Tag: Scott (Thomas)

  • Base and Bosses’ Floor of the Benedum-Trees Building

    Base and bosses’ floor of the Benedum-Trees Building

    Built in 1905 as the Machesney Building, this early skyscraper was designed by Thomas Scott, who kept his office there, which doubtless made a strong first impression on potential clients. It was renamed eight years later when it was bought by a pair of oil barons, and it has been the Benedum-Trees Building ever since.

    Here we see the generous base of the building, with three-storey Corinthian pilasters and huge windows. Above it is the “bosses’ floor.” For a short lesson in reading a Beaux Arts skyscraper like this, see our article on the West Penn Building.

    Entrance to the Benedum-Trees Building
  • Clarence and Mary Pettit House, Manchester

    Pettit House

    This house has a more detailed history at the Manchester Historic Society’s site, so old Pa Pitt will only mention the highlights. It was built for Clarence and Mary Dravo Pettit in 1891 from a design by Thomas Scott, whose public buildings would mostly be done in a Beaux Arts classical style; here, however, he has jumped on the Richardsonian Romanesque bandwagon, since the style became practically a mania in Pittsburgh after the county courthouse was built in the 1880s.


    It is likely that the decorative stonecarving was done by Achille Giammartini, whose own house was a short stroll from this one.


    If your turret has a decorative foliage frieze, you might as well gild it. And don’t forget the finial at the peak.

    Perspective view of the house
  • Mission Pumping Station, South Side Slopes

    Carved face

    Imagine the uproar that would ensue if your city government today decided to hire a Beaux-Arts master like Thomas Scott to design a monumental palace for such a utilitarian purpose as a water-pumping station. Imagine the inquiries that would probe the vital questions of how much each of those carved faces cost and why stone trim was used when the same object could be accomplished with aluminum. The world has made a lot of progress since Scott, architect of the Benedum-Trees Building downtown (where he kept his architectural office, naturally), gave us this $100,000 pumping station on an out-of-the-way street on the South Side Slopes.1

    Mission Pumping Station

    There were doubtless security reasons for bricking in the towering windows that used to flood the place with light. But Father Pitt cannot help suspecting that the real reason is that the workers here constituted a sort of men’s club, and men’s clubs in Pittsburgh abhor natural light.

    Corner of the Mission Pumping Station
    Carved face and wreath
    Carved face from the side
    Carved face from below
    Entrance ornament
    Carved face from the other side
    Mission Street front

    Even in November, much of the building is obscured by trees.

    End of the building
    1. Our source is the Construction Record, March 4, 1911: “The City of Pittsburg, Bureau of Water, will receive estimates until March 13th, on constructing a one-story brick, terra cotta and steel pumping station on Mission street, South Side, to cost $100,000. Plans were drawn by Architect T. H. Scott, Machesney building, and contract for foundation work was awarded to M. O’Herron & Co., First and McKean streets, South Side.” The Machesney Building was the original name of the Benedum-Trees Building. ↩︎
  • The Bandstand at West End Park


    Thomas Scott designed this elegant Arts-and-Crafts bandstand for West End Park, and it must have been a fine thing to sit out on the grass and hear a thumpy brass band on a lazy summer evening. It has probably been many years since a brass band played here, but the bandstand itself has been restored and is kept in excellent shape. Here we have similar pictures from two cameras with wildly different ideas of color balance.