Sunday, September 23, 2012


Larimer is a mostly blighted section of the East End in the city of Pittsburgh.  There are some architectural gems scattered throughout the neighborhood; most are abandoned, and demolition is a constant threat.  Here are a few that I was able to photograph today. Excuse the lower quality of these photographs. They were taken with my cell phone.

Spang Mansion, Etna, PA

Text by Carol Peterson of Pittsburgh House Histories:
Henry Spang built this Greek Revival style house, a mansion by the standards of its day, around the time that he established the Etna Iron Works (later Spang Chalfant & Co.) in 1828. The mill, originally with 50 workers, eventually employed...
1500 or more and was the greatest impetus for Etna's development. It was also the first iron pipe plant west of the Allegheny Mountains. Spang family members occupied the house into the early 20th century. The mansion was subsequently moved a few hundred feet to make room for mill expansion, and housed the Spang Chalfant company doctor, social worker and some community activities during part of the 20th century.
Spang Mansion, circa 1828, located in Etna, PA

Front entrance of Spang Mansion

Detail of front porch ceiling

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Demolitions in Woods Run

It appears that three houses in this row were demolished on McClure Avenue (North Side of Pittsburgh).

Monessen, PA

Monessen is a city of about 7,700 people. It is located south of Pittsburgh, in a depressed region known as the "Mon Valley."  Monessen is a former steel town (Wheeling - Pittsburgh Steel closed its Monessen operations in 1986).  The city's peak population was 20,257 in 1940.  As for the condition of the town, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. This is the downtown area.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reading, PA

Reading is the fifth largest city in Pennsylvania, with a population of about 88,000 people (behind Philly, Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Erie).  It's allegedly the poorest city in America, but it certainly doesn't look like it.  I have been to Youngstown, Flint, East St. Louis, Camden, and Detroit.  Reading certainly doesn't resemble those places. The historic building stock is intact, and much of it beautifully preserved.  Overall, Reading is a pretty city, and has many architectural jewels. The only thing Reading lacks is the vibrancy and young professional scene that can be found in other urban places.