Tag: Markham Drive

  • A Stroll on Markham Drive, Mount Lebanon

    136 Markham Drive

    Markham Drive in Mount Lebanon is not yet included in the Mount Lebanon Historic District, but it ought to be. It is a street of architecturally distinctive houses, mostly from the 1930s, that are in an extraordinarily fine state of preservation, at least externally. We have already seen one of them: the “Transition House” designed by Brandon Smith to entice conservative home-buyers to accept modern construction methods. Here is a generous album from the rest of the street.

  • Transition House, Mount Lebanon

    The drawing by Brandon Smith, architect, shows the “transition” house which is being erected in Mt. Lebanon for Dr. A. W. Coffman, of the Robertson fellowship at Mellon Institute. M. C. McCann ins the builder.
    Transition House

    What, you may ask, is a “transition house”? It is a house designed to look traditional but use the most modern construction methods available in 1936. The idea was that the public could be induced to accept modern construction if it came without the modernist offenses against traditional aesthetics. Architect Brandon Smith—best remembered for some extravagant mansions in Fox Chapel—gave it all the decorative flourishes a 1930s suburbanite might expect from a “Colonial,” but under the stone and brick were super-modern materials developed at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research.

    Decorative pillar
    Front door
    109 Markham Drive
    Front of the house

    Our information and the architect’s drawing above come from an article about the house in the Pittsburgh Press, published when the house was under construction in 1936. The whole article will interest a few architectural historians, so we have transcribed it below.