Marvelous light of spring and new wingback chairs, I love their acid green, tall backed comfort, perfect for reading and nodding off. There’s a new lamp on the way, a replacement for the one on the right, which will be quite at home in the T.V. room. Then, and only then, will it be ready for your eyes. The dining room fixture is new and  already well loved. The table, our first piece of grown-up newlywed furniture, and thusly clocking in at more than twenty years old, was a desk for ages but is a table once again. Shuffle-shuffle-shuffle. Let’s make the most of what we have, shall we? One fine breezy day, we will open the windows and paint the walls that perfect shade of white.

 

Spring is on the verge, with budding trees and blossoming crocus and snowdrops, too. Our first Pittsburgh spring! So often, I think of how improbable this all was one year ago. Pittsburgh and a 109 year old house, my Grandmother gone, the cats too, how quickly a life can change!

Strolling the South Side Flats yesterday afternoon. A precocious teen, spying the hubster’s rather fashionable spectacles, asked, “Are you a hipster?” We laughed, and I said that we’re probably far too old and nerdy for such declarations, before discussing cameras and skateboards and money, and he wished us a blessed day. These are the moments that enrich our lives.

The bright sun belies a bitterly cold wind. We walked quickly, hands deep in our pockets, wishing for warmth in between a fabulous lunch at La Palapa and treats at The Milkshake Factory. Zooming off to our next destination, we played what the hubster and I not-so-fondly call the Pittsburgh Slalom, a.k.a. dodging pot holes. Jeepers!

Greetings from Mt. Washington! My Grandma Frances lived in Pittsburgh as a girl and relayed such fantastical tales of the funicular and uber-super steep hills that they screamed fiction. Even these photos do such little justice to the city’s rolling and rollicking hills. Alas, you truly have to visit to believe it (our guest room will be ready soon!). Grandma lived somewhere near the Duquesne (dew-cane) Incline, and I cannot help but look for traces of her as I wander the nearby streets, decades and decades after her departure. Was this her church? Did she live in this house? Did she scramble, bare-legged and laughing, up this old tree? I don’t suppose I will ever know. Our neighborhood lies just beyond the top most bridge on the photo above. And in the photo just above that, on the left, is the PPG Building (Philip Johnson, Architect), my favorite in the Pittsburgh skyline, just in case you were wondering.

More marvelous murals to add to my collection and a sharp-edged building, too, circa 1893. The history in this town!

See you later, alligator. Don’t be an April fool…

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Welcome to Cincinnati, “the best city in the world” according to an old friend (Mike, are you there?). I can’t really speak to it being the best, as our visit was only a few hours, but this, the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, was pretty snazzy. As our dumb luck would have it, as we were neither looking for cool or interesting, just eager for lunch, we found one special place, and quite important historically, with the majority of the buildings of Italianate Architecture, magnificently intact, and easy on the eyes.

Not the best idea I’ve ever had, but I couldn’t resist the temptation of the Holtman’s doughnut sign. BEFORE lunch. They were still warm!

The hubster going big at Pontiac (no website, sadly). Most excellent barbeque and a super friendly server, always a great combination. In keeping with my healthful doughnut before lunch choice, I noshed on pimento cheese. It was awesome. I do not regret it!

This neighborhood is chockablock with fabulous murals. Wowie!

He thought I was shopping…

Narrow. Very narrow.

Thanks for a terrific afternoon, Cincinnati!

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Friendship Way, 1998

Cork Marcheschi, Neon Sculptor

Zaharakos, largely unchanged since 1900, with stunning woodwork and marble, is the coolest ice cream parlor I have ever visited. Not only do they have delicious treats, a cherry float and hot fudge sundae for us, but they are also a museum dedicated to the mostly lost art of ice cream parlors. Utterly unique and wonderful with super friendly staff, this place is fun for the entire family.

Bartholomew County Courthouse, 1874

Isaac Hodgson, Architect

The Commons pictured in the foreground, 2011

Koetter Kim & Associates, Architects

Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans, 1997

Thompson and Rose, Architects

Bring a tissue, friends. The monument has excerpts and entire letters written by fallen personnel carved into the stone.

Republic Newspaper, 1971

Myron Goldsmith, Architect

Columbus City Hall, 1981

Edward Charles Bassett, Architect

Bartholomew County Jail, 1990

Don M. Hisaka, Architect

Miller House, 1957

Eero Saarinen, Architect

Dan Kiley, Landscape Architect

Here we are. This is the house that gleefully sent me down the Columbus, Indiana architecture rabbit hole. Beautiful. The only way to see it is to take a tour, and, rather unfortunately, they do not allow any photographs of the interior, so if you would like a glimpse and don’t have time for a journey to Columbus, watch this short video. If you’re still intrigued and would like a more comprehensive look at the house, J. Irwin Miller, and the history of Columbus in regards to its marvelous buildings, here’s another video. As for the house, believe me when I say that it is an awe to behold and well worth the price of admission.

St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, 2002

William Browne, Jr. and Steven R. Ristling, Architects

North Christian Church, 1964

Eero Saarinen

Parkside Elementary School, 1962

Norman Fletcher, Architect

First Baptist Church, 1965

Harry Weese, Architect

After a long day of walking and photographing, and walking and photographing some more, our reward was a beyond delicious meal at the Henry Social Club. Everything was superb. We chatted it up with our neighbors; they shared their bread with us; and we discovered how small the world is when we realized we’d lived near each other decades apart.

Next up, Cincinnati!

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Flame

 
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
Rumi

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I don’t remember when I fell in love with buildings, the first time I recognized them as objects of beauty and more than places of shelter. However, had I the great privilege of growing up in Columbus, Indiana, I could very likely say, always, for this humble city of 44,000 inhabitants is rather special, architecturally.  For that, I can thank J. Irwin Miller, former president (now deceased) of Cummins Engine. At the ripe old age of twenty-four, he returned to his home town to run the family business. Educated, not in business nor engineering but philosophy, politics, and economics, he had a love for the arts.

It turns out to be a marvelous combination, as he was able to turn the company into a profitable organization and begin hiring some of the best young architects around to design every manner of exquisite building for the town, making it, according to the American Institute of Architects, the sixth most architecturally significant city in America.

I have been wanting to visit for years! So, of course it would be a destination on our first Pittsburgh based road trip. Absolutely. I am thrilled to report that it didn’t disappoint, not in the slightest. If anything, it was more than I could have hoped for. Let me show you…

Red Brick – Cummins Cerealine Building, 1867 now part of

Cummins World Headquarters, 1984

Kevin Roche, Architect

Jack Curtis, Landscape Architect

Our digs at the Hotel Indigo. Napping on the chair is the super sweet and adorable resident pup, Miles. He’s lived at the hotel since he was eight weeks old. Wielding a wacky pillow is the super fun and game for anything hubster.

First Christian Church, 1942

Eliel Saarinen, Architect

Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, 1969

I.M. Pei, Architect

Large Arch Sculpture, 1971

Henry Moore

Original Irwin Home, 1864

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 1988

Gunnar Birkerts, Architect

Central Middle School, 2007

Ralph Johnson, Architect

A T & T  Switching Station, 1978

Paul Kennon, Architect

Fire Station No. 1, 1941

Leighton Bowers, Architect

Robert N. Stewart Bridge, 1999

J. Muller International

Chaos I, 1974

Jean Tinguely, Sculptor

Hoping you are as dazzled as I was. More on Friday!

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