Cram Jam: PHLF Tour of 3 Churches on Saturday, April 16

Albright was designed by the architect Chancey W. Hodgden, however many of the other churches in Pittsburgh’s East End were designed by architect Ralph Adams Cram.

This weekend, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Association is hosting Cram Jam a Saturday afternoon tour of three of the churches designed by Cram.


Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation—in conjunction with ELPC, St. Charles Lawanga Parish at Holy Rosary Church, and Calvary Episcopal Church—invites the public to participate in Cram Jam. The free event offers tours of three area churches designed by renowned architect Ralph Adams Cram. Explore and experience their remarkable beauty.

Church docents and PHLF staff will provide information and lead tours at each site. Within breathtaking architectural spaces, participants will see remarkable sculpture, stained glass, and woodwork by exceptional American craftsmen and artists. Please arrive at each church as follows:

  • 1 pm: St. Charles Lawanga Parish at Holy Rosary Church (1926–31), 7114 Kelly Street in Homewood
  • 2 pm: East Liberty Presbyterian Church (1930–35), 116 South Highland Avenue in East Liberty
  • 3:30 pm: Calvary Episcopal Church (1905–07), 315 Shady Avenue in Shadyside. Here, Philip Maye, chair of the Calvary Architectural History Committee, will unveil an interpretive plaque honoring architect Ralph Adams Cram; Al Tannler, PHLF’s historical collections director, will give brief comments about the architect; and Dr. Alan Lewis, organist, will perform the Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, by J. S. Bach. A wine-and-cheese reception will follow in the Parish Hall, concluding at 5:30 pm.

Participants must provide their own transportation (car, bus, bike) to each church. Each location is accessible by bus; call the Port Authority at 412.442.2000 for details. Reservations are appreciated by April 14. Contact either PHLF (marylu@phlf.org; 412.471.5808 x527) or Calvary Episcopal Church (lwells@calvarypgh.org; 412.661.0120, x110).

More on the Cram Jam and the work of Ralph Adams Cram:

Events · historic preservation

Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists Comes to Pittsburgh this Weekend

rbcoyp-logoOne of the many groups that has been supportive of Friends of Albright has been the Young Preservationists of Pittsburgh. (YPA named Albright to their 2015 Top 10 list.) This weekend, April 8-10, 2016, the Young Preservations of Pittsburgh are hosting the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists here in Pittsburgh. Young preservationists from Buffalo, Indianapolis, West Virginia, and Ohio will be descending on the steel city to learn more about historic preservation in Pittsburgh and share ideas for best practices for historic preservation in the rust belt.

Learn more about the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists (RBCoYP)

Organizations Participating in the RBCoYP Summit:

RBCoYP Events You Can Attend

The entire RBCoYP schedule is included below. This group has put together an impressive array of events to show off the city of Pittsburgh. If you would like to join the Rust Belt Coalition, events on Sunday, April 10 are open to the public:

Rust Belt Coalition Pittsburgh Summit Events:

Friday, April 8, 2016 – Evening

Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists Launch Party! & #BeerSavesPlaces Competition

With the help of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Mexican War Streets Society, the RBCoYP is launching the PGH Summit with a bang at the Inn on the Mexican War Streets Bed & Breakfast! The Inn is housed in the historic Boggs Mansion (1888) in Pittsburgh’s Northside.

Saturday, April 9, 2016 – Morning

A Mexican War Streets Walkabout, 10:30am – 1pm

Join all the Rust Belt Coalition Summit attendees for a walk around the Mexican War Streets, one of Pittsburgh’s favorite National Historic Districts.  The neighborhood dates back to 1848, around the time of the Mexican War, and many of the streets – Buena Vista, Monterey, Palo Alto, Resaca, Sherman, and Taylor – are named after battles or generals of the war. You’ll see some of the best examples of Pittsburgh row houses, wonderful community gardens, a firehouse that will be converted into a craft brewery, a sanctuary for endangered writers across the world, and a local gem known as Randyland.

