Rowhouses on Sarah Street, South Side

2330 Sarah Street

Sarah Street was the prime residential street of East Birmingham (the part of the South Side between 17th and 26th Streets), and it retains some of Pittsburgh’s most distinguished rowhouses. The one above is a splendidly eclectic mix—a bit of Italianate, a bit of Gothic, a bit of Second Empire. Note how much effort has gone into making interesting patterns in the bricks.

2112 Sarah Street

Here is another house in a similarly eclectic style. The parlor window is treated almost identically, but the upper floors vary the theme considerably.

Italianate house

This is not strictly a rowhouse, since it is detached from its neighbors by a narrow alley on each side; but since it is connected to those neighbors by a pair of gates, it is as near a rowhouse as makes no difference. This is a fine example of the Italianate style in a city house, and the owners have had some fun picking out the ornamental details with an unusual but effective paint scheme.

German Savings Deposit Bank, South Side

German Savings Deposit Bank

This is now the Carson City Saloon, because everything on the South Side eventually becomes a bar. But the whole building shouts “bank.” It’s built from classical elements like a Venetian Renaissance palace.

Carson City Saloon

The date stone tells us that the bank was put up in 1896, with palm fronds signifying victory, and anti-pigeon spikes signifying “We hate pigeons.”


This ornamental ironwork is meant to evoke the balconies on a Renaissance palace, without actually being useful as a balcony.

1401 East Carson Street

One Block on the South Side


What is there to see in one block of rowhouses on one back street on the South Side? Old Pa Pitt asked that question, and then got out a camera to answer it. Here are a few little details from the 2200 block of Sarah Street.

Lintel and bracket

And, of course, because this is Pittsburgh…

Aluminum awnings

Kool-Vent awnings.

Blowing Engine

Blowing engine at Station Square

This was the blast in a blast furnace: the machine that provided the air that rushed into the furnace to keep the chemical reactions going. Surprisingly, this one was not used in Pittsburgh: it was brought down from Sharpsville, a little steel town in Mercer County. But it was built by the Mesta Machine Company in West Homestead. Now it lives at Station Square, right in front of the Glasshouse apartments.

Mesta blowing engine
Blowing engine

South 26th Street

South 26th Street, Pittsburgh

A very Pittsburghish view: a cluttered urban streetscape, seen under a railroad viaduct, with an entirely different neighborhood (in this case Oakland) on the inaccessible hill in the distance.