Tag: Rutan & Russell

  • Pittsburgh Mercantile Company, South Side

    Heads on the Pittsburgh Mercantile Company Building

    Designed by Rutan & Russell, the Pittsburgh Mercantile Company was definitely not a company store, because those had been made illegal in Pennsylvania. Instead, it was a separate company that happened to have exactly the same officers as Jones & Laughlin, which ran the steel plant across the street, and that happened to accept the scrip in which the steelworkers were paid.

    So it was a company store, but technically legal.

    The words “company store” probably conjure up images of bleak little Soviet-style general stores, but this was obviously nothing like that image. It was a fantastic palace of every kind of merchandise, and the architectural decoration was obviously meant to send the message that there was no reason to object to the company-store system, because what else on the South Side could begin to equal this experience?

    The building

    We have a large number of pictures if you care to see more.

  • Schenley Quad, Oakland

    Schenley Quad from the grounds of Soldiers and Sailors Hall

    Originally the Schenley Apartments, but now Schenley High School has been turned into apartments as the Schenley Apartments, so using the original name would be confusing. This huge complex was built in 1922 as luxury apartments to go with the Hotel Schenley. The architect was Henry Hornbostel, with the collaboration of Rutan & Russell, the original architects of the hotel. In 1955 the University of Pittsburgh bought the Schenley Apartments (for less than they had cost to build in 1922), and since then the buildings have been Pitt dormitories. Above, we see the complex from the grounds of Soldiers and Sailors Hall; below, the steps up from Forbes Avenue.

    Forbes Avenue steps

    Since we have a large number of pictures, we’ll put most of them behind a “Read more” link to avoid weighing down the main page of the site.

  • Hotel Schenley, Oakland

    This picture reminded old Pa Pitt of an old postcard, so he rendered it in two colors to make it look even more like an old postcard. The rest of the pictures in the article are in natural colors.

    Designed by Rutan & Russell, this was our first skyscraper hotel, and the most luxurious hotel in the city when it went up in 1898—at a time when it was actually at the edge of the urbanized area. It remained the Pittsburgh base of the rich and famous for half a century, but it declined after the Second World War, and in 1956 was sold to Pitt. It is now the William Pitt Union, with many of the exterior and interior details scrupulously preserved.

    Corner view
    Side, from Soldiers and Sailors Hall
    Hotel Schenley
    The same as the first picture, but in natural colors.

    Addendum: See a picture of the Hotel Schenley in 1898, the year it was built.

  • B. F. Jones House, Allegheny West

    B. F. Jones House

    Benjamin Franklin Jones, Jr., was the Jones of Jones & Laughlin, the steel conglomerate. This 42-room Jacobean mansion was designed by Rutan & Russell. Like most of the ultragazillionaires’ mansions in Allegheny West, it now belongs to the Community College of Allegheny County.