Tag: Smallman Street

  • Smallman Street, Strip District

    Smallman Street

    The broad plaza of Smallman Street in the Strip, looking toward downtown from 21st Street.

    Smallman Street in portrait format
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.
  • St. Stanislaus Kostka Church and Rectory, Strip District

    West front of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church
    Utility cables? What utility cables?

    This beautiful Romanesque church was built ad majorem Dei gloriam (“to the greater glory of God”) in 1891. The architect was Frederick Sauer, who gave us many distinguished churches, as well as comfortable houses, practical commercial buildings, and the whimsical Sauer Buildings built with his own hands in his back yard. This is the mother church for Polish Catholics in Pittsburgh, and it has one of the most spectacular sites for a church in the city, sitting at the end of the long broad plaza of Smallman Street along the Pennsylvania Railroad produce terminal.

    Romanesque ornament
    A. D. 1891
    Slightly oblique view of the church

    The rectory is also a remarkable building, and still manages to convey much of its original impression in spite of the unfortunate glass-block infestation.

    Rectory in perspective view
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.
  • Springfield Public School, Strip

    Springfield Public School

    The Springfield Public School, built in 1871, closed as a school in 1934, which was 89 years ago as Father Pitt is writing. It was preserved because it was useful as a warehouse in the increasingly industrializing Strip. Later it became loft apartments, and is now being sold as luxury condos.

    Date stone

    The architect was T. D. Evans, about whom old Pa Pitt knows nothing except that he designed the very similar (though more elaborate) Morse School on the South Side. Compare the two buildings: the Morse School is a little larger, but built on almost exactly the same plan.

    Oblique view

    Springfield Public School.

    Morse School

    Morse School. Father Pitt guesses that the tower in the center of both buildings was a belfry.

    Springfield Public School

    If you buy an apartment in the Springfield Public School, you don’t have to walk far to find delicious Asian food of all sorts.

  • Bair & Gazzam Building, Strip

    Bair and Gazzam Building, Strip

    A dignified industrial building now converted to loft apartments. It was built in the 1890s as a machine shop for the Bair & Gazzam Manufacturing Company, and by 1910 it belonged to the Ruud Manufacturing Company, makers of those marvelous automatic water heaters. The style is very much in line with the industrial Romanesque that was popular in the late 1800s; but if we look carefully at the arches on the ground floor, we notice that they are very subtly pointed.

    Father Pitt does not know the whole history of this building, but it looks as though the top two floors were a later addition.

    From the Hill
    Bair and Gazzam Building
  • Warehouse on Smallman Street, Strip


    This old warehouse has seen some alterations of its details, but the lines remain basically the same. Note that even a utilitarian building like this sprouts a splendid cornice at the top.

  • Demolishing a Warehouse in the Strip


    Chunks of concrete dangle from exposed floors of a half-demolished warehouse next to the Sixteenth Street Bridge.


    No one will miss this ugly building—or at least no one will admit to missing it. But it does point out a principle that old Pa Pitt has often stated: prosperity is more destructive to old landmarks than any other force except possibly war—and even then it depends on the war. When the city is prosperous, there is a strong incentive to replace older things with newer, more profitable things. Fortunately Pittsburgh has learned a lot about appreciating its old buildings, and much of what is going on in the booming Strip District is restoration and adaptation rather than demolition. But old buildings are in much more danger when the city is prosperous than when the local economy is stagnant.

    Two floors of building under demolition