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Frederick J. Osterling

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Frederick J. Osterling
Frederick John Osterling

October 4, 1865
DiedJuly 5, 1934
Parent(s)Philip and Bertha Osterling
The Union Trust Building (1917) in Downtown Pittsburgh

Frederick John Osterling (October 4, 1865 – July 5, 1934) was an American architect, practicing in Pittsburgh from 1888.


Frederick J. Osterling Office and Studio

Frederick J. Osterling was born to Philip and Bertha Osterling in Dravosburg, Pennsylvania, on October 4, 1865. The Osterling family moved to Allegheny City when Frederick was young. Following his schooling in Allegheny City, Osterling began work in the office of Joseph Stillburg, and was published in American Architect and Building News at age 18.[1] Following a period of European travel, he launched his own practice in 1888. During his career he designed many prominent Pittsburgh buildings, such as the Union Trust Building (1915–17). According to Martin Aurand, Architecture Librarian at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh,[2] Osterling's practice faltered after controversy relating to his anticipated alteration to the landmark H.H. Richardson Allegheny County Courthouse and a public lawsuit filed by the industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Osterling's studio was in a building he designed himself in 1917 at 228 Isabella Street in Pittsburgh's North Shore neighborhood.

Some of Osterling's works are pictured in a book entitled, " F. J. Osterling Architect", Murdoch-Kerr Press, Pittsburg, 1904. The book contains about 40 plates (some lithos, some artists drawings) depicting Osterling's works. These plates include views of the Washington County, Pennsylvania Court House, its portico and law library; the entrance and smoking room of the Syria Temple (Pittsburgh); and the residences H.H. Westinghouse and other notable Western Pennsylvanians. He died on July 5, 1934, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Significant buildings designed by Osterling[edit]

All buildings are in Pittsburgh unless otherwise stated; italics denote a registered Historic Landmark:

Byrnes & Kiefer Building
Armstrong Cork Company (1901), now The Cork Factory Lofts in the Strip District neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
  • Charles Schwab House (541 Jones Avenue, North Braddock), 1889
  • Heinz Company Factories[citation needed], 1889
  • Bellefield Presbyterian Church (Bellefield and 5th Ave) 1889; only the bell tower remains),[3]
  • Westinghouse Air Brake Company General Office Building (Wilmerding, Pennsylvania), 1889–1890
  • Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania Building, now Verizon Building (416-420 Seventh Avenue), 1890
  • Marine Bank Building, later known as Fort Pitt Federal Building (301 Smithfield Street), 1890
  • Times Building (334-336 Fourth Avenue), 1892
  • Byrnes & Kiefer Building(1133 Penn Avenue), 1892
  • Clayton, now the Frick Art & Historical Center, 1892 remodeling by Osterling of an 1870s house at 7200 Penn Avenue. This was the home of Henry Clay Frick, the industrialist.
  • First Methodist Church, now Shadyside Seventh Day Adventist Church (821 South Aiken Avenue), 1893
  • Chautauqua Lake Ice Company Warehouse, now the Heinz History Center (1212 Smallman Street), 1898
  • Washington County Courthouse & Jail (Washington, Pennsylvania), 1899–1900
  • Allegheny County Morgue (Originally on Forbes Avenue; the building was physically moved to 542 Fourth Avenue in 1929), built 1901
Washington County Jail (1899)
Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls, PA (1903)



  1. ^ Frederick J. Osterling Photographs, ca. 1889-c1910, DAR.2014.01 Archived 2015-12-12 at the Wayback Machine, The Darlington Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
  2. ^ Aurand, Frederick J. Osterling and a Tale of Two Buildings, exhibition catalogue, Pennsylvania Heritage 15:2
  3. ^ Kidney, Walter C. (2005). Oakland. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 0-7385-3867-1. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
  4. ^ Lu Donnelly; H. David Brumble IV; Franklin Toker (2010). Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburg and Western Pennsylvania. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. p. 304. ISBN 9780813928234.
  5. ^ "Agreement submitted to the Board of Trustees by F.J. Osterling". U. Grant Miller Library Digital Archives. Washington & Jefferson College. January 2, 1901. Retrieved 2010-04-24.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Washington Trust Building up for sale". Observer Reporter. Washington, Pennsylvania. 2010-04-26. Retrieved 2010-05-07. [dead link]
  7. ^ Lubenau, Joel O. (Winter 2011). "Vanadium: Stained Gglass, Helpful Metal". Western Pennsylvania History. 94 (4): 52. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  8. ^ Post-Gazette, May 3, 2003

External links[edit]


  • J. Franklin Nelson, comp. Works of F. J. Osterling, Architect, Pittsburg. Pittsburgh: Murdoch-Kerr Press, 1904.
  • Franklin Toker, Buildings of Pittsburgh, Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8139-2650-6.
  • Franklin Toker, Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995, ISBN 978-0-8229-5434-7..
  • James D. Van Trump & Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr., Landmark Architecture of Allegheny County Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 1967, No ISBN.