Allegheny County Courthouse Tower Enlarge
hard to look at the Allegheny County Courthouse pavilions and not
see correspondences in the Shadyside Presbyterian Church lantern
tower. Not only the shapes
are similar, but the proportions are as well. Each has
a band of very similar round arch windows - the Courthouse five, the
Church seven. (In the
Courthouse competition drawings, seven are shown.) Dormers are centered on
the faces of the towers - the Courthouse has lucarne style, the windows
flush with the wall, Shadyside uses hip-roof dormers to allow ventilation.
The Courthouse has a prominent cornice above the windows.
The Church uses a more pronounced sprung roof with a slight overhang to
demarcate its juncture with the walls. Its cornice with dentillike
protrusions resembles the termination of the Courthouse main tower. The
battered (sloping) bands of the pavilion cornice are relocated just below the
Church lantern's windows.
The original massing of the Courthouse shown in
Courthouse Competition Drawing, H. H. Richardson (1)
The Jail can be said to have its own lantern.
A short, octagonal lantern tops the “crossing” of the various
cell-block wings at the guard room. Clerestory
windows there admit light, but it had bars to prevent what would have been
a daring escape attempt. There
is no record that either prisoners or parishioners ever attempted to flee by
way of the lantern.
Courthouse interior photo used by permission - Paul Rocheleau
It is striking that the interiors of the two buildings became more alike
with Shadyside’s 1937 worship space remodeling.
The original exterior similarities are natural and
intentional. Certainly, Charles Allerton Coolidge, Charles Rutan
and George Shepley were heavily involved in the Allegheny
County Buildings in
sprung roof and low, spreading mass of the Church show that Shepley, Rutan
& Coolidge took a turn deeper toward the medieval from the tall,
symmetrical Courthouse. A decade
later, the Classical influence overtook them.
The 1893 Columbian Exhibition's
There is a second
Emmanuel Episcopal Church - first design (2)
A simple structure
was not the immediate result of
Immanuel Baptist, Newton, MA
The proportions of
the individual elements and the composition are notably
The “long-legged” appearance of Immanuel results from the
worship space being raised above ground elevation.
This arrangement is common to Baptist churches.
Immanuel’s nave is narrower than Shadyside, which causes the
sloped roofs to end higher. Shadyside’s
roofs reach closer to the ground, giving a more stable, organic
the somewhat awkward appearance of the
It seems that the
first projected church for Emmanuel Episcopal is a more likely model for
Shadyside. A drawing of the
project (above) shows that structure to be somewhat
lower, broader and more stable looking than Immanuel-Newton – but with a
similar witch's hat roof.* The
stepped buttresses of the tower (twelve of them!)
make it look even more like the proverbial “dignified pile of
rocks.” Shepley, Rutan &
Coolidge streamlined the lantern tower at Shadyside, making it rise more
freely from the surrounding gabled roofs.
They kept the lantern dormers (in reduced numbers) but gave them
more graceful hipped, flaring roofs.
Even accounting for
differing needs between the two congregations, Immanuel-Newton is not
generally considered one of
Could it be that
Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge drew from their work on the Allegheny County
Buildings to improve the proportion and details used at
*In fact, the rather
ugly corner projections seem to be penciled in – or was this a later
edition at the time of the Immanuel design?
(1) Van Trump "Majesty of the Law" Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
(2) James F. O’Gorman “Selected Drawings - Henry Hobson Richardson and His Office”