Design for the City-County Building

This rendering was published in 1916, before the building opened in 1917; but this is how the City-County Building still looks today. “Diamond Street” is now part of Forbes Avenue, except for the remnant of the outer end that veers off Forbes for one scraggly diagonal block to meet Fifth Avenue.

The Regent Theater, Newly Built

From a movie trade magazine of 1915 we take this interesting article about the newly opened Regent in East Liberty, now the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Click on the image for a much larger version.

“The foyer is decorated in the Adams period” probably means in the Adam style—that is, the neoclassical style made popular by the Adam brothers in the 1700s and undergoing a revival in the early twentieth century.

The picture below shows how the theater looks today: stripped of its projecting awning, but otherwise very much the same.

Wm. G. Johnston & Co. Building

William G. Johnston & Co. was a very successful printing and bookbinding firm that put up this building on Ninth Street at Penn Avenue in 1886. Mr. Johnston would probably be pleased to see that his building looks very much as it did when he knew it, except that—like every other building downtown—it is doubtless cleaner. If you look very closely, you may see a small stitching error, which comes from the fact that this picture is put together from multiple photographs. The lesson, obviously, is not to look so closely.

Two Movie Theaters in 1912

From Motion Picture World, 1912.

Father Pitt does not know the exact location of either of these establishments. The fact that the Casino was remarkable for having been in the same place for eight years shows how temporary these early theaters often were. Pittsburgh, of course, invented the movie theater, and by 1912 no neighborhood was complete without one. The larger ones, like the Casino below, also booked vaudeville acts.

From Motion Picture World, 1912.

John White Alexander

A good number of artists have been born in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, and some of them even have large museums here dedicated to their works. (Father Pitt is thinking, of course, of the John A Hermann, Jr., Memorial Art Museum in Bellevue. What were you thinking of?) But we could argue that the one who made the most lasting contribution to the city of his own free will was John White Alexander, whose mural composition Apotheosis of Pittsburgh covers thousands of square feet in the splendid Grand Staircase in the Carnegie. Alexander was born in Allegheny in 1856, and the Grand Staircase was his last significant work, so we can say that he began and ended his work here. A rather fawning (but perhaps justifiably so) 1908 article in The International Studio describes the high position he had reached in the world of art, and gives us good monochrome reproductions of a number of Alexander’s works, especially portraits. Here is an album of those pictures, in tribute to one of Pittsburgh’s great artists.

Portrait of Mrs. H.

Portrait of Fritz (Frits) Thaulow.

Portrait: Sisters.

Portrait of Walt Whitman.

Portrait of Miss R.

Pen Sketch of Mark Twain.

Portrait of Miss B.

Portrait of Mrs. R.

Fragment of Decoration, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh.

Moving a House Straight Up

Raising a Full House

An update: “Zak” has kindly left a comment telling us that this house burned in 1913; it would have been on the Pittsburgh side of the river opposite where the Waterfront is now. Follow the link in Zak’s comment to see another good picture of the relocation project.

From the Booklovers Magazine in 1904. Can anyone identify this house or its exact location? The text below is all Father Pitt has to go on, which tells us that it is somewhere in the Mon Valley near Pittsburgh, but not exactly where. We do not know, for example, whether “about ten miles from Pittsburgh” means ten miles along the river or ten miles as the crow flies. Ten miles along the river would put the house in Homestead or thereabouts.

Raising a Full House text