Tag: Classical Architecture

  • Back Corner of Soldiers and Sailors Hall

    Soldiers and Sailors Hall from O’Hara Street and University Place

    Seen from the corner of O’Hara Street and University Place.

  • Entrance to the Kinder Building, Allegheny West

    The Kinder Building is a little Beaux-Arts masterpiece at the corner of Western Avenue and Galveston Avenue. At night its carefully balanced classical entrance takes on a pleasing air of mystery.

  • Henry Clay Frick Training School for Teachers

    Henry Clay Frick Training School for Teachers

    Ingham & Boyd designed a large number of school buildings in the city and suburbs, and they always gave the clients exactly the respectable school buildings they wanted. They were never embarrassingly out of date, nor were they embarrassingly modernistic. They were ornamented to exactly the right degree to say, “This is a building we spent money on.” The Ingham & Boyd brand of rectangular classicism is on full display in this building in Oakland, which is now the Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy.

    Relief above the entrance: The Teacher and the Child
    Oblique view
  • Engine House No. 40, Sheraden

    Engine House No. 40

    Haven’t we been here before?

    Firehouse in Sheraden

    This firehouse looks awfully familiar for a very good reason. It is a mirror image of Engine House No. 57 by the same architects (Thomas W. Boyd & Co.) in Brookline:

    Engine Company No. 57
    This is the one in Brookline.

    The one in Brookline was built in 1910. A city architectural survey dates this one in Sheraden to 1928, but that is probably a misprint for 1908, since a brick firehouse appears here on a 1910 map, and this style would have been terribly old-fashioned in 1928.

    Engine House No. 40
    This is the one in Sheraden again.
  • Baptist Home, Mount Lebanon

    Baptist Home

    In the early twentieth century, orphans—of whom there were too many—were sent to live in orphanages. We don’t do that anymore, and most of the large orphanages in our area have long since been demolished. This is an exception: it was also an old folks’ home, and that function remains.

    Panoramic view of the front of the building

    Addendum: Here is a rendering of the building the way the architect designed it, from The Builder, June, 1914:

    That whole issue is devoted to works of architect Thomas Hannah, whom we had already identified as the architect from the Construction Record, as you see below.

    The original section was built in 1914, and the architect was Thomas Hannah, as we learn from the invaluable Construction Record:

    November 22, 1913: “Architect Thomas Hannah, Keenan building, has plans under way for an orphanage and home for the aged to be constructed in Mt. Lebanon for the Baptist Orphanage & Home Society of Western Pennsylvania, Union Bank building. The building will contain administration offices and accommodations for about 50 persons.”

    May 16, 1914: “The new building for the Baptist Orphanage, to be built in Mt. Lebanon, Pittsburgh, plans for which were made by Architect Thomas Hannah, Keenan building, Pittsburgh will be a three-story and basement brick structure, 36×105 feet. It is expected that the contract for erecting same will be awarded shortly. Material specifications will include structural steel, concrete foundations, cut stone work, face brick, composition roofing, sheet metal work, concrete porch floors, interior finish of yellow pine, low pressure steam heating system, plumbing, lighting fixtures, etc.”


    This simple but elegantly proportioned outbuilding could also be Hannah’s work.

  • National Union Fire Insurance Company Building, Oakland

    National Union Fire Insurance Company Building

    Now Thackeray Hall of the University of Pittsburgh. The architect was Abram Garfield, son of our martyred president. This section on University Place is the older part of the building; a larger addition was built on Thackeray Avenue in 1925.


    Mr. Garfield would not have approved of those asymmetrical doors on his rigorously symmetrical Renaissance palace. Is Pitt really so strapped for cash that these are the best the university can do?

    Rear of the building

    Here we see how the older building connects to the carefully matched 1925 addition (on the left), with a new entrance at the seam between the buildings.

  • Carnegie Library, West End Branch

    Carnegie Library, West End branch

    This little library was the second of Carnegie’s branch libraries, after the one in Lawrenceville; like all the original branch libraries, it was designed by Alden & Harlow.

  • How to Improve a Design by Alden & Harlow

    Here is how the Land Trust Company building (later the Commercial National Bank) looked in 1905:

    Land Trust Company
    From Palmer’s Pictorial Pittsburgh.

    And here is how it looks today:

    Land Trust Company today

    Much better, isn’t it?

  • Six Stories Addition to House Building

    House Building with six new floors
    From The Builder, April 1904.

    The design of the House Building, with its unusual middle section, is explained by the fact that the upper six floors were added some time after the lower seven were put up. This rendering shows the cornice and parapet at the top, without which the building looks a little too casual.

  • Soldiers and Sailors Hall with Memorial Dog Tags

    Soldiers and Sailors Hall with dog tags strung over the promenade

    Each of the 7,053 dog tags represents one soldier fallen in the War on Terrorism, defined as all the battles since September 11, 2001.