Saturday, April 9, 2016 – Morning

Participants can choose one of these 3 tours:

  1. “Crossroads of the World”: A Hill District Foot Tour – From jazz musicians to photographers to playwrights, Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood provided a cultural melting pot where artistic genius was fostered. Today, demolition by neglect and redevelopment threaten many culturally important sites throughout the Hill. Terri Baltimore, Director of Community Outreach at the Hill House Association, will take us on a walk through the neighborhood highlighting and telling stories about the buildings and (more importantly) the people of “Little Harlem.” Space for this tour is limited to 18 people, so register today!
  2. Northside -> Downtown -> Mt Washington Bike Tour – Downtown. Central Business District. Golden Triangle. Whatever you want to call it, we’re going to bike it! And when we’re finished, we’ll take a furnicular up to the top of Mount Washington and see the best-known view of the city. We’re renting bikes so you can leave yours at home, but don’t forget your bike helmet! You can expect to bike about 6 miles on this tour, and don’t worry – we’re staying in one of the few flat areas of Pittsburgh! Space for this tour is limited to 20 people, so register today!
  3. Steppin’ Out: An Urban Hike on the City Steps  – The system of Pittsburgh City Steps are the city’s most unique form of transportation, and offer some of the most stunning views of the surrounding areas. You can expect to hike and step about 3 miles on this adventure. We’ll end atWigle Barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden, where we’ll get a tour of the Barrelhouse and soon-to-open Ciderhouse. Many thanks to Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh for sponsoring the tour!

Sunday, April 10, 2016 – Morning

Church Services

Sunday, March 13 – Rev. Joann Simonson Will Preach

Albright Sunday Service (1)

Did you know that Albright is one of the oldest continually operating congregations in the Pittsburgh area?
Thanks to the help of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Albright has been able to continue their weekly worship services in the Chapel at the East End Cooperative Ministries Community House.
This simple service lasts about 45 minutes and includes a sermon from a guest preacher, all are welcome to attend. This week we are thrilled to welcome back Rev. Joann Simonson to preach.


Friends of Albright Updates · In the News

Post-Gazette: “Historic review panel OKs designation for church”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Thursday, March 3, 2016
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Thursday, March 3, 2016

On Wednesday afternoon, we attended the public hearing on the historic designation for the Albright church building with

  • 43 letters of support
  • 820 petition signatures
  • 30 people who showed up to show their support for historic preservation of this beautiful building.

It was incredible to see the broad base of community support from all across the city, country and even from Pittsburghers who are currently living in Prague.
The Historic Review Commission voted 5-0 that Albright Church be designated a Pittsburgh City Landmark!

This is not the end of the historic designation process, but an important step forward for Albright.

The next step is for the recommendation to be reviewed by the city of Pittsburgh planning commission and then it goes to City Council. Dates for those meetings are TBD.

Thank you again for your continued support of this process. Stay tuned for updates.

Friends of Albright Updates

Support Historic Designation for Albright

UPDATE (2/4/2016): On Wednesday, February 3, 2016 the City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission voted to move the historic nomination forward. There will be a public hearing for the historic designation at the next Historic Review Commission Meeting on Wednesday, March 2, 2016.


Post-Gazette article on the HRC’s decision at the February meeting: “Preservation fight begins for Albright United Methodist Church in Bloomfield

You can support Albright for historic designation…

  1. Attend the Public Hearing on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 and voicing your support for historic designation. RSVP & share the Facebook event for the hearing.
  2. Send the Historic Review Commission a letter of support (sample letters and detail are below).
  3. Sign the petition & share with your friends! http://bit.ly/AlbrightPetition.
  4. Tweet your support – use the #SaveAlbright and please cc @BillPeduto & @DebGrossPGH.



On Wednesday, February 3, 2016 the City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission will review the historic nomination of the Albright United Methodist Church building which is located at 486 S. Graham Street (the corner of Centre Ave & S. Graham).

