Experience the Gilded Age at The Frick Pittsburgh

The Frick Pittsburgh offers a glimpse into the life of industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his family.

Pittsburgh is a city steeped in history. Fortunes were made here in the days when steel was king. Henry Clay Frick built his empire in Pittsburgh. A U.S. industrialist, art collector and philanthropist, he helped build the world's largest coke and steel company, United States Steel. The Victorian house, Clayton, where he lived with his family from 1883-1905, still stands and is open to the public at The Frick Pittsburgh. Spend the day there and go back in time to what life was like at the turn of the century. Tour Clayton and see Frick's glamorous lifestyle displayed in the meticulously maintained house. Monogrammed china, intricately carved furniture (some of it original) and prestigious art purchased by Frick himself. Walk through the same rooms where corporate legends like Andrew Carnegie (Carnegie Libraries and Museums and Frick's partner in United States Steel) discussed business deals that would change the city forever. Even President Theodore Roosevelt visited Clayton on the 4th of July in 1902. The docent-led tours of Clayton are fascinating. The guides are well informed and have a thorough knowledge of every aspect of the house, including little known facts and stories about the Frick family.

How to Spend your Day

Browse the Frick Art Museum which houses the collection of Helen Clay Frick, founder of the Frick Art & Historical Center and daughter of Henry Clay Frick. The museum displays work she collected, including French 18th-century painting and decorative arts and early Italian Renaissance paintings. Currently at the Museum is Undressed: A History of Fashion in Underwear, an edgy exhibition featuring more than 200 objects that tell the story of the ongoing evolution of underwear. The Frick is the only museum in North America where you can catch this blockbuster exhibition (now through January 7, 2018).

Cotton and whalebone corset, c. 1890, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Walk through the Car & Carriage Museum and see the collection of historic carriages and automobiles dating back to the turn of the 20th century, including some of the first horseless carriages. From Frick's 1914 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost touring car to Howard Heinz's 1898 Panhard (reputed to be the first car in Pittsburgh), the vehicles are in pristine condition and include placards with details about each one.

Have lunch at the Frick Café, a charming restaurant that affords beautiful views of the lush grounds. There's a delicious selection of soups, salads, gourmet sandwiches and entrees. Save room for one of their decadent desserts or go for afternoon tea served in the traditional English style with finger foods, scones, pastries and chocolate and 18 freshly-brewed teas. Friday evenings dinner is served with farm-to-table and seasonal fare. 

When to Visit

No matter what time of year you visit The Frick, there are lots of events for the entire family. Come on over for a free concert during the warmer months. Summer Fridays at the Frick features musical performances every Friday evening from June through August on the Frick grounds. So bring a picnic basket and a blanket and enjoy music under the stars. There's seasonal happenings later in the year - mid-November through early January - to get you in the festive mood. Holidays at the Frick are magical. Clayton is dressed with live greens, dozens of poinsettias and a traditional Christmas tree that evokes traditions of Christmas past. Go on a Friday night (extended hours) and see the glow of beautiful luminaries on the paths around the grounds.