Tag: Buena Vista Street

  • Tabernacle Cosmopolitan Baptist Church, Mexican War Streets

    Tabernacle Cosmopolitan Baptist Church
    Composite of three photographs.

    Evening sun paints the front of one of our most interesting churches—interesting both architecturally and historically. Father Pitt will admit that he is ignorant of most of the history, but perhaps a member of the congregation can fill in the rest.

    The building originally belonged to a Presbyterian church; it was probably constructed in the 1890s. The Presbyterian congregation, however, did not last much more than twenty-five years; by 1923, the building is marked as “Tabernacle Cosmopolitan Baptist Ch. (Colored),” and it has remained in the hands of that congregation for more than a century. The congregation appears to have moved to this building from a smaller church in the East Street Valley.

    When we look at this building, the thing that immediately strikes us is that there ought to be more church on top of it. Here is where Father Pitt does not know the whole story.

    On the one hand, congregations would often build a foundation and roof it over just enough to make it serviceable until the money could be raised to complete the superstructure. We have seen that in the church-turned-firehouse in Beechview, for example, and it could have happened here.

    But, on the other hand, a 1943 cornerstone tells us that there was a disastrous fire just before Christmas in 1936.

    Cornerstone: “Tabernacle Baptist Church, Organized April 29, 1874; destroyed by fire Dec. 22, 1936; rebuilt by its members in 1943; dedicated Dec. 19, 1943; Rev. L. G. McLeod, Pastor”

    It’s clear that the front of the church dates from the 1890s; this Romanesque detail would have been not just out of fashion but impossible in 1943. It could be that a higher roofline was destroyed by the fire, and the resourceful congregation made use of what was still standing and finished it off into the church that stands today.

    The building as it stands is a very good neighbor on its street. It is similar in height to the rowhouses that line the rest of the street, and it sits against the sidewalk at the same setback.

    Tabernacle Cosmopolitan Baptist Church

    Some of the carved stone ornament has decayed, though we can still make out the lacey foliage it was intended to be.

    Sony Alpha 3000 with a 7Artisans 35mm f/1.4 lens.
  • Ziegler Block, Mexican War Streets

    Ziegler Block
    Composite of six photographs.

    This substantial building in the narrow Mexican War Streets was probably put up in the 1890s; it belonged to I. Ziegler from the beginning of the twentieth century at least through 1923, and it was built on land marked as belonging to F. Ziegler in 1890. It is a whole little civilization unto itself, with a three substantial rowhouses, two storefronts, and apartments.

    1300–1306 Buena Vista Street
    Nikon COOLPIX P100.
    Sony Alpha 3000 with 7Artisans 35mm f/1.4 lens.
    Door to No. 1304
    Perspective view