Places Around Pittsburgh: Squeezed Villa
We are not really sure what happened at 5510 Centre Avenue, but the story seems to go like this. Someone had an old house, dating from the 1860s to judge from the concave sides of its mansard and gambrel roofs. It stood back from the street some 20 feet apart, and about 1930 someone decided to build two store blocks right on the street, one quoined and one crenellated to give the ensemble some class. This led the owner of the house, whether different or not, to create a villa-like effect with an arcaded portico, a horseshoe stair to street level, a miscellany of Classical decoration, and a little shrubbery, so that an air of graciousness resulted despite everything. The Japanese have perfected the art of simulating a full landscape in a little courtyard, and this beset property in Bloomfield had made a nice try at the same thing.
—Walter C. Kidney