A long lens shows us part of Troy Hill (foreground, above the colorful mural) and Spring Hill (background, including the high-rise apartment block) from across the Allegheny. Although the view from here makes it look as though they are all one contiguous hilltop neighborhood, in fact they are separated by the narrow Spring Garden valley, and it is something of a feat to get from Troy Hill to Spring Hill.
A rare “Stick Style” Victorian, this was the home of Mr. J. P. Ober of Eberhardt & Ober. The style was common elsewhere in the country, but Pittsburgh preferred heavier, stonier styles in its domestic architecture. As commonly happens to an opulent house in a working-class neighborhood, this has become a funeral home.
The narrow streets and sudden drops in Troy Hill make for some unusual adaptations. Stuffed into a tiny lot, Grace Lutheran Church is as tall as it is long, with its main sanctuary on the second floor. It’s impossible to get a picture of the building without wires in front, and removing the wires with an image editor would be dishonest, which is Father Pitt’s way of saying “too much work.”
North Catholic High School in Troy Hill was built in 1940. Its greatest claim to distinction is the set of unique reliefs by Charles Bradley Warren illustrating “The Pursuit of Knowledge.” “Unique” is a word thrown about with little regard for its etymological meaning, but here it seems descriptive. Where else will we find any similar combination of Catholic iconography, Art Deco style, and scientific progressivism? The reliefs are a little grimy from decades of heavy industry in the valley below, but they have lost none of their power to astonish a first-time visitor to Troy Hill.
No, old Pa Pitt has not reversed one of the photographs. These are two different reliefs over doors on opposite sides of the building, identical except that they are mirror images of one another. In each relief, the monkish scientists gazing into the distance are turned to face a stunning view of the Allegheny valley and the city of Pittsburgh.