Saturday, May 4, 2013

Meado'cots: 425 - 447 Rosedale Street and 7817 - 1823 Madiera Street, group cottages

Visiting the Meado'cots, which are nestled in the neighborhood of Homewood, took me out of my comfort zone today!  This article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette references both Homewood's historic architecture and its history of violence.

So, when I first found Scheibler's Meado'cots in Homewood, it was dark outside, so I stayed in my car.  They're amazing, though, and they're also on the historic landmark registry, so I was dying to explore them.

So this morning at 6am, I enlisted my most fearless friend and headed over.

Ken, maybe hamming it up just a little.
I knew to take Ken seriously when, after a few minutes, he cheerfully urged me to hurry, and to try not to draw too much attention to myself.

I hurried and snapped my photos while Ken gallantly explained to an angry resident that I was only interested in "Frederick G. Scheibler, the architect."


Back to the Meado'cots. They are amazing. Scheibler originally designed 20 cottages in 1912. Sixteen were built. This schematic plan is from (where else?!) Martin Aurand's book:

I actually managed to stumble into them the first time by complete accident while I was coming home from the Singer Place rowhouses. I recognized the Meado'cots instantly by two signature Scheibler elements: the corner windows and diagonal doors. It was them! The Meado'cots!!!

The Beacon Street houses, designed in the same year (1912) also have the diagonally-placed doors. See?

And, in another signature move, Scheibler makes great use of the outside, with a winding walkway through a sprawling yard.

The cluster seems, like the Old Heidelberg, both meticulously planned and delightfully random. Aurand writes about the "freedom of composition" here.

This photo didn't turn out very well but I include it to show you how walls join each group of cottages. 

However, the Meado'cots are not looking well these days. Another Scheibler fan  told me that the Meado'cots are being restored.

Ken with Meado'cots trash heap.

Aurand writes that Scheibler designed Meado'cots for middle class tenants. The fact that he created such aesthetically pleasing group homes (they may even have originally had tennis courts!) with the economy in mind made him truly progressive and even unique in America.

Once again, I'd love to see inside these homes... but this time, I'm pretty sure I never will!

So long, Meado'cots!

P.S. You can see even more photos over here! 


  1. You got guts! I've admired the M-cots for some time now. It was only last week that I found out they were done by Scheibler. Almost exited my Sonata to take pictures. But I was alone and I also heard that they were designated for restoration. Maybe better to wait for images that can make almost anyone appreciate these structures.
    Anyway...hope we both get to see them in much better condition.

    1. Thanks for commenting! If you find out anything about the restoration, please let me know okay?

  2. Another great blog entry! These are so wonderfully designed, but in such disrepair. Makes one wonder how they came to be this way! How in the world do such unique and artistic houses like these fall into such disrepair? The word restore scares me. Restore as in restore them to their original condition with modern bathrooms and kitchens sensitive to the original intent of the architecture would be great. But what if they're not restored, but remodeled in a completely insensitive manner as I've seen happen to so many other buildings in Pittsburgh over the years. The other pressing thing on my mind regarding these is that your blog states that Scheibler originally designed these for middle class tenants, but will they be restored for upper middle class or remodeled for low income. In either of those cases, I wouldn't stand a chance of ever living there. In one way or another, I just hope that they are saved and not just simply torn down.