Tag: Washington Road

  • Fairy-Tale Fantasy in Mount Lebanon

    1247 Washington Road
    Kodak EasyShare Z1285.

    What old Pa Pitt calls the Fairy-Tale Style was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s. The mark of the style is an exaggerated historicism in which the historical elements are rendered less as accurate reproductions of historical styles and more as if they were illustrations in a children’s book. This house in the St. Clair Terrace plan in Mount Lebanon is a perfect representative of the style.

    1247 Washington Road
    Washington Road end of the house
    St. Clair Place side of the house
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.
  • St. Bernard’s Church, Mount Lebanon

  • Two Kinds of Spanish Mission

    Historical Society of Mount Lebanon

    Two houses in the Spanish Mission style sit side by side on Washington Road at the southern end of the Uptown Mount Lebanon business district, and they implement the style in two interestingly different ways. This one, which is now the home of the Historical Society of Mount Lebanon, takes the style fairly seriously. A real Spanish house, in the New World or the Old, turns inward. It shuts the public out, presenting almost blank walls to the outside world. Of course Southwestern houses are also notable for their flat rooflines. In this house we have large expanses of stucco wall facing the street (although the architect has conceded some generously large front windows to Eastern sensibilities) and the flat roof characteristic of Spanish colonial architecture in the Southwest.

    The other house is much more an Eastern house with decorative borrowings from the Spanish Mission style:

    Spanish Mission house on Washington Road

    You could take the basic shape of this house and turn it into an English cottage or an Italian Renaissance palace by changing the details. The stucco, the arcaded porch, and the tile roof are the main things that carry the “Spanish Mission” message.

  • Southminster Presbyterian Church, Mount Lebanon

    Southminster Presbyterian Church

    This tasteful Gothic church, finished in 1928, anchors the south end of the Uptown Mount Lebanon business district. The architect was Thomas Pringle, who also gave us the Salvation Army Building downtown.

    West entrance
  • Mount Lebanon Evangelical Presbyterian Church

    Mount Lebanon Evangelical Presbyterian Church

    Patterned after York Minster, this English Gothic church sits on the peak of the ridge, so that its outsized towers are visible for miles.

  • Looking North on Washington Road, Mount Lebanon

    Mount Lebanon is what old Pa Pitt calls an urban suburb. It is outside the limits of the city of Pittsburgh, but otherwise the core of it is a city neighborhood, with an urban business district. (An urban business district, in Father Pitt’s definition, is one in which the businesses line up abutting the sidewalk, with no parking lots in front of them.) “Uptown” Mount Lebanon is a pleasant place for a stroll, with many restaurants and specialty shops to lure you off the sidewalk. And as we can see in this picture, it is actually one of the broadest urban business districts in the entire metropolitan area. In Washington, D.C., this would be merely average, but Pittsburgh has very few spaces that can accommodate a commercial street this wide.

  • Art Deco Buildings on Washington Road, Mount Lebanon

    Uptown Mount Lebanon has one of the best collections of Art Deco architecture in the area. These two buildings sit side by side on Washington Road at the corner of Alfred Street. With some confidence, old Pa Pitt identifies the Gothic fantasy on the right as an old movie theater, although he would be happy to be corrected.

    Update: Father Pitt is corrected. The building on the right was the William Hall office and apartment building, designed in 1929 by Geisler & Smithyman. The one on the left was the Medical Arts Building, as we can guess from the splendid terra-cotta panels.

  • Fountain at Clearview Common, Mount Lebanon

    Clearview Common is a little parklet at the corner of Washington Road and Alfred Street in the middle of the Uptown Mount Lebanon business district. It makes an urban oasis out of a vacant lot, and this fountain is one of its distinctive features.

    Pittsburgh natives are probably not aware that, to outsiders, one of the most surprising things about the city and its inner suburbs is the ubiquity of shoe-repair shops.

  • Back of the Denis Theatre

    Sometimes the back of a theater bears no resemblance at all to the front of it. That is certainly true of the Denis in Mount Lebanon. The main entrance is on Washington Road, and it looks like a small storefront. Walk around the corner and down Alfred Street, and you will find this massive wall, which the architect has identified as a theater by adding Art Deco stripes in the bricks.

  • Clearview Common

    Clearview Common

    One way to deal with a vacant lot in a business district is to make a tiny park out of it. Seldom are these tiny parks made to such a high standard as Clearview Common, a grand name for a single vacant lot. But not many jurisdictions have as much money as Mount Lebanon has to work with. The little park is at the corner of Alfred Street and Washington Road, Uptown Mount Lebanon, and it is a very pleasant place to sit and enjoy take-out from one of the many nearby restaurants.