Tag: Grant Street

  • First English Evangelical Lutheran Church

    First English Evangelical Lutheran Church

    Designed by Andrew Peebles, this church, which would be the most magnificent thing in many a neighborhood, is dwarfed by the Grant Street behemoths around it. Other even grander churches on Grant Street (St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Cathedral and St. Peter’s Episcopal) were displaced by commercial interests, but this one has somehow survived since 1887, which may make it the oldest standing building on Grant Street. It’s currently getting some restoration.

    Entrance and 1887 date stone
    Inscription: First English Evangelical Lutheran Church
    False belfry
    Roof ornament
    Grant Street face
    First Lutheran
  • Some Decorations on the William Penn Hotel

    “William Penn Hotel” on the marquee

    The architect Benno Janssen, one of the titans of Pittsburgh architecture, was very fond of terra cotta, as he showed early in his career in the exuberant Wedgwood patterns of the Buhl Building. The William Penn is more restrained, but it is still a feast for lovers of ornament.

    Terra-cotta head
    A similar head from the front
    Window with false balcony
    William Penn between griffins
    Egg and dart with foliage
    William Penn between griffins
    Stylized head

    The head of William Penn in ceremonial Quaker headdress.

  • U. S. Post Office Entrance

    Shield with eagle

    The Post Office and Courthouse (now called the Joseph F. Weis, Jr. U.S. Courthouse) is Pittsburgh’s grandest monument of the style old Pa Pitt calls “American Fascist.” The post office was on the Seventh Avenue side; it has moved to Liberty Center, but the inscriptions are still here. The building was put up under Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon, of whom it was often said that three presidents served under him. The architects were Trowbridge & Livingston, who also worked on some of Mellon’s private projects, like the Gulf Building across the street.

    Post office entrance
    Bronze and marble
  • Porter Building

    Side of the Porter Building

    Is it a 1960s sci-fi space liner, or…

    Porter Building

    …another aluminum-clad building by Harrison & Abramovitz?

    It almost seems as though H. K. Porter, a diverse manufacturing concern that began as a locomotive maker, had pointed to the Alcoa Building and said, “We want that, but shorter.” It is not the same building, but the similarity is striking. This one opened in 1958, five years after the Alcoa Building. It used to have the name “PORTER” in big aluminum letters in that niche at the top, but it now carries the logo of FHLBank Pittsburgh, the tenant with naming rights.

    The picture above was taken from Steel Plaza, and that is the back of the U. S. Steel Tower flag waving in the breeze. The U. S. Steel Tower, of course, is another Harrison & Abramovitz design.

    Oblique view of the front face
    Perspective view

    Historic Pittsburgh has an interesting picture of the Porter Building under construction.

  • Looking Up

    Koppers and Gulf Towers

    …at the Koppers Building (left) and the Gulf Building (right).

  • Reliefs by Henry Hering on the Federal Reserve Bank Building

    Eagle by Henry Hering

    This building, put up in 1930–1931, was a branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and the Clevelanders Walker & Weeks were the architects—but with Henry Hornbostel and Eric Fisher Wood as “consulting architects.”1 Old Pa Pitt doesn’t know exactly how far the consulting went. At any rate, the architects chose sculptor Henry Hering, who had done several prominent decorations in Cleveland, to create the cast-aluminum reliefs for this building. The picture below is from 2015, but it will serve to show the placement of the reliefs:

    Federal Reserve Bank Building

    The three main figures are obviously allegorical; they seem to represent industry, agriculture, and the professions.

    Relief by Henry Hering
    Decoration in aluminum
    1. Source: Walter Kidney, Henry Hornbostel: An Architect’s Master Touch, where this building is no. 137 in the List of Works. ↩︎
  • U. S. Steel Tower from Grant Street

    U. S. Steel Tower

    With the aid of a very wide-angle lens, we can see the whole face of the tallest building in Pittsburgh from Grant Street. This was a very tall building when it was put up: it was the eighth-tallest in the world, and the tallest outside New York and Chicago. Now it doesn’t crack the top two hundred, but it is still record-breakingly massive in one way: no other building has a roof that big that high. Other tall buildings taper; this one goes straight up.

  • Tower of the Courthouse

  • Koppers and Gulf Buildings, with the Federal Reserve Bank

    Koppers and Gulf Bldgs., with the Federal Reserve Bank at the Right

    An old postcard from Father Pitt’s accumulation of Pittsburgh miscellanea; we do not know the date, but it must be before 1952, since the back of the card specifies “PLACE ONE CENT STAMP HERE.”

  • Top of the Frick Building, Tower of the Courthouse

    A little slice of skyline seen from the South Side Slopes.