BLEND EXPANDING TO PITTSBURGH
January 12, 2016
History of Cigars | BLEND Bar Cigar | Davidoff Cigars
The History of Cigars
January 22, 2016

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BLEND PITTSBURGH

It is the goal of the owners of BLEND to incorporate as much history and architectural symmetry as possible into BLEND Pittsburgh, recognizing the historical significance and grandeur of the Koppers Building and the City of Pittsburgh.  The following are some of the design plans and elements currently included in construction plans.  All design and architectural plans have been personally developed and sourced by the owners of BLEND in consultation with Rugby Realty.

 1.    RB MELLON MANSION MARBLE

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Original marble pieces which were salvaged from the RB Mellon Mansion were discovered in Minneapolis, MN.  These pieces were remnants of the marble from the Mellon Mansion which was used to construct the Mount Saint Peters Church during the 1940’s. The pieces sat in Marble Hall of the church until no longer of use.  The following is some of the architectural history of the marble.  It is with great pleasure of the Blend owners to be able to return the marble to Pittsburgh and incorporate into a building built by RB Mellon’s brother, Andrew Mellon.

History

Richard B Mellon house completed in 1909 in the infamous ‘Squirrel Hill’ neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. The estate was one of the most expensive homes built on the east coast with 65 rooms, 11 baths, LC Tiffany stained glass, extensive gardens and the walls were lined with French marble.

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This highly carved double arch with elaborate Corinthian capitals, acanthus leaf motif, and dragons was part of this grandiose wall treatment. With the expanse of the coal industry in Pittsburgh the air quality deteriorated to the point where the millionaires of Squirrel Hill left the dirty downtown area to the countryside and Mellon’s estate was demolished in 1941.

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Some of the estate was donated to the city and a local church where much of it remained until recently. The original foot print of the house and garden structures remain and is now Mellon Park in downtown Pittsburgh.

Architect Enos Cooke of New Kensington developed the plan for the church building.[19] In 1940, a friend of the church, John Stanish, informed Mt. St. Peter’s congregation that the Mellon mansion, 6500 Fifth Avenue, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was to be demolished. Stanish had worked for the three Mellon brothers until the last of them died in 1938. The Mellon family had spent years entertaining important people, including royalty, celebrities, well known financiers, and statesmen in the Mellon Mansion.

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It was built using Michigan sandstone and was four stories high on one side and three stories high on the other. The mansion had sixty-five rooms, plus halls and vestibules. There were 11 bathrooms, one of which had cost over $10,000 to complete because the walls and floor were covered in Italian marble and the fixtures were plated in gold.[20] At one time, a hundred servants had maintained the house and surrounding grounds. The mansion had been completed in 1909 and had cost Mr. Mellon approximately three million dollars.

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The inside was filled with marble from all over the world, including China, Japan, and India. There were bronze doors cast in England, hand painted ceilings, and steel beams manufactured by the Carnegie Steel Company. In addition, one of the most expensive organs in the world was housed in this building.[21]

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The items which the mansion contained were being sold for less than their actual values. For example, a half a million dollars worth of furniture had been sold for $3,800. The building contained many items that could easily be used in a church. There were mantles that could become altars and pieces of architecture, such as angel statues, that could be placed in Mount St. Peter Church. In 1940, St. Peter’s congregation bought all of the stone, granite, marble, bronze doors, and railings from the mansion.

In addition, the congregation purchased thirty tons of steel beams, sixty-five oak doors, chandeliers, and some other items, and the members transported all of the marble 27 miles (43 km) from Pittsburgh to New Kensington.[22] The location of the mansion is now home to Mellon Park.

2.    ART DECO LIGHTING

buildinglights1The following art deco grand lighting fixtures were salvaged out of an old LA Theater and are believed to have been made during the 1920’s or 1930’s.  These fixtures and massive in scale, measuring up to 6’ in height and each weighing approx. 150 pounds.

buildinglights2In keeping with the design of the Koppers Building and its reputation of one of the grandest art deco designs in the U.S., these fixtures will help connect the style of the building with the design of the BLEND cigar lounge.

These pieces were sourced from a Beverly Hills, CA antiques dealer who has many pieces of his work in the White House and who sourced the furniture for the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House.

3.    WALL SCONCES

Rare and classic is this collection of vintage wall lighting sconces with original vintage shades.  All light fixtures signed “Moe Bridges.” Refinished in the original color of Sunset Golden. Rewired, tested, and comes with mounting brackets so they are ready to install.  These sconces were produced during the 1930’s.

wallsources1The Moe Brothers (Henrik and Ole), together with a number of other entrepreneurs, owned the Moe-Bridges Co., a lighting fixture manufacturer formed in 1919. As a result of friction among the Moe-Bridges management, however, the Moe brothers were frozen out of the company in the late 1920s by the majority owners. Deciding to stay with the industry they knew, the Moes formed another lighting fixture company called Moe Brothers Manufacturing. Henrik’s two sons joined the business in the early 1930s, and in 1938, the company moved its operations from Milwaukee to Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

wallsources1During World War II, Moe Brothers stopped making their standard product lines in order to produce materials for the war effort. At the close of the war, in 1946, Moe Brothers received a large contract from Sears to produce household pressure cookers. Although the company had not previously manufactured pressure cookers, the large stamping presses they had obtained for the war gave them the production capabilities for the job. The brothers planned to use sales revenues from the pressure cooker contract to return to the lighting fixture business. Unfortunately, Sears rescinded the company’s contract due to a product malfunction. In the aftermath of the contract loss, pressured by the bank to repay existing debt, the Moe brothers decided to sell the company.

Moe Brothers was purchased in 1948 by a Louisville investment group headed by Lee Thomas. Thomas, the former president of Ekco Products in Chicago, had recently purchased a small saw business in Louisville and was looking for further investment opportunities. His new purchase was renamed Moe Light, and a national advertising campaign was launched to promote residential lighting fixtures. Two years later, Moe Light expanded by opening a new residential lighting factory in Kentucky and acquiring the Los Angeles-based Star Lighting Fixture Company.

Height: 12 1/8 inches Width: 6 3/4 inches Projection: 4 1/2 inches

4.    LARGE WROUGHT, FORGED, MACHINED STEEL FENCE PANEL

The following steel fence panel, while its origin is unknown, is consistent in its art deco design and with its steel structure, will help to connect the art deco design of the building and space with the rich history of the City of Pittsburgh in the steel industry.  It is believed to have been designed in the spirit of Louis Henry Sullivan (“The Father of Skyscrapers”) or Frank Lloyd Wright.

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