Bankers Row, Burghers, is Fourth Avenue and I don’t even want to tell you how long it took me via Google searches, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation website, and Google Street View to get my bearings and figure out where on Fourth I was standing and whether or not I was looking toward Grant Street or toward Stanwix.
Okay, here we have Bankers Row in 1905 by the Detroit Publishing Company via Shorpy and the Library of Congress. Click for amazing embiggen of this image that was taken at 1:05 p.m. some sunny day in 1905:
You are standing on Fourth, just past the PPG Fountain/Rink, and you’re looking up toward Grant Street. Remember Grant Street used to have a big hump on it, which is why it looks like there’s a hill up there. Here’s where you’re standing:
Now, I share this because DETAILS!
Joseph L. Neal Architect had his offices here. This 1901 article from the Beaver County Times tells me Joseph Neal was working on the courthouse improvements. He also was architect of the Morrill Memorial Library in Massachusetts.
This building isn’t there anymore, but look at the gorgeousness of its detail. This is the former Merchants and Manufacturers National Bank building and I wish I knew more about it and that beautiful statue.
Little further down, you see the old Machesney Building which is now known as the Benedum-Trees Building:
Lots happening in this section of the photo. Why don’t we say “To Be Let” anymore? “For Rent” sounds so boring. Loving that big old clock, which predates the Kaufmann’s clock which wasn’t born until 1913. And I wonder what The Curb was? A whiskey and cigar joint for bankers to unwind in? Did people end sentences with prepositions in 1905? Although, this leads me to believe The Curb was nothing of the sort. And finally, look at that amazing gargoyle right under The Curb sign and then four more below it. Finally, it looks like there’s a barber pole right near the telegraph office.
Now let’s move a little further up to the Arrott Building, a historic landmark which still stands and on which I’ve never noticed these amazing gargoyles or lions or whatever they are. This building is only three years old in this picture.
Buildings. They don’t make ’em like they used to, guys. I’ll now be the girl walking downtown … looking up. Hope I don’t fall into a pothole the size of a Mini Cooper.
Sorry this post was so focused on architecture, but after spending as long as I did researching this street and these buildings, NO WAY was I not sharing it all with you. Do you suppose the mayor reads these posts all, “History lesson time!” If he shows up at the mayoral debates with a new understanding of Pittsburgh history, I am taking total credit for that.
Next history post will be next week and it will be those old PAT streetcars I promised you.