The Skinny Building and its neighbor the Roberts Building have been bought by PNC. Here they are shrouded for renovation work. The last old Pa Pitt heard, PNC was planning on displaying art in the upper windows of the Skinny Building.
Skinny Building Under Wraps
Some time ago old Pa Pitt took a picture of this silent-era neighborhood movie theater in the middle of its recent renovation. It is pleasing to see it now nicely finished and home to a video-production company. It has had an eventful and oddly circular history. It was built before 1914, since it appears in a 1914 guide to Pittsburgh (which describes Beechview as “beyond the South Hills,” showing how the definition of “South Hills” has moved with the expansion of the suburbs). After some decades as a theater, it was turned into an American Legion post. Then for a while it became a nursing home. Finally it was renovated as you see it now and brought back to its roots in the movie business.
An update: According to a 1923 map, this was called the Olympic Theater. There were at least three theaters in Beechview in 1923.
Restoring the Observatory
The Allegheny Observatory, begun in 1900, is getting some restoration work. The architect was Thorsten E. Billquist, the sort of name one wishes one had invented.
The History Behind the Façade
For years this building has been hidden behind a garish modernist façade. Renovation work shows us a modest mid-nineteenth-century building typical of old Birmingham, the narrow-streeted section of the South Side up to 17th Street.
Beechview Theater Under Renovation
A videography and photography company that has been in business for some years is renovating the old Beechview Theater. This was a silent-movie house built before 1914 (since it appears in a guide to Pittsburgh published that year, in which Beechview is described as “beyond the South Hills”); after its movie days, it spent a long time as an American Legion post, and then for a while it was a nursing home. Old Pa Pitt hopes it will be loved in its new career that brings it back very close to its roots.
An update: According to a 1923 map, this was called the Olympic Theater. There were at least three theaters in Beechview in 1923. See the theater in its restored state here.