How 5 Historic Pittsburgh Buildings Will Make You Fall in Love With the City

How 5 Historic Pittsburgh Buildings Will Make You Fall in Love With the City

There are so many gorgeous architectural buildings in Pittsburgh. Here are a few of our favorites.

Pittsburgh, aka "The Steel City" is home to some of the most iconic buildings in the country with stories and magnificent art that remain inside of them. But, how often do you notice these buildings? We live such rushed and busy lives that we only catch small glimpses of what lies in front of us. But if you open your eyes, you will notice the beauty in front of you.

Pennsylvania Railroad Station Rotunda

Located at 11th Street and Liberty Avenue is one of the oldest and most remarkable structures in Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania Railroad Station also known as Union Station or Penn State to locals was opened in 1903 and features a glamorous rotunda made of a grayish-brown terra cotta with corner pavilions. The rotunda is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The rotunda was used to shelter passengers and led to a beautiful waiting room back when the station was open for railroad transportation, but the rotunda is open for stopping in.

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Photographer Michael Will

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church located at 21st and Smallman Streets is a historic Catholic church built in 1892 with Romanesque and baroque architecture which reflect the "Polish Cathedral" style. Architect Frederick C. Sauer. The beautiful stained glass figure windows were made in Germany and the interior is breathtaking with stone archways.

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church is part of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh as is one of the oldest churches in Pittsburgh It was 200 Polish immigrant families that banded together and formed the congregation in 1873. "When you open the door, and see the stained glass, you will feel like you are inside a Roman cathedral in Europe," says Ryan Zarichnak.

Allegheny County Courthouse

The Allegheny County Courthouse, located on 436 Grant Street is a National Historic Landmark. The original courthouse was actually located on Market Square but was ruined in a fire that was caused by a fire that broke out in 1887. The new courthouse was then built in 1888 around an interior courtyard that allows natural light and fresh air to seep in. From the courtyard, you will see a tower of five stories. 

A prison is connected via a bridge which is called the "Bridge of Sighs." The design was based on the Bridge of Sighs in Venice and was built of large rusticated blocks of granite, with the entrance ways and windows topped with wide arches. This is a beautiful place to marvel at inside and out. 

Calvary Episcopal Church

You are going to appreciate Calvary Episcopal Church with an architecture influenced by revival gothic style from the Middle Ages. The church was built in 1906 and is the largest Episcopal church in Pittsburgh. 

Located in the Shadyside neighborhood at 315 Shady Avenue, the church is hard to miss. Decorative details, and sharp lines envelop the half-mile radius parish. The artistic themes inside the church are wood, marble, stone, glass and tiling that are flawlessly built. Scalloping, lancet windows, hood mouldings, stone carvings, label stops and over 70 stained windows are some of the beautiful architectural features throughout different areas inside the church that makes this historic building fascinating. Self-guided tours are available at Calvary Episcopal Church after their 11am sermon on most Sundays. 

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Mellon Institute of Industrial Research

The Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, located at the corner of Fifth Ave. and Bellefield Ave. in the Oakland neighborhood is known for its groundbreaking industrial research, and contribution papers and patents, and training of some of the best scientists in the nation. 

Built in 1937, the architecture was influenced by the Neoclassical Revival. You will notice this by its grand monolithic limestone columns (the largest in the world!) that will remind you of the Greek Parthenon in Ancient Greece. The columns (62 total) are each 36.5 feet high and 5.5 feet in diameter From a bird-eye's view, the building is a trapezoid shape forming two interior courts that let in plenty of light inside the laboratories. 

In 1967, the Mellon Institute later merged with the Carnegie Institute of Technology to form the Carnegie Mellon University but its original name was retained. Because of its classical and elegant look, the the Mellon Institute attracts couples looking for the perfect wedding photo backdrop.


"We live such fast and hectic lives that we miss the beauty of our surroundings," says Pittsburgh filmmaker Todd Downs. We think we have to go far to take a break and appreciate something beautiful. Take an extra hour before heading back home after work, and stop by one of these marvelous Pittsburgh buildings. Eat your lunch inside the Rotunda at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station and take a Metra ride there to appreciate the scenery surrounding you. Or bike to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church during times they are not busy to marvel at the beauty of the architect’s work and immigrant's vision for a beacon of faith and safety in their community. You don't have step foot outside your city to learn, indulge and delight in something special.

Photo Credit: Michael Will Photography