Spring Hill School is a one-to-two story, brick and stone Classical Revival elementary school building in the Spring Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. It faces north onto Damas Street at its T intersection with Rockledge Street. It is surrounded by grassy lawn and trees to the north and west and paved play areas to the south and east. A brick plinth in the yard in front of the school identifies it as “Spring Hill Elementary School.” The entire site is enclosed by fencing: iron “hairpin” fencing typical of older Pittsburgh Public schools at the front (north), and chain link fencing on the sides and rear. The neighborhood surrounding the school consists of modest single-family brick and frame houses dating from ca. 1880-1920.
Please note that the Peterson House nomination was not submitted by PP but posted to our site by request of Matthew Falcone, so that others may access the nomination.
172 46th Street is directly associated with Carol Peterson, the architectural historian who made significant contributions to Pittsburgh’s historiography and advanced historic preservation of the city’s architectural resources.
It is at 172 46th Street, her home for nearly 16 years, that Carol Peterson completed the majority of her house histories, researched and wrote “Allegheny City: A History of Pittsburgh’s North Side”, completed her contribution to Lawrenceville’s National Register nomination, landmarked several buildings locally, advocated for Pittsburgh’s built environment, and would display the numerous awards and recognitions for her life’s work.
The Wash House is an example of the Romanesque Revival style with its massing, springing arches, and recessed entrance. Although this building joined several other bath houses in Pittsburgh, it was the first of its kind to offer laundry facilities in Pittsburgh, and in fact was only the third public wash house in the United States. For perspective, New York City opened their first public wash facility (the People’s Washing and Bathing Association at 141-143 Mott Street) in 1852 while it wasn’t until 1918 that Chicago constructed a bath house with laundry facilities.
2803 Bergman St. is well known within the neighborhood of Sheraden as having belonged to the neighborhood’s founder and namesake. However, the twin sycamore trees that grow together to form an arch onto the property are arguably the most recognizable feature and is well known throughout Pittsburgh. This is, perhaps, most apparent from media coverage dating back to their inception the 1950s in which articles identifies the house by the conjoined sycamores.9
The Italianate farmhouse too is a recognizable feature on the street otherwise populated with homes constructed in a suburban period that typically embody Foursquare, Tutor Revival, and Dutch Revival architectural elements.
Roslyn Place is an exemplification of an important planning and urban design technique distinguished by rarity, uniqueness, and overall quality of design.
Roslyn Place features prominently in Great Streets, a comprehensive book on the relationship between design, communities, and urban planning. In the book, Allan Jacob’s recognizes Roslyn Place’s unique design in stating:
"All the smallness and closeness – but closeness with enough room for healthy, even gracious living – makes for a density that is greater than would be permitted for the same type of housing (remember, these are single-family houses) in most of the urban United States: some 14 dwellings per gross acre (including the street). That density means there are a lot of people around. It means that public transit can be supported; it means that small stores within walking distance are likely to survive; and they do, on Walnut Street, a block away; and that schools, too, can be close. It means, in short, community, or at least the change of a community."
Th e tufa bridges have weathered in time from nutrient-voracious plants as Burke expected, however, most of the stone cladding is unnaturally black. Mike Angle, a geologist from Ohio familiar with tufa, concurs in the belief that Pittsburgh’s problem with coal dust in the mid-twentieth century resulted in an abnormal absorption. Moss and lichens thoroughly covering the uppermost part of the bridges also result in darkening of the stone. Another plausible theory from Angle is that the stone’s composition results from a chemical change over time. Such as the reddish brown appearance of stones results from iron oxidation, a black appearance may result from manganese oxidation. Minor quantities of manganese are present in most sedimentary rocks in Ohio.
What is today known as Overbook was originally called Fairhaven and was a small town within Baldwin Township. In 1871 the company of the Pittsburgh & Castle Shannon Railroad was incorporated with Milton Hays as its first president. The railway was important in the early expansion of the Fairhaven Community as it also served as a real estate development business. Plans of lots were on display at the company office. Overbrook was so named by Henry T. Galley, after Over-the-Brook, a town in Ireland. In 1919 the tiny but bustling town broke away from Baldwin Township and became the independent Borough of Overbrook. The development of local roads in the 1920s and the opening of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924 brought additional expansion for all southern communities.
The Oliver Bath House represents a key example in the development of bath houses in the United States. With the focus of this particular bath house on its swimming pool instead of bathtubs or showers, Henry W. Oliver ensured that his bath house would be seen as more than a structure created to improve hygiene and sanitation—it would be a recreational nexus for the workers and residents of Pittsburgh’s South Side. This is in opposition to the other municipal bath houses constructed in Pittsburgh that each featured several dozens showers and bathtubs, but no swimming pool.
Because of the fact that it retains its original function after more than 100 years, it is important to take the steps necessary to ensure its continued service for the residents of Pittsburgh. Given that it was closed for a significant period during last winter, it is critical that routine maintenance is continued in order to preserve its appearance.
