Tag: Woodwork

  • Altar and Reredos in Heinz Chapel

    Altar and reredos of Heinz Chapel

    The elaborately carved reredos does its part to focus attention on the altar before it. The four wooden figures are Peter and John on the left, Paul and James the Greater on the right. The carving was done by the Irving & Casson—A. H. Davenport Co. of Boston

  • I-House in the West End

    House in the West End

    This well-preserved house from 1870 or 1876 (according to different sources) has kept its splendid Victorian ornamental woodwork. Architectural historians would call this an I-house, a standard variety of vernacular house very common in this part of Pennsylvania. Its form is very simple: two floors, each a central hall with a room on the left and a room on the right. Often, as on this house, more rooms are added on the back. For many years this house was used as the parsonage for the Methodist church next door.

    I-house
  • Gothic House in Shadyside

    House on Morewood Avenue

    Old Pa Pitt is not quite sure how to classify this house. It is a sort of Jacobean or Tudor Gothic, but with very Victorian woodwork on the gables. We shall call it “Jacobean with gingerbread.”

  • Some South Side Details

    If you happen to be building a house, ask yourself this question: Which small details of this building will passers-by stop and take pictures of a century and a half from now?

  • Charming Woodwork on the South Side

    Old Pa Pitt is not sure whether the woodwork on this South Side rowhouse is original or the work of a more recent craftsman. Either way, it is charmingly folksy, and the polychrome color scheme is well chosen to bring out the details.

  • Two Parlor Windows from the South Side

    In a Victorian rowhouse, the parlor window—the ground-floor window facing the street—was an opportunity for the homeowners to display their taste and, even more important, their ability to pay skilled craftsmen to decorate their houses with woodwork and stained or leaded glass. Above, even the masonry is incised with decorative patterns.

  • Front Door on South 20th Street

    A front door with interesting woodwork and curious layers of history: note, for example, the three rows of asphalt shingles above it, which were doubtless somebody’s solution to a water-related problem.

  • Appreciating the Details of a Second Empire Building

    The Second Empire style, with its dormered mansard roofs, was very popular in Pittsburgh—so much so that we walk by most examples without noticing them. Here’s a quite ordinary building in the back streets of the South Side, but it rewards a closer look at some of the details. Above, one of the lintels over the windows, which all have simple but effective carved decorations.

    This roof has so far kept its original shingles, decoratively varied with four rows of a different shape across the middle.

    One of the windows on the ground floor. Notice that its lintel decoration is different from the one above.

    These star bolts are decorative, too—but they’re not mere decorations. Star bolts like these, which you see in old houses all over the city, are the decorative ends of long bolts that literally hold the building together. They are often installed to stabilize a wall that has begun to sag.

  • Carved Brackets on Carson Street

    This doorway could use some fresh paint and a little wood repair, but it would certainly be worth preserving the Victorian carved ornaments.

  • Second Empire Storefront on Carson Street

    The cornice and dormers are fine specimens of Victorian woodwork.