207 Shiloh Street, Mount Washington

Instead of one obvious central business district, Mount Washington has several small business districts, of which the densest and perhaps most interesting is the one that takes up two blocks of Shiloh Street just off Grandview Avenue. Several of the buildings show a decided German influence, and this one (built in 1893) is a particularly good example of what we might call South Hills German style. (Before the First World War, the back slopes of Mount Washington were known as the “South Hills”; Beechview and the neighborhoods farther south were described as “beyond the South Hills.”)

Like most of the buildings on Shiloh Street, it is irregularly shaped, a long trapezoid with its street front on an oddly-angled short side of the building.

This is an enormous composite picture; be prepared for nearly 20 megabytes of data if you click on it.

Bigham House, Chatham Village

Today this house is used as a clubhouse for residents of Chatham Village. It was built in 1844 or 1849 (Father Pitt has seen both dates) for Thomas James Bigham, a notorious abolitionist who was rumored to harbor fugitive slaves here. Fortunately for him, there was not much sympathy for slave laws in these parts: Pittsburgh was riddled with Underground Railroad stations.

These pictures were taken in late evening light (individual pictures taken with a Canon PowerShot S45, then stitched with Hugin to produce the wide angles you see here). There’s a fair amount of grain if you look closely. Low-light performance is one aspect of digital cameras that has definitely improved, and Father Pitt would do much better in low light with a more recent camera. He would also pay about a thousand dollars for a more or less equivalent camera, rather than the six dollars he paid for the old Canon.

Out of the Woods

The evening sun greets us as we come up out of the woods from one of the hillside trails in Grandview Park.

Camera: Olympus E-20n.

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.

Mount Washington Methodist Episcopal Church

This church sits on one of those impossibly narrow Pittsburgh streets, and it would have been very difficult to get a picture of the whole front this way without the marvels of Hugin stitching technology. A little wide-angle distortion makes the pinnacles turn inward, but overall this is a very good representation of the front of the building. It is no longer a church; now it is an apartment building, but either an appreciation of the architecture or a limited budget has kept the current owners from making any significant changes to the exterior.