Tag: Fourth Avenue

  • Top of the Benedum-Trees Building

    Top of the Benedum-Trees Building

    The ornate cap of the Benedum-Trees Building, with the PPG Place Christmas tree poking its head into the picture. Enlarge the images to appreciate the wealth of carved detail.

    Benedum-Trees Building
  • Investment Building

    Top of the Investment Building

    Built in 1927, this Fourth Avenue tower was designed by John M. Donn, a Washington architect known for government buildings who seems not to have done anything else around here. The curious ornamental obelisks at the corners of the cap were the inspiration for Philip Johnson’s Tomb of the Unknown Bowler down the street.

    Investment Building
    From a different angle
  • Top of the Keystone Bank Building

    Keystone Bank Building

    The lower floors of this remarkable 1903 bank tower by MacClure and Spahr have been mutilated by modern additions, but from a block away on Forbes Avenue all we can see is the unmutilated top of the building, with its distinctive arched light well.

  • Top of the Arrott Building

    The top of the Arrott Building, rendered in old-postcard colors by the Two-Strip Technicolor script for the GIMP.

  • The Canyon

    Looking eastward on Fourth Avenue

    Looking eastward on Fourth Avenue from the intersection with Wood Street.

  • Union National Bank Building

    Union National Bank Building

    Now converted to luxury apartments as “The Carlyle,” this classical Fourth Avenue bank tower was designed by the firm of MacClure and Spahr. Benno Janssen, who was working at the firm, is said to have had a large part in the design. It opened in 1906. Curiously, the building behind it, the Commonwealth Bank Building, was built at the same time and reached exactly the same height, 300 feet.

  • Fourth Avenue

    Looking east on Fourth Avenue

    A view eastward on Fourth Avenue, one of the most architecturally interesting streetscapes in the world.

  • Reliefs by John Massey Rhind on the People’s Savings Bank Building

    Relief by John Massey Rhind

    John Massey Rhind was Andrew Carnegie’s favorite sculptor; he gave us the Noble Quartet in front of the Carnegie Institute and the statue of Robert Burns outside Phipps Conservatory. Here he gives us some allegorical figures to adorn the entrances to the People’s Savings Bank’s splendid tower at Fourth Avenue and Wood Street. Not altogether coincidentally, the building itself was designed by Alden & Harlow, Carnegie’s favorite architects, whose firm (with their earlier partner Longfellow) was also responsible for the Carnegie Institute. Above, the Wood Street side; below, the Fourth Avenue side.

    Fourth Avenue side
  • Reflection of the Union National Bank Building

    Union National Bank building reflected

    The top of the Union National Bank Building (now the Carlyle luxury apartments) reflected in the Patterson Building.

  • Commercial Building on Fourth Avenue

    Commercial building on Fourth Avenue

    This building sits in what may be the densest block of great architecture in North America, and no one pays attention to it. It is not mentioned in the various guides to Fourth Avenue, so old Pa Pitt does not know the architect or whether the building even has a name. When the building was put up, it was apparently at 93 and 95, according to the numbers over the doors; but its address is now 311 Fourth Avenue. A classified ad in the Dispatch from 1890 mentions the firm of Black & Baird as lending money at 95 Fourth Avenue. The National Real Estate Journal in 1922 shows 311 as the home of the Freehold Real Estate Co.; if the address numbers had changed by then, this is that building.

    As a work of architecture, the only thing that can be said against it is that it does not compete with the works of Daniel Burnham, Alden & Harlow, Frederick Osterling, and the other great names whose works line this street. If it is a work of one of those masters, then it is a lesser work—but certainly not one to be ashamed of. In any other block it would be one of the more distinguished buildings. The large windows on the second and third floors suggest workshops of some kind. The ornamentation is artistic and in exactly the right proportion to accent rather than unbalance the architectural forms.

    Any readers who know more about the origin and history of this building are earnestly invited to comment.