The Mount Pleasant Historic District was listed the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.
The Mount Pleasant Historic District in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania is approximately 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, ten miles south of the county seat at Greensburg and five miles north of Scottdale. The town lies on a rolling plain at the base of Chestnut Ridge which is the western most ridge of the Allegheny Mountains. The district boundaries encompass Main Street (Route 31) from Quarry Street to the Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks, College Avenue, South Church Street, and Eagle Street. Within the boundaries are three hundred and twenty-six resources including approximately two hundred residential buildings, one hundred and one commercial buildings, nine religious buildings, fourteen miscellaneous buildings, one site, and one object. The district contains two National Register listed buildings, the Samuel N. Warden House, at 200 South Church Street, and the Mount Pleasant Armory at Eagle Street and Spring Streets. At the intersection of Main and Diamond Streets is a contributing object, a doughboy monument. A large green space, Frick Park, is a contributing site between South Church and Eagle Streets. The buildings of the district are vernacular Georgian, Italianate, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles dating from the early nineteenth century through the early twentieth century. Fifty-six of the three hundred and twenty-six resources are non-contributing. They are interspersed throughout the district, having little effect on the integrity of the district as a whole. Outbuildings present in the district are generally small and not included in the resource inventory. Scattered parking lots are also excluded from the resource inventory.
Mount Pleasant Historic District includes a one block deep Main Street with commercial, civic, religious and residential buildings. Most of the commercial buildings exist in the block of Main Street between Church Street to the west and Diamond Street to the east. At the intersection of Main and Diamond Streets is a small square in which the buildings are set further back from Main Street. At the center of the square is a doughboy monument. The small square is a minor uncounted landscape feature not included in the resource inventory. Eagle Street, Church Street, and College Avenue extend perpendicularly from Main Street to the south, constituting the main residential portion of the district. South Church Street has the largest residential lots and generally the largest, most architecturally distinctive houses of the district. Other streets, especially College Avenue and portions of Eagle Street, have more tightly-spaced houses on smaller lots and shorter set backs from the street. The district also has a green space, Frick Park between South Church Street and Eagle Streets.
Multiple-story commercial buildings of a vernacular character represent Mount Pleasant's early development as a local commercial center. Most of the commercial buildings are red brick with first floor businesses, three or more openings across the facade, a gable roof, and corbeled eaves. Two early commercial examples are the circa 1860 Overholt General Store at 75 1-753 Main Street and the circa 1870 harness shop at 790 Main Street. The 2 1/2 story, painted-brick, Overholt Store is a row building with a gabled roof and original brick corbeling at the eaves of the east elevation. It currently functions as an apartment house. The 2 1/2 story painted-brick harness shop has four openings across the second floor facade. It was modified circa 1920 with new windows and a hipped dormer at the roof.
Further evidence of Mount Pleasant's 1880s commercial development is a warehouse, two extant hotels, and a former bank. All four buildings are brick with flat roofs concealed behind parapets walls. The circa 1880 brick warehouse was erected on a stone foundation at the corner of Church and Smithfield Streets, Details of the building include brick pilasters, double hung sash windows, and stepped parapet walls. The East End Hotel at 19 East Main Street is a three-story brick building erected circa 1885. It had Colonial and Classical Revival embellishments added in the early twentieth century, including cornices between the first and second floors and at the roof line. The other hotel in the district is located at 512-5 14 Main Street, Built as the Grand Central Hotel circa 1895, it is a three-story building with a rusticated stone first floor facade. The upper levels of the facade are divided into three sections by means of brick pilasters and capped with a decorative cornice that conceals the flat roof. The building retains integrity and currently functions as a restaurant and home to the Sons of Italy Club. One commercial Queen Anne style building is located at 207 Main Street. This circa 1890, three story building has five openings on the facade, decorative window hoods, a deep cornice, and a semicircular three story bay window. The first floor storefront which functioned historically as a bank is intact.
