Tag: Longfellow Alden and Harlow

  • Joseph & Elizabeth Horne House, Allegheny West

    Joseph O. Horne house

    An early work of Longfellow, Alden & Harlow in Pittsburgh, this house was given the Carol J. Peterson treatment, so that it has its own little book of its history. Old Pa Pitt will not repeat everything the late Ms. Peterson found out about it, but this is the outline: Joseph O. Horne, son of the department-store baron, married Elizabeth Jones, daughter of the steel baron B. F. Jones, and her father had Longfellow, Alden & Harlow design this cozy little Romanesque house for the young couple. It was one of the many houses restored in the late twentieth century by serial restorationist Joedda Sampson, and now it looks pretty much the way the architects drew it, minus some erosion and a century of soot.

    Dormer decoration

    The decoration on the dormer is a bit eroded, but that probably makes it more picturesque than it was when the house was new.

    Joseph O. Horne House
  • J. C. Pontefract House, Chateau

    On city planning maps, this house is in Chateau, but socially it was at the end of the Lincoln Avenue row of rich people’s houses in Allegheny West. Today it sits surrounded by robotics works and fast-food joints, but it is kept in beautifully original condition by its owners. The architects were Longfellow, Alden & Harlow (or some subset of those three), at the very beginning of their practice—just about the time they designed Sunnyledge, which is something like a stretched version of this house. Enlarge the picture and note the patterns in the brickwork.

  • Carnegie Institute

    Music Hall entrance

    The titanic Carnegie Institute building was designed by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow, Andrew Carnegie’s favorite architects. Above: the Music Hall entrance. Below: the main building seen from the west, across Forbes Avenue.

    Carnegie Institute
  • Conestoga Building

    Designed by Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow, this was our first steel-cage building and thus the seed from which dozens of skyscrapers grew.

  • Russell H. Boggs House, 1999

    Russell H. Boggs House

    This was the home of one of the founders of the famous Boggs & Buhl department store, which lasted until 1958. A few years after Father Pitt took this picture, this grand house was grandly restored and opened as “The Inn on the Mexican War Streets.” Before the restoration, it had been the parsonage of Trinity Lutheran Church next door, creating a curious spectacle of a parsonage considerably grander than its squat little modern church. But the house needed more maintenance than the church could afford: in fact the new owners spent more than a million dollars fixing the place up.

    If you look at this picture, you may have a vague impression that something is missing from this house; but unless you are in the architecture business it might take you ages to guess what it is. There are no gutters and no downspouts. It seems that Mr. Boggs had a thing about gutters. Instead, there is a remarkable internal drainage system that, when it works, carries runoff through the walls, and, when it is broken, pours runoff in a burbling cascade down the grand staircase. That is one of the reasons it took a million dollars to restore this house.

    Addendum: The architects were Longfellow, Alden & Harlow; the house was built in 1888.

  • West End Methodist Episcopal Church

    West End M. E. Church

    In 1888 the Allegheny County Courthouse was finished, and by then its influence in Pittsburgh had already been profound. H. H. Richardson predicted, correctly, that it would be his most famous work; he died in 1886 without seeing it completed, when the mania for “Richardsonian Romanesque” in Pittsburgh was only beginning. Fortunately several competent Romanesque architects were available to supply the buildings Richardson could no longer provide.

    Frank E. Alden was the Alden of Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow. Longfellow himself had trained with Richardson, and his firm was regarded as the successor to Richardson’s. Here Alden fills a very unpromising lot with a romantically Romanesque pile, built in 1888 while the last stones were still falling into place in the courthouse.

    West End Methodist Episcopal Church

    The church is vacant at the moment; it would make a fine studio for some prosperous artist.

    West End M. E. Church


    Connoisseurs of Victorian lettering will be delighted by the inscriptions.


  • Byers-Lyons House

    Byers-Lyons House

    If you were a millionaire in Pittsburgh in the late 1800s, of course you expected to have a mansion by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow. They were Andrew Carnegie’s favorite architects, after all. This Renaissance palace on Ridge Avenue is particularly splendid. Although it now belongs to the Community College of Allegheny County, its grand interior spaces have not been altered very much.


    The cloister-like arcade in front is one of the most striking features of the house.


    This gate, which is either original or at least quite old, is kept in beautiful shape.

  • Holland Mansion, Oakland

    Music Building, University of Pittsburgh

    Now the Music Building of the University of Pittsburgh, this house (built in 1884) was a gift from his wife to the pastor of the Bellefield Presbyterian Church across the street. It is thus one of the few buildings in Oakland that predate Oakland (along with the tower of the church, which still stands beside a modern office building). It is also a lesson for clergy: if your particular sect permits marriage, it is a good idea to marry an heiress. You can see the advantages. Most pastors’ wives do not give their husbands a mansion designed by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow, and that is because most pastors do not sensibly marry heiresses as they ought to do.

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  • Grotesque Light Fixture, Carnegie Institute

    Grotesque light fixture

    All the details of the Carnegie Institute buildings (designed by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow) are worth observing. Here is a light fixture held up by a splendid grotesque arm.