A school that looks like a school, this is now a community center. Of course it has to make very Pittsburghish adaptations to the topography, so it is not possible to say how many storeys there are without specifying which side you mean. A modernist front was added to the other end, just a bit of which is visible in this picture.
St. Stephen School, Hazelwood
PCC Car and Schoolhouse, Bethel Park
This old school is now a community center for Bethel Park. In front is a Pittsburgh PCC car, the ideal Art Deco streetcar that dominated Pittsburgh transit for a generation, restored to its Pittsburgh Street Railways livery. (It was one of the last PCC cars to run in Pittsburgh, and had been repainted in the 1980s Port Authority livery.) Yes, we do have quite a few pictures of it, because old Pa Pitt is an unashamed fan of PCC cars, which always look to him like trolleys that would run on the planet Mongo in the old Flash Gordon serials. More modern, but less futuristic, trolleys still run on the Silver Line just a block away.
Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny West
Originally the Western Theological Seminary (a Presbyterian seminary), this building was designed by Thomas Hannah and finished in 1912. The seminary stayed here until 1959, when it merged with the other big Presbyterian seminary in town and became part of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Highland Park.
Like most of the other large buildings on Ridge Avenue, this one now belongs to the Community College of Allegheny County, which calls it West Hall.
Schenley High School
This is the most magnificent work of an architect who specialized in magnificent schools: Edward Stotz, whose son was the noted preservationist Charles Stotz. The building occupies a triangular sloping plot, which certainly challenged the architect. Mr. Stotz responded with a triangular building that looks inevitable on its site.
When it opened in 1916, Schenley High was a shrine of culture and art, an idealized version of what high-school education could be in an enlightened city. It closed as a school in 2008, and it has now, like every other substantial building in a desirable neighborhood, been refurbished as luxury apartments.
Curiously, Edward Stotz was also responsible for another famously triangular building: the Monongahela Bank Building, which is now the Wood Street subway station and the Wood Street Galleries.
Central Catholic High School
A kind of cartoon castle, the main building of Central Catholic is technically in Squirrel Hill, though most Pittsburghers would probably say “Oakland.” The building was put up in 1927; the architect was Edward J. Weber.
Observatory Hill in 2000
Three pictures taken with a Russian Lubitel twin-lens-reflex camera in January of 2000. Very little has changed in 21 years. Above, the Byzantine Catholic Seminary, a building that is a strange mix of modernist and classical elements with an onion dome.
The Byzantine metropolitan’s residence. In the Latin Rite, Pittsburgh is not even an archdiocese, but in the Byzantine Rite, Pittsburgh is the seat of an archeparchy covering eleven states.
A typical Observatory Hill house on Riverview Avenue, one of the neighborhood’s most attractive streets.
The Back of Fifth Avenue High School
The space across the alley from the rear of Fifth Avenue High School, Uptown, is now a parking lot, and on New Year’s Day it was a deserted parking lot. Thus, with a wide-angle lens, old Pa Pitt could get this picture of (almost) the entire rear of the school, which was designed by Edward Stotz. It sat abandoned for three decades, but now, like every other large building in the city, it has been turned into loft apartments.
St. Casimir’s High School
Like most of the other schools on the South Side Flats, this one has been converted to loft apartments. Externally, though, the building has changed very little.
Polish School, South Side
This old Polish school on 15th Street, built in 1898, was attached to St. Adalbert’s, the big Polish parish just down the street.