Tag: Rowhouses

  • Wilhelm Geauf House, South Side

    Wilhelm Geauf House

    Many fine rowhouses like this one adorn the South Side, but once in a while we find one where the owners who restored the house have looked up its history and encapsulated it on a plaque. This is one of them, so we know that the house was built in 1891 for Charlotte and Wilhelm Geauf, and that the building cost $3,000 on a lot that cost $2,000. Note the fine parlor window—always the best opportunity for showing off in a rowhouse like this—and the richly textured brick cornice.

  • Rowhouses on Sarah Street, South Side

    2330 Sarah Street

    Sarah Street was the prime residential street of East Birmingham (the part of the South Side between 17th and 26th Streets), and it retains some of Pittsburgh’s most distinguished rowhouses. The one above is a splendidly eclectic mix—a bit of Italianate, a bit of Gothic, a bit of Second Empire. Note how much effort has gone into making interesting patterns in the bricks.

    2112 Sarah Street

    Here is another house in a similarly eclectic style. The parlor window is treated almost identically, but the upper floors vary the theme considerably.

    Italianate house

    This is not strictly a rowhouse, since it is detached from its neighbors by a narrow alley on each side; but since it is connected to those neighbors by a pair of gates, it is as near a rowhouse as makes no difference. This is a fine example of the Italianate style in a city house, and the owners have had some fun picking out the ornamental details with an unusual but effective paint scheme.

  • Pearl Street, Bloomfield

    Pearl Street

    The last rays of evening sun strike little rowhouses on Pearl Street in Bloomfield. This picture was taken in 1999, but except for the cars the view has changed very little. Bloomfield still has one of the city’s best collections of Kool Vent aluminum awnings.

  • One Block on the South Side


    What is there to see in one block of rowhouses on one back street on the South Side? Old Pa Pitt asked that question, and then got out a camera to answer it. Here are a few little details from the 2200 block of Sarah Street.

    Lintel and bracket

    And, of course, because this is Pittsburgh…

    Aluminum awnings

    Kool-Vent awnings.

  • Main Street, Lawrenceville, in 2001

    Main Street, Lawrenceville

    No neighborhood has changed more than Lawrenceville in the past two decades—but only demographically. In 2001, Lawrenceville was a cheap working-class neighborhood whose long business district was full of abandoned storefronts, except at the still-thriving core around the intersection of Butler and Main Streets. (Butler, of course, is the main street; the Pittsburgh area is full of Main Streets that aren’t the main street of anything.) Then the artsy types discovered it and briefly made it into the artists’ colony of Pittsburgh; then their rediscovery of the neighborhood caused rents and real-estate values to rocket upward, sending the artists scurrying to Garfield and other cheaper places while people with money moved in.

    But through those rapid changes, the back streets of Lawrenceville have hardly changed at all. The artists and their moneyed successors moved in because they liked the neighborhood the way it was, and they have been careful to maintain it that way. The houses are better kept on average now, but they were never badly kept, as we can see in this picture from about 2001. Except for some more fashionable polychrome paint schemes on a few of the houses, this view is almost exactly the same today.

  • Corner House, South Side

    Remarkable mostly for its unremarkableness, this little house in the back streets of the South Side is a good demonstration of how to keep an old house (it might be 150 years old or more) tastefully up to date.

  • Church Converted to Alley Houses, South Side

    From the blocked-up Gothic windows and general shape, we can infer that this was a small church. But at some point not very recently it was converted to four tiny alley houses, made only slightly less tiny by the addition of what are probably kitchens on the back.

  • Some South Side Details

    If you happen to be building a house, ask yourself this question: Which small details of this building will passers-by stop and take pictures of a century and a half from now?

  • Two Parlor Windows from the South Side

    In a Victorian rowhouse, the parlor window—the ground-floor window facing the street—was an opportunity for the homeowners to display their taste and, even more important, their ability to pay skilled craftsmen to decorate their houses with woodwork and stained or leaded glass. Above, even the masonry is incised with decorative patterns.

  • Front Door on South 20th Street

    A front door with interesting woodwork and curious layers of history: note, for example, the three rows of asphalt shingles above it, which were doubtless somebody’s solution to a water-related problem.