Emmanuel’s “Bake-Oven” Church building is considered to be one of H.H. Richardson’s best. The massive structure has been celebrated by architectural historians as “Pittsburgh’s most important religious building” and along with the courthouse and jail, one of the most important pieces of architecture in the city. Completed in 1886 at the cost of $25,000, the fortress-like church building has served Emmanuel’s congregation for over a century.
Inside, the massive rafters that stretch across the huge paneled ceiling give the impression of “the overturned hull of a great ship”. The interior feels both spacious and intimate and displays the most remarkable acoustics — a marvelous setting not only for worship, but for concerts and performance.
Richardson’s use of dark wood and strong lines emphasize the delicate beauty of the white marble chancel which was added in 1898. Glass mosaic “Gibson Girl” angels glisten above the altar.
Emmanuel has long been recognized for the masterpiece of design that it is. In 1968 it gained status as a Historical Landmark from the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation and has been listed on the National Register of Historical Places since 1974. As of 2000 we became a National Historic Landmark, one of only eight in Pittsburgh.
Pop City Media featured Emmanuel as a “don’t miss site” when visiting Pittsburgh.
Read more about the building in “Architectural Praise” by James D. Van Trump
A Rich Combination
Moved by the Holy Spirit, the teenaged daughter of a local family who worshipped at Trinity Cathedral, saw the need for a Sunday School to reach the children in her neighborhood. She invited the children to meet in her home. When the parents of these children began meeting also and her home became too small, a congregation was born. The name Emmanuel was chosen as it was obvious that “God is with us.” That was 1868, and the rest is history.
The simplicity of the structure, the beauty of the altar, and the genuineness of the people make Emmanuel “home” to those that gather here. We welcome those who are looking for a church family to “come and see.”
The virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” ~ Matthew 1:23