Tag: Mansions

  • Byers-Lyons House, Allegheny West

    Byers-Lyons House
    Sony Alpha 3000.

    The Byers-Lyons house was built in 1898. It was designed by Alden & Harlow, Andrew Carnegie’s favorite architects, and it has fortunately been preserved by being turned to academic uses—it is now Byers Hall of the Community College of Allegheny County. It looked warm and inviting last night at sunset, so Father Pitt took quite a few pictures.

    Perspective view
    From the corner
    In sunset lights
    Byers Hall
    Iron filigree
    Iron portal
    Silhouetted iron filigree
    Ionic capital in iron
    Ionic capital
    Iron gatepost
    Arcade
    Rntrance porch
    Arcaded porch
    Entrance
    Dormers and chimneys
    Dormer and chimney
    Chimneys
  • Osage Road in Virginia Manor, Mount Lebanon

    700 Osage Road

    Virginia Manor is where the rich rich people live in Mount Lebanon. It’s full of houses designed by some of the most distinguished Pittsburgh architects of the 1920s and 1930s. Osage Road has some of the grandest houses, so here is your look at how the other half lives—unless you are the other half, in which case here is your hand mirror.

    700 Osage Road
    910 Osage Road
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  • Baywood, Highland Park

    Baywood

    Baywood was the home of Alexander King, whose family married into the Mellons. Obviously Mr. King had some money himself. Old Pa Pitt does not know the architect, but Isaac Hobbs would not be an outrageous guess.

    Side of Baywood
    Baywood
    Front porch
    Baywood
  • Harry Darlington House, Allegheny West

    Harry Darlington house

    This grand mansion was built in about 1890 for railroad magnate Harry Darlington. It occupies a tiny lot, so it is one room wide—but four storeys tall and half a block deep.

    Perspective view

    The building is decorated with numerous terra-cotta tiles with fine scrolly foliage.

    Terra cotta
    More terra cotta
    Terra cotta and arches
    Harry Darlington house from the rear

    A carriage house in the back has matching stony foundations.

  • A Stroll Up Devonshire Street

    Georgian mansion and fence

    Today we are going to take a stroll up one block of Devonshire Street; and although it will be a short stroll, it will be a long article, because almost every single house on this block is an extraordinary mansion by some distinguished architect. Old Pa Pitt regrets that he does not know which architect for most of them, but he is feeling lazy today and has decided not to spend the rest of the day researching the histories of these houses. Instead, he will simply publish these pictures, which are worth seeing both for the houses themselves and for the poetic effect of the late-autumn landscapes, and will update the article later as more information dribbles in.

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  • Rea House, Chatham University

    Rea house

    Another of the millionaires’ mansions that have become part of Chatham University. Built in 1911 or 1912 for steel executive James C. Rea, the Julia and James Rea House is now a student dormitory. Students tell us the rooms are “quirky” in a good way, with high ceilings and odd protrusions, because the house was divided with minimal disruption to the original architecture.

    Rea House

    A very short video on the Chatham Undergraduate Housing page shows us some of the interior.

    With a tree in front
    Up a long hill
  • Mellon Hall, Chatham University

    Front entrance

    Andrew Mellon’s summer home is now one of several millionaires’ mansions that belong to Chatham University. It is open for students who want a quiet place to study. Mr. Mellon, in addition to being absurdly rich himself, was also Secretary of the Treasury in the 1920s, and widely considered the most powerful man in Washington: they used to say that three presidents served under him (Harding, Coolidge, Hoover). He was one of the few competent and relatively honest members of Warren G. Harding’s administration, and for most of the 1920s he was often called the greatest Secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton. Then came the Great Depression, and he was not as popular as he had been.

    The house was built in 1897 for the Laughlins of Jones and Laughlin; Mellon bought it in 1917 and set about remaking it to his tastes, adding, among other things, an indoor swimming pool, supposedly the first private one in Pittsburgh.

    Great hall
    Grand staircase
    Fireplace
    Books and windows
    A different angle
    Looking through to the great hall
    Mantel decoration

    A mantel decoration.

    Sun room

    The sun room.

    The back of the house.

    The back of the house.

    Board Room entrance

    The swimming pool was adapted in 2008 for use as the Board Room, with a new handicap-accessible entrance that combined new construction with as much of the existing architecture as could be reused. The architects of the project were Rothschild Doyno Collaborative.

  • Georgian Mansion in Shadyside

    720 Amberson Avenue

    A large house that probably dates from the 1920s, with a recent expansion in the rear; it was getting all new windows when old Pa Pitt took these pictures.

    With trees
    Main entrance
    Lintel
    Oblique view

    A “virtual tour” from a year ago, when the house sold for a little less than two million, shows a computer simulation of a thoroughly modernized interior.

  • Henry Chalfant House, Allegheny West

    Chalfant Hall

    Now Chalfant Hall of the Community College of Allegheny County, and currently getting a thorough renovation. The house was built in about 1900; no one seems to know who the architect was. Henry Chalfant was a successful lawyer whose father was a successful lawyer as well.

    Front
    Detail
  • Warwick House, Squirrel Hill

    Stairwell window

    Warwick House was built in 1910 for Howard Heinz, son of the ketchup king H. J. Heinz. The architects were Vrydaugh and Wolfe, and the construction budget was $75,000. After the Heinzes it passed through the Hillmans, and now it belongs to the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, from which it is rented by Opus Dei, the Catholic organization famed for its albino assassins. But the organization seldom sends the assassins out against anyone but renowned curators; the rest of us are quite safe. At an open house this summer, old Pa Pitt was graciously allowed to take a few pictures of the beautifully maintained Jacobean interior. Above, the window in the grand staircase.

    Front of the house

    This picture of the front is not the best; the light was from the wrong direction. It means we will have to return soon at a different time of day.

    Front door

    The front door.

    Front hall

    The front hall; the door to the library is on the right, the grand staircase on the left.

    Decorative woodwork

    A little bit of the decorative woodwork in the front hall.

    Grand staircase

    The grand staircase.

    Ceiling

    Modern American houses forget about the ceiling, as if people never looked up. Warwick House does not make that mistake. This is the decorated ceiling in a side hall.

    Chapel
    Chapel

    The former ballroom was converted into a chapel by the late Henry Menzies, an ecclesiastical architect whose specialty was refurbishing modernist churches of the 1960s and 1970s to make them suitable for liturgical worship. He liked to use a baldacchino to give proper emphasis to the altar. (The ballroom was added to the house later, probably in 1929 according to the current residents.)

    Ceiling of the ballroom

    The ceiling of the ballroom.