Tag: Henry Hornbostel

  • Some Details from Webster Hall

    Webster Hall sign
    Webster Hall

    Father Pitt picked up a Fujifilm HS10 camera very cheaply, and here is a demonstration of its long range. The picture above and the picture below were taken standing in the same spot: the steps of the Mellon Institute across Fifth Avenue. The picture above is not a composite: the lens is wide enough for the whole building. (Of course the perspective has been adjusted, because old Pa Pitt wouldn’t let a picture go without doing that.)

    Scallop-shell ornament

    A scallop-shell ornament over one of the windows in the upper floors. The long lens makes it easy to pick out interesting details, and the details on Webster Hall, designed by Henry Hornbostel, are worth picking out. It’s a kind of Art Deco Renaissance palace, built as luxury apartments, but soon changed into a hotel, and then back to luxury apartments again.

    Window
    Arches
    Brackets
    Lintel
  • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial from a Different Angle

    We saw the front as it looked 22 years ago (and as it looks today, because nothing has changed except the plantings). This is the Bigelow Boulevard side the way it looked the day before yesterday, as seen from Lytton Avenue a block away. Supposedly this was the side that architect Henry Hornbostel had been forced to agree to make the front, but then he built the thing his way anyway, with a long vista down to Fifth Avenue.

    Old-timers will remember the parking lot in the foreground as Syria Mosque.

  • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Oakland

    Soldiers and Sailors Memorial

    In 2000, a planting of deep burgundy celosia gave old Pa Pitt the opportunity to take this picture with his beloved Kodak Retinette.

  • Grant Building from First Avenue

    Grant Building

    When Henry Hornbostel’s Grant Building first went up in 1929, it was festooned with Art Deco pinnacles that were removed decades ago. If you enlarge this picture of the south side of the building, you can just make out the shadows left by those vanished ornaments.

  • Webster Hall from the Corner of Dithridge Street

    Webster Hall

    An oblique view of Webster Hall. And is that a bus coming toward us? Yes, it is.

  • Roof Ornaments, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial

    Above, the distinctive grotesque eruption at the pinnacle of the pyramid roof. Below, the alternating eagles and torches of the cornice.

  • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Oakland

    The story told by architectural historian Franklin Toker is that the architect Henry Hornbostel wanted this building to face Fifth Avenue, with a long vista back from the street, but the clients insisted that it had to face Bigelow Boulevard. Reluctantly Hornbostel acquiesced—and then built it his way anyway. What are you going to do? Tear it down and do it over?

    This is one of a number of buildings in Pittsburgh inspired by the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and this is the one that most obviously follows its model.

  • Rodef Shalom Temple

    Rodef Shalom Temple

    One of Henry Hornbostel’s most impressive works, Rodef Shalom, built in 1906, is notable for its colored terra-cotta decorations, which—according to the interpretive sign on the temple grounds—were among the earliest uses of polychrome terra cotta in the United States.

    Find it on the map

  • Webster Hall

    Webster Hall

    A full view of the Fifth Avenue façade of Webster Hall. The design is by Henry Hornbostel, who successfully created a conservative Art Deco classicism that harmonizes with the other grand monuments on Fifth Avenue.

    The building was apparently put up as fancy bachelor apartments, but soon became a grand hotel (it is now apartments again). It was famous for the Webster Hall Cake, whose secret recipe is still treasured by little old ladies all over Pittsburgh. But old Pa Pitt is delighted to discover that the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle has a whole article on Webster Hall Cake, including two recipes that claim to be close approximations. Father Pitt suspects that there are still little old ladies out there who claim to have the real thing, but these recipes are a good start.

  • Grant Building from the Boulevard of the Allies

    Looking up at Henry Hornbostel’s tallest work, an Art Deco skyscraper that sits right next to the same architect’s Beaux Arts City-County Building.