The whole of Uptown, the central business district of Mount Lebanon, was included last year in a new Mount Lebanon Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The district was designated as an outstanding example of an early automobile suburb of the 1920s, but the automobile was only half the story. Until the middle 1980s, streetcars ran down the middle of Washington Road; now they run under part of Mount Lebanon in a subway tunnel, emerging behind the business district with stairway and elevator access to the middle of everything. The ideal automobile suburb is one in which an automobile is not a necessity.
Mount Lebanon is a township, technically speaking; but it feels more like a city of its own. Post-Gazette columnist Peter Leo always referred to it as “the Great State of Mount Lebanon,” which sums up how Pittsburghers think Mount Lebanese think of themselves. The central business district is “uptown”—a word that means an area outside downtown in most cities (even Pittsburgh itself), but in southwestern Pennsylvania usually means a downtown area that happens to be on a hilltop. Uptown and the surrounding area is now a national historic district, and this 1930 Art Deco building is one of its gems: it is the masterpiece of its architect, William Henry King, Jr.
A decade-old article from the Trib has quite a bit of good information about the building.
Camera: Canon PowerShot S45. The picture of the whole building above is a composite of four photographs.
You can tell St. Bernard’s congregation is a community of well-off business types, because the church’s Web site has both a mission statement and a page of “goals and objectives.” But the building itself is quite beautiful, especially its gloriously colorful tile roof. The architect was William R. Perry, who also designed, on a somewhat smaller scale but with equally splendid taste, the bandstand in West End Park. These pictures were taken from the Mount Lebanon Cemetery.