Victorian Homes For Sale Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh Victorian Houses

Victorian Homes For Sale In And Around Pittsburgh April 21, 2024
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Introduction to Victorian Homes

Victorian architecture, one of the most recognized and beloved architectural styles, offers a window into a period marked by prosperity, change, and innovation. Named after the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), this style became prevalent not just in the United Kingdom but also in various parts of the world, including the United States.

The Victorian home style is characterized by ornate detailing, asymmetrical design, and vibrant colors. It is a testament to a time when advancements in the industry made it possible to create complex architectural elements at a lower cost, enabling even middle-class homeowners to add an air of grandeur to their dwellings.

In the United States, the Victorian home style became prominent in the mid to late 19th century, coinciding with the country's rapid expansion and growth era. These homes emerged as a symbol of the country's newfound prosperity and optimism, and their legacy continues to shape American architecture. They are treasured not only for their historical significance but also for their distinct aesthetic that contrasts starkly with modern minimalist trends.

Characteristics of Victorian Home Style

The term 'Victorian architecture' encompasses a broad range of designs. Still, several common characteristics make this style immediately recognizable:

  1. Detailed Woodwork: One of the distinguishing features of Victorian homes is the intricate woodwork, known as 'gingerbread' trim. This ornamental detailing, often found around windows, doors, and eaves, adds a sense of whimsy and elegance.
  2. Steep, Multi-faceted Roof: Victorian homes often feature complex, steep roofs, usually with multiple gables and dormers. These roofs contribute to the distinctive, asymmetrical silhouette of Victorian architecture.
  3. Bright Colors: Contrary to the subdued hues of earlier architectural styles, Victorian homes are celebrated for their bold and vibrant color schemes. These 'Painted Ladies' often feature three or more contrasting colors to highlight the intricate architectural details.
  4. Asymmetrical Shape: Unlike the balanced facades of Georgian or Federal-style homes, Victorian homes often have an irregular shape, with projecting bay windows, overhangs, and towers.
  5. Large Porches: Victorian homes typically feature one or more spacious porches, often wrapping around the side of the house. These porches are adorned with decorative railings and spindles.

Different Types of Victorian Styles

The Victorian era saw several architectural styles, each with its unique features:

  1. Gothic Revival: This style is characterized by pointed arches, steep gables, and detailed trim. It often features decorative elements like vergeboards and finials.
  2. Italianate: Italianate Victorian homes are identifiable by their low-pitched roofs, wide eaves with decorative brackets, and tall, narrow windows.
  3. Second Empire: Inspired by French trends, Second Empire Victorian homes are distinguished by their mansard roofs, often with dormer windows.
  4. Queen Anne: The most ornate of the Victorian styles, Queen Anne homes boast intricate detailing, asymmetrical facades, large wrap-around porches, and, often, a prominent tower.

Victorian Home Style in Pittsburgh

Victorian architecture in Pittsburgh mirrors the city's growth during the Industrial Revolution. As Pittsburgh transformed into a bustling industrial hub in the 19th century, the wealth generated led to the construction of many Victorian homes, a visible sign of the city's prosperity.

Many of these homes were designed by prominent architects and builders of the era who impacted the city's architectural landscape. The Victorian homes of Pittsburgh reflected the prevalent architectural trends of the time and showcased unique regional adaptations.

Unique Characteristics of Victorian Homes in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's Victorian homes are distinct, influenced both by the broader Victorian style and the city's unique geographical and climatic conditions:

  1. Unique Features Compared to Other Regions: Pittsburgh's Victorian homes often feature locally-sourced materials, such as sandstone and brick. These materials offer aesthetic value and testify to the city's industrial roots. Furthermore, due to the city's hilly terrain, many Victorian homes in Pittsburgh have high foundations and multiple stories to accommodate the landscape.
  2. Adaptation to Pittsburgh's Geography and Climate: Pittsburgh's Victorian homes are designed to handle the city's varied climate. Many houses have steeply pitched roofs to deal with heavy snowfall and large, wrap-around porches to provide shade during the warm summer months.

Where to Find Victorian Homes in Pittsburgh

Today, Victorian homes are an integral part of Pittsburgh's architectural identity. They can be found in various neighborhoods, such as the North Shore and the Mexican War Streets Historic District, where rows of well-preserved Victorian homes glimpse the city's past.

Efforts have been made to conserve and renovate these architectural gems, often transforming them into modern residences, museums, or bed-and-breakfasts while maintaining their original charm. These homes contribute to the city's historic charm and play a crucial role in attracting tourists, making them an essential part of Pittsburgh's economy.

Famous Victorian Houses in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has several iconic Victorian houses, each with its unique history and architectural details. Here are a few examples:

  1. The McCook-Reed House: Located on the Northside, this stunning Queen Anne home was built in the 1890s by Henry Hobson Richardson, one of the most influential architects of the 19th century. Its distinctive features include an asymmetrical façade, richly ornamented woodwork, and a rounded corner tower.
  2. The Parador Inn: This Victorian mansion, now a popular bed and breakfast, offers a glimpse into Pittsburgh's affluent past. Its unique design features include a carved oak staircase, stained glass windows, and a stunning garden courtyard.
  3. The Inn on the Mexican War Streets: Originally the Boggs Mansion, this house is a fine example of the Second Empire Victorian style. Built-in the 1880s, it is now a historic inn boasting original Victorian-era furniture, high ceilings, ornate fireplaces, and a collection of Pittsburgh memorabilia.