The City-County Building’s distinct physical appearance creates one of the most recognizable visual features within the City of Pittsburgh and its unofficial downtown historic civic district (roughly bounded by Fifth Ave., the Crosstown Blvd., Boulevard of the Allies, and Cherry Way). With Grant Street as the district’s axis, recognized and unrecognized landmark buildings are plentiful: the Allegheny Courthouse, the County Building, the Grant Building, the Robins Building, the Oliver Building. Hornbostel, in designing the City-County Building, specifically tailored the registers of the façade to reflect those in the Allegheny Courthouse. Yet the smooth, grey granite of the façade stands in stark contrast to the vary array of materials, textures, and hues that define the courthouse. It should be noted that the visual prominence of the City-County Building within downtown has been enhanced since its construction with the demolition of nearly all historic structures and the creation of a parking lot across immediately across the street in the block bounded by Forbes Ave., Grant St., Fourth Ave. and Cherry Way.
While the City-County Building is one of the most visually defining features on Grant Street, it is also an independent visual feature of the City.
Throughout the course of the 20th century, the immediate streetscape neighboring Roslyn Place changed rapidly. Belgian block streets and trolley lines were paved with asphalt, the original Aiken Avenue wooden bridge was replaced with the current steel structure, Osterling and Rodd’s homes were demolished in the 1960s and replaced with condominium developments with private streets, and demise of the Pennsylvania Rail Road in the 1970s would lead to the creation of the Martin Luther King Busway to the North of the neighborhood. However Roslyn Place would remain a wooden block street in part because of the advocacy of its neighbors and the active stewardship of the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works.
Due to the topographical nature of the City, natural springs were, and continue to be, a common feature in most neighborhoods. It was in many of the newly formed parks, however, that the natural springs would become an attraction, often adopting structural and stylistic elements to reflect popular design and aesthetic trends. This was particularly true of the Victorian Era, when park design centered on creating a balance between the perception of the natural world and a heavily manicured green environment. The trend is largely viewed as a reaction against society’s rapid industrialization and has a visual manifestation in the use of natural materials.
The spring has served as a prominent monument in Schenley Park since its inception. While there is not neighborhood, per se, the park is used by Pittsburghers from all neighborhoods and the park has, for much of its existence, attracted day trippers from all around Western Pa. The Catahecassa Fountain is located at one of the park’s most prominent intersections, E. Circuit Drive & Serpentine Drive (which is in itself one of Pittsburgh’s most famous roadways) and for much of its existence provided water to those using the park. This is perhaps best illustrated in the etching of Snyder Fountain (Fig. 26) where a gentleman and his horse rest immediately in front of the spring, again in a photograph of Dr. Fred A. Schade and family in their car (Fig. 29), and in a photograph of James W. Phillips (Fred A. Schade’s first cousin, twice removed) standing next to the same monument in October 27, 2013 (Fig. 30). The spring, like many other of its park-based counterparts, would become such a noted landmark it would go on to be captured in a postcard (Fig. 31). Interestingly the same image that is used for the spring in the postcard also captured the Neill Log Cabin but fails to identify the building or its function. The image of the card also identifies the springs as “Indian Springs,” which was most likely a way to make the scene more relatable to a broader audience, who may be unfamiliar with Catahecassa, outside of the city of Pittsburgh.
The very name “Spring Hill” indicates that this spring represents—what used to be—the neighborhood’s most recognizable feature. The spring provided a sense of identity and pride among the Spring Hill residents as they saw how many people, including hospitals, enjoyed and sometimes depended on their water. Bee Fohl reflected, “That is a landmark. Focal point of the whole hill...it’s even in the name. Spring Hill has layers as you go up and the spring is right in the middle. It was the highlight to me of the hill. The spring united all areas of Spring Hill and the Cityview neighbors. It was a social meeting place where you chatted with your neighbors as you waited in line and filled up.”
There are exceedingly few buildings in Pittsburgh that can equal 823 Climax Street in presence and command of site. From nearly any vantage point within the community, the building, its twin spires, and its blood-red brick are prominently visible.
Sited at the base of a steep hill, the juxtaposition of this grand basilica against the backdrop of small, wooden vernacular houses is almost European, and yet distinctly Pittsburgh. For 104 years the building has anchored the community of Allentown. It embodies the history of its community and holds promise for its future. The building transcends the definition of landmark. The location and distinct physical appearance of 823 Climax Street absolutely represents an established and familiar feature of Pittsburgh’s Allentown neighborhood. Without it, Allentown would suffer an immeasurable loss to its sense of place.
The Tu Es Petrus and St. George and the Dragon stained glass windows present in the former St. George’s Church can be directly attributed to one of Meyer & Co.’s most prominent glaziers, Leo Thomas. While Thomas’ contributions are rare within the City of Pittsburgh, his work and the work of his parent studio, George Boos, is well known throughout Western Pennsylvania, the East Coast, and the MidWest. The nearest, and perhaps most numerous, collection of Thomas’s work exists in St. Paul’s Church in Butler, Pa. Here we can find roughly fifty eight windows designed by George Boos’ Studio with under the design supervision of Leo Thomas. It was here, collaborating with the renowned Pittsburgh architect John T. Comes, that both the firm and the designer would receive their first major recognition in the United States.
The building is an exceptional example of the Eclectic Period of architectural design in the United States and Pittsburgh. Specifically, it is representative of the late 19th and early 20th century popularity of the Richardson Romanesque style in Pittsburgh.
The character defining feature of the exterior façade (for the purposes of this nomination) is the 1533 ft. long linear façade removing almost a third of the structure significantly diminishes the key aspect of the building design. As the 1994 National Register survey form, page 37, states: "The Pennsylvania Railroad Fruit Auction Building is a landmark for its shear size" and "...the structure is the focal point of the Strip's wholesale district".