Father Pitt

Old Stone Church, Monroeville

Posted in Churches, Monroeville by Dr. Boli on November 12, 2014

This church is not all that old, having been built in 1896; but it sits on a site where there has been a church since 1834, and a burying-ground since 1796. The Cross Roads Presbyterian Church has moved to a much larger building some distance away, but still maintains the cemetery. The borough owns this building, and the Monroeville Historical Society uses it.

The bell tower was added in 1976; it is dedicated to George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. Father Pitt has not researched the subject thoroughly, but he suspects that this is the only bell tower in the world dedicated to Nikola Tesla.

St. Michael the Archangel Church, Munhall

Posted in Architecture, Churches, Munhall, Sculpture 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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Old St. Luke’s

Posted in Churches, History, Scott Township, Woodville by Dr. Boli on October 12, 2014

This colonial-era congregation in what is now Scott Township found itself at the center of the Whiskey Rebellion, which began when General John Neville, a church member and an old pal of President Washington’s, was appointed tax collector. The current stone building was put up in 1852, but the congregation was founded in 1765.

Fawcett Church, Cecil Township

Posted in Cecil Township, Cemeteries, Churches by Dr. Boli on September 9, 2014

The congregation began as a house meeting in 1793 and was officially founded in 1812. The current church, which replaced an earlier log church, was built in 1843 and restored after a fire in 1944. Families of early settlers are buried in the churchyard.

Father Pitt has never run across “Nazarene” as a male given name before. The stonecutter made some very elegant letters, but “May the 1th” was as wrong in 1839 as it is today.

These pictures are made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, so no permission is needed to use them for any purpose whatsoever.


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