U.S. Post Office & Courthouse Nominated for Historic Landmark Status

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Earlier this month, in partnership with the Federal Government, we nominated the U.S. Post Office & Courthouse building (Weis Courthouse) downtown to be considered for historic landmark status to the City’s Historic Review Commission.

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Designed by the nationally prominent, New York-based architectural firm Trowbridge & Livingston and constructed between 1931-34, the monumental scale of the building was largely a response to the growing needs of Pittsburgh and the inadequate and outdated Victorian Era edifice that once graced Smithfield St. During the design phase Pittsburgh’s Chamber of Commerce perhaps best suited this call for change, urging the Federal Government to build “…a different sort of structure—one symbolic of Pittsburgh’s progress and industrial importance.”

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And they did. The new building was the largest structure in downtown Pittsburgh, with around 600,000 square feet of floor space and room for 3,000 employees. The Pittsburgh Press reported that the building contained 15,000 tons of steel, 60,000 cubic yards of concrete—enough to build a sidewalk from Pittsburgh to Wheeling—and over 16,000 stone blocks, along with 1,126 doors and 1,200 windows.

The building also houses two of the four WPA murals within the City of Pittsburgh. In 1935 three large 20-by-10-foot murals were commissioned for the courtrooms on the eighth floor. Steel Industry by Howard Cook, Modern Justice by Kindred McLeary (since lost), and Pittsburgh Panorama by Stuyvesant Van Veen remain some of the most accessible, and breathtaking, pieces of WPA art for Pittsburghs downtown. The building also houses an incredible amount of Guasatavino tiling, a portion of which is currently undergoing extensive rehabilitation.

We hope that Pittsburgh’s City Council will join us in extending formal recognition to such an important, and monumental, piece of Pittsburgh’s history.

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To read more about the history of the building and for additional photographs, please click here.

If you would like to lend your support for the designation, please email the City’s Preservation Planner, Sarah Quinn at sarah.quinn@pittsburghpa.gov.

We would like to thank the Federal Government for their partnership and their efforts to maintain the building and restore important historical elements changed over time.

If you would like to help our landmarking efforts, please consider donating to our Landmarking Fund.

Heathside Cottage Nominated for Historic Landmark Status

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In partnership with its owners, we recently submitted an historic landmark nomination for Heathside Cottage in Pittsburgh's Fineview neighborhood to the City's Historic Review Commission for consideration.

Likely constructed between 1864-66, it first served as the home of "Colonel" James & Maria Carson Andrews, a nationally-prominent builder and homemaker, respectively, when the neighborhood was comprised of large tracts of land. As time progressed, the land was subdivided and the house became home to plethora of interesting characters.

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Today, Heathside Cottage is home to theater artists Greg Manley & Catherine Gowl. The cottage gardens also function as a performance venue for City of Play, an organization devoted to reminding us all of our innate ability to play. They seek to transform their Gothic Revival masterpiece and home as a gathering place and point of pride for the neighborhood and city. More information about the house, including photographs, may be found here.

Heathside Cottage's architectural design is exemplary and draws direct stylistic connections to mid-19th Gothic Revival residential architecture more commonly found in New York's Hudson River Valley. We hope that Pittsburgh's City Council will move to recognize the exceptional nature of their home and celebrate its role in Pittsburgh's history.

If you would like to lend your support for the designation, please email the City’s Preservation Planner, Sarah Quinn at sarah.quinn@pittsburghpa.gov.

We would like to thank Greg Manley & Catherine Gowl for their partnership, as well as the Fineview Citizen’s Council for their support!

If you would like to help our landmarking efforts, please consider donating to our Landmarking Fund.

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South Side Presbyterian Church Nominated for Historic Landmark Status

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Earlier this year, in partnership with the South Side Presbyterian Church’s congregation, we submitted an historic landmark nomination for the church to be listed on the City of Pittsburgh’s Register of Historic Places.

