Art Deco Outbreak on Carson Street

This Victorian storefront was given a strange Art Deco makeover at some point in the twentieth century. The makeover extended only halfway up, so the original Victorian style is perfectly preserved on the top two floors. East Carson Street on the South Side is one of the best-preserved Victorian commercial streetscapes in North America, but until very recently it was never preserved in any deliberate fashion—only by extraordinary luck.

South Side Market House

Charles Bickel, a good and competent Pittsburgh architect most famous for Kaufmann’s department store, designed this building, but Father Pitt is not quite sure about the rest of its history. A market house was built here in 1893 and burned in 1914; it was rebuilt in 1915, but the exterior walls may have remained from the older building. Old Pa Pitt would love to hear from someone who knows definitely one way or the other. At any rate, it is one of only two original city markets left in Pittsburgh (the other is the East Liberty Market, now Motor Square Garden), neither of which is still used as a market. It sits in the middle of a tight urban square whose southern half is very much like some of the squares of London; the northern half spoils the illusion.

South Side Works Theater


The South Side Works, an ambitious project to build an entirely new urban neighborhood, naturally needed a neighborhood cinema on the square. And the proper style for a neighborhood cinema is Art Deco, with lots of neon and other noble gases.


Schiller Glocke Gesang und Turn Verein


On the whole, the South Side Flats were East European and the Slopes were German. But a large neighborhood like the Flats has room for diverse microneighborhoods, and we find this “Schiller’s Bell Singing and Athletic Society” on Jane Street. The building is now turned to other uses, but the inscription remains. Pittsburgh and Allegheny used to be full of German singing societies; the Teutonia Männerchor in Dutchtown is the most prominent remnant.