Father Pitt

St. Michael the Archangel Church, Munhall

Posted in Architecture, Sculpture, Churches, Munhall by Dr. Boli on October 30, 2014

This Slovak church is no longer used, but the building is still kept in good condition.

The Romanesque façade, with its colorful inlays, is something extraordinary even in a region of extraordinary churches.

The relief of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, apostles to the Slavs, shows more than a little Art Deco influence.

Until a few years ago, the tower held up a fine statue of St. Joseph the Worker, one of the last major works of the great Frank Vittor. It has been moved to St. Maximilian Kolbe parish, where you can see it at eye level.

Old St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral, Munhall

Posted in Architecture, Churches, Munhall by Dr. Boli on October 28, 2014

The cathedral moved farther out into the suburbs (though still in Munhall borough), and this is now the National Carpatho-Rusyn Cultural and Educational Center—an institution that keeps no regular hours and obviously can barely afford to keep the building standing. But the church is loved, and we may hope that whatever love can accomplish will be done for it. The architect was Titus de Bobula, a Hungarian who designed several churches around here. He is a fascinating character: he went back to Hungary in the 1920s and was imprisoned for plotting to overthrow the government; then he came back here and designed more churches, while simultaneously working on the designs for the structural aspects of Nikola Tesla’s fantastic, and possibly delusional, electronic superweapons, which of course were never built. It is not often that we find such a direct line from a Carpatho-Rusyn cathedral to the world of science fiction.

Connoisseurs of elegant lettering should not miss the plaque identifying the architect, contractor, and building date. Father Pitt suspects that de Bobula himself designed it: there is nothing else quite like it in Pittsburgh, and the style seems very much like the Art Nouveau of Budapest.

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Greentree’s Little Egypt

Posted in Architecture, Greentree by Dr. Boli on September 13, 2014

This spectacularly odd building houses the headquarters of M. S. Jacobs & Associates, an engineering firm. But the Egyptian style, and the location right across the street from the Chartiers Cemetery, tell us that it was originally in the death business; in fact, according to the all-knowing Internet, it was built in 1920 for a monument dealer.

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Gulf Tower from Frank Curto Park

Posted in Architecture, Downtown by Dr. Boli on September 11, 2014

The Gulf Tower, with the Koppers Tower (left) and partly completed Tower at PNC Plaza (right). As time goes on, every skyscraper that used to be a “building” changes its name to “tower.”

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The Tower at PNC Plaza, August, 2014

Posted in Architecture, Downtown by Dr. Boli on August 29, 2014

The skeleton is in place and the sides are filling in.

This picture is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, so no permission is needed to use it for any purpose whatsoever.

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