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South Side Presbyterian Church is located at 1926 Sarah Street and was constructed in 1869 by the prominent contractor John T. Natcher when the neighborhood was still the independent borough of Birmingham. Natcher is also responsible for constructing the South Side Market House, (former) Mt. Lebanon United Presbyterian Church, and mills or foundries for the Garrison Foundry Company, Robinson Rea & Company, Zug and Company, Shoenberger & Company, McIntosh & Hemphill, and Clark’s Solar Iron Works. South Side Presbyterian Church would be enlarged by Waite & Rowlands in 1893 when a Gothic Revival facade, including two prominent bell towers, was added fronting Sarah Street.

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The South Side Presbyterian Church is historically significant because of its embodiment of mid-nineteenth vernacular Gothic Revival design with late-nineteenth century Gothic Revival alterations, its association with themes of religion, ethnicity, and social history; and that it’s a prominent visual feature of the South Side Flats in which it stands.

Earlier this month, the Historic Review Commission found the building eligible for historic landmark status because of the reasons above and forwarded the nomination to the Planning Commission for its recommendation before Pittsburgh’s City Council will take it into consideration.

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If you would like to lend your support for the designation, please email Council President Bruce Kraus at bruce.kraus@pittsburghpa.gov.

We would like to thank the South Side Presbyterian Congregation, Pastor Kathy Hamilton-Vargo, and the Pittsburgh Presbytery for their partnership and the extraordinary work they do to preserve, and now formally recognize, this exceptional piece of our city.

If you would like to help our landmarking efforts, please consider donating to our Landmarking Fund.

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Former Carrick Municipal Hall Nominated for Historic Status

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Last month, we submitted an historic landmark nomination form for the former Carrick Municipal Hall (1806 Brownsville Rd.).

The borough of Carrick became an independent political entity in 1904 and construction of the Municipal Hall would begin in 1905 after noted Pittsburgh architect, Edward Stotz was commissioned for the building’s design.

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In Carrick’s Borough Ordinance No. 11 Section 1, passed on December 27, 1904, Stotz was officially selected to use his design for the two-story building “to be used a house for Fire Company, Town Hall, and for other Borough purposes”10 (Figures 7, 8). The contract for the construction of the building was awarded to the George M. Hall Company which, like Stotz’s architectural firm, still exists today.

Many factors went into the planning of the borough building, but the engine company was by far the most influential in the design process. The building’s setback from the street was to allow for a greater turn radius for the fire engines, the first floor was comprised entirely of accordion garage doors, and the building featured a forty-foot bell and hose tower.

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In 1927 after debate and deliberation through much of 1926 among the people and council members, Carrick was annexed into Pittsburgh becoming the 29th ward. The final meeting of the Town Council of the Borough of Carrick was held on January 2, 1927. After Carrick was annexed into the city the police and city offices were moved to different locations, leaving Engine Company Number 23 as the sole occupant of the building until they too departed for newer facilities in 1957.

Today the building is privately owned and houses two prominent business of Brownsville Road, Farnsworth Gowns and Blanc de Blanc Bridal.

In November, the Historic Review Commission found the building eligible for historic landmark status because of its affiliation with Edward Stotz, its design, and its representation of Carrick’s evolution from an independent political entity to one of Pittsburgh’s many neighborhoods.

If you would like to lend your support for the designation, please email the City's Historic Preservation Planner, Sarah Quinn at sarah.quinn@pittsburghpa.gov or come to the Historic Review Commission's public hearing and vote on Wednesday, December 5th at 1pm, 200 Ross Street.

We would like to thank Amy and Michael Kuruc and their partnership to recognize and preserve this exceptional piece of our city.  If you'd like to help our landmarking efforts, please consider donating to our Landmarking Fund.

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Meet our Newest Director, Ashleigh Walton

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We are delighted to announce that Ashleigh Walton has joined Preservation Pittsburgh's Board this month!

Ashleigh serves as an architect and urban designer as a project manager of one Urban Design Associates' design teams. She travels extensively on charrette with a mission to craft livable, traditional urban places and responsive architecture. As a former assistant to the Town Architect in Beachtown, Galveston, she honed the skills of design review, a skill that she uses often as a consultant on a local historic review board and riverfront overlay district, in addition to communities across the country. She is an active member of the National Organization of Minority Architects, the Pittsburgh Young Architects Forum, the Pittsburgh AIA Leadership Institute and the New Urban Guild, and finds joy mentoring students who have the aspiration of becoming architects and designers. She holds a graduate degree from Andrews University.