Yellow and red brick commercial buildings with brick corbeling were typical in Mount Pleasant at the-turn-of the-century. The buildings at 18 and 20 South Church Street are circa 1900, flat-roofed brick buildings with two openings on the facade. Each building has a yellow brick veneer, sandstone lintels, and a first floor storefront. Number 20 South Church Street has a decorative cornice above the storefront and segmentally arched window heads at the second floor. Number 18 South Church Street is an antique shop while number 20 houses apartments. Both buildings have good integrity. Similar in detailing to the previously- mentioned building at 207 Main Street, is 755-757 Main Street. Built circa 1900, the three story, red brick building has a sloping roof. On the second and third floors, above the first floor storefront, are five tall openings with sandstone lintels and sills. The roof line has brick corbeling and metal work at the parapet. An arched entrance on the corner of the first floor and an arched porch on the second floor distinguish the two story circa 1905 red brick Rimbauch Building at 509 Main Street from other buildings in the district. The original first floor storefront remains intact, and the building's name is visible above the simple sandstone cornice. The three story circa 1905 Gerecter Furniture Building at 609-6 11 Main Street has a yellow brick veneer on the facade, a first floor storefront, two second floor window openings, and four window openings on the third and fourth floors. All the facade openings have keystones. As with the majority of the commercial buildings in the district, it has corbeling at the roof line.
The 1905 Citizens Savings and Trust Company and First National Bank at the corner of Main and Church Streets is the most architecturally decorative commercial building in the district. The three story building is of red brick construction with beige brick veneer on the Main and Church Street elevations. Large pilasters with simple Doric capitals accent the Classical Revival style exterior. An entablature extends around the building between the first and second floors. At the roof line is a second entablature with egg-and-dart molding while a brick parapet conceals the flat roof. The arched window openings have been covered but their keystoned surrounds are intact.
In addition to a variety of commercial buildings, the district has an industrial building, a civic building and a theater. The circa 1843 Shupe Steam Grist Mill is a multiple bay, four story, gable roofed vernacular building located at the eastern edge of the district. Some late nineteenth century additions have been made to the side of the mill. It continues to operate with original steam machinery intact. The 1910 City Hall at Smithfield and Mullin Alley is a large square, flat-roofed building of ivory brick highlighted with sandstone lintels and sills. Classical detailing includes a cornice and parapet walls. The building's exterior was painted when it became a print shop. In 1937 the one story brick, Art Deco style Perm Theater was designed by Pittsburgh architect Robert Bowers at 210 Main Street. The facade has a large marquee with a semicircular glass block window tower above. It has been converted into a wood working shop.
Mount Pleasant has a large number of brick churches with elements common to the Gothic and Romanesque styles including round and pointed arch openings, brick corbeling at the eaves, brick pilasters, buttressing, and bell towers. Reunion Presbyterian Church of 1873 at the corner of Main and Eagle Streets, is the most intact of the 1870s churches in the district, and it is the only church to retain a tall, wooden spire. The other churches had their spires removed due to deterioration or lightning strikes. Exterior detailing of the church includes brick corbeling, wood brackets at the eaves, and tall arched stained-glass windows accented with sandstone sills and lintels. It has excellent integrity.
The two oldest churches in the district are Wesley United Methodist Church, at 720 West Main Street and the First Baptist Church across the street. Wesley United Methodist is an 1856 red brick building whose facade was rebuilt in a Richardsonian Romanesque inspired motif circa 1890. Details original to the building are the gabled roof, corner bell tower, and round arch windows. First Baptist Church, built in 1869, has a central bell tower, brick pilasters, and pointed arch stained-glass windows with sandstone keystones. The present building was rebuilt in 1894 after a fire but the exterior architecture is still true to its original 1869 construction. Transfiguration Roman Catholic Church at Smithfield and Hitchman Streets was built in 1889.It has a unique central tower with a bell-shaped metal roof and two smaller flanking towers with similarly shaped roofs. Typical of churches in the district, the building is brick with brick corbeling, buttressing, and arched windows. Local architects designed two churches built after 1900. Trinity United Methodist Church at Main and College Avenue was designed by John R. Harman of Uniontown. It features a castellated corner clock tower, recessed arcaded entrance, and a castellated roof line.
