Tag: Condemned

  • Columbus Avenue, Manchester

    1305 and 1307 Columbus Avenue, Manchester

    The far end of Manchester still has some work to do. A few houses have been restored; about an equal number are abandoned and condemned. A few have been restored, and then abandoned and condemned. A few have been renovated in a way that seems regrettable. We can only hope that someone will rescue the houses that need rescuing.

    Front door
    Window decoration

    It is always especially sad when we see that the last thing residents were able to do to their house was decorate it for Christmas.

    1313 Columbus Avenue

    Here we have a frame house refurbished to be habitable and comfortable. “Multipane” windows were used, of course, because is there any other kind? (Old Pa Pitt was shocked to visit a house with modern “multipane” windows and discover that the “panes” are really just cartoon lines drawn in plastic across a single sheet of glass.)


    This house suffered a fire years ago and appears to have been abandoned since then. At least some minimal work has been done to stabilize it. The dormer is distinctive; it would have been more so with its original decorative woodwork.


    We find some of the houses in better shape as we approach the western end of the street.

    1415 and 1417
    1415 and 1417
    1419 and 1421
    1421, front door
    1421, woodwork
  • A Last Look at the Condemned Row on Market Street

    100 block of Market Street

    Appeals having been exhausted, this row of buildings on Market Street at First Avenue is scheduled to be demolished soon. They are not works of extraordinary architectural merit, but it will be a small urban tragedy to lose them. This block of Market Street was one of the few streets left downtown with human-sized old buildings on both sides of the street. This was the Pittsburgh of the Civil War era, not only before skyscrapers but also before the grand six-storey commercial palaces that came before skyscrapers.

    Perspective view
    Lowman-Shields Rubber Building

    The old Lowman-Shields Rubber Building is also condemned, having sat derelict for two decades or more. This Rundbogenstil warehouse is in very close to its original state externally, including the ghosts of old painted signs on the ground floor, probably dating from before the Lowman-Shields Rubber Company owned the building.

    Base of the building with painted signs
    Canon PowerShot SX150 IS.

    “Folding Paper Boxes,” “Paper,” “Cordage,” “Laundry Supplies.”

  • Condemned House in Sharpsburg

    Condemned house in Sharpsburg

    This house is under sentence of condemnation. There is nothing really special about it, except that it is probably about 150 years old and a good representative of the Gothic I-house. The I-house is a vernacular style of house common in Pennsylvania and much of the Midwest, with a center hall and two rooms on either side. When the simple plan is complicated by a peaked central gable, as in this house, it is it is described as a Gothic I-house. Often the I-house is extended by additions that give it an L shape—and sometimes more than one addition accumulates over the years, as we see with this one, where the smaller addition in the foreground was probably added around the 1920s, to judge by the 3-over-1 window on the second floor.

    From the side

    Note the pointed vernacular-Gothic windows in the attic.

  • Condemned Row from the Civil War Era

    Row on Seneca Street

    Uptown is a good-news/bad-news sort of neighborhood right now. The good news is that, after decades of gradual abandonment and decay, the neighborhood is rapidly turning upward. The bad news is that much of the neighborhood is still in danger. The Soho end of Uptown, near the Birmingham Bridge, is not yet feeling the effects of the prosperity radiating from the new arena, the restoration of Fifth Avenue High School, and the proximity of downtown to the western end of Uptown.

    Here is a row of houses on Seneca Street that probably will not be here much longer. The blue CONDEMNATION stickers have appeared on several of them. These are houses from the Civil War era, which are not as common as they used to be. A few more such rows remain Uptown, and some of those are also in danger—either from decay or from the even more dangerous force of prosperity. On two of these houses, the façades have been replaced with architecturally worthless curtains of brick; but the remaining four retain many of their original features.

    Until recently, it was inevitable that condemned houses like these would be razed to leave an empty space behind them. Now it is just possible that at least the space will not be empty forever. That would be moderately good news; unfortunately, the rolling waves of prosperity will not reach Seneca Street in time to make it profitable to save these houses. A century and a half of history will vanish, and almost no one will notice. But at least these pictures will serve as a memorial and a document.

    Houses of the Civil War era