by Henry Hornbostel, and few of his buildings are more dazzling than this. It was built in 1907, and it is far and away the finest synagogue building in Pittsburgh.

  • Sacred Heart, Shadyside


    Two splendid churches face each other across Shady Avenue. One is Ralph Adams Cram’s Calvary Episcopal. This is the other: Sacred Heart, one of the most tastefully beautiful Gothic churches in a city with one of the best collections of Gothic churches in the Western Hemisphere.

  • Ellsworth Terrace


    Ellsworth Terrace, a narrow court of Craftsman-style townhouses in Shadyside, is a century old this year. It was quite modern in style when it was built. The pseudo-Victorian building at the end is a modern addition.

  • Church of the Ascension


    Right on the border between Oakland and Shadyside, the Church of the Ascension is one of the diminishing number of black stone buildings in Pittsburgh. Father Pitt hopes that his pictures will preserve the memory of our black stones when the last stone building has been sandblasted.



  • The Arlington

    In general, Pittsburgh apartment buildings can be small and elegant or large and atrocious, but Shadyside is one of the few neighborhoods in Pittsburgh where apartment buildings can be both large and elegant. The Arlington, at the corner of Centre Avenue and Aiken Avenue, is one of the most elegant of the lot. Here we see the Aiken Avenue side. The various room layouts are rather charmingly named for composers, Bartok being the cheapest and Sibelius the most expensive. If you wish to occupy a spare hour or two, try to come up with a critical theory that accounts for that pricing.

  • Spiral Fire Escape


    A spiral fire escape on the side of an apartment building in Shadyside.

  • The Vanishing Black Stones of Pittsburgh

    Pittsburgh used to be a city of massive black stone buildings. In a few years, perhaps, they will all have disappeared–not torn down, but cleaned of the soot deposits from decades of heavy industry. When the mills died and the cleanings began, it came as a surprise to many Pittsburghers that the uniquely Pittsburghish black stones they had known all their lives were, underneath it all, quite pale and ordinary-looking, almost like the stones in every other city. Experts say that the pollutants eat away at the stones, so I suppose the cleanings are necessary; but I miss those black stones. Albright Community United Methodist Church on Centre Avenue in Shadyside has not been cleaned yet; this is its tower, still gloriously black, though not as inky black as it was at the peak of the steel industry.

  • Richardsonian Romanesque

    First United Methodist Church sits where Shadyside, East Liberty, Friendship, and Bloomfield all meet. It would be hard for a building to get much more Richardsonian without having been designed by Henry Hobson Richardson himself.

  • Wood-Block Pavement in Shadyside

    Roslyn Place is a tiny and impossibly narrow street lined with small but dignified brick townhouses. So far it is little different from any of a dozen other nearby townhouse plans of the early 1900s. But it is the street itself, rather than the houses that line it, that is the attraction.

    Those are not bricks that pave the street; they’re wood blocks. Here’s a closer look:

    A somewhat bedraggled plaque on the handsome wrought-iron fence along Ellsworth Avenue dates the pavement to the year 1914.