Tag: Brownsville Road

  • Concord Presbyterian Church, Carrick, Newly Built

    The September 1915 issue of The Builder published this picture of the Concord Presbyterian Church in Carrick, along with this description:


    An interesting building, published in this issue, built after the style of the early English Parish Church, and executed in that character exceptionally well both interior and exterior.

    The exterior of the Church is of Rubble Masonry which as a material blends well with the immediate surroundings, the site being on Brownsville Road, Carrick, and of a rural atmosphere. The interior (as the interior of the early English Parish Church) is carried out in a very simple but dignified design, of plaster and timber, finished in a warm color scheme.

    The Church has a seating capacity of 500, the Sunday School accommodating 450.

    The architect, as the page with the photograph above tells us, was George H. Schwan. Although the immediate surroundings were “of a rural atmosphere” in 1915, they would not remain that way for long. Already in the photograph above you can see the great engine of urbanization: streetcar tracks.

    This is the way the church looks today, with its early-settler country churchyard behind it and the decidedly non-rural business district of Carrick in front of it. More pictures of the Concord Presbyterian Church are here.

  • Mt. Oliver Mens Shop

    The front of this building, which was originally constructed a little before 1910, has been perfectly pickled in the middle twentieth century. It is now an antique store advertising “useful junk,” and if you enlarge the picture, you will see how much of that junk is a perfect match for the era of the storefront itself.

  • Miller Hardware, Mount Oliver

    Here is a building that probably dates from the 1890s, and it appears to be occupied by the business that built it. Miller Hardware has expanded into the building next door as well, but it is still an old-fashioned hardware store.

  • Vanished Storefront on Brownsville Road, Knoxville

    Sometimes old Pa Pitt hasn’t got around to publishing a picture of something before it disappears. Back in January he took this picture of a three-storey commercial building from 1901; it has just been demolished. It was not an extraordinarily fine work of architecture, but the upper floors were pleasingly proportioned and treated with enough ornamentation to make the building a good citizen of the streetscape. The ground floor was a mass of decades’ worth of improvised improvements and adaptations; its last tenant was a general store that advertised “videos” among its wares, which tells us how long that store had been vacant.

  • Renaissance Deco in Mount Oliver

    131–133 Brownsville Road

    Italian Renaissance architecture filtered through an Art Deco lens makes an extraordinarily rich little building on Brownsville Road. The storefronts have been modernized; they would almost certainly not have had doors that open right into pedestrians’ faces when this building was put up in 1928. But the overall impression the building makes is still dignified, with a touch of Venetian fantasy that reminds us of a Pandro S. Berman production.

    False balcony
  • 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.

  • Brownsville Road, Mount Oliver

    Brownsville Road

    Mount Oliver is having a bit of a revival these days. Luckily it never declined far enough to start losing buildings in its main commercial strip here on Brownsville Road, so the street is still lined with uninterrupted shops from Arlington Avenue to Bausman Street. For a while a considerable number of them were empty, but they are filling up again. The building at left with the green awning is the old Murphy’s variety store; it is now being made into artists’ studios by the couple who own the trendy Echt coffeehouse around the corner.

    It is hard to explain Mount Oliver to people outside the hilltop neighborhoods of southern Pittsburgh. It is completely surrounded by the city of Pittsburgh, but it is an independent borough, the sole holdout when the back slopes of Mount Washington were annexed by the city. Its residents pay taxes to the borough government, but also to the city school system, because Mount Oliver buys its schooling from Pittsburgh. To make things a little more confusing and surreal, one of the adjacent neighborhoods of Pittsburgh is called “Mount Oliver,” but it is part of the city, not part of the borough. Street signs at what pass for major intersections in that second Mount Oliver identify it as “Mount Oliver Neigh,” so your horse can read them.

  • Deco Gothic in Mount Oliver

    Deco Gothic building

    This striking terra-cotta front looks like the sort of building that might have been a movie theater. It is not the usual shape for a theater, however (theaters are usually very deep from front to back, and this building is wider than it is deep), and old Pa Pitt would be happy if someone could tell him what this building was. He can also imagine it as a five-and-ten; G. C. Murphy’s was a few doors north on the same side of the street, but there was more than one variety store in Mount Oliver.

    The building now belongs to Miller Hardware, the kind of old-fashioned hardware store craftsmen treasure.

    From up the street
  • Renaissance Commercial Building, Mount Oliver

    215 and 217 Brownsville Road

    An exceptionally elegant pair of storefronts with apartments above in the main business strip of Mount Oliver. Enlarge the picture and enjoy the Renaissance details.

  • Elder-Ado Building, Knoxville

    Elder-Ado Building

    Jacobean Gothic is filtered through an Art Deco lens in this building from 1927, which has been sympathetically modernized with current materials that fit with and emphasize its distinctive character. The original terra-cotta ornaments have been lovingly preserved. This is a good example of how a commercial building can be brought up to date with good taste on a limited budget. Old Pa Pitt has not been able to determine what the building’s original name was; it now belongs to an organization for senior citizens.

    Date stone

    Father Pitt knows how his readers appreciate a good utility cable, so here is a fine closeup of one, unfortunately marred by a date stone in the background.

    Acanthus-leaf ornament