Tag: Churches

  • Chartiers Hill United Presbyterian Church in 1999

    Chartiers Hill Church

    The congregation was founded in 1775 by John McMillan; this building was put up in 1840. These pictures were taken with an Argus C3 in 1999. Three years later, while renovation work was in progress, the whole tower end collapsed.

    Chartiers Hill cemetery
    Old front

    The lens on Father Pitt’s old C3 didn’t like being pointed toward the sun, so we have a bit of glare in this picture; but it does show us the old front before it collapsed. It was replaced with a new front, somewhat different but in sympathy with the building, as we see in this picture from 2015.

    New front
  • The Retreating Storm

    The spire of Third Presbyterian Church, Shadyside, silhouetted against retreating storm clouds at sunset.

  • Altar and Reredos in Heinz Chapel

    Altar and reredos of Heinz Chapel

    The elaborately carved reredos does its part to focus attention on the altar before it. The four wooden figures are Peter and John on the left, Paul and James the Greater on the right. The carving was done by the Irving & Casson—A. H. Davenport Co. of Boston

  • St. James Church, West End

    St. James, West End

    St. James Church was a Catholic parish that closed in 2004. For a while, when the West End was unsuccessfully vying with Lawrenceville to become the next artsy-trendy neighborhood, the building was an art gallery; then, in 2015, it reopened as “St. James Roman Catholic Church.” The slightly ostentatious adoption of the title “Roman Catholic” might suggest to the initiated that this is not a church in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. It belongs to a congregation of the Society of St. Pius X, the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre, who repudiate Vatican II and all its works and all its pomps.

    Rededication stone

    The building was put up in 1884 for a congregation founded thirty years earlier; old Pa Pitt has not been able to determine who the architect was. (The name is not mentioned in the centennial book the congregation published in 1954.) Neighbors in the West End are delighted to have the church building well taken care of.



    From the rear

    From Main Street

  • Tower of Calvary Episcopal Church at Sunset

    Tower of Calvary Episcopal Church

    The tower of Calvary Episcopal Church, one of three Ralph Adams Cram churches in Pittsburgh, bathed in sunset light, from pictures Father Pitt took in 1999.


  • A Dim Religious Light

    Interior of Heinz Chapel

    But let my due feet never fail
    To walk the studious cloister’s pale,
    And love the high embowed roof,
    With antique pillars massy proof,
    And storied windows richly dight,
    Casting a dim religious light.
    There let the pealing organ blow,
    To the full-voic’d quire below,
    In service high, and anthems clear,
    As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
    Dissolve me into ecstasies,
    And bring all Heav’n before mine eyes.

    ——Milton, Il Penseroso.

    It is difficult to convey in a photograph the impression we get from entering a glorious Gothic church like Heinz Chapel. In general photographs are too light, either because the photographers laudably attempted to capture the many artistic details of the Gothic interior, or because they used automatic exposure and let their cameras do the thinking. Old Pa Pitt has tried very hard in these pictures to give some impression of the relative lighting as we enter the chapel from the bright light outside. Most of the light is dim, but a pool of light shines in the distance, drawing us toward the altar.

    Toward the altar
    Toward the rear

    No matter how bright it may be outside, turning to leave the church is walking away from the light.

  • Sunset on Polish Hill

    Sunset behind the domes of Immaculate Heart of Mary

    The domes of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. The picture was taken more than twenty years ago, but the view would be the same today if we could arrange the same sunset.

  • Smallman Street

    Smallman Street

    Smallman Street in the Strip changes over time, but it keeps its traditional link with the food business. The Strip became the wholesale-food district because the Pennsylvania Railroad unloaded the culinary treasures of the earth here. Today those treasures arrive mostly by truck.

    The glory of Smallman Street is the broad plaza from 16th to 21st Streets, leading to St. Stanislaus Kostka, the mother church of Polish Catholicism in Pittsburgh, and one of Frederick Sauer’s most distinguished works.

    Smallman Street
  • St. Peter

    Statue of St. Peter

    St. Peter, with his key, stands in his niche on St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland.

  • Mount Lebanon United Methodist Church

    Mount Lebanon United Methodist Church

    One of three fine Gothic churches in a row, this one is actually in Dormont—but not by much. The Mount Lebanon border runs down Scott Road to the right of the building, then jogs behind the building to take in the St. Clair Cemetery.

    Addendum: The church was built in 1923 or after; the architect was Charles W. Bier. Source: The American Contractor, October 13, 1923: “Church: Approx. $150,000. 2 sty. & bas. 100×100. W. Liberty av., Mt. Lebanon. Archt. C. Bier, Pittsburgh Life bldg., Pittsburgh, Pa. Owner Mt. Lebanon M. E. Congr., G. W. Beams, 1225 Peermont, Dormont, Pa. Stone. Gen. contr. let to H. Busse Co., Main & Wabash av., Pittsburgh, Pa. Plmg. to Reynold Gusse, 130 Wabash av., Pittsburgh. Rfg. to Crafton Rfg. & Furnace Co., 7 Crafton av., Crafton, Pa.”