Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Field Trip: Pittsburgh

Inspecting a Stanley Steamer at the Frick Car & Carriage Museum.
We drove up to Pittsburgh two weekends ago for a short visit with dear friends.  In addition to wonderful conversations, meals, and kiddos playing and reading together, we did some fun building- and vehicle- and music-related sight-seeing.  At the University of Pittsburgh, we toured Heinz Chapel, where we appreciated the stained-glass windows that celebrate artists, musicians, and writers rather than traditional religious saints.  N. especially enjoyed hearing the organ pipes booming during a student lesson as we explored the neo-Gothic chapel.  Also at Pitt we were shown around the Cathedral of Learning (including many of its "nationality classrooms").  N. thought this was a very cool academic building. 

We also toured Clayton, the late nineteenth-century house of Henry Clay Frick and his family.  N. really liked the Fricks' orchestrion, which is an automatic orchestral music machine, sort of like a player organ with additional instruments (in this case, percussion).  We appreciated that the docent leading the house tour was more honest than most grand-house-guides about Frick's ruthlessness toward the laborers whose work funded his Gilded Age mansion and art collection.  The docent explained in detail Frick's conflicts with the striking workers in 1892.  (This was in marked contrast to the presentation at Biltmore, where the sources of Vanderbilt wealth are opaque.) 

On the grounds of Clayton there is a Car and Carriage Museum and N. loved seeing all kinds of fancy and odd old vehicles, including a Pierce Arrow that reminded us of Cheaper By the Dozen, although it was probably in much better condition than the Gilbreth's old jalopy.  And another day the guys in our group went to the Pittsburgh International Auto Show to ogle acres of new cars.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

love it!