Saturday, July 30, 2011

Strip District

These are just a few highlights from the Strip District. The photographs were taken in September, 2009. It's interesting to note the changes that have occurred since then. I hope to get back to the Strip on a Saturday afternoon and take a new set, when things are really buzzing and the market is in full swing. It's a vibrant neighborhood.

Farewell to the Old Stone Church

Historic Presbyterian Church Demolished, Esplen, PittsburghI am sad to report that the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Esplen (West End) has been demolished.

Circa 1892. This was the last surviving historic landmark in Esplen.

Here is how the building looked when I photographed it in January, 2010:

As you may be able to imagine, I am not happy right now.

It was always my goal to nominate this building as a historic landmark with the city, when and if I became a city resident again. Now, it's too late. It's just an empty, hay-covered lot.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boyle Street Update

Streetscape before demolition
1417 Boyle St. before demolition
1417 Boyle St. after demolition.
Streetscape after demolition. What an improvement?

This is a follow-up to my recent coverage of the City of Pittsburgh's plans to demolish three historic homes on Boyle Street in the Central North Side.

As I was working on my upcoming Historic Mansions Photo Tour today, I decided to swing by Boyle St. and see if there was any activity.

1417 Boyle Street has been demolished. I have taken before and after pictures. I hope the city is proud of this. Apparently, no historic district in the city of Pittsburgh is complete without holes punched into the 19th century streetscape.

Two or three similar row-houses on Boyle St., just across the street from where the city is demolishing houses, have been completely restored (they were in worse shape when they were put on the market last year). It's a shame that the city did not have the foresight to market the properties on its demolition list to preservation-minded buyers. After all, the Central North Side is rapidly gentrifying.

UPDATE (Aug. 7, 2011): 1413 and 1423 Boyle St. have been saved from demolition, but need new owners!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rest in Peace: Large Section of East Wheeling Historic District Soon to be Demolished

Photo Tour of Large Section of East Wheeling Historic District to be DemolishedThe city of Wheeling, West Virginia presents a dilemma for historic preservationists. On one hand, the city has perhaps the best and most intact collection of mid-19th century Victorian architecture in the region. On the other hand, a great deal of that architecture is falling apart, due to neglect and abandonment (the city's population has fallen to less than half of its peak level, when it was the largest city in the state). Wheeling was once a very elegant and wealthy city, and a major center for commerce. Much of that elegance is still intact, but it is slowly rotting and being bulldozed away.

The Mayor of Wheeling has proposed to demolish a large section of East Wheeling (a National Historic District) for a baseball field. This neighborhood, adjacent to downtown Wheeling, contains a large collection of Victorians, many of which were built before the Civil War.

I have taken care to photograph every building in the section, bordered by 15th Street, 16th Street, Wood St., and McColloch St., which may soon be only a memory, of a time when Wheeling was a city of pride, elegance, and optimism, as reflected in its buildings.

UPDATE:  The section of the East Wheeling Historic District documented below has been completely demolished by the city of Wheeling.

To see pictures of the recently demolished Jefferson School in East Wheeling, click here.