This building has had some adventures. Originally a typical Pittsburgh Romanesque commercial building, it had a radical renovation of the ground floor at some point in the Art Deco era (early enough that the entrances are still recessed from the sidewalk). Possibly at the same time, but probably later, the second and third floors were very inexpertly done over in an aggressively modernist style: the ornaments removed, the original tall windows replaced with much smaller windows, and the remaining space bricked up. Only the top remains more or less unaltered, though its ironwork date could use a bit of restoration, and the ironwork initials have left only their shadows.
This exceptionally fine Second Empire house sits at the end of a row, and therefore has two exposed surfaces for the architect to play with. Victorian architects did not like plain flat surfaces, and whoever designed this house lost no opportunity to vary the shape and texture.
If you happen to be building a house, ask yourself this question: Which small details of this building will passers-by stop and take pictures of a century and a half from now?
Old Pa Pitt is not sure whether the woodwork on this South Side rowhouse is original or the work of a more recent craftsman. Either way, it is charmingly folksy, and the polychrome color scheme is well chosen to bring out the details.