Keystone Athletic Club

Keystone Athletic Club, now Lawrence Hall

Two universities in Pittsburgh have signature Gothic skyscrapers. Everybody knows the Cathedral of Learning at Pitt, but Lawrence Hall at Point Park University is also Gothic and also a skyscraper. By a strange coincidence that probably no one else in history has noticed (this is how dedicated old Pa Pitt is to you, his readers), it is within a foot or two of being precisely half the height of the Cathedral of Learning. (Cathedral of Learning: 535.01 feet; Lawrence Hall: 265.72 feet. Source: Emporis.com.)

It was not always Lawrence Hall, of course. It was built as the Keystone Athletic Club in 1927; the architect was Benno Janssen, who also designed the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, the Twentieth Century Club, and the Masonic Temple, all in Oakland, and a remarkable number of other prominent buildings in the city. The Depression was hard on clubs; the Keystone Athletic Club (doubtless saddled with debt from building a skyscraper clubhouse) collapsed in 1934, and after that the building was a hotel until Point Park College picked it up in the 1960s. It was renamed for the Renaissance mayor David Lawrence, and now it anchors the ever-spreading downtown campus of the university.

Keystone Athletic Club

Keystone Athletic Club, Pittsburgh (now Lawrence Hall, Point Park University)

One of Benno Janssen’s many contributions to the architecture of downtown and Oakland, this is now Lawrence Hall of Point Park University, so that two Pittsburgh universities actually have signature Gothic skyscrapers.

Old Main

Old Main at Holy Ghost College, now Duquesne University, as it appeared in 1888.

Source: Allegheny County Centennial, a publication from which we’ll be featuring quite a few more pictures.