Category: Squirrel Hill

  • Warwick House, Squirrel Hill

    Stairwell window

    Warwick House was built in 1910 for Howard Heinz, son of the ketchup king H. J. Heinz. The architects were Vrydaugh and Wolfe, and the construction budget was $75,000. After the Heinzes it passed through the Hillmans, and now it belongs to the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, from which it is rented by Opus Dei, the Catholic organization famed for its albino assassins. But the organization seldom sends the assassins out against anyone but renowned curators; the rest of us are quite safe. At an open house this summer, old Pa Pitt was graciously allowed to take a few pictures of the beautifully maintained Jacobean interior. Above, the window in the grand staircase.

    Front of the house

    This picture of the front is not the best; the light was from the wrong direction. It means we will have to return soon at a different time of day.

    Front door

    The front door.

    Front hall

    The front hall; the door to the library is on the right, the grand staircase on the left.

    Decorative woodwork

    A little bit of the decorative woodwork in the front hall.

    Grand staircase

    The grand staircase.

    Ceiling

    Modern American houses forget about the ceiling, as if people never looked up. Warwick House does not make that mistake. This is the decorated ceiling in a side hall.

    Chapel
    Chapel

    The former ballroom was converted into a chapel by the late Henry Menzies, an ecclesiastical architect whose specialty was refurbishing modernist churches of the 1960s and 1970s to make them suitable for liturgical worship. He liked to use a baldacchino to give proper emphasis to the altar. (The ballroom was added to the house later, probably in 1929 according to the current residents.)

    Ceiling of the ballroom

    The ceiling of the ballroom.

  • Colonel Alexander Leroy Hawkins Memorial

    Colonel Alexander Leroy Hawkins memorial

    Col. Hawkins was a state senator as well as a much-respected officer in the Spanish-American War, which America fought to free the Spanish colonies, and the ensuing Philippine insurrection, which America fought to keep her newly acquired colony. He died in 1899; this memorial was put up in 1904. Originally the base extended in an embracing curve, as we see in this old photograph from Historic Pittsburgh; the extensions were probably cut off when the approaches were built for the Panther Hollow Bridge.

    Memorial as built
    Statue of Col. Hawkins
    Inscription

    In an earlier version of this article, Father Pitt had negligently typed “1894” instead of “1904” as the date of this memorial. It is harder than one thinks to cross the gap between centuries.

  • Mellon Park Gatehouse

    Mellon Park Gatehouse

    With a redbud tree.

  • Apple Blossoms in Mellon Park

  • Bowl of Tulips

    Bowl of Tulips

    In Mellon Park.

  • Sixth Presbyterian Church, Squirrel Hill, in 1994

    Sixth Presbyterian

    One of the many black stone buildings that still remained in Pittsburgh in the 1990s. Like almost all the others, Sixth Presbyterian has since been cleaned and restored to its original color.

    Father Pitt has always wondered why the Presbyterians kept numbering their churches. “First Presbyterian” is an honorable distinction. “Fifth Presbyterian” just sounds tired. And then why stop at six? There is a Seventh Presbyterian in Cincinnati, for example.

  • The Walled Garden at Mellon Park

    Walled Garden

    With dancers practicing in the distance. Did old Pa Pitt wait until they were in the most comical possible positions to push the shutter button? Maybe.

  • Sunnyledge

    Built for a prosperous doctor, this house was designed by Longfellow and Harlow (soon to be Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow), and shows the restrained good taste that would be the hallmark of the firm’s work for decades. Although it is technically on the Squirrel Hill side of the street, socially this house forms part of the Shadyside millionaires’ row along Fifth Avenue.

  • Fountain in Mellon Park

    The sculptures on this whimsical fountain are by Edmond Amateis. The fountain has been carefully restored so that all the spouts are working again, and it looks almost as fresh as when it was installed at the Mellon estate.
  • Central Catholic High School

    Central Catholic

    A kind of cartoon castle, the main building of Central Catholic is technically in Squirrel Hill, though most Pittsburghers would probably say “Oakland.” The building was put up in 1927; the architect was Edward J. Weber.