If he had known that the church would be demolished the next year, Father Pitt would have been more careful to document it. As it is, he happened to be passing in 2001 with one of his many odd old cameras, and he decided to take this quick picture before rolling on. The architect was probably John T. Comès, who gave this German congregation an Italian Romanesque church, because why not?
The church had been vacant for several years when the Sisters of Divine Providence demolished it and built a new Family Support Center. The front of that building bears a mural with a picture of St. Leo’s in it.
Charles Bickel was quite at home in the Romanesque style, and he prospered in a city that had gone mad for Romanesque after Richardson’s County Courthouse appeared. The Ewart Building was put up in 1892. Old Pa Pitt was attracted to this morning view by the pattern of reflections on Liberty Avenue.
Two fine commercial buildings on Liberty Avenue. The large windows on the second, third, and fourth floors of No. 903 suggest workshops, which generally had the largest possible windows to take advantage of natural light.
Every once in a while old Pa Pitt slips in a picture taken with a cheap phone. This is one of them; he mentions it to point out that, within their limitations (this one demands bright light for acceptably sharp pictures), even cheap phone cameras can produce good pictures. The camera you have with you is always better than the one in the camera bag at home.
Smallman Street in the Strip changes over time, but it keeps its traditional link with the food business. The Strip became the wholesale-food district because the Pennsylvania Railroad unloaded the culinary treasures of the earth here. Today those treasures arrive mostly by truck.
The glory of Smallman Street is the broad plaza from 16th to 21st Streets, leading to St. Stanislaus Kostka, the mother church of Polish Catholicism in Pittsburgh, and one of Frederick Sauer’s most distinguished works.
Half a block deep, four storeys tall, and one room wide—that is the adaptation railroad magnate Harry Darlington made to build a big mansion on a tiny lot. This narrow but substantial Romanesque pile was built in about 1890.
To the left of it is the Holmes house, about which more soon.