Tag: Arts and Crafts Style

  • The Kleber Row Newly Built, Brighton Heights

    Kleber Row in 1916

    Back in October we featured a row of houses designed by T. E. Cornelius on Davis Avenue in Brighton Heights. Thanks to an alert correspondent, here is that same row from the Pittsburgh Daily Post of March 5, 1916, with a caption describing the decidedly modern effect of the style:

    The illustration shows one row of a building operation comprising four rows on Davis avenue, Northside, erected for Henry Kleber by T. Ed. Cornelius, architect. The low raking roofs and heavy square columns give a “Craftsman” effect, and the interior is carried out in a similar style. This method of building three or six houses under one roof shows a handsome return on the money invested.

    Thirteen of these houses were built on the Kleber property. The houses still stand today, and in very good shape.

    The Kleber row today

    The architect and his clients obviously considered this design a success: T. E. Cornelius duplicated it at other sites in the city. It is a backhanded compliment to Mr. Cornelius that some architectural historians have misattributed a group of them in Shadyside to the noted progressive architect Frederick Scheibler. We might pay another compliment to Mr. Cornelius by noting that, everywhere these houses appear, they are in better shape than most of Frederick Scheibler’s rowhouses of similar size and era. These houses were built cheap, but they were built to last.

  • Pittsburgh Stained Glass Studios, West End

    Pittsburgh Stained Glass Studios

    It is a remarkable thing that this stained-glass studio, originally the Pittsburgh Art Glass Co., has been here on a forgotten back street in the West End since 1909. This tidy Arts-and-Crafts building has enormous windows on the first floor to suck in all the natural light available.

    Oblique view
  • Kleber Row, Brighton Heights

    This is only part of the row: there are thirteen of these houses in all. But if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, except for the one with the paste-on false shutters. The row was built in 1915 or shortly afterward as rental properties for Henry Kleber, Jr.; the architect was T. E. Cornelius,1 who shows up frequently in trade magazines of the time as a designer of middle-class houses. Cornelius’ Arts-and-Crafts sympathies are very much in evidence here: one almost feels as though the roof of the row ought to be thatched.

    By an odd coincidence, there is another line of rowhouses diagonally across Davis Avenue from these, and once again there are thirteen in the row.

    1. Our source for this information is the Construction Record. “Architect T. E. Cornelius, House building, awarded to George E. McKee, 6 Alger Street, the contract for building 13 two-story brick veneered and frame residences on Davis avenue, Northside, for Henry Kleber, Jr., 6020 Crafton street. Cost $25,000.” Kleber is marked as owner on a 1923 map. ↩︎
  • Bellevue Christian Church

    Bellevue Christian Church

    Here is a little Arts-and-Crafts Romanesque church that had money at the wrong time. The modern addition (probably 1960s or early 1970s) is not sympathetic to the church behind it. The elaborate modernist window in the front probably replaced an earlier decorative window; perhaps the church had a fire. If a member of the congregation has any information, old Pa Pitt would be grateful for it.

    Bellevue Christian Church

  • Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brighton Heights

    Built in 1914, this little church (now Emmanuel Christian Church) is a fine example of the simple Arts-and-Crafts interpretation of Tudor Gothic that was fashionable for small churches in the early 1900s. The only specifically Gothic detail is the large front window; the tower has a bit of decorative half-timbering, but the rest is unadorned and built with cheap but attractive materials.

    Addendum: According to the Construction Report for August 23, 1913, the architect was Pierre Liesch. “Architect Pierre Lessch, 18 East Fourth street, Aspinwall, is taking bids on erecting a one-story brick veneer church on Davis avenue near Brighton road, Northside, for the Emanuel Baptist congregation. Cost $15,000.” It should be noted that this magazine is poorly edited and frequently misspells names.

  • Old Woods Run Branch Library

    Woods Run Branch Library

    The city of Allegheny was conquered by Pittsburgh in 1907, but the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny—the first municipally run public library—was an independent institution until 1956. The main library was in the center of Allegheny, where it still stands (though the library has moved out). It had one branch library, opened here in 1916; the first librarian was Helen R. Langfitt, a 1916 graduate of the Carnegie Library School. This little arts-and-crafts building cannot match the elegance of the Alden & Harlow branch libraries in Pittsburgh, but it was a pleasant ornament to the neighborhood.

    Oblique view

    In 1964, the library moved to a modern building around the corner on Woods Run Avenue—a building that itself became dated and was remodernized in 2006.

  • Knoxville Baptist Church

    Knoxville Baptist Church

    Now Iglesia de Cristo León de Judá, the Knoxville Baptist Church was built in 1909; it is a typical small vernacular-Gothic church with some Arts and Crafts details. The attractive indigo paint applied by the current congregation makes it stand out from others of its type.

    Cornerstone

    Fundamentalist Christians in the United States have always had a deep suspicion of stained glass as creeping idolatry, but the Spanish-speaking Evangelical congregations are the most vengefully thorough about it. As soon as they take over an old church building, the stained glass is removed. Usually it is replaced with clear glass, but this congregation has blocked all natural light from entering the building. Photographs of services on line show that the interior is set up like a theater, and natural light would only interfere with the projections and spotlights.

    Knoxville Baptist Church
    Entrance
    Tower entrance
  • Arts-and-Crafts Storefront, Mount Oliver

    212 Brownsville Road

    This tiny building has a simple but rich front; we suspect that the projecting roof was originally covered with green tile, which would have set off the Arts-and-Crafts stained glass even more.

  • Grace Lutheran Church, Brookline

    Grace Lutheran Church

    Since 1959 this has been Pittsburgh Baptist Church, our first Southern Baptist congregation. But it was built in 1908 as a Missouri Synod Lutheran church, Grace Lutheran. It is perhaps Brookline’s most striking church, built in a unique variant of the Arts-and-Crafts Tudor Gothic style that was popular then. The massing of the forms is particularly pleasing.

    Pittsburgh Baptist Church
    Grace Lutheran, originally

    Addendum: The architect was John A. Long, as we discover in the Construction Record, September 16, 1911: “Martsolf Brothers, House building, have secured contract for the erection of a two-story cement stucco church and parsonage, on Pioneer avenue, Brookline, for the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. Architect John A. Long, Machesney building, prepared the plans.”

  • Regal Shoe Company Building

    An elegant little storefront designed by Alden & Harlow in 1908. It now houses a men’s clothing store.