Tag: Rectories

  • St. Martin’s Rectory, West End

    St. Martin’s Rectory

    Our great ecclesiastical architect John T. Comès designed a fine church for St. Martin’s parish in the West End, but the church was demolished long ago. The rectory, however, remains, and it is a remarkable piece of work itself. We might call it Romanesque, or Art Nouveau, or Arts-and-Crafts, or perhaps even Rundbogenstil. Father Pitt is tempted, however, to call it Pre-Raphaelite. It reminds him of Pre-Raphaelite paintings; we can imagine it as a backdrop for figures by Burne-Jones.

    Date stones with A. D. 1911
    Ornamental tiles

    The rich colors and deliberately handmade look of these ornamental tiles add considerably to the effect of the façade.

    Oblique view
    Side view
    Front view
  • St. Peter’s Rectory, McKeesport

    Front of St. Peter’s Rectory

    What this remarkable and slightly fantastical rectory needs is a nice church to go with it, but St. Peter’s was demolished several years ago. The rectory, however, has been restored and sensitively updated.

    The architectural style is a Gothic fantasy that even includes some Moorish-looking decorations. The emphatic vertical in the front creates the impression of a tower without exactly being a tower.

    Oblique view of St. Peter’s Rectory
    Side of the rectory

    These are all high-dynamic-range pictures, each made from three different photographs at different exposures.

    Since the clouds were picturesquely textured that day, old Pa Pitt thought he might try the effect of black-and-white pictures with a (simulated) red filter to bring out the clouds. The results are worth seeing, if you care to continue.

  • St. Mary Magdalene Church, Homestead

    St. Mary Magdalene Church, Homestead

    This glorious Romanesque church was closed in 2009, but it was taken over by a community education organization called Dragon’s Den, which has kept it up beautifully, and in the well-preserved interior has added “a state-of-the-art two-level challenge course, climbing wall, and a 160-foot zip line that connects the choir loft to the former altar.” Now you know what to do with a big vacant church.

    Addendum: The architect was Frederick Sauer, who gave us a number of fine churches and the whimsical Sauer Buildings in Aspinwall.


    The rectory is overshadowed by the magnificent church, but it is certainly a striking design in its own right.