Visitation Catholic Church on Walnut Street was designed by the firm of Jones and Walker in 1915.3 The elaborate facade has arcaded bell towers and a large rose window. All the elevations have extensive yellow and ivory brick corbeling. Three Georgian vernacular style houses and a spring house predate Mount Pleasant's establishment as the Westmoreland County's first borough in 1828. The three circa 1812 brick houses and spring house are located on East Main Street. The 2 1/2 story L. Shupe House with three openings across the facade at 201 Main Street has a gabled roof, one end chimney, intact two-over-two double hung windows, and a circa 1900 front porch. It still functions as a residence. The Hitchrnan House at 355 Main Street and the Rupert Building at 642-644 Main Street, are both 2 Vistory buildings with gable roofs, three bays across their facades and paired end chimneys. The Hitchman House retains two-over-two, double hung sash windows. Both buildings were built as houses but are currently used for commercial purposes. They retain integrity. The Hitchman House retains its one story brick spring house, an indication of the rural origins of the district. The spring house, with additions to the rear, has subsequently been converted to a private residence. Together, these resources, built close to the street, convey a sense of Mount Pleasant's early nineteenth century roots.
The district has several rectangular brick and frame vernacular houses from the 1860s and 1870s with three to five openings across their facades, gabled roofs, and chimneys. One example is the 2 1/2 story Clark/Stauffer House at 729 West Main Street built circa 1860. A brick house, it has five openings across the facade with distinctive segmental window heads, a rear ell, and two centered chimneys at the gabled roof. Historically, it had a porch with decorative brackets. However, subsequent widening of Main Street required its removal. Nearby is the circa 1867 Dr J, McConaughy House at 761 Main Street. The 2 1/2 story, painted-brick house has five openings across its facade, an intact front door with a transom and sidelights, windows with sandstone lintels and sills, a gabled roof with parapeted gable end walls, and paired end chimneys. A subsequent porch has been added to the facade. Two additional vernacular style examples are the circa 1870 Samuel Warden House at 207 Church Street and the Hubbs House at 304 College Avenue. The Warden House (not to be confused with the National Register listed Samuel Warden House at 200 South Church Street) is a 2 1/2 story, vernacular, frame house with five openings across the facade, intact wood siding, pedimented window hoods, slate roof, and brick end chimneys. The otherwise simple porch has Doric columns. The Hubbs House is a similar 2 1/2 story, vernacular style example with three openings across the facade, intact wood siding, brick end chimneys and porch with original Ionic columns.
Decorative Italianate style houses such as the circa 1875 John L. Shields House at 725 Walnut are also part of the district. The Shields House is a 2 1/2 story, L-shaped, brick house with paired wood brackets at the roof line, small horizontal windows at the eaves, and original two-over-two facade windows with segmental heads. The house currently functions as a shop and residence. Italianate style houses are also located at 436 and 434 Main Street. Both of these circa 1880 frame houses are two stories with flat roofs, parapets, decorative cornices, and carved wood brackets. They retain original covelap siding, some original windows, and subsequent porches. The house at 434 Main Street was the home of D.P. Lowe, a prominent business and civic leader. The congregation of the Reunion Presbyterian Church erected a 2 1/2 story, Italianate style brick parsonage at 15 Eagle Street in 1880. It has five openings, a gabled roof, end chimneys, and wood brackets at the eaves. On the first floor are original triple hung windows with elaborately carved hoods. The porch has original columns with brackets at the porch. Overall, the house has good integrity.
Late nineteenth century vernacular Queen Anne style houses constitute a large portion of the district. Most examples are 2 1/2 stories with hipped or gabled roofs and corbeled brick chimneys. Generally these houses are two to three bays wide with porches across the facades and irregularly- shaped footprints. Many are concentrated on Eagle Street, College Avenue, and East Main Street. Some of the houses, especially along the southern end of Eagle Street, appear to be company-built, with two openings across the facade. Their precise origin, however, has not been determined. Other more elaborately-detailed Queen Anne houses include the A.M. Ruff House at 804 Main Street and the Dr. F.L. Marsh House at 802 Main Street. Both houses are 2 1/2 stories high with asymmetrical footprints and wraparound porches.
Local business owners, bankers and coal operators built the most architecturally sophisticated houses in the district. The Daniel Shupe House next to the Shupe Mill at 36 Main Street is a 2 1/2 story, circa 1890, frame Queen Anne house. It has a hipped roof of slate, distinctive decorative gable ends, and a large wraparound porch. The National Register listed Samuel N. Warden House at 200 South Church Street was built in 1886 by a local coal operator and banker. The Second Empire style brick house has many intact, high style details including tall windows with decorative hoods, brackets at the eaves, and a side carriage entrance. Warden's first house, already mentioned, is across the street. The circa 1907 Mullin/Harmon House on College Avenue was built by Mount Pleasant banker Charles E. Mullin and designed by architect Andrew P. Cooper in Colonial Revival style. It is a 2 1/2 story brick house with ten openings, a two-story portico of Ionic columns on the facade, a full entablature around the eaves, and three dormers at the roof. After a 1970s fire and partial collapse of the roof, the house was rehabilitated and converted to a nursing home. It has good integrity.
In addition to the high concentration of buildings in the district, the late nineteenth century City Beautiful Movement prompted Henry Clay Frick to donate a section of land between Eagle and Church Streets to the borough for use as a park in 1903. The large flat green space has playing fields, recreation equipment, and a playground. A portion of Frick Park was used to erect the 1906 National Register listed Mount Pleasant Armory. It is a large, red brick building built on a stone foundation. Although much of this original detailing has been removed, the building does retain a recessed pointed arch entrance. The building is currently threatened with demolition. In 1924, like many other towns in Pennsylvania, and across the country. Mount Pleasant erected a doughboy monument in the small square at the intersection of Main and Diamond Streets to commemorate soldiers who fought in World War I and other wars.
Local architects designed one of the district's three schools and the Post Office. Ramsay High School by Russell G.Howard of DuBois, Pennsylvania is a 1930 Spanish Revival style brick building on Eagle Street. Large wings flank the main block creating a courtyard on the Eagle Street elevation. Many original materials such as the tile roof and decorative brickwork of various colors survive on the building's exterior. At the corner of Church and Main Streets is the one-story, red brick, circa 1936 Post Office by architect Louis A. Simon This Colonial Revival style building has symmetrically-placed window and door openings, a parapeted flat roof, brick quoins, and sandstone belt courses. It currently functions as a floral shop. Fifty-six of the 328 buildings in the district, about one sixth, are non-contributing since they were either built outside of the period of significance, or have been altered to the degree that they no longer reflect the district's period of significance. The impact of these scattered, non-contributing buildings in the district is minimal since they are of a similar scale to the surrounding buildings.
Of the district's fifty-six non-contributing buildings, thirty-nine are post 1948 buildings. The other seventeen were constructed in the period of significance but have had extensive changes. The Mount Pleasant Historic District conveys a strong sense of the mid to late nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial history and traces the development of a variety of architectural styles. The district illustrates the continued economic stability of Mount Pleasant as an architecturally distinctive business and commercial center to this part of southern Westmoreland County.
The Mount Pleasant Historic District is significant as a locally important center for surrounding agricultural areas, company-built "patch towns, various industrial complexes, and the railroad. Mount Pleasant was laid out along the historic Glades Road on the first expanse of workable land west of mountainous Chestnut Ridge. In 1821 the Somerset and Mount Pleasant Turnpike followed the Glades Road alignment establishing Mount Pleasant as a place of trade, commerce, and residence. By the 1870s Mount Pleasant's central location proved advantageous to further commercial expansion with construction of industrial complexes to extract coal, the development of glass factories, and the construction of company-built housing in the areas outside of the borough. Mount Pleasant is also significant for the variety of styles beginning with the district's circa 1812 Georgian style buildings and continuing through the late nineteenth century styles of Italianate, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival until 1948 when the town was largely defined commercially and architecturally.
Mount Pleasant's Development According to early deeds and land records, Englishman Joseph Marshall had claim to the original land upon which Mount Pleasant eventually grew.'' With Marshall's death, the land went to his sons, Joseph II and Nathaniel. The Marshall brothers applied for a patent, or clear title, to the 212 3/4 acres of land called "Partnership" in 1784. Alexander McCready planned the lots of Mount Pleasant on a portion of the Partnership tract he purchased from Nathaniel Marshall in August of 1797. Soon after this, thirty-four log houses were built, many served as taverns for travelers along the road. Beginning in 1805, a regular stage coach operated from Chambersburg through Mount Pleasant to Pittsburgh. In circa 18 12, brick buildings were erected along Main Street in town, four of which survive. An early nineteenth century traveler described Mount Pleasant as a town where most of the business occurred on a long, narrow street with houses and buildings built close to the road, a quality it still retains.
Mount Pleasant developed at the intersection of two Indian Paths. Construction of the Glades Road in 1772 followed the Glades Path from Bedford to Washington while General Braddock's Road from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh traced Nemacolin's Path. In Westmoreland County the Glades Road was the southernmost of three major transportation and trade corridors. It branched off the Forbes Road four miles west of Bedford in Bedford County and traversed gladed areas to Somerset in Somerset County and to Laurelville at the western base of Chestnut Ridge in Westmoreland County. The road continued further west to the rolling agricultural landscape around Mount Pleasant to West Newton in Westmoreland County and Monongahela in Washington County. The Glades Road extended beyond Monongahela eventually joining the National Road to Ohio at Washington, PA.
Mount Pleasant and southern Westmoreland County's early settlers were predominately English and Scots-Irish, arriving in the late 1700s. Around the same time, German Mennonites, traveling along the Glades Road from eastern Pennsylvania, began to settle and farm in the area. Subsequently, they built businesses such as grist mills and distilleries. A large concentration of German Mennonites was centered around Scottdale and West Overton just west of Mount Pleasant.
In 1821, the Somerset and Mount Pleasant Turnpike was organized along the same alignment as the Glades Road, present-day Route 3 1, which includes Mount Pleasant's Main Street. In February 1828, Mount Pleasant was incorporated as a borough, the first in Westmoreland County. The borough consisted of twenty-nine lots on approximately thirty-four acres. The original borough, along with later annexations to the south of Main Street, comprises the present historic district.
By the 1850s, the railroad offered an alternative to mountainous overland travel. Daniel Shupe, owner of the Shupe Mill, lobbied the Pennsylvania Railroad to construct a branch from Greensburg, the county seat, to Mount Pleasant noting the town's trade stability. Subsequently the Pennsylvania Railroad built a spur from Greensburg west of Mount Pleasant to Scottdale and continued south to Connellsville. To supplement Mount Pleasant's commercial growth, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which had taken over the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad, built tracks from Broad Ford north along the Youghiogheny River, to Mount Pleasant via Scottdale to connect with the Pennsylvania Railroad. The B & Otracks were built to the east of the district, near the developing industrial complexes at Shupe's Run near the Shupe Mill. As a result, Mount Pleasant had links to both Connellsville and to larger markets in Greensburg. Geographically, Mount Pleasant sits atop a nine-foot vein of coal, part of the Pittsburgh coal seam, in an area which became known as the Connellsville Coke Region. Several prominent industrialists successfully exploited Mount Pleasant's regional resources. Most notable was Henry Clay Frick, who was born in nearby West Overton, and worked as a young man in his Uncle Martin Overholt's general store on Main Street in Mount Pleasant. In 1874 he formed H.C. Frick Coke Company and acquired coal lands across western Pennsylvania.
A network of small mining and coking complexes developed along the B & O and Pennsylvania rail lines at the western foot of the Chestnut Ridge. The mining and coking complexes created an extensive network nearly thirty miles long and three miles wide along the Connellsville portion of the Pittsburgh Coal Seam. Major centers of capital and commerce were evenly distributed along the seam at Uniontown and Connellsville in Fayette County, and Greensburg in Westmoreland County. Scottdale and Mount Pleasant were smaller locally important commercial centers.
Commercial Development The turnpike, adjacent agricultural areas, and emerging industrial complexes with company built towns led to a substantial commercial center at Mount Pleasant. The 1867 business directory reveals Mount Pleasant's emerging commercial importance with eleven manufactures, three tanners, four distillers, several hotels, a livery stable, doctors, merchants, blacksmiths, a photographer and engineer. The number and variety of stores and businesses in town indicate Mount Pleasant's commercial prosperity.
Numerous red and yellow brick multiple story buildings along Main Street with first floor businesses were built between 1870 and 1910. These buildings such as the Rimbauch Building at 509 Main Street, the Gerector Furniture Building at 609-61 1 Main Street and the buildings at 18 and 20 South Church Street had stores, shops, and businesses not typically available in smaller, isolated company towns or villages including drug stores, bakeries, banks, department stores, an undertaker with adjacent marble cutting works, an opera house, wallpaper and carpets stores, tailors, grocery and meat stores, jewelry stores, a photography studio, laundry, a news dealer and a tin shop. As a result of Mount Pleasant's commercial success, many merchants & business owners either lived above their stores or built houses within the borough such as D.P. Lowe who lived and worked at 434 Main Street, the Shupes with their house and mill on east Main Street and others on Main, College, South Church and Eagle Streets.
Mount Pleasant's 1910 Old Home Week contains advertisements for many businesses indicating the continued commercial prominence of the town. Among the businesses listed are A.D. Rumbaugh, Pharmacist, at 802 Main Street, Charles H. Jaquette, Watch Repair, 734 Main Street, George's Racket Store, 655 Main Street, S.P. Zimmerman Furniture Company, 636 Main Street, John J. Trees Baker and Confectioner, 650 Main Street, Stoner's Grocery at 65 1 Main Street, Foust Grocery at Main & Eagle Streets, Metz Brothers Plumbing & Heating, Main Street, Gerecter Furniture Company, Main Street, and Lee Wing Laundry on Church Street. These were followed with more Main Street businesses such as McCory's department store in 1913 and F.W. Woolworth Company in 1914.
Commercial growth and stability continued through the 1920s until the effects of the Depression resulted in the closure of Mount Pleasant's banks and widespread unemployment. The permanent closure of many mines surrounding Mount Pleasant compounded the blow of the Depression. Recovery from this was slow and difficult, relieved slightly with WPA projects and the establishment of a Pennsylvania Turnpike office near Mount Pleasant in the late 1930s. In the 1940s the economic focus of the community recovered, and Mount Pleasant continued to serve as a local commercial center as new industries moved into southern Westmoreland County to replace the old.
Mount Pleasant has several long-running businesses which serve as a testament of the stability of the town's commercial activity. One example is the Shupe Mill, built circa 1843, and known as Pritts Feed Mill since the 1940s. The town's weekly paper, The Mount Pleasant Journal, was founded in 1873, and operated from offices in a circa 1880 building at South Church and Washington Streets until fire destroyed the building in the 1970s. Presently the Journal operates in a nearby circa 1900 Church Street building. The third business is the harness shop at 790 Main Street. It was founded by George and Abner Cooper circa 1873, and it operated through the late 1960s. Today, nearly forty commercial businesses comprise Mount Pleasant's commercial district which has few vacant storefronts. Mount Pleasant has remained a vital commercial center to southern Westmoreland County.
The architectural significance of Mount Pleasant is based upon its sweep of architectural styles including early nineteenth century vernacular style Georgian buildings, late nineteenth century Italianate and Queen Anne style examples and twentieth century examples of the Colonial Revival style. Isolated examples of Spanish Revival, Classical Revival, and Art Deco styles also exist in the district. The simple Georgian vernacular buildings along Main Street were the first brick buildings in a town reportedly composed of mainly of log buildings. These buildings were typical in detailing of those built in the areas around Mount Pleasant. A similar house is located in a few miles east of the district at Laurelville, also on the Glades Road, near the western base of the Chestnut Ridge. The circa 1800 Lobingier House was built of stone with proportions and fenestration patterns that echo Mount Pleasant's early brick buildings. Following this period. Mount Pleasant's growth began in earnest with establishment of the borough in 1828.
Between the 1830s and 1860s. Mount Pleasant evolved into a slightly more sophisticated local commercial center with construction of commercial blocks of brick vernacular buildings such as the Martin Overholt Store at 751-753Main Street, and the brick harness shop at 790 Main Street . Together they reflect an interest in providing commercial goods to travelers, residents, and the local area. The 1870s were characterized with the success of the railroad, and the beginning of the coal and coke era. This resulted in an extensive building campaign throughout the borough. As a reflection of the town's architectural maturity and stability many log houses were taken down and replaced with newer, more substantial brick buildings. Between 1870 and 1910 a significant number and variety of vernacular and high style commercial buildings were erected in the district. Examples include the Classical Revival style Citizens Savings & Trust Company, the Colonial Revival style East End Hotel and, the more vernacular Gerector Furniture, and Rimbauch Buildings. Generally the commercial buildings are of a smaller scale than those of larger coal and coke centers in Connellsville and Uniontown, Fayette County and Greensburg, Westmoreland County.
The construction of a number of similarly-detailed brick Romanesque and Gothic style brick churches in Mount Pleasant with towers, pointed and round arch windows, buttressing, and corbeling were built from the late 1860s until circa 1910. Several Main Street churches such as the First Baptist Church, Reunion Presbyterian Church, and the United Presbyterian Church exemplify this building tradition. It is likely that one or more architects or builders could have been involved in the design of the churches who were influenced by popular pattern books. No specific evidence has been founded to substantiate this speculation.
In the early part of the twentieth century local architects begin to create buildings in the district. John R. Harmon of Uniontown, Fayette County designed the castellated brick Trinity United Methodist Church and the firm of Jones and Walker designed Visitation Catholic Church. In 1937 Richard Bowers of Pittsburgh designed the Art Deco style Perm Theater at 210 Main Street. Architects were likely responsible for additional buildings in the district, but a review of local and regional literature has not yielded any others.
Mount Pleasant has a variety of vernacular and high style houses associated with the town's mid to late nineteenth century prosperity. Some examples, such as the Second Empire style Samuel N. Warden House, served as homes to successful coal and coke businessmen. Also notable to this period is the Queen Anne house built by the Shupe family near their mill on East Main Street. Dating from this period is the largest and most elaborate house in the Mount Pleasant Historic District, the Mullin/Harrnon House on College Avenue. Designed by Andrew Cooper, a local Uniontown architect, the house rivals comparable coal and coke era houses built in Uniontown, Connellsville and Greensburg. Mount Pleasant retains a significant mix of architecturally distinctive early nineteenth century through early twentieth century commercial and residential buildings evocative of its importance to southern Westmoreland County.
Within the region, the Mount Pleasant Historic District is most directly comparable to the Glades Road towns of West Newton in Westmoreland County and Monongahela in Washington County, and to a lesser extent, Somerset Borough in Somerset County. West Newton was laid out along the Glades Road near the Youghiogheny River with similarly-scaled two and three story brick vernacular commercial buildings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Like Mount Pleasant, West Newton has a few early brick houses from the turnpike era, and many late nineteenth century Queen Anne style houses. West Newton