Tag Archives: Egyptian Architecture

Winter Mausoleum, Allegheny Cemetery

The composite picture above is more than 75 megapixels. Expect about 22 megabytes of data if you click on it.

This is without a doubt the most spectacular Egyptian mausoleum in Pittsburgh. All the usual Egyptian elements are here, but the Winter mausoleum (1930)—whose colossal scale is hard to convey in a photograph—adds its own unique accessories. John Russell Pope, the famous beaux-arts architect, designed this mausoleum for banker Emil Winter—but “designed” is not really the right word here. The Woolworth mausoleum in Woodlawn, the Bronx, is nearly identical; Winter apparently saw it and told Pope “I want that,” and Pope gave it to him.

Mr. Winter’s amazing sphinxes bear an expression that old Pa Pitt can only describe as “snooty.”

2013-08-18-Allegheny-Cemetery-Winter-04The bronze door depicts Mr. Winter himself, large as life and in full Pharaonic regalia, about to set off for his journey into the afterlife. Even this is identical to the bronze door of the Woolworth mausoleum, except for the substitution of Mr. Winter’s face.

2013-08-18-Allegheny-Cemetery-Winter-01Inside is a stained-glass window that reminds Father Pitt of cheap illustrated Sunday-school handouts, showing Mr. Winter properly enthroned. (It was devilishly hard to get a picture of this window, because the front doors are actually backed by a mesh screen. This was the best old Pa Pitt could do.)


Hartley-Given Mausoleum, Allegheny Cemetery

A typical Egyptian temple, except perhaps that it is rather grander than usual. It was built in 1913, and we can see the elements that almost invariably mark the Egyptianness of the style: the sloping sides and the lotus columns. Over the entrance we almost always find a winged sun disk or scarab entwined by serpents.

The picture above is huge if you click on it: there’s plenty of detail to appreciate, but be aware that clicking on it will cost you about twelve and a half megabytes.

Sebastian Mueller Mausoleum, Homewood Cemetery

A standard Egyptian temple with a stained-glass view of the Pyramids. Mr. Mueller was buried here in 1938, but the mausoleum was probably built while he was still alive. Note the pristine bronze doors, by the way: much of the bronze in the Homewood Cemetery is regularly cleaned and not allowed to turn green.

Wainwright Monument, Allegheny Cemetery

The pyramid (in classical Roman rather than Egyptian shape) is unusual enough; the fact that it appears to be reading a pair of giant books makes it look a bit like one of the Daleks from Doctor Who. The books are almost completely illegible; the cemetery’s site guesses that these monuments mark the graves of the Wainwright Brothers, successful brewers in the middle 1800s.

Hamilton Monument, Homewood Cemetery

Anyone who has seen enough science-fiction television would hesitate to step through the center of this extraordinary Egyptian construction; it seems obvious that it must be some sort of time portal leading back to the days of the pharaohs, or far across the galaxy to the planet from which Egyptian architects came. The verdigris of the bronze ornamentation fits very well with the polished granite.

Alfred Reed Hamilton, who died in 1927, seems to be the earliest burial in this plot, and that sounds about right for the date of this monument.

Warden Monument, Allegheny Cemetery

In some ways this is the oddest monument in the Allegheny Cemetery, though in that category it faces some very stiff competition. It is an Egyptian-style canopy of sandstone over a marble statue that has almost entirely disintegrated. In fact we know the name “Warden” only from the cemetery’s site. We can barely make out the words “Little George” under the remains of the statue.

The Egyptian style is remarkable enough for the middle 1800s, but this monument is odder than the few other remnants of the first Egyptian revival. The pattern of holes in the sandstone seems to have been made by an amateur with too much time on his hands. The winged sun disk or scarab is the earliest occurrence of that symbol Father Pitt has found anywhere in Pittsburgh; it would later become ubiquitous on mausoleums of the second Egyptian Revival in the late 1800s and early 1900s.