A special treat for hardware fans.
The Circular Staircase was one of the greatest bestsellers of all time, and Mary Roberts Rinehart lived here when she wrote it—just half a block up Beech Avenue from the house where Gertrude Stein, a writer with a somewhat different style, was born. The success of The Circular Staircase made Mary Roberts Rinehart one of the most powerful literary figures in America, and her good business sense consolidated that power into a publishing empire for her family.
Architectural historians tend to call everything Romanesque revival “Richardsonian Romanesque,” and with especially good reason in Pittsburgh: Richardson’s Allegheny County Courthouse created a mania for everything Romanesque in Pittsburgh, and many private houses were built in that style for the wealthy merchant classes—especially in Allegheny West, which in the late nineteenth century may have been the richest neighborhood per capita in the country.
UPDATE: Note the very interesting comment from “Mark”: “Much of the local stone carving as well as work across the North Side, downtown, Carnegie Mellon University, etc was done by Achille Giammartini who built the house at 1410 Page St, near Page St & Manhattan St, in Manchester (beside Allegheny West). Although this was his personal residence he used the exterior as a ‘billboard’ for his considerable skills.”
An Allegheny City flag flies on Beech Avenue in Allegheny West. Pittsburgh conquered Allegheny, its smaller neighbor, in 1907, in spite of the vigorous objections of the citizens of Allegheny. Today Allegheny is the North Side of Pittsburgh, but there are some residents who openly speak of secession.
It may be that old Pa Pitt will offend every resident of every other street in Pittsburgh by saying so, but he believes that Beech Avenue in Allegheny West is the most beautiful residential street in the city.
Carved ornaments at the base of a porch column in Allegheny West. After spending the better part of their lives slightly ashamed of their decorative elements, the Victorian houses in Allegheny West once again show them off with bright contrasting paint schemes.
The sidewalk of Lincoln Avenue in Allegheny West. A hundred years ago, this neighborhood had more millionaires per square mile than anywhere else on earth.