Tag: Rundbogenstil

  • First Presbyterian Church, Oakmont

    Tower of the church

    This church, built in 1895, is a fine example of what old Pa Pitt would call Pittsburgh Rundbogenstil, because he likes to say “Rundbogenstil.” Otherwise we would just have to call it “Romanesque,” and where’s the fun in that? It now belongs to Riverside Community Church.

    First Presbyterian Church
    Inscription: “First Presbyterian Church”
    Cornerstone with date: AD 1895
    Riverside Community Church
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.

    An old postcard shows us that little has changed about the building in more than a century.

    Postcard of Presby. Church, Oakmont, Pa.
    From the postcard collection of the Presbyterian Historical Society.
  • A Stroll on Avery Street in Dutchtown

    617 Avery Street

    The part of Dutchtown south of East Ohio Street is a tiny but densely packed treasury of Victorian styles. Old Pa Pitt took a walk on Avery Street the other evening, when the sun had moved far enough around in the sky to paint the houses on the southeast side of the street.

    611 Avery Street
    Gable ornament on 611
    609 Avery Street
    607 Avery Street
    539 and 537 Avery Street
    527 and 525 Avery Street
    521 and 519 Avery Street
    517–511 Avery Street
    515 and 513 Avery Street

    Is this the most beautiful breezeway in Pittsburgh? It’s certainly in the running.

    507 and 505 Avery Street
    613 Avery Street
    621 Avery Street

    Cameras: Sony Alpha 3000; Canon PowerShot SX150 IS.

  • Union Methodist Episcopal Church, Manchester

    Manhattan Street face of the Union Methodist Episcopal Church

    Barr & Moser were big names in the architecture of the up-and-coming city of Pittsburgh in the middle 1800s. This church, which opened in 1867, is one of their few surviving works. It is in some ways a typical Pittsburgh neighborhood church, with the sanctuary upstairs. But the three arches at the top of the Manhattan Street face of the building are anything but typical. Some replacement brick in the large center arch suggests that some decorative element decayed and was filled in, but even as the building stands now we can see how modern it must have looked in the time just after the Civil War.

    This picture took six separate photographs to render, but the result is the front of the church almost as the architects drew it.

    From the corner of Manhattan and Pennsylvania
    Cornerstone: New Zion Baptist Church

    The church has belonged to at least three different congregations. It was the Union Methodist Episcopal Church through the early 1900s; by 1923 it belonged to St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church; then in 1961—as this replacement cornerstone records—it was bought by the New Zion Baptist Church. The building does not appear to be in use right now, but we hope it can be maintained.

    Pennsylvania Avenue side of the church
    Union Methodist Episcopal Church
    Canon PowerShot SX150 IS.
  • Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, Oakland

    Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children

    George S. Orth was the architect of this palace of education, which was finished in 1894. It’s a little bit Flemish Renaissance, with eye-catching horizontal stripes and Rundbogenstil eyebrows over the arches.

    Front of the school
    Entrance arcade
  • Row of Houses on North Avenue

    Row of houses on North Avenue

    These are what old Pa Pitt calls Baltimore-style rowhouses: that is, rowhouses where the whole row is built as one subdivided building right against the sidewalk (as opposed to the typical Pittsburgh terrace, where the houses are set back with tiny front yards). Since North Avenue is the neighborhood boundary on city planning maps, these fall into the “Central Northside” for planning purposes; but socially they formed part of the wealthy section of Allegheny that includes Allegheny West across the street.

    Rowhouses on North Avenue
  • Ferguson Block

    Now the Keystone Flats apartments, this building was put up in the 1890s, and that is about all old Pa Pitt knows about it. It’s a good example of the Rundbogenstil, straddling the line between Romanesque and Renaissance.

    In most cities, Third Avenue would be called an alley, so it is nearly impossible to get a picture like this. It cannot be done without a lot of fudging, so you will notice slightly different colors in different parts of the picture. But it does give us a good idea of the design.

  • Hartje Brothers Building

    Hartje Brothers Building

    The Boulevard of the Allies side of one of the side-by-side Hartje Brothers buildings. Charles Bickel designed this building and the matching one behind it on Wood Street. This was the later of the two, both built in 1902 for the Hartje Brothers Paper Manufacturing Company. Mr. Bickel was extraordinarily prolific, but old Pa Pitt thinks he deserved his success. For an interesting comparison, look at the Reymer Brothers candy factory and the Concordia Club, and see how Charles Bickel created different effects from the same basic shapes.

    One window
  • Masonic Hall, Carnegie

    Masonic Hall, A.D. 1904

    The Masonic Hall in Carnegie is a fine example of small-town Rundbogenstil, taking its details from Renaissance architecture and its rhythm from industrial Romanesque.

    Perspective view of the Masonic Hall

    If Father Pitt owned this building and had to put up with those two modern blisters on top, he would have them painted to look like cat ears.


    The goat ornaments were doubtless intended to reassure the Masons’ neighbors that Masonry has no satanic connotations at all.

  • Commercial Building at Third & Third, Carnegie

    Commercial Building at Third Street and Third Avenue, Carnegie

    Father Pitt took these pictures more than a year ago, but for some reason he never published them until now. This Rundbogenstil building at Third Street and Third Avenue takes full advantage of its corner site, and the details of the pediment and cornice have been lovingly picked out in tastefully balanced colors.

    Third Street side
  • Forsaith Block (and Neighbor), Sharpsburg

    Forsaith Block

    The ground floor of this building has been turned into a garage, but without losing too much of the character of the façade. The date stone tells us that the building was put up in 1889.

    Date stone reading “Forsaith Block, built A. D. 1889”

    Probably a little later, but not too much later, a building went up to the left of this one, perhaps for the same owners.

    1103–1109 Main Street

    This building appears on a 1906 map, which gives us a latest possible date. The style is somewhat different—we might call it Allegheny Valley Rundbogenstil—but the two buildings share some decorative details: the treatment of the cornice is the same, and the same flower-and-foliage ornaments (they look like a jonquil between acanthus leaves) are used on both buildings.

    Jonquil between acanthus leaves
    Round windows