Category: Uncategorized

  • Car Barn, Mount Oliver

    This is what old Pa Pitt calls urban archaeology. Without lifting a spade, you can dig through layers of history just by looking at things and asking questions.

    For example, you might pass by this chain store in Mount Oliver dozens of times without seeing anything other than a chain store. But one day you notice the brickwork along the side and begin to realize that it looks like a building that’s more than a century old. Obviously it was not always a Family Dollar. What was it when it was built?

    For the answer we can turn to the Pittsburgh Historic Maps site. There we discover that this was actually a car barn for the Pittsburgh Railways Company, the streetcar operator in Pittsburgh before the Port Authority took over public transit in Allegheny County. A car barn is a place where streetcars are kept when they are out of service. (The main car barn today is at South Hills Village.) A large streetcar company needed car barns here and there throughout the service area. Most of them are gone, but some of them have been adapted to other uses. This one is a store; another one in Windgap became a Catholic church, and perhaps Father Pitt will get its picture soon.

  • Some Recent Cemetery Pictures

    Louis Knoepp Monument

    Louis Knoepp monument, St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, Mount Oliver.

    In honor of All Hallows’ Eve, a few pictures from Father Pitt’s recent expeditions to cemeteries. Many more similar pictures can be found at Pittsburgh Cemeteries, the site devoted to the art and architecture of death.


    Receiving vault (now the Columbarium), Union Dale Cemetery.

    Hemphill mausoleum

    Hemphill mausoleum, Homewood Cemetery.

    Rook monument

    Rook monument, Allegheny Cemetery.

    Rudel obelisk

    Rudel obelisk, St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, Mount Oliver.

    Vallowe angel
    Aull-Martin monument, Homewood Cemetery

    Aull-Martin monument, Homewood Cemetery.

    Fall landscape, St. Paul’s Cemetery

    Fall Landscape, St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, Mount Oliver.

  • Victorian Duplex on Mount Washington

    Victorian duplex on Bertha Street

    Built in the 1880s, this matched pair of houses is beautifully restored and maintained, with the details of the trim picked out in tasteful colors.

    Decorated lintel
  • Pair of Commercial Buildings on Penn Avenue

    Two buildings very similar in size and shape and remarkably dissimilar in decoration. The one on the left has attractive but very ordinary classical details. The one on the right is festooned with terra-cotta tiles in an almost shocking green.

  • Cathedral of Learning

    Camera: Olympus E-20n

    We have seen this view more than once before, but it is one of the best views of the building, and it is worth seeing in different lights. Here the patterns of light and shade from the drifting clouds made an especially pleasing picture.