Old Saint Patrick’s was the first Catholic parish in Pittsburgh, founded in 1808 in what was then the most Presbyterian city in North America. The parish moved more than once, and the current building dates from 1935, after the previous larger building burned.
The parish has a long history, obviously, but it was never more historical than in the 1930s, when the activist labor priest Father Cox broadcast Mass from the church, led marches on Washington, ran for president on the Jobless Party ticket, and got into very public altercations with the fascist radio priest Father Coughlin, who brought an action against him in ecclesiastical court. Father Cox was found guilty of slandering another priest, and Bishop Boyle of Pittsburgh was directed to take appropriate disciplinary action. Bishop Boyle duly noted the verdict, and appears to have decided that the most appropriate disciplinary action was no action at all.
A walled “Theotokos Garden” of statues of saints is a welcome refuge from the bustle of the Strip. Of course the most prominent of the saints is Saint Patrick.
Frederick Osterling, one of Pittsburgh’s most interesting architects, designed the Armstrong Cork Company buildings, a masterpiece of functional yet attractive industrial architecture. They have now been turned into expensive loft apartments. You can see the buildings from a different angle here.
Now converted to loft apartments and known as “The Cork Factory,” this landmark of industrial architecture was designed by Frederick Osterling. Here we see it from Washington’s Landing on a grey day. Since the weather was mopey, Father Pitt decided to make this picture look as much as possible as though it could have been made in 1901, when the buildings were new; but in fact it was taken just this afternoon.