A splendid example of the Georgian revival, which is not a very common style in Schenley Farms. This is one of those domestic masterpieces that make Schenley Farms “a museum of early twentieth century domestic architecture,” in the words of the historical marker put up by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation in 1978.
Georgian House in Schenley Farms
South Side Slopes
Pittsburghers love to show out-of-town visitors the inclines, the dinosaurs at the Carnegie, the view from Mount Washington, the sandwiches with cole slaw and French fries piled inside, and other attractions of the big city. But often what the visitors talk about most is that they can’t believe how those houses cling to the side of a cliff. Here are some views of the South Side Slopes from the Bluff across the river, so that you can show out-of-town friends who have not yet visited that houses do indeed grow that way in Pittsburgh.
Pair of Queen Anne Rowhouses, South Side
Obviously built together, these two houses on Sarah Street have had their separate adventures. The one on the right has had its third-floor false balcony filled in to give an upstairs bedroom a little more space; the one on the left has grown an aluminum awning (because it is the South Side, after all). But both retain most of their original details, which are fairly unusual, a sort of Queen Anne interpretation of French Second Empire.
Victorian Houses on Penn Avenue, Garfield
A row of fine Victorian houses on Penn Avenue in Garfield (Bloomfield according to city planning maps, because Penn Avenue is the neighborhood line, but Pittsburghers have always called both sides of Penn “Garfield”). Note the splendid tall parlor windows on the one above, which also has some particularly good gingerbreading.
Alumni House, Carnegie Mellon University
A relic from the days when this part of Squirrel Hill was a wealthy exurb full of houses like this. Enlarge the picture and note the fine cornice woodwork along the roofline.
Rowhouses on Penn Avenue, Garfield
These are Baltimore-style rowhouses, where the whole block was built at once as more or less one subdivided building. They are much less common in Pittsburgh, but we do find them occasionally, and these rows in Garfield preserve many of their original details. They were built in the 1880s, probably as rental properties, since the 1890 map shows them as all owned by Brown, Donnell & Verner. Intact rows from this era are rare in Pittsburgh, and we should take care to preserve these two rows. Above, the 5100 block of Penn Avenue. Below, houses in the 5200 block.
Terra-cotta owls decorate every house. One wonders whether they had special significance for Brown, Donnell, or Verner.
Laval House, Duquesne University
Duquesne University has overrun many blocks that were once crowded Bluff streets. The Academic Walk follows the course of what used to be Vickroy Street, and by almost random chance two Bluff rowhouses have been preserved in beautiful condition by the Spiritan Campus Ministry. In fact, on Google Maps we find that their address is still 952 Vickroy Street, even though they are the only remaining trace of Vickroy Street. In the 1800s, their neighbor used to be a brickyard, so the neighborhood has improved since they were built.
Berry Hall, Chatham University
Built in 1895, this is one of several magnificent private houses that have come into the possession of Chatham University without drastic architectural modification. The exterior is in an exceptionally accurate Georgian style that would be right at home in Annapolis or Williamsburg.
Italianate Mansion in Manchester
A splendid Italianate house, splendidly restored, complete with tower to keep an eye on one’s neighbors, as one had to do in the Italian Renaissance.
The current owners’ attention to detail includes proper fabric awnings for the porch.
Victorian Gothic in Manchester
A beautifully kept vernacular-Gothic house in Manchester. Enlarge the picture to appreciate the details, including the many shapes of roof slates and the more than usually elaborate woodwork along the porch roof.