Tag: Second Empire Architecture

  • One Block of Sidney Street on the South Side

    2109 Sidney Street

    The 2100 block of Sidney Street has some of the finest high-Victorian houses on the South Side, and several of them have unusual decorative details worth a closer examination. Old Pa Pitt took an evening stroll down Sidney Street the other day and, as always, came back with a few pictures. We’ll start with No. 2109. Note the multiple shapes of roof slates, the woodwork in the dormers, and the rusticated lintels in the picture above.

    Since we have fifteen pictures, we’ll put the rest below the fold to avoid slowing down the main page for a week.

  • The 2300 Block of Sarah Street

    2313 Sarah Stret

    An album of fine Victorian houses from one block of Sarah Street on the South Side. These are not all the distinguished houses in this block: these are just the ones Father Pitt managed to get good pictures of in an after-sunset stroll.

    Since we have fourteen pictures in this article, we’ll put the rest below the metaphorical fold to avoid weighing down the main page.

  • Kraynick’s Bike Shop, Garfield

    Kraynick’s Bike Shop

    Kraynick’s Bike Shop is a Pittsburgh legend, and it lives in a slightly bedraggled building that is so typically Pittsburgh it should never be improved. Now that Garfield is coming up in the trendy world, someone is likely to restore this Second Empire storefront sooner or later, but it retains so many layers of history, while still preserving so many original details (look at the roof slates, the brick cornice, the dentils on the third-floor dormers, the lintels above the second-floor windows), that it will be a shame when it is remade into a picture-book Victorian building.

  • Pair of Queen Anne Rowhouses, South Side

    Obviously built together, these two houses on Sarah Street have had their separate adventures. The one on the right has had its third-floor false balcony filled in to give an upstairs bedroom a little more space; the one on the left has grown an aluminum awning (because it is the South Side, after all). But both retain most of their original details, which are fairly unusual, a sort of Queen Anne interpretation of French Second Empire.

  • A Second Empire Remnant, Oakland/Shadyside

    The ground floor has changed significantly, but the rest of this building is a well-preserved remnant of the times when this part of the East End was a quiet exurb of dignified gentlemen’s houses. It seems to have been built in the 1870s or early 1880s, and may always have been a corner store, since—unlike its neighbors—it was built right against the streets. Today it is the last building of its time left on Fifth Avenue for blocks in either direction, a curious anomaly among the high-rise apartments, office blocks, and monumental landmarks. It sits on the corner of Neville Street, technically in Shadyside but culturally more part of Oakland (Neville Street is the neighborhood border on city planning maps).

  • Second Empire House on Neville Avenue, Oakland

    Second Empire house

    Now apartments, this grand old house, right at the edge of Oakland on the border of Shadyside, is a remnant of the time when what is now the apartment district was a suburban retreat for the well-to-do.

    From the front
    Second Empire house
  • Second Empire Houses on Sarah Street, South Side

    Second Empire houses

    Two Second Empire rowhouses whose upper floors are fairly well preserved. The one on the right has had some adventures on the ground floor, possibly including a storefront at some point. Note the wooden shingles on the house on the left.

  • Second Empire Houses on the South Side

    Pair of Second Empire houses

    A matched pair of Second Empire houses in nearly perfect shape except for the modern dormer windows. The folk-art etching in the lintels is charming.

  • Second Empire Building at 19th and Jane Streets, South Side

    Second Empire building

    According to old maps, this building was put up in the 1880s. It is typical of the Second Empire style as it trickled down to smaller buildings. Most of it is relatively plain, but note the elaborate brickwork of the chimneys. The dormers may be simplified replacements of the originals, but they harmonize well with the style of the building. Currently the building seems to have four apartments, but it may have been a private house. It is not large, but it stands on a block of much smaller frame houses and thus looks bigger than it is.

    Jane Street side
    19th Street front
  • W. Daub Building, South Side Slopes

    W. Daub Building

    This frame Second Empire building was put up in the 1880s, and old maps show it as belonging to W. Daub. It has seen better days: it has been sheathed in aluminum, and what was probably a storefront looks as though it has been filled in with a contractor’s remnants. If we look at the third floor, we can see a few lingering bits of what was once very decorative folk-art woodwork. Doubtless all the windows and doorways had similarly carved trim until the siding salesman came along. If old Pa Pitt had to guess, he would imagine this was a neighborhood hotel, which is to say a bar with rooms above to earn a “hotel” liquor license. You would hardly guess from the exterior, but there is still a working bar on the ground floor, apparently much beloved by the locals.

    Carved wood
    Oblique view