Philip Johnson: Controversial Architect of PPG Place

Philip Johnson: Controversial Architect of PPG Place

Architect Philip Johnson and his partner Burgee designed PPG Place. While undeniably a gifted architect, he was also at one time an anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer. Johnson was born into wealth in Cleveland on July 8, 1906, to lawyer Homer Johnson and Louisa Osborne Pope.  He was educated at the prestigious Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York  and studied at Harvard. With a fortune acquired

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PPG Place: Pittsburgh’s Most Beautiful Building?

PPG Place: Pittsburgh’s Most Beautiful Building?

While the design harkens back to other historic structures, the buildings at PPG Place are like no others in the world. The six-building complex combines Gothic architecture with modern materials and the urban skyscraper with a fairytale castle. PPG, founded as Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company in 1883 by Capt. John B. Ford and John Pitcairn, opened the nation’s first successful plate glass factory in the

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The Uncertain Fate of The Abrams House

The Uncertain Fate of The Abrams House

Tucked away off Woodland Drive near Chatham University, a wonderfully eclectic residence remains one of Pittsburgh’s crown jewels of unorthodox architecture. The Abrams House, as it is affectionately called, is the work of Pritzker Architecture Prize-Winner Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. The house oozes of postmodern style and is a testament to the curated, quirky style of late owner Betty Abrams. And while this

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Harbison-Walker: The Pittsburgh Company that Helped to Construct the Steel Industry

Harbison-Walker: The Pittsburgh Company that Helped to Construct the Steel Industry

There is a saying: a rising tide lifts all boats. That certainly applies to Harbison-Walker International. Founded in Pittsburgh, Harbison-Walker’s refractories and its success enabled Andrew Carnegie to build his steel mills and establish Pittsburgh as the economic powerhouse known as Steel City. The company was founded in 1864 by J. K. Lemon and ten other Allegheny County residents. It was originally called the Star

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The Alcoa Buildings

The Alcoa Buildings

From the time that chemistry student Charles Martin Hall discovered the process for producing aluminum, the metal has had a huge impact on Pittsburgh. From establishing the city as Alcoa’s–The Aluminum Company of America–world headquarters to creating thousands of jobs and producing numerous materials from aluminum, there may be no grander testament to aluminum’s impact on our city than the Alcoa Building itself. Now known

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The Homestead Stacks 

The Homestead Stacks 

Have you ever gone across the Homestead Grays Bridge (formerly the Homestead High Level Bridge), or driven to the Waterfront and noticed a dozen red brick monoliths towering over the area? Is this Pittsburgh’s answer to Stonehenge? No, it’s The Homestead Stacks, a reminder of our industrial past and how much our workforce and economy has changed in the last 100 years. In the 20th

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Pittsburgh Spotlight: The Grand Carousel at Kennywood Park

Pittsburgh Spotlight: The Grand Carousel at Kennywood Park

When it comes to the Grand Carousel at Kennywood, Philadelphia’s loss was Pittsburgh’s gain. Originally built by William Dentzel for Philadelphia’s sesquicentennial in 1926, the carousel wasn’t finished in time and was offered to Kennywood Park instead. Dentzel built Kennywood’s first carousel, and the park bought his new one for $25,000. Unfortunately, park officials didn’t realize before they purchased it that the carousel, at 54

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Kaufmann’s Clock

Kaufmann’s Clock

Although Kaufmann’s department store is no longer in existence, the clock that has been attached to what was once known as the Kaufmann’s building at the corner of Smithfield Street and Fifth Avenue, where the store was located, is still there keeping time. Prior to this clock, there was a free-standing clock on a tall pedestal at the corner. However, since 1913, this 2,500-pound ornately

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Pittsburgh’s Union Trust Building-Beautiful Inside and Out

Pittsburgh’s Union Trust Building-Beautiful Inside and Out

During its century plus history, the Union Trust Building has been known by several different names, but one thing that has not changed about the building is its beauty. Located at 501 Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh, the 11-story Union Trust building opened in 1917 as the Union Arcade. It was designed for Industrialist Henry Clay Frick by noted Pittsburgh architect Frederick Osterling, who also

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Exploring the History of Pittsburgh’s Market Square

Exploring the History of Pittsburgh’s Market Square

Market Square truly is the many faceted jewel in the heart of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was founded at The Point, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers merged to form the Ohio Rivers, but it was at Market Square where Pittsburghers gathered. As the budding community at Fort Pitt grew beyond the settlement there, it became apparent that the developing city needed some direction. In 1784, Philadelphia

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