Terra-Cotta Ornaments on the Maul Building

Terra-cotta ornament, Maul Building

The splendid terra-cotta facing of the Maul Building is covered with ornaments that may have been standard catalogue items, but nevertheless show considerable artistic talent.

Rodef Shalom Temple

Rodef Shalom Temple

One of Henry Hornbostel’s most impressive works, Rodef Shalom, built in 1906, is notable for its colored terra-cotta decorations, which—according to the interpretive sign on the temple grounds—were among the earliest uses of polychrome terra cotta in the United States.

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Terra Cotta on the Thompson’s Building

Two ornaments from the terra-cotta façade of the old Thompson’s Restaurant building on Market Street just off the Diamond.

More Art Deco in Mount Lebanon

Though it currently houses a real-estate agency, the terra-cotta reliefs tell us that this was built as a medical office. The splendid Art Deco eagle made it a very patriotic medical office.

Terra-Cotta Head

This terra-cotta head of a helmeted allegorical figure (the flowing hair suggests femininity, but the armor suggests “don’t mess with me”) is really a first-rate piece of work, which makes it all the more surprising to find it built into the gable of a rowhouse on the South Side. It is the sort of ornament you add to tell your neighbors, “I am slightly more prosperous than you, because I can afford to have this built into my gable.”

—Old Pa Pitt suspects that this is meant to be a head of Minerva, a Roman goddess you don’t mess with.

The other decorative details on this house are also fine, though more in a vernacular Victorian Romanesque style. This ornament is in the arch above the middle second-floor window.