Tag: Civil War Era

  • Odd Fellows Hall, West End

    Odd Fellows Hall

    We have a good number of houses from a century and a half or more ago, but very few public buildings remain in Pittsburgh from the Civil War era. Here is one. This Odd Fellows Hall was built in 1865, when the West End was Temperanceville. It seems to have been extended by one bay on the right not long after it was built.

    Date stone: Odd Fellows Hall, built A. D. 1865

    It seems to old Pa Pitt that this ought to be one of our high preservation priorities. It is nearly unique in being a secular public building from the middle nineteenth century; Pittsburgh’s prosperity and rapid growth meant that most others were replaced by bigger ones around the turn of the twentieth century. It is also in very good historical shape: aside from the mutilated ground floor, it is in very close to original condition. But it is in a neglected neighborhood where it could not yet be turned into profitable loft apartments, in spite of ongoing efforts to turn the West End into an artsy village.

    Rear of the Odd Fellows Hall

    This building inspires Father Pitt to imitate the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and classify our vulnerable landmarks in six categories: Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, and Demolished. We shall call this building Vulnerable, because it is a large building in a neglected neighborhood, on a street where a majority of the buildings have been demolished.

    Odd Fellows Hall
  • A Rare Survivor on the South Side

    Father Pitt was out for a walk yesterday and suddenly realized that he had spotted an odd anomaly: a country I-house with a neat little yard and a fence and gate—but that’s the top of the Birmingham Bridge right behind it. A little research confirmed what he suspected. This old house is a rare, and maybe even unique, survivor from the time before this part of the South Side was urbanized. It appears on the 1872 layer at the Pittsburgh Historic Maps site, where it is an isolated house along the river in a section the urban sprawl has not reached yet. It belonged to Mrs. Sarah M. Phillips, whose property went all the way back to the river, the banks of which were as yet unencumbered by railroad tracks. The house has been much altered externally, with fake siding and new windows with fake shutters, but the shape (as viewed by satellite) is the same today as on the 1872 map.