Here are the ways that you can show your support for the historic designation, the most important way to show your support is to attend the HRC meeting on Wednesday, February 3. If you are not available please follow the instructions below to send a letter of support and sign our petition.

1. Attend the Historic Review Commission Meeting

There will be time for the public to voice their support of the historic designation. If you are able to attend the HRC meeting, it would be helpful to have as many people as possible speak in favor of the historic designation. If you are planning to attend, please RSVP on Facebook or email friends@albrightpgh.com.

  • Date: The Historic Review Commission will be held on Wed, February 3, 2016. The meeting agenda is available online here.
  • Location: 200 Ross Street, 1st floor hearing room.  (Enter the building, and the hearing room is located to the right).
  • Time: The meeting starts at 12:30pm, Albright’s nomination is later on the agenda, and will likely not start until after 1:45pm.

2. Send a Letter to the Historic Review Commission Supporting Historic Designation

Please take a moment to send a letter to the Historic Review Commission expressing your support of historic designation for Albright.

Letters should be addressed to:

  • Ernie Hogan, Acting Chair, City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission

Send your email to:

  • City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission via Sarah Quinn sarah.quinn@pittsburghpa.gov

Please CC:

  • Mayor Bill Peduto bill.peduto@pittsburghpa.gov
  • Councilwoman Deb Gross deborah.gross@pittsburghpa.gov
  • Friends of Albright friends@AlbrightPGH.com

Sample Letter:

To: Ernie Hogan, Acting Chair, City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission

Dear Mr. Hogan,

I support the historic designation of the Albright United Methodist Church building located at 486 S Graham St, Pittsburgh, PA 15232.

[Optional: add your own comments about why historic designation is important]


Your Name

3. Sign the Petition

Add your name to the petition supporting Historic Designation for the Albright Church building –> http://bit.ly/AlbrightPetition

Events · History

Sun 1/31 – FREE Lecture on the History of Albright

Justin Greenawalt from East Liberty Valley Historical Society will give a lecture on the history of the Albright United Methodist Church Building on Sunday, January 31, 2016 at the East End Cooperative Ministries Community House.
Please use Entrance A on Station Street.

You can visit playster audiobooks if you are looking for best provider of premium audio books.

If you are a Facebook user, please RSVP on Facebook here.
Meet the Neighbors

Then: Christopher Zug’s House, Now: Giant Eagle Market District

Photo of Christopher Zug
Photo of Christopher Zug

Thanks to the East Liberty Valley Historical Society, we are learning lots more about the history of some of Albright’s neighbors.

Here is a post from the East Liberty Valley Historical Society on Christopher Zug, whose property is now the site of the Giant Eagle Market District.
Go to the article now.

[If you are interested in learning more about history of East Liberty and surrounding neighborhoods, be sure to like the East Liberty Valley Historical Society Facebook page.



Pittsburgh means Steel. Or at least it used to. But when we think of our City’s peerless industrial past, rarely do we realize just how many iron and steel producers there were. Sure, we’ve heard of Andrew Carnegie, but have you ever heard of James Hemphill? What about Wallace Rowe? Maybe Christopher Zug? All were iron producers. All were East Enders.

Today, we’re going to look at Christopher Zug (1807-1902). Zug was born in 1807 in Carlisle, PA. His family had emigrated from Switzerland in 1725 and settled on land that was granted by the Penn Family. He arrived in Pittsburgh in 1835; traveling here on the Pennsylvania Main-Line Canal.

After an earlier stint in wholesale dry goods, Zug took a job in the iron mills, which at that time chiefly produced nails. Keep in mind, this is an era before steel. It was also before the Great Fire of 1845. Pittsburgh was a wooden city and it was growing exponentially. Nails were in high demand!

With a little hard work and perseverance, Zug eventually became co-owner in Graff, Lindsay, & Co., a mill situated at 13th Street and Etna Street in the Strip District. In 1856, the company reincorporated as Zug & Painter, and later, Zug & Co. The mill became known as the Sable Iron Works and was located under what is now the southern abutment of the Veterans Bridge/I-279.

In stark contrast to some of his contemporaries, Zug was hailed as a champion of workers’ rights. One of his many obituaries states, “Mr. Zug was regarded as a strong friend of union labor, and the signature of Zug & Co. was the first, or one of the first, to be attached to he Amalgamated Association wage scale. Such a thing as a serious dispute at the Zug mills was entirely unknown.”

In addition to being a renowned engineer, Zug was also a noted botanist.

In the late 1880s, when Zug was well into his 80s, he built a large home at the intersection of Centre and Roup (now S. Negley Avenue). To date, no photos of the home have been found. But historic maps tell us that it was symmetrical, built of brick, and, interestingly, faced away from Centre Avenue and toward the railroad. This was a time when much of the East End was still open land. Centre Avenue was hardly the major thoroughfare that it is today. The railroad was the primary means of accessing the East End from Downtown. Zug would have wanted his house to be prominently visible to everyone traveling into the city.

We can gather from the house’s plan, its date of construction, and from its neighbors that it was probably a very stately, center tower Second Empire house.

Today, Giant Eagle Market District sits on the site of the Christopher Zug house. The house was demolished c. 1930.

Christopher Zug died in 1902 at the age of 95.

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Friends of Albright Updates

Friends of Albright 2015 Highlights

Thank you for all of your support in helping to make sure that Albright continues to be a bright spot in the community! Not only were we able to help the congregation of Albright United Methodist Church continue their weekly Sunday services (a huge thank you to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for helping to coordinate a weekly preacher), 2015 was filled with opportunities to engage the community in the future of Albright. Here are a few of the highlights!

July 26, 2015 – Albright Community Block Party

  • We hosted our first annual community block party with music, food trucks and over 150 friends and neighbors who stopped by to share ideas on how the space can better serve the community. Thank you to Pgh Taco Truck and Caustelot Creamery for bringing the food truck. And to Sister Friend, Thrival, Preservation Pittsburgh, East Liberty Valley Historic Society, Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse and Pittsburgh City Council woman Deb Gross for helping us to make this a successful event! Click here to see more photos from the event.

August 20, 2015 – Tribune Review: Pittsburgh Zoning Board considers church demolition in Shadyside


September 1, 2015 – The Bulletin: Community organizes to save local church from demolition


September 26, 2015 – Tribune Review: Old churches historically, socially important to communities


October 27 2015 – Albright Named to the YPA’s 2015 Top 10 Preservation Opportunities List


Albright is #4 on the annual list compiled by the Pittsburgh Young Preservationists of buildings to preserve. The Top 10 event was held at the Union Project in Highland Park and was a great way to celebrate Albright and to see how one church has been transformed into a vibrant community space. You can see more photos from the YPA Top Ten event here.

October 30, 2015 – Post-Gazette: Congregation fights to save old Albright church in Bloomfield from demolition


November 2015 – Friends of Albright accepted as a project of New Sun Rising

Albright-2015-newsunFriends of Albright was accepted as a project of New Sun Rising, a n organization that exists to support and catalize project that create social impact. You can make a tax deductible contribution to Friends of Albright through New Sun Rising here.

November 26, 2015 – 41st Annual Albright Community Thanksgiving Dinner


  • 150 Volunteers from all over the city of Pittsburgh and Western PA came together to cook a homemade Thanksgiving Dinner. 
  • Prepared 500 meals that were served to the community and delivered to seniors in Wilkinsburg
  • Watch a timelapse video of the Albright Thanksgiving dinner here.
  • SAVE THE DATE! The 42 Annual Albright Thanksgiving-Eve Dinner will be held on Wednesday, November 23, 2016.

December 17, 2015 – Friends of Albright receives Mary J. Paradise Award from Preservation Pittsburgh

We are honored to have our efforts to preserve and reuse the Albright Church building recognized by Preservation Pittsburgh. We are delighted that so many members of the community have come together to ensure that Albright remains a bright spot in the Bloomfield neighborhood.