The Skinny Building Restored

The Skinny Building is restored to its original five-foot-deep glory. Actually, that’s five feet two inches: the Skinny Building, on Forbes Avenue at the corner of Wood Street, is 80 feet long, 3 stories tall, and 5 feet 2 inches deep. Is it the skinniest building in the world? That depends on how you measure.  A building in Vancouver’s Chinatown is listed by recordkeepers as the shallowest in the world, but although its ground floor is four feet eleven inches deep, oriels make the upper floor much deeper.

An interesting fact about this building is that people literally don’t see it, even with its splendid new Victorian color scheme. Try it sometime: stand with an out-of-town visitor at the southeast corner of Forbes and Wood, and ask the visitor to describe the building on the opposite corner. Your visitor will almost certainly give you a description of the Roberts Building; it’s as though the human brain does not have a category for buildings only five inches wide.

For comparison, here’s how the Skinny Building looked in 2013, before the restoration:

Some Houses in Aspinwall

Aspinwall is a charming little town of brick streets and substantial dwellings crammed into the narrow flat space on the north shore of the Allegheny River. All these houses are on Eastern Avenue, which has quite a collection of Victorian and Edwardian houses.

Camera: Kodak EasyShare Z1485 IS.

Motor Square Garden

Originally the East Liberty Market, this grand structure was designed by Peabody & Stearns, architects of the Joseph Horne department store downtown and the iconic Custom House Tower in Boston.

Arlington Apartments, Shadyside

This fine apartment block stands at the corner of Aiken and Centre Avenues, right on the edge of Shadyside. This afternoon the sun illuminated the whole Aiken Avenue front, so Father Pitt enlisted the aid of modern technology to get a picture of the entire façade from multiple photographs. There are some noticeable stitching errors, but this is probably the best impression you will find of the Aiken Avenue front of this building—at least until old Pa Pitt gets a better picture.

The original picture is about 55 megapixels and more than 22 megabytes of data, so don’t click on the picture if you’re on a metered connection.

H. J. Heinz Memorial Plaza, Sharpsburg

H. J. Heinz started his business in Sharpsburg, and he gave this plaza in the center of the town as a token of his gratitude. The bronze reliefs are by the notable sculptor Emil Fuchs. The main section of the top panel is an allegory of Industry; the main part of the lower panel shows H. J. Heinz himself teaching Sunday school at Grace Methodist Church.


The statue of an Indian, always identified as Guyasuta, is a duplicate of a duplicate. Heinz gave the town a splendid fountain, which was knocked down by a car in the 1930s. The statue of Guyasuta was replaced from the original molds, but that replacement was run over by a truck in the 1980s. This current incarnation has not been smashed yet.


Camera: Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3.