Charles M. Stotz Photographs

What's online?

The Charles M. Stotz online collection contains images documenting the buildings featured in Stotz’s 1936 book, The Early Architecture of Western Pennsylvania. Photographs were chosen for the quality of the image and to show a broad representation of styles, structures, and locations.

What's in the entire collection?

The collection, held by the Library & Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center, comprises over 4,500 photographs from the book The Early Architecture of Western Pennsylvania. This book was the result of the Western Pennsylvania Architectural Survey, undertaken by the Preservation of Historic Monuments Committee, of which Charles Stotz was chairman. The survey recorded all buildings in the region which were built prior to 1860. The counties covered in the survey include Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Venango, Warren, Washington, and Westmoreland.

A wide range of structures were photographed, including houses, churches, mills, springhouses, cemeteries, barns, inns, tollhouses, smokehouses, and statues. Most images were taken by Stotz, an amateur photographer, but a few are identified as taken by Luke Swank, who was hired to work on the project. There are a few photographs that were donated to the survey that date before the 1930's; they show buildings that had been demolished by that time. Not all images in the book are in the collection; not all images in the collection were used in the book.

Other images in the Stotz collection include photographs of the restoration of Fort Pitt, Fort Ligonier, Old Economy, and various other structures. There are also several folders of random projects of Stotz’s.

About Charles M. Stotz

Charles Morse Stotz was a prominent architect and proponent of historic preservation in Pittsburgh and the greater Western Pennsylvania region. Born in 1899 in Ingram, Pennsylvania, Stotz attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and received a Bachelor's degree in architecture in 1921, and a year later completed his Master’s. In 1923 he joined his father's architectural firm. In 1936 his father retired, and the name changed to Charles M. and Edward Stotz Jr., Architect and Engineer, and lasted for 27 years. Besides the design and construction of institutional buildings, Stotz was active in both architectural and historic preservation communities. He served as the secretary (1935-1936) and president (1940-1941) of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). His research with the survey prompted him to produce the book, The Early Architecture of Western Pennsylvania.

Stotz's life-long devotion to historic preservation began with his involvement with the restoration of Old Economy village in Beaver County. He also became involved with another restoration project, Fort Ligonier in Ligonier, Westmoreland County. Stotz broke new ground in historic preservation as the Fort Ligonier project was the first to completely restore the earth and lumber construction of the 18th century fort. Through that project, he became the leading expert on 18th century forts in North America. In the late 1940s, his firm was asked to work on the Fort Pitt component of Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh. An actual reconstruction of the fort was deemed too costly and Stotz focused his attentions on the museum which was to be built at Point State Park. He was given extensive intellectual control of the planning of the exhibits in the museum, and his work there lasted well into the late 1960's. He co-authored the book Drums in the Forest with Alfred James Proctor, which dealt with the French and Indian War in Western Pennsylvania. Published in 1958 by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, the book was the Society’s contribution to the celebration of Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial in 1958-59.

In 1963, Stotz formed a new firm of Stotz, McLaughlin, and Hess. In his later years, he was a consultant for restoration projects throughout the region, including Compass Inn, Drake Well, Hanna's Town, Johnston Tavern, Neal Cabin, Stone House, Washington's Mill, and Wilson's Birthplace. After 1969, he began working on the book Outposts of the War for Empire, published by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania in 1985. Shortly before the release of the book, Charles Stotz died at the age of 86 on March 6, 1985.

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