Tag: Penn Avenue

  • 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.

  • National Bank of Western Pennsylvania

    National Bank of Western Pennsylvania

    The Penn Avenue front is now a restaurant, but it would not be hard to guess from the Ninth Street side that this used to be a bank: the National Bank of Western Pennsylvania.

    National Bank of Western Pennsylvania
  • Wm. O. Johnston & Co. Building

    Corner of Penn Avenue and Ninth Street
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.

    The corner of Penn Avenue and Ninth Street. The building on the corner is the Wm. O. Johnston & Co. building, built for a printer who was one of the successors to the venerable Zadok Cramer of the Franklin Head Bookstore. We also have a composite picture of the front of the building.

  • Art Deco in the Strip

    2001 Penn Avenue

    Almost all the decorative effect of this building is achieved by arranging bricks in different ways. The original windows in the upper floors also have a part to play in the rhythm of the design: it would not be nearly as effective if they were replaced with single panes of plate glass.

    Decorative brickwork
    2001 Penn Avenue
    Kodak EasyShare Z981.
  • The Big Rooster

    On DeLuca’s diner in the Strip.

    Nikon COOLPIX P100.
  • Postpostmodernism in Garfield

    Buildings on Penn Avenue

    These buildings, put up in 2007, were one of the early signs of revival in Garfield. Father Pitt took this picture eight years ago, but it seems that he never published it here, so you might as well see it now.

  • Butler Building, Garfield

    Butler Building

    As the business district along Penn Avenue becomes a more and more desirable place for artsy shops and galleries, it has been cheering to see many old buildings cleaned up and given new life in Garfield. Here is one of the finest. Old Pa Pitt knows nothing about it other than that its name is Butler.

  • Horne’s Christmas Tree

    Horne’s Christmas tree seen from Gateway subway station

    As seen from the entrance to the Gateway subway station.

  • Penn Avenue Gatehouse, Allegheny Cemtery

    Shortened tower

    If you are not a frequent visitor to Allegheny Cemetery, you might pass the Penn Avenue gatehouse and wonder whether your memory is playing tricks on you. Isn’t there something…different about it?

    Your memory is not playing tricks on you. Here is a picture from 2021:

    Penn Avenue Gatehouse in 2021

    What old Pa Pitt was told was that engineers had determined that the tower was dangerously unstable. The stones were carefully taken apart and labeled, and maybe someday the tower will be restored.

  • Kraynick’s Bike Shop, Garfield

    Kraynick’s Bike Shop

    Kraynick’s Bike Shop is a Pittsburgh legend, and it lives in a slightly bedraggled building that is so typically Pittsburgh it should never be improved. Now that Garfield is coming up in the trendy world, someone is likely to restore this Second Empire storefront sooner or later, but it retains so many layers of history, while still preserving so many original details (look at the roof slates, the brick cornice, the dentils on the third-floor dormers, the lintels above the second-floor windows), that it will be a shame when it is remade into a picture-book Victorian building.