Victoria Lilies Are Back at Phipps

Problems with pumping equipment, according to Phipps staff, have kept the famous Victoria Lilies out of the Victoria Room for years. But now they are back and in full bloom.

Cameras: Konica-Minolta DiMAGE Z3 and Canon PowerShot A590 (hacked).

Concordia Club

The Concordia Club was one of a number of fine clubs in Oakland; it lasted until 2009, when its building was sold to the University of Pittsburgh, which made it into the O’Hara Student Center. It was founded “to promote social and literary entertainment among its members,” and it seems always to have been a largely Jewish organization. Father Pitt does not know the details of the sale, but it took at least the club’s Web site by surprise. The site is frozen in 2009, with a calendar of events whose last entry is April 30, 2009: Annual Meeting and Dinner.

The building itself was designed by the prolific Charles Bickel, who could always be relied on to make the client proud.

Police Patrol Station No. 4, Oakland

Not that long ago, this interesting Romanesque building was the King’s Court movie theater; but, as the inscription shows, it was built as a police station. From cops to movies to noodles must have been a very interesting journey. The style is Romanesque, but with the overlapping round arches that some architectural historians regard as the origin of Gothic pointed arches.

Litchfield Towers, Oakland

“Distinctive” is a good neutral term for these skyscraper dormitories that loom over the Oakland business district. The architect was Dahlen Ritchey, who designed three cylinders of unequal heights that he designated A, B, and C. Students quickly named them Ajax, Bab-O, and Comet.

Strand Theatre Building, Oakland

This once-splendid movie house on Forbes Avenue was designed by Harry S. Bair, a specialist in neighborhood movie palaces who also designed the Regent in East Liberty. According to comments on, it was built with the screen at the street end: you had to walk up a long hall to come in at the rear of the theater. Thus it took advantage of the hillside location to make a naturally sloped auditorium. The building ceased to be a theater about four decades ago; it is now retail stores and apartments.

The picture above is a composite of four photographs.


A panoramic view of the Oakland medical-intellectual complex, as seen from Schenley Park just after sunset.

The Cathedral of Learning and the Carnegie

Cathedral of Learning and Carnegie, Oakland, Pittsburgh, 2015-03-30 bw

As seen from the lawn in front of Phipps Conservatory.

Camera: Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3 (with a virtual red filter).