Tag: Sauer (Frederick)

  • Back Slopes of Mount Washington

    Trimont and back slopes

    Long views with a long lens remind us of what an absurd place this is to build a city. Above, the Trimont looms over houses and small apartment buildings that it makes look tiny; below, uncommon views of St. Mary of the Mount Church.

    St. Mary of the Mount
    St. Mary of the Mount
  • St. John’s Lutheran Church, Bloomfield

    St. John’s Lutheran, Bloomfield

    This is on 40th Street in the end of Bloomfield that sticks like a thumb into Lower Lawrenceville. It is another of those city churches where the sanctuary is on the second floor, as we often find in dense rowhouse neighborhoods where the church must make the most of a tiny lot. Like many of those churches, it is now apartments.

    Addendum: According to a city database of historic buildings, the architect was Frederick Sauer, famous for attractive and competent Catholic churches and the strange flights of whimsy he built in his back yard in Aspinwall.

    St. John’s Lutheran
    St. John’s Lutheran
    Choir Loft Condominiums
  • Smallman Street

    Smallman Street

    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.

    Smallman Street
  • St. Mary of the Mount at Sunrise

    The first rays of morning sun strike St. Mary of the Mount Church on Mount Washington.

  • The Sauer Buildings in Aspinwall

    Frederick Sauer was a very reliable church architect responsible for many of Pittsburgh’s better Catholic churches, including St. Mary of the Mount. Nothing about his churches would stamp him as an eccentric; he gave his clients exactly the respectable buildings they wanted. But he had a streak of whimsy in him. He bought a large tract of land on the hill over Aspinwall and designed a very conventional and respectable house for himself. Then he started to play in the back yard. Beginning with his chicken coop, for example, he added fairy-tale projections and curious details, building up and out until he had made an apartment building, the Heidelberg Apartments (above). He did much of the building with his own hands, eventually creating half a dozen or so curious structures back in the woods behind his house. They now form the Sauer Buildings Historic District—one of those curious Pittsburgh treasures probably known less to Pittsburghers than to the rest of the world, where they are often mentioned as one of the most interesting flights of architectural eccentricity in America.

  • St. Mary of the Mount

    Here is a huge picture of the front of St. Mary of the Mount on Grandview Avenue, Mount Washington. It’s made from eight individual pictures, all cleverly sewn together by Hugin. If you click on the picture, you can enlarge it to 4,692 × 6,569 pixels, or about 30 megapixels. (It could have been larger, but old Pa Pitt decided that 30 megapixels was probably large enough.) Many thanks to Wikimedia Commons for being willing to host huge pictures at such a level of detail.

    The architect was Frederick Sauer, whose conventionally attractive churches do nothing to prepare us for the eccentric whimsy he could produce when he let his imagination run wild.