A March Thaw

The weather was warm enough to melt a good bit of the snow and ice, and prolonged rain helped fill the streams. Now the weather is turning briefly colder again, and we expect some snow tonight.

Your Downtown Panorama of the Day

This time without falling snow. The one above, made from eighteen separate photographs, is quite large (about 37 million pixels), so don’t click on it on a metered connection. It’s the largest stitched picture old Pa Pitt has made to date, but Hugin handled it perfectly and automatically. The picture below is a more manageable size.

Camera: Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3.

Shadyside Presbyterian Church

Camera: Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3.

Designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, the successors to H. H. Richardson, this church has an honest Richardsonian pedigree to go with its Richardsonian Romanesque style.

Can you tell that old Pa Pitt is enjoying his new software toy? The picture above is a wide-angle shot stitched together from nine separate photographs. The fisheye view below is stitched together from six; if you click on it, you can have it at about 38 megapixels.

Camera: Kodak EasyShare Z1485 IS.

Finally, here’s a picture from the north side of the church, where there is room to get far away enough to take the picture all in one shot.

Camera: Kodak EasyShare Z1485 IS.

Oakmont Victorian

Oakmont is proud of its collection of Victorian houses, most of them frame structures on the respectable and impressive end of the Victorian spectrum rather than the whimsical and gingerbready end. Here is an album of a few of Oakmont’s fine houses.

The Sauer Buildings in Aspinwall

Frederick Sauer was a very reliable church architect responsible for many of Pittsburgh’s better Catholic churches, including St. Mary of the Mount. Nothing about his churches would stamp him as an eccentric; he gave his clients exactly the respectable buildings they wanted. But he had a streak of whimsy in him. He bought a large tract of land on the hill over Aspinwall and designed a very conventional and respectable house for himself. Then he started to play in the back yard. Beginning with his chicken coop, for example, he added fairy-tale projections and curious details, building up and out until he had made an apartment building, the Heidelberg Apartments (above). He did much of the building with his own hands, eventually creating half a dozen or so curious structures back in the woods behind his house. They now form the Sauer Buildings Historic District—one of those curious Pittsburgh treasures probably known less to Pittsburghers than to the rest of the world, where they are often mentioned as one of the most interesting flights of architectural eccentricity in America.

Carnegie Library, Oakmont

This charming building from 1900 was tastefully expanded in 2006. The new section is obviously of our century, but so well harmonized with the old that it seems an organic growth.