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Wallace & McAlister Buildings, 631-633 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA

Wallace & McAlister Buildings, 631-633 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA



Written data includes sketches photocopies of maps & photographs.
Significance: The buildings at 631-633 Liberty Avenue were significant for both their original role as produce commission houses in the 1890s and subsequent use as mercantile stores unified by a common facade in 1913. The construction of the Wallace Building (631) and McAlister Building (633) in 1894 marked the height of the produce commission trade that located along Liberty Avenue from Sixth and Eleventh streets in the latter half of the 19th century. John Wallace and McAlister Bros. were well-established within their trade, having been in the district long before they built new warehouses. Architecturally, both buildings once reflected Pittsburgh's romance with Richardsonian Romanesque style and massing as interpreted by prominent local architects T.H. Scott (631) and John P. Brennan (633). Finally, the buildings were important as a barometer of change in this area of downtown Pittsburgh. While commission merchants such as Wallace and McAlister moved southwest towards Ferry and Water streets and the B&O Railroad lines or east towards 21st Street in the early twentieth century, more luxurious retailers, wholesalers, and offices took their place. The refacing of 631 and 633 with a single terra cotta Jacobean-Gothic facade reflected the area's transition into a fashionable commerce center.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-202, FN-211
Survey number: HABS PA-5150
Building/structure dates: 1894 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1913 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: ca. 1948 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: ca. 1948 Subsequent Work



Historic American Buildings Survey, creator
Wallace, John
McAlister Brothers
Scott, Thomas H
Brennan, John P
Kerr & Fox
Wilson, J Charles
Wallace, James H
Murphy & Hamilton
Trumball, Rebecca, field team
Hnedak, John, project manager
Marsico, Dennis, photographer
Snyder, Philip, delineator
Bertola, John, delineator
Benenson, Carol A, historian
Thomas, George E, historian
Kingsland, Roger L, delineator


Pittsburgh (Pa.)40.44221, -80.00079
Google Map of 40.4422101, -80.0007878


Library of Congress

Copyright info

No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted. http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/114_habs.html