Tag: I-Houses

  • Gothic I-House in Point Breeze

    This house probably dates from the 1870s, making it much earlier than the city neighborhood that filled in around it. Because Point Breeze is such a desirable neighborhood (this house is just around the corner from the Frick Art Museum), it has been worth the expense to restore this house to something like its original appearance.

  • A Rare Survivor on the South Side

    Father Pitt was out for a walk yesterday and suddenly realized that he had spotted an odd anomaly: a country I-house with a neat little yard and a fence and gate—but that’s the top of the Birmingham Bridge right behind it. A little research confirmed what he suspected. This old house is a rare, and maybe even unique, survivor from the time before this part of the South Side was urbanized. It appears on the 1872 layer at the Pittsburgh Historic Maps site, where it is an isolated house along the river in a section the urban sprawl has not reached yet. It belonged to Mrs. Sarah M. Phillips, whose property went all the way back to the river, the banks of which were as yet unencumbered by railroad tracks. The house has been much altered externally, with fake siding and new windows with fake shutters, but the shape (as viewed by satellite) is the same today as on the 1872 map.

  • Condemned House in Sharpsburg

    Condemned house in Sharpsburg

    This house is under sentence of condemnation. There is nothing really special about it, except that it is probably about 150 years old and a good representative of the Gothic I-house. The I-house is a vernacular style of house common in Pennsylvania and much of the Midwest, with a center hall and two rooms on either side. When the simple plan is complicated by a peaked central gable, as in this house, it is it is described as a Gothic I-house. Often the I-house is extended by additions that give it an L shape—and sometimes more than one addition accumulates over the years, as we see with this one, where the smaller addition in the foreground was probably added around the 1920s, to judge by the 3-over-1 window on the second floor.

    From the side

    Note the pointed vernacular-Gothic windows in the attic.

  • Old Farmhouse, Cranberry Township

    Farmhouse in Cranberry

    This is a typical Pennsylvania I-house with an attractively gingerbreaded front porch. Cranberry Township in Butler County is one of the hottest development zones in the suburbs, but in among the townhouses and shopping centers there are still active farms, and a considerable number of old farmhouses from the middle 1800s. This one could use some touching up here and there, but it might be worth the expense.

    Front porch
    Side view
    Fron a distance

    The silo in the background at right belonged to a barn that has collapsed.

  • I-House in the West End

    House in the West End

    This well-preserved house from 1870 or 1876 (according to different sources) has kept its splendid Victorian ornamental woodwork. Architectural historians would call this an I-house, a standard variety of vernacular house very common in this part of Pennsylvania. Its form is very simple: two floors, each a central hall with a room on the left and a room on the right. Often, as on this house, more rooms are added on the back. For many years this house was used as the parsonage for the Methodist church next door.