Despite the fact that I technically live in Shaler, I still tell people that I live in Millvale. However, despite living here for about 5 years now I don’t know a whole lot about the history and architecture. I have the contact of the town historian, but before I ring him up I thought I would get out and take a look at the buildings that I’m interested in. I’m missing photos of at least one building I want to ask about because I ran out of light on my walk the other day, but this should give you an idea of what to expect as I look into these buildings over the course of the year.
I see this building every day on my way home from work and I’ve always wanted to know what it was. You can see it for yourself even if you don’t want to stop in Millvale; you can catch a glimpse of it on your left going north on Rte 28. “Stock House” is visible chiseled into the stone above the entry, so that should solve part of the mystery of its intended use. I also learned (from a group of students who studied this building in a studio at CMU) that this building used to be used as a brewery. One of Millvale’s breweries is located nearby, it would be great to someday see beer brewed here again. You’ll see a theme here where buildings in Millvale might look a little shabby but I think there could be a lot of potential. I think this is a handsome building if you lose the addition at the left, the overhang at the front and maybe restore the brick. As I understand it the building is underutilized right now; the window store is only located on the first floor. While we are on the topic of handsome buildings …
… I really love the massing and proportions of the Post Office. Notice the storefront instead of punched openings in the brick, and the entry tucked away and protected by the flat roof that comes out over it. The flagpole is designed into the geometry as well, aligned with the bit of brick on the right that comes out a little further than the rest and providing balance to the composition. It’s really nice to find buildings like this, just solid, quiet design. I hear from time to time that the building is going to be put up for sale and I’m always trying to think of something that could go into this building so that it doesn’t go away. This might be the best building to buy in the borough. And at the other end of the spectrum …
… we have the Hotel Wentz, originally owned by Pete Wentz of Fallout Boy fame (I’m assuming). If you’ve ever dreamed of running a haunted bed and breakfast, look no further than the Hotel Wentz. Or maybe you’ve dreamed of running a haunted school?
There’s the Sample School, but I don’t think it’s haunted. In fact I think you could rent an office there if you wanted.
So that rounds out all the buildings that aren’t churches. Millvale, like any tiny town, has a huge number of churches. This isn’t even an exhaustive list, just the ones I thought looked like they might still be in good shape. Churches are also what Millvale is most known for; when I mention Millvale, people usually think of Mr. Smalls (a rock club in a church) or St. Nicholas church, known for its paintings inside. In order below, we have St. Nicholas, Holy Spirit Parish, Millvale United Methodist Church, Ready Ride and Mr. Smalls (real names unknown as of now).
That’s a little overview of what there is to see in Millvale. As I said, I’m sure I’m overlooking something, I’ll bet there’s some little building tucked away somewhere that was part of the underground railroad or something. If there’s anything you’ve always been curious about, let me know and I’ll see if I can track anything down.