Tag: Italianate Architecture

  • Steifel Building, Lawrenceville

    The intersection of Butler and 44th Streets forms an acute angle. The architect of this attractive commercial building (it probably dates from the 1870s) blunted what would otherwise have been an unattractively sharp corner by placing the entrance there, spreading the turn across two angles.

  • Rowhouses on Fifth Avenue, Uptown

    Uptown is a neighborhood in transition, and it still is not entirely clear what it will become. Will these rowhouses become valuable properties worth restoring? Or will they be knocked down for skyscraper apartments? Or will the development mania grind to a halt before it reaches this block? These two houses are in pretty good shape and worth preserving for their nearly intact fronts. Both have some fine woodwork. The one on the left has had some unfortunate renovation done to the dormer, but otherwise nothing bad has happened to it. It has newer windows, but in the right size and shape, and if you painted those aluminum frames they would be indistinguishable from the originals. The one on the right is even more perfectly intact. Note its proper Pittsburgh stair railing: in Pittsburgh, railings are a plumber’s art.

  • Italianate House, Uptown

    This is a particularly grand rowhouse: note how much taller it is than its neighbor, indicating high ceilings. It seems to be abandoned right now, but perhaps it has a chance if the urban pioneers moving into the neighborhood get to it before it mysteriously catches fire. There is much worth preserving: the woodwork is in fairly good shape, and the windows—mostly unbroken—are still original and proper for the period. The location of the house on Fifth Avenue might make it attractive, but also might put it in the way if development mania reaches this part of the street.

  • Howley Street, Lawrenceville

    Howley Street

    A typical street of miscellaneous rowhouses in Lower Lawrenceville. This part of the neighborhood has become desirable enough that the houses are well maintained, but not desirable enough that they are pseudo-Victorianized yet, so that we still see the full cacophony of things Pittsburghers have thought it might be a good idea to do to a Victorian rowhouse. Below, an Italianate house that seems to be under renovation (note the expensive but asymmetrical new front entrance).

    Rowhouse
  • Carey Way, South Side

    Houses on Carey Way

    In Pittsburgh, a “rowhouse” is generally any house that shares a wall with its neighbors. But there are rowhouses in a stricter sense: rows of houses built all at once, as more or less one building divided into individual residences. One such row is in the 1800 block of Carey Way, a row of modest Italianate alley houses all put up at once. If he had to guess, old Pa Pitt would date it to the 1870s. One of its remarkable features is its breezeway. Most breezeways in Pittsburgh are narrow passages between houses, but this row has one breezeway in the middle big enough to drive a wagon through. That is probably the point: it leads to a courtyard from which deliveries of coal and other staples could be made to the backs of all the houses. Under separate ownership, the houses have ceased to be entirely identical, but their common origin is still apparent.

    Carey Way
    Carey Way
    Carey Way
  • Rowhouses on Sarah Street, South Side

    2330 Sarah Street

    Sarah Street was the prime residential street of East Birmingham (the part of the South Side between 17th and 26th Streets), and it retains some of Pittsburgh’s most distinguished rowhouses. The one above is a splendidly eclectic mix—a bit of Italianate, a bit of Gothic, a bit of Second Empire. Note how much effort has gone into making interesting patterns in the bricks.

    2112 Sarah Street

    Here is another house in a similarly eclectic style. The parlor window is treated almost identically, but the upper floors vary the theme considerably.

    Italianate house

    This is not strictly a rowhouse, since it is detached from its neighbors by a narrow alley on each side; but since it is connected to those neighbors by a pair of gates, it is as near a rowhouse as makes no difference. This is a fine example of the Italianate style in a city house, and the owners have had some fun picking out the ornamental details with an unusual but effective paint scheme.

  • Letitia Holmes House, Allegheny West

    Letitia Holmes House

    The Letitia Holmes house, with Harry Darlington’s one-room-wide mansion clinging to the right of it. Mrs. Holmes’ splendidly dignified Italianate house was built in about 1870, and instead of repeating its history here old Pa Pitt will simply refer you to a well-researched page on the Holmes house in the Allegheny West neighborhood site. Letitia Holmes was a widow when she built this house, but she built it for elegant entertainments: the room with the tall windows to the right of the front door is a ballroom that spans the entire depth of the house.

  • Row of Windows, Carson Street

    A row of more than usually ornate Italianate windows on Carson Street, South Side.

  • 101 Smithfield Street

    101 Smithfield Street

    In the little corner of downtown Pittsburgh near First Avenue there are still some half-blocks that never entered the skyscraper age. Here we can see some of the humbler pre-skyscraper commercial architecture of Pittsburgh. The first floor of the front of this building has been heavily altered, probably by someone who wanted to make it look more Victorian and ended up making it look more 1978. But the rest of the building is a typical small Italianate structure of the 1870s.

  • Brown’s Block, Carnegie

    A block of modest storefronts from 1883, built in the Italianate style.