Tag: Snaman (William)

  • Terra-Cotta Pilasters on the Donahoe Building

    Terra-cotta front of the Donahoe’s building

    Donahoe’s was a prosperous market and restaurant that commissioned William E. Snaman to design this elegant commercial palace on Forbes Avenue. Its striking terra-cotta front is still magnificent from the second floor up.

    Evening sun paints the pilasters gold

    The ground floor has been completely redesigned, though “designed” is a generous term, as we see in this picture from 2022.

    Donahoe’s Building
  • Neeld House, Beechview

    Neeld House from the front

    Here is a slightly bedraggled house with an interesting history. Long before there was a Beechview, the Neelds owned considerable property on that hill—68⅔ acres in 1890, according to an old map. Neelds were here at least as early as 1862. They built a house here in the late 1800s, possibly as early as the 1870s. By 1915, the Neelds had sold off much of the property to the Beechwood Improvement Company (which had planned on calling the neighborhood Beechwood, but things happen), but they still kept the whole block bounded by Broadway, Neeld Avenue, Candace Street, and Shiras Avenue. In that year, C. W. Neeld commissioned William Snaman, a prolific architect of houses for the wealthy merchant classes, to remodel his house, and Snaman Tudorized it so effectively that we would hardly guess it had been older than 1915.

    Neeld house

    The orientation of that chimney on the left is a clue to the history of the house: it suggests that Snaman reoriented it, and the front was originally on the left side. We note that the address was given as “Candace avenue” in 1915, before Snaman got to work, whereas the front of the house now faces Neeld Avenue.

    Neeld House from uphill

    Neeld Avenue, by the way, is a good example of how confusing Beechview street names can be. It was Neeld Avenue in 1910. By 1923, it had become Narragansett Street. Today it is Neeld Avenue, though Father Pitt does not know exactly when the name reverted.

    Ranch house and Neeld House

    After the Second World War, the Neelds sold off most of the land in the block, retaining only enough for the house and garage. Ranch houses went up on Candace Street, and modernist apartment buildings went up on Broadway.

  • Donahoe Building

    Donahoe Building, now CVS Pharmacy

    This splendid terra-cotta façade on Forbes Avenue used to belong to Donahoe’s Market and Cafeteria (note the D above every second-floor window). Father Pitt enjoys the challenge of getting a complete picture of a large façade on a narrow street. Here the stitching has succeeded admirably; except for a little distortion at the ends of the building, this is probably just how the architect drew the upper floors. Old Pa Pitt doubts whether an architect had anything to do with the current incarnation of the ground floor; it looks like the work of a contractor who had a brother-in-law in the corrugated-steel trade.

    Addendum: According to the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, the original architect of the Donahoe Building was William E. Snaman.