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Industrial Bank

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1903, Charles M. Bartberger. 333 4th Ave.

This is the most exuberant of the three bank buildings near the corner of 4th Avenue and Smithfield Street. Next door at 337 4th Avenue stands Daniel Burnham's coldly classical Union Trust of 1898, built for Henry Clay Frick. Beyond, at 341 4th Avenue, stands James Steen's overly fussy Fidelity Trust (1888–1889) in Richardsonian Romanesque.

German-trained Charles M. Bartberger (1850–1939) inherited his architectural practice from his father, Charles F. Bartberger, and passed it on to his son Edward. The three generations practiced architecture in Pittsburgh for well over a century (1845–1956). This bank is one of the most confident handlings of Beaux-Arts classicism in the city. Its facade consists of a huge granite arch whose voussoirs align with sharply cleft breaks in the horizontal coursing. Above, the windows are set in a dwarf mezzanine.

The two blocks of 4th Avenue between Market and Smithfield streets constitute the core of Pittsburgh's former financial district, once second in capital only to Wall Street. Fourth Avenue began life in the Woods-Vickroy plan of 1784, but gained importance only in the 1830s, when the Bank of Pittsburgh and the speculative Burke Building (AL25) located here. Other banks followed suit after the fire of 1845 and the financial panic of 1873. Imposing structures by George Post and Frank Furness are gone, but Dollar Savings Bank (AL27) remains. By the turn of the century, Pittsburgh's oil and stock exchanges and the headquarters of twenty bank and trust companies lined 4th Avenue. Eventually, bank mergers and the lack of room for growth forced many of the financial institutions to move. Today the dominant architectural style on the street is still Beaux-Arts, either in low-rise banking houses or high-rise office towers.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.
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Data

Timeline

  • 1903

    Built

What's Nearby

Citation

Lu Donnelly et al., "Industrial Bank", [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-01-AL26.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 57-58.

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