Tag: Warehouses

  • Pittsburgh Terminal Warehouse & Transfer Company, South Side

    Terminal Way

    Now called “The Highline,” the Pittsburgh Terminal Warehouse and Transfer Company was one of the largest commercial buildings in the world when it was finished in 1906. The architect was the prolific Charles Bickel, who gave us a very respectable version of Romanesque-classical commercial architecture on a huge scale.

    The building was planned in 1898, but it took several years of wrangling and special legislation to clear three city blocks and rearrange the streets to accommodate the enormous structure. Its most distinctive feature is a street, Terminal Way, that runs right down the middle of the building at the third-floor level: as you can see above, it has now been remade into a pleasant outdoor pedestrian space. You can’t tell from the picture above, but there is more building underneath the street.

    Pittsburgh Terminal Warehouse & Transfer Company from the river side

    The bridge coming out across the railroad tracks is the continuation of Terminal Way, which comes right to the edge of the Monongahela, where the power plant for the complex was built.

    The reason for the complex is more obvious from this angle. Railroad cars came right into the building on the lowest level to unload.

    Track No. 5

    It also had access to the river, and road access to Carson Street at the other end. Every form of transportation came together here for exchange and distribution.

    McKean Street

    McKean Street separates the main part of the complex from the Carson Street side; Terminal Way passes over it on a bridge.

    Fourth Street

    The Fourth Street side shows us the full height of the building. Fourth Street itself is still Belgian block.

    Terminal Way

    A view over the McKean Street bridge and down Terminal Way from the Carson Street end.

    Narrow outbuilding

    This absurdly narrow building is on the Carson Street side of the complex; it has usually housed a small restaurant of some sort. One suspects that this was the result of some kind of political wrangling that ended in a ridiculously small space on this side of Terminal Way between Carson and McKean Streets.

    Power plant

    The power plant for the complex, seen above from the Terminal Way bridge across the railroad. It could use some taking care of right now.

    Power plant
    Pittsburgh Terminal Warehouse & Transfer Company

    This view of the complex from the hill above Carson Street was published in 1911 as an advertisement for cork from the Armstrong Cork Company.

  • More Views of the Gimbels Warehouse, South Side

    Entrance to 2100 Wharton Street

    More views of the old Gimbels warehouse on the South Side, now called 2100 Wharton Street. We have a couple of other angles here.

    Gimbels warehouse
    Another view
    Eastern end of the Gimbels warehouse

    The building covers almost the entire block, but leaves a narrow space for one row of old houses at the eastern end on 22nd Street.

  • Gimbels Warehouse, South Side

    Gimbels Warehouse

    Now an office building poetically called 2100 Wharton Street, this enormous warehouse covers almost an entire block of the South Side. It was built for the Gimbels department store in the 1920s, when it would have had rail access to the Pennsylvania Railroad spur that ran right down the middle of 21st Street.

    Below we see it from the riverfront, looming over South Side rowhouses in the middle distance.

    2100 Wharton Street
  • Demmler Bros. Building

    Demmler Bros. Building

    Demmler Bros. (now Demmler Machinery) built its headquarters in the Romanesque style that was very popular for warehouses and industrial buildings; for other examples, see the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company Warehouse and the B. M. Kramer & Company Building. The company has moved to the suburbs, but ghost signs still betray the origin of the building.

  • Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company Warehouse

    Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company Warehouse

    A particularly elegant Romanesque warehouse built for the company that made bathroom plumbing fashion-conscious. Standard later merged with American Radiator to form American-Standard, still a leader in toilet technology today. The building is now luxurious offices under the name “Fort Pitt Commons.” According to the boundary-increase application for the Firstside Historic district, it was built 1900–1905; the architect is unknown, which is a pity, because it was obviously someone with a real sense of rhythm in architecture. (If you backed old Pa Pitt into a corner and asked him to guess the architect, he might say Charles Bickel, whose Reymer Brothers candy factory Uptown is very similar in many details, including the treatment of the arches.) Above, the side that faces Fort Pitt Boulevard and the Mon; below, the First Avenue side.

  • 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.

  • Try Street Terminal

    Try Street Terminal

    The First Avenue face of the Try Street Terminal (now called Terminal 21 and filled with loft apartments and offices).

  • Try Street Terminal (First Avenue Side)

    Try Street Terminal

    This is the First Avenue side of a building that occupies a whole block—or arguably more, since the little alley Gasoline Street runs right through the middle of it. Built as a utilitarian warehouse, it was repurposed as a dormitory for the Art Institute; and when that school was in its final death spiral, the building was refurbished again as—of course—luxury lofts, under the name Terminal 21.

  • Pennrose Building

    This 10-storey near-skyscraper in the Strip is a fine example of a commercial building from the early 1900s—in this case, 1906. It is in the process of turning into—what else?—luxury apartments.