Tag: Sauer (Frederick)

  • St. Stanislaus Kostka Church and Rectory, Strip District

    West front of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church
    Utility cables? What utility cables?

    This beautiful Romanesque church was built ad majorem Dei gloriam (“to the greater glory of God”) in 1891. The architect was Frederick Sauer, who gave us many distinguished churches, as well as comfortable houses, practical commercial buildings, and the whimsical Sauer Buildings built with his own hands in his back yard. This is the mother church for Polish Catholics in Pittsburgh, and it has one of the most spectacular sites for a church in the city, sitting at the end of the long broad plaza of Smallman Street along the Pennsylvania Railroad produce terminal.

    Romanesque ornament
    A. D. 1891
    Slightly oblique view of the church

    The rectory is also a remarkable building, and still manages to convey much of its original impression in spite of the unfortunate glass-block infestation.

    Rectory in perspective view
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.
  • A Chimney by Frederick Sauer

    Chimney of one of the Sauer Buildings

    Frederick Sauer was the architect who designed some of our distinguished churches—St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Mary of the Mount, and St. Stephen’s in Hazelwood, to name three. They are all excellent designs within the conventions of late-Victorian style. The same can be said for the houses and commercial buildings Sauer built.

    But in his old age, Sauer settled down on his big hillside property above the town of Aspinwall and started tinkering. Eventually, with his own hands, he built a group of whimsies that are not quite like anything else in the world. None of his clients ever got anything like these: Sauer was a reliable provider of the expected in architecture. But left to himself, he built a landscape from a fairy tale.

    This is one of the houses he built, and the hand-crafted chimney above is emblematic of Sauer’s fairy-tale approach to building. The current owner was kind enough to spend a few minutes passing on the latest gossip on the Sauer Buildings. Most were held as rental properties, but they have now been sold off individually, and the new owners are for the most part reversing decades of neglect.

    One of the Sauer Buildings
  • Commercial Building by Frederick Sauer, South Side

    1831 East Carson Street

    What do St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Mary of the Mount, St. Stephen’s in Hazelwood, a chicken coop turned into an apartment building in Aspinwall, and an empty restaurant on the South Side have in common? The buildings were all designed by Frederick Sauer, who was a genius at ecclesiastical architecture but had to make most of his living designing houses and small commercial buildings for the middle classes. This building was put up in about 1911,1 and we can’t say that it’s a work of towering genius. But Sauer does manage to filter the expected Pittsburghish details through an angular modernism that gives the building a distinctive style. This is how a good architect makes a good living: by taking small jobs as well as big ones, and doing good work for all his clients.

    Building by Frederick C. Sauer
    1. From the Construction Record, September 24, 1910: “Architect F. C. Sauer, 804 Penn avenue is taking bids on constructing a three-story brick store and office building on Nineteenth and Carson streets Southside, for Henry F. Hager, 144 Twenty-fourth street, Southside.” Hager is shown as the owner on a 1923 map. ↩︎
  • Church of St. Stephen Proto-Martyr, Hazelwood

    Statue of St. Stephen
    Date stone

    The Baroque style is unusual, but St. Stephen’s is a Frederick Sauer church through and through, starting with that yellow Kittanning brick he favored. We’ll have to wait till the leaves drop to get a view of the front, but since the building is slowly crumbling, it’s good to get the details as soon as we can.

    Front of the church obscured by trees
    Chimney and tower
    Elizabeth Street side of St. Stephen’s
    Main entrance
    Main entrance.
    Left entrance
    Left entrance.
    JMJ shield over the left entrance
    Right entrance
    Right entrance.
    MR shield
    Capitals with crosses
    Column swags
    Mark and John
    The Evangelists Mark and John.
    Luke and Matthew
    The Evangelists Luke and Matthew.
    Pilaster decoration
    Capital with cherub
    Capital with cherub
    Side window
    One of the side windows.
  • Pair of Commercial Buildings on Penn Avenue

    Two buildings very similar in size and shape and remarkably dissimilar in decoration. The one on the left has attractive but very ordinary classical details. The one on the right is festooned with terra-cotta tiles in an almost shocking green.

    Addendum: This latter building was designed by Frederick Sauer, who signed it in a shield to the right of the right-hand display window.