Tag: First Avenue

  • Engine Company No. 30

    Engine Company No. 30
    Composite of two photographs.

    Two firehouses went up back to back at the same time in 1900. The much more elaborate Engine Company No. 1 was built on Second Avenue, now the Boulevard of the Allies. Behind it on First Avenue was Engine Company No. 30, designed by the same architect—William Y. Brady—and built at the same time. Why they counted as two separate firehouses instead of one big firehouse is a question for the fire department.

  • 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.”

  • First Avenue Station

    First Avenue Station

    The distinctive sweeping roofline and steel columns of the First Avenue subway station, with the Try Street Terminal in the background. Below, an inbound rush-hour train of two 4200-series Siemens cars stops at the station.

    Inbound train stops at First Avenue Station
    Canon PowerShot SX150 IS.
  • First Avenue Station

    From First Avenue

    Above, the First Avenue subway station (which is an elevated station, but it’s on the part of the line we call the “subway”) from First Avenue. Below, a CAF 4300-series Blue Line car comes in from the Panhandle Bridge.

    Panhandle Bridge
    Blue Line car stops
  • 414 First Avenue

    414 First Avenue

    There is almost nothing distinctive about this building, but Father Pitt would be very sorry to lose it. It is a very good example of a simple commercial building of the early twentieth century. The subtle decorative details are tasteful without ostentation. The ghost sign preserves some of the building’s commercial history. The ground floor has been unsympathetically altered, but the alterations are superficial and could be reverted without too much expense.

  • Demmler Bros. Building

    Demmler Bros. Building

    Demmler Bros. (now Demmler Machinery) built its headquarters in the Romanesque style that was very popular for warehouses and industrial buildings; for other examples, see the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company Warehouse and the B. M. Kramer & Company Building. The company has moved to the suburbs, but ghost signs still betray the origin of the building.

  • 228 First Avenue

    228 First Avenue

    Does anyone know the architect or the history of this building? Father Pitt put in almost fifteen minutes of work trying to find out something about it, but nothing came up in his searches. It is a particularly elegant little façade, and right now you can buy it and preserve it for future generations.

  • Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company Warehouse

    Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company Warehouse

    A particularly elegant Romanesque warehouse built for the company that made bathroom plumbing fashion-conscious. Standard later merged with American Radiator to form American-Standard, still a leader in toilet technology today. The building is now luxurious offices under the name “Fort Pitt Commons.” According to the boundary-increase application for the Firstside Historic district, it was built 1900–1905; the architect is unknown, which is a pity, because it was obviously someone with a real sense of rhythm in architecture. (If you backed old Pa Pitt into a corner and asked him to guess the architect, he might say Charles Bickel, whose Reymer Brothers candy factory Uptown is very similar in many details, including the treatment of the arches.) Above, the side that faces Fort Pitt Boulevard and the Mon; below, the First Avenue side.

  • 1st Ave Lofts

    1st Ave Lofts (Graphic Arts Building)

    A dwarf skyscraper with the regulation base-shaft-cap formula, this elegantly simple commercial building was designed by Joseph F. Kuntz and finished in 1907. It used to be known as the Graphic Arts Building before it was turned into luxury apartments. Soon every building downtown will be luxury apartments, and all the commercial offices will have to move to the suburbs.

  • Subway Crossing First Avenue

    Subway crossing first avenue

    A Silver Line car crosses First Avenue on its way toward Steel Plaza. In the background, One Oxford Centre, the Grant Building, and the Jones & Laughlin Headquarters Building.