Pittsburgh City-County Building

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Pittsburgh City-County Building
Pittsburgh City-County Building in 2016.jpg
Front view of the Pittsburgh City-County Building across from Grant St.
Alternative names City Hall
General information
Type Neo-Classical, Beau-Arts
Architectural style Classical Revival
Location Pittsburgh, United States
Address 414 Grant Street
Coordinates 40.4381, -79.9969
Construction started July 5, 1915
Completed December 1917
Cost $2.771 million
$62.3 million in 2017 dollars
Owner City of Pittsburgh, County of Allegheny
Height 144 feet
Diameter 300 feet X 183 feet
Technical details
Floor count 10
Design and construction
Architect Henry Hornbostel
Architecture firm Palmer, Hornbostel & Jones
Structural engineer McClintic-Marshall & Co.
Other designers R. Gustavino, Charles Keck
Main contractor James L. Stewart

The Pittsburgh City-County Building is the seat of government the City of Pittsburgh and houses both Pittsburgh and Allegheny County offices. It is located in Downtown Pittsburgh at 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Built from 1915-17 it is the third seat of government of Pittsburgh. Today the building is occupied mostly by Pittsburgh offices with Allegheny County located in adjacent county facilities.


Architect’s rendering, published in 1916
The Pittsburgh City-County Building (right) is adjacent to the Allegheny County Courthouse (left)

In 1914, a competition was held for a new Pittsburgh City Hall. The 16-entry competition led to the commissioning of Edward B. Lee, a respected Pittsburgh architect, with Palmer, Hornbostel, & Jones as associated architects. The completed design was done by Hornbostel.[1] The building was commissioned by former Pittsburgh Mayor Joseph G. Armstrong to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pittsburgh's 1816 incorporation as a city.

The Grand Lobby is a naturally lit atrium with a 47-foot high barrel-vaulted ceiling. The ceiling is held up by bronze columns crafted by Louis Tiffany Studios. They feature at their bases, the Seals of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, frontiersman Guyasuta, and Pittsburgh's oldest surviving building, the Fort Pitt Blockhouse. The rooms ornate elevator doors feature a series of reliefs detailing the previous homes of municipal government. The reliefs age with the building's they clutch, reaching adulthood with the present City-County Building and Allegheny County Courthouse. [2]

The building is also unique in that most of the furniture was designed by the building's architect, Hornbostel. The Office of the Mayor, Council Chamber, and Supreme Court Room all feature 1917 furniture still in use today.

On the seventh floor of the building is a massive mural completed in 1940 entitled "Justice" by award winning artist Harry Scheuch.[3]

Popular culture

1922's In the Name of the Law starred Pittsburgh Pirates great and future Hall of Famer Honus Wagner as the hero, as a Pittsburgh Police Superintendent pitched baseballs off the 144-foot-high roof in the film's climax.

Mayor Magee and the City Hall were featured in 1924's Fording the Lincoln Highway.[4]

1992's Lorenzo's Oil used the building to shoot scenes depicting Johns Hopkins Hospital.[5]

Many scenes of the Bruce Willis and Sarah Jessica Parker 1993 police drama Striking Distance were filmed both inside and on the Grant Street entrance to the building. Most notable is the nighttime scene of Dennis Farina's supervisor character arguing with Willis' "Tom Hardy" over the "Polish Hill" documents.

Scenes of the 1997-98 Superman remake Superman Lives were slated to be filmed in the building's "crystal palace" grand mezzanine and serving as Daily Planet offices but production was delayed by Warner Brothers.[6]


Pittsburgh City-County Building Portico along Grant Street

External links

Media related to Pittsburgh City-County Building at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ pittsburghpa.gov http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/city-county-100/index.html. Retrieved 13 September 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ pittsburghpa.gov http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/city-county-100/index.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Pitz, Marylynne (2009-04-20). "Legacy of FDR's public art program proves indelible | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Post-gazette.com. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  4. ^ "Fording the Lincoln Highway - Ten Millionth Ford (1924)". YouTube. 2009-05-26. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  5. ^ "The Digs: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Oct. 17, 1991: In the autumn of 1991, a 40-foot". Pgdigs.tumblr.com. 1991-10-17. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  6. ^ "Can Pittsburgh Survive A `Superman' Invasion? Business As Usual - tribunedigital-mcall". Articles.mcall.com. 1998-04-16. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  7. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XEwbAAAAIBAJ&sjid=cEsEAAAAIBAJ&dq=carnegie%20library%20downtown&pg=3395%2C1411672

Coordinates: 40°26′17″N 79°59′49″W / 40.4381°N 79.9969°W / 40.4381; -79.9969

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