Tag: Doric

  • The Original Mellon Institute

    Allen Hall

    The Mellon Institute of Industrial Research was founded as part of the University of Pittsburgh, and this was its home for the first two decades of its life. When the Mellon Institute declared its independence, it moved to its palatial quarters out Fifth Avenue, and the old Mellon Institute building became Allen Hall at the University of Pittsburgh.

    The building, which opened in 1915, was designed by J. H. Giesy, and it was properly classical to match Henry Hornbostel’s slightly mad plan of making the University a new Athenian Acropolis in Pittsburgh. (The plan was later abandoned in favor of Charles Z. Klauder’̑s much madder plan of a skyscraper university.)

    Bronze door

    The richly detailed bronze doors are unique.

    View from Thackeray Street

    The building is precisely located for the best vista up Thackeray Street.

    Here is a picture of the building when it was new in 1915:

    Mellon Institute in 1915

    And old Pa Pitt has duplicated that picture for you in 2022, because that is the kind of effort he puts into serving his readers:

    Allen Hall today

    Nothing about the exterior has changed except the plantings, and even those have been reduced to show off the building: a few years ago much of the front was obscured by trees.

  • The Roberts Building and Its Neighbor

    The Roberts Building was put up for a jeweler, and its gem-like attention to detail seems appropriate.

    Some of the happiest carved lions in Pittsburgh adorn the cornice.

    These decorative tiles suggest the jeweler’s art.

    An amusing game to play with out-of-town visitors is to offer to show them an invisible building. Explain that you will make an invisible building visible before their eyes; then take them to the northeast corner of Wood Street and Forbes Avenue. Ask your visitors to describe the building on the opposite corner. They will almost invariably describe the Roberts Building. Then explain that they have described, not the building on the corner, but the building next to it. The building on the corner is invisible to them, because their brains have no category for a building that is five feet two inches wide.

    This is the Skinny Building, and once it has revealed itself to you, you will see that it is indeed a completely different building. It was built as an act of spite by a property owner whose property was rendered apparently worthless by street widening. The ground floor usually sells T-shirts and Pittsburgh souvenirs; various attempts are made at various times to find a use for the upper floors.

  • Howe Springs

    Thousands of commuters pass the little shelter on Fifth Avenue just east of the Highland Avenue intersection every day, but how many ever give it a second glance? Perhaps it was an especially luxurious trolley shelter, suitable to its rich neighborhood, or just a decoration for the expensive condominiums above it.

    But in fact it was a public spring, of which Pittsburgh has more than one. The water no longer flows from this one, but the little Greek temple remains, and perhaps the nymph of the spring still weeps occasionally for her lost worshipers. The current structure, built in 1912, was designed by W. H. Van Tine; it replaced one by Alden & Harlow that had been destroyed by the city, causing, according to the Wikipedia article, a monumental stink.