Music Building (University of Pittsburgh)

Music Building
Music Building at the University of Pittsburgh
Coordinates: 40°26′47.88″N 79°57′7.89″W / 40.4466333°N 79.9521917°W / 40.4466333; -79.9521917Coordinates: 40°26′47.88″N 79°57′7.89″W / 40.4466333°N 79.9521917°W / 40.4466333; -79.9521917
Built: 1884
Architect: Longfellow, Alden & Harlow
Architectural style: Richardsonian Romanesque
Governing body: University of Pittsburgh
Part of: Schenley Farms Historic District (#83002213)
Added to NRHP: July 22, 1983[1]
Music Building from Bellefield Avenue

The Music Building is an academic building of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, and a contributing property to the Schenley Farms National Historic District.[2][3] The original mansion was designed by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow as a sandstone Richardsonian Romanesque mansion in 1884.[4] The mansion was commissioned by Carrie T. Holland, youngest daughter of pioneer Pittsburgh iron manufacturer James K. Moorehead, as a gift for her husband William Jacob Holland, pastor of Bellefield Presbyterian Church at Fifth and Bellefield avenues in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. William Jacob Holland was also a nationally recognized zoologist, paleontologist, and entomologist and went on to become a trustee (1886) and then chancellor (1891-1901) of the University of Pittsburgh, then called the Western University of Pennsylvania.[5]

The Holland's house sat across the street from Holland's church, Bellefield Presbyterian, a wooden structure that was replaced by a stone Richardsonian Romanesque structure designed by Frederick J. Osterling in 1890 that matched his house. The Hollands sold their house some time before 1912. It became a Knights of Columbus club before being purchased in 1936 by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company for laboratory operations of its subsidiary, Columbia-Southern Chemical Corporation.[6] Pittsburgh Plate Glass donated the building to the University of Pittsburgh in 1953 in order for the university to establish it as the home for the city's first educational television station, WQED.[7] The building therefore became the original home of the Public Broadcasting Service station, and the original production site of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, before becoming the home of Pitt's music department.[8]

A one-story addition was added presumably in the 1920s which was given a Richardsonian Romanesque stone facing , estimated to have been added in the 1950s, that matched the original house. The Music Building was renovated in 2003 which included the installation of elevators.[4] It also houses the Music Department Library, a piano lab, the electronic music studio, the ethnomusicology lab, a student/faculty lounge, practice rooms, teaching studios, offices, seminar rooms, and classrooms.[8][9] It also contains the William Russell Robinson Recording Studio that is a 32-track digital recording facility which offer students hands-on experience in the latest recording techniques and technology.[10]

In 1967, the Bellefield Presbyterian Church merged with and moved to the First United Presbyterian Church at Fifth and Thackeray, which adopted its name. The old church was dismantled in 1985 except for its tower, which still stands.[5]


Music Building at the University of Pittsburgh. Ruskin Hall can be seen behind the building on the left.

The Theodore M. Finney Music Library is located in the basement of the Music Building and contains a general music research collection as well as several collections of important musical materials. The library's holdings include approximately 65,000 music scores and books, 25,000 sound recordings, 1,500 microforms, and 150 journals. Collections include Early American hymnals and tunebooks, volumes of sheet music with regional significance, seventeenth and eighteenth century prints of English sacred and secular works, and music belonging to the late William Steinberg and Fidelis Zitterbart.[11]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-09. 
  2. ^ Mann, Christina, "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form: Schenley Farms Historic District", Cultural Resources Geographic Information System (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation),, retrieved 2010-10-10 
  3. ^ Saja, Mike (1997-01-23). "Hearing set on historic landmark nomination for two Pitt buildings". University Times (University of Pittsburgh). Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  4. ^ a b Pfaffmann, Rob (2005-09), University of Pittsburgh Civic Center Conservation Plan, Pfaffmann + Associates, PC and the Getty Foundation Campus Heritage Program, pp. 129–131,, retrieved 2010-01-27 
  5. ^ a b Alberts, Robert C. (1986). Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh, 1787-1987. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-8229-1150-7.;cc=pittmiscpubs;idno=00c50130m;node=00c50130m:56;size=l;frm=frameset;seq=59. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  6. ^ "Building Given Pitt for New TV Station". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA) 27 (4): p. 13. 1953-08-06. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  7. ^ "Building Given Pitt for New TV Station". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA) 27 (4): p. 1. 1953-08-06. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  8. ^ a b "Music Building". Pitt Tour. University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  9. ^ "Facilities". Department of Music. University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  10. ^ "William Russell Robinson Recording Studio". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  11. ^ "Theodore M. Finney Music Library". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 

External links

Preceded by
Log Cabin
University of Pittsburgh Buildings
Music Building

Constructed: 1884
Succeeded by
Chancellor's Residence

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