Tag: Lee (Edward B.)

  • Kilkeary’s Hotel

    Kilkeary’s Hotel
    Composite photograph.

    This building on Ninth Street has housed various establishments of varying reputability over the years. It was built, however, as a good hotel for Joseph F. Kilkeary, and it was designed by the very reputable Edward B. Lee, a young architect who had made his reputation as the winner of the design competition for the City-County Building (though Lee would later insist that the real designer of that one was Henry Hornbostel).

    It seems that the project for this hotel evolved gradually from a remodeling of Kilkeary’s much smaller existing hotel to a full-scale reconstruction. In The American Contractor, July 5, 1924, we read: “Hotel (Kilkeary’s, rem.): $15,000. 9th st., bet. Penn. av. & Duquesne Waw [sic] Archt. Edw. B. Lee, Chamber of Commerce bldg. Owner Jos. F. Kilkeary, 131 Ninth st. Drawing plans.” This would have bought an extensive renovation of a smaller building. But by 1926 the plans were more ambitious, as we read in The Charette, April 1926: “Lee, Edward B., Architect, Chamber of Commerce Building, Pittsburgh, Pa. Hotel, 9th and French Sts., Pittsburgh, Pa. J. F. Kilkeary, Owner, address care Architect. Working drawings are being made. General contractor has been selected by owner, Taylor-Meyer Company, Keystone Building. Size of building 57 ft. x 56 ft., six stories in height. Basement with heating plant and two store rooms; guest rooms on 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th and 6th floors; steel frame; metal partition walls; brick and stone trim on front; side and rear tile curtain walls; 8 in, cement floors; each room with bath; steam heat; conduit wiring; modern hotel equipment; cubage approximately 150,000 cu. ft.” This listing describes the building more or less as it stands today.

  • Allegheny Elks’ Lodge, Dutchtown

    Allegheny Elks’ Lodge
    Sony Alpha 3000.

    Men’s clubs live in terror of windows, which they gradually block up with glass blocks, bricks, or whatever else is handy. But the outlines of this dignified clubhouse remain as the architect drew them. It was designed in 1924 by Edward B. Lee, replacing an earlier lodge (designed by William E. Snaman) that had been destroyed by fire.

    The style is noticeably similar to the style of the Americus Republican Club, also by Lee. The buildings are radically different shapes, but Lee applied the same design vocabulary to make both clubs look respectable in their different locations.

  • Harvard-Yale-Princeton Club

    Allegheny HYP Club

    Some of the very few small houses left in downtown Pittsburgh were taken over in 1930 by the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Club, which hired big-deal architect Edward B. Lee to transform them into an elegant clubhouse. The club survives, having absorbed two of Pittsburgh’s most prestigious other clubs—the Pittsburgh Club and the Allegheny Club—to become the Allegheny HYP Club. We note also that the club survived the construction of the Alcoa Building, which has a notch cut out in the back to accommodate its small but powerful neighbor.

    Harvard-Yale-Princeton Club
  • Americus Republican Club

    Americus Republican Club

    Edward B. Lee designed this clubhouse for the Americus Republican Club in a lush Georgian style. It was built in 1918, and it spans the whole (very short) block from the Boulevard of the Allies to Third Avenue. Since the club moved out, this has been known as the Pitt Building.

    Old Pa Pitt thinks the off-center pediment is an interesting choice for neo-Georgian architecture. It would not have occurred to him if he had been the architect, but the expected symmetry would probably have made a duller façade.

    Update: A correspondent points out that Second Avenue was widened into a boulevard in 1921, and it was done by trimming, moving, or demolishing buildings on the north side of the street. One large building was moved back forty feet. Forty feet would be just enough to account for the asymmetry of this façade. E. B. Lee would have been available to supervise the alterations, but the building’s current form would represent the best he could do under adverse circumstances, not his original grand vision for the Americus Club.

    Pitt Building
  • The Liberty Theater As It Was Built

    Update: Once in a while old Pa Pitt has a chance to boast about his architectural instincts, and here is one of those occasions. In the original article, he wrote that he suspected Edward B Lee of having designed the remodeling of the theater into an office building. He was right. Source: The American Contractor, December 15, 1923: “Store & Office Bldg. (remod. from theater): $150,000. 5 sty. & bas. H. tile. Liberty av. & Strawberry Alley. Archt. E. B. Lee, Chamber of Commerce bldg. Owner The Fidelity Title & Trust Co., Wilson A. Shaw, chrm. of bd., 343 Fourth av. Gen. contr. let to Cuthbert Bros., Bessemer bldg.”

    The original text of Father Pitt’s article follows.

    Edward B. Lee was the architect of the Liberty Theater—or Theatre, as theatrical people often insist on spelling it—when it was built in 1912. These pictures were published in The Brickbuilder in 1913, so they show the theater as it was when it was new. Either the theater failed or the owners decided it would be more profitable as an office building, because only eleven years later, in 1924,1 it was remodeled into the Baum Building, and it still stands today.

    The shell and outlines are the same, but quite a bit was changed externally. Old Pa Pitt suspects that Lee was the architect of these changes, too, and they were accomplished so elegantly that we would never know the building had not been planned that way from the beginning.

    These small drawings (orchestra, first balcony, second balcony) show the aggressive adaptations Mr. Lee had to make to the irregular shape of the lot—a common difficulty for buildings on the southeast side of Liberty Avenue, where the two grids of the irrationally rationalistic eighteenth-century street plan collide.

    Detail over the entrance. These decorations disappeared when the building was converted to offices.

    Corner detail. The cornice and pilasters survive, but the elaborate terra-cotta decoration between the pilasters vanished in 1924.

    1. In the original version of this article, Father Pitt had given the date as 1920, following a city architectural survey. The listing from the American Contractor proves that the date was actually no earlier than 1924. ↩︎
  • Clifford B. Connelley Trade School

    Now the home of the Energy Innovation Center, this grand old school on the brow of the Hill taught useful skills to generations of students. The architect was Edward B. Lee, who was a favorite school designer around here.