Tag: Italianate Architecture

  • 905 Penn Avenue

    House at 905 Penn Avenue

    Most of us walk right by this building without giving it much thought, but it stands for a momentous transition in the history of the city. According to the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, it is probably the last building constructed as a single-family house in downtown Pittsburgh.

    Pittsburgh began in the small triangle that is downtown today, and through the first half of the 1800s, a large part of the population remained within those limits. The city was a warren of narrow streets and narrower alleys where little houses crowded with stores and workshops. After the Civil War, though, the land downtown simply became too valuable to build houses on. The family who built this Italianate house on Penn Avenue, where a number of well-to-do families still lived, could not have guessed that they would be the last to build a house in the Triangle, but they would certainly have been aware that the city was changing rapidly.

    Italianate window decoration

    The Italianate details need a bit of polishing up, but they are still well preserved.

  • Two Rows on Galveston Avenue, Allegheny West

    1011–1021 Galveston Avenue

    Two rows of houses, both in the Italianate style, but at different scales.

    1009 and 1011 Galveston Avenue

    These more modest houses are, in form, the typical Pittsburgh city house of the nineteenth century. They are raised above the common herd by Italianate detailing, such as the cornice brackets and elaborate entrances.

    1105–1011 Galveston Avenue
    1011 Galveston Avenue
    1013–1021 Galveston Avenue

    These taller and grander houses share many of the same stylistic traits as their smaller neighbors, but they have full third floors, and everything is of a slightly higher grade, including the arched windows and transom over the front door.

    1021 Galveston Avenue
    Front door
    Sony Alpha 3000
  • A Stroll on Avery Street in Dutchtown

    617 Avery Street

    The part of Dutchtown south of East Ohio Street is a tiny but densely packed treasury of Victorian styles. Old Pa Pitt took a walk on Avery Street the other evening, when the sun had moved far enough around in the sky to paint the houses on the southeast side of the street.

    611 Avery Street
    Gable ornament on 611
    609 Avery Street
    607 Avery Street
    539 and 537 Avery Street
    527 and 525 Avery Street
    521 and 519 Avery Street
    517–511 Avery Street
    515 and 513 Avery Street

    Is this the most beautiful breezeway in Pittsburgh? It’s certainly in the running.

    507 and 505 Avery Street
    613 Avery Street
    621 Avery Street

    Cameras: Sony Alpha 3000; Canon PowerShot SX150 IS.

  • Centennial Building

    Composite of two photographs.

    So called because it was built in the year of the Centennial, 1876. We have not yet discovered the architect (and neither has anyone else, so far as we know), but it is a work of rare taste. The ground floor has been modernized, but in a sympathetic way that does not detract much from the elegance of the overall composition.

  • The Grand Lady of Sheffield Street, Manchester

    1100 Sheffield Street

    Update: This house has a whole history written by the late Carol J. Peterson (PDF), so old Pa Pitt has more information now. The house was built between 1872 and 1877; it was built as a double house, and divided into six apartments by 1910. The article as originally written follows.

    Father Pitt does not know the whole history of this building. It was probably built in the 1870s, though a change of outlines on the map between 1882 and 1890 may indicate that it was enlarged then. It appears as a double house on the old maps, though always under single ownership, so perhaps the single entrance is newer, from the time it was converted to apartments. It is certainly a grand example of the Italianate manner.

    Perspective view
    Konica-Minolta DiMAGE Z6.
  • Birthplace of Gertrude Stein, Allegheny West

    Gertrude Stein birthplace

    “Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania,” says Alice in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. “As I am an ardent californian and as she spent her youth there I have often begged her to be born in California but she has always remained firmly born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. She left it when she was six months old and has never seen it again and now it no longer exists being all of it Pittsburgh. She used however to delight in being born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania when during the war, in connection with war work, we used to have papers made out and they always immediately wanted to know one’s birth-place. She used to say if she had been really born in California as I wanted her to have been she would never have had the pleasure of seeing the various french officials try to write, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.”

  • Italianate Buildings on Market Street

  • Old Storefronts in Sharpsburg

    814 and 816 Main Street

    Father Pitt knows nothing about this pair of storefronts other than what he can deduce from their appearance. The narrow dormers are typical of the middle nineteenth century; with their Italianate brackets and windows, these buildings look as though they were put up in the 1870s, or possibly the 1860s. On the whole they are in a very good state of preservation. Now that Sharpsburg is filling up with art galleries and breweries, perhaps they can be profitably restored.

  • Ewart House, Hill District

    Ewart House

    Short of a miracle, nothing can save this rambling manse from the middle 1800s, so we can only remember that it was here with these pictures. It was built in various stages by the Ewart family, who once owned all the land on both sides of Centre Avenue in this part of the Hill. The earliest part was probably built in the 1850s or 1860s; the frame addition may be as late as the twentieth century. The whole building will be demolished when the city gets around to it: it is only blocks from million-dollar houses in Schenley Farms, but those blocks make the difference.

    Gable end
    Perspective view
    Perspective view of the front
    Centre Avenue face
    Ewart House
  • Italianate Houses in Allegheny West

    Italianate houses on North Lincoln Avenue

    This pair of houses is obscured by trees all through the leafy months, but in the winter we can appreciate the simple but tasteful Italianate details.

    The difference in bricks suggests that the third floor was added later, but still early enough that the Italianate details were matched exactly.