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Towne Towers (Pittsburgh Mercantile Company)

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Pittsburgh Mercantile Company
1910. 434 Franklin Ave.

Built in 1910, Pittsburgh Mercantile, a subsidiary of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company, provided the mill workers with five stories of shopping, including departments for home furnishings, clothing, and food. It was the largest and most complete department store in its day for miles outside Pittsburgh. The steel-frame, pale brown brick building originally had large plate glass windows and a canopied entrance on the first floor; these are now obscured by brick and tile panels. Only an ornamental band with stylized cresting waves and budding flowers remains at this level. The three middle stories are grouped into vertical bays and accented with molded brick in the fashion of the Chicago School. A bracketed hollow tile roof caps the attic zone of decorative brickwork and green terra-cotta panels. The interior was once equally as impressive, with high ceilings and mahogany trim. A refrigerating plant in the basement served primarily for meats, vegetables, and other grocery items displayed on the first floor. Despite the loss of its first-floor windows, the building retains its monumental presence on Aliquippa's main street. It has been converted to an apartment building.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.
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Citation

Lu Donnelly et al., "Towne Towers (Pittsburgh Mercantile Company)", [Aliquippa, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-01-BE40.

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, 160-161.

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