In Pittsburgh, a “rowhouse” is generally any house that shares a wall with its neighbors. But there are rowhouses in a stricter sense: rows of houses built all at once, as more or less one building divided into individual residences. One such row is in the 1800 block of Carey Way, a row of modest Italianate alley houses all put up at once. If he had to guess, old Pa Pitt would date it to the 1870s. One of its remarkable features is its breezeway. Most breezeways in Pittsburgh are narrow passages between houses, but this row has one breezeway in the middle big enough to drive a wagon through. That is probably the point: it leads to a courtyard from which deliveries of coal and other staples could be made to the backs of all the houses. Under separate ownership, the houses have ceased to be entirely identical, but their common origin is still apparent.
You might have thought one dose of breezeways would have been enough for such an esoteric subject, but you would have been mistaken. With his usual monomania, Father Pitt is building up a large collection of South Side breezeways, with plans to expand the collection into other neighborhoods soon.
Sometimes curious accidents happen to breezeways. For example:
This appears to be half a breezeway: the house on the left has been much altered, with its half of the shared breezeway filled in.
This is certainly one of old Pa Pitt’s most esoteric subjects. In rowhouse neighborhoods, there are often tunnel-like passages through to the rear yard of a house, with the upper storeys built over the passage. These outdoor passages are called “breezeways” in Pittsburgh; in other cities they may be called gangways or alleys. Sometimes the passage runs through one house; sometimes it is shared by two houses. We see examples of both in this little collection.
Often in Pittsburgh rowhouse neighborhoods there are narrow, tunnel-like passages between the houses that run from the street into the back yards. This one struck old Pa Pitt as especially picturesque and a bit mysterious.
Camera: Canon PowerShot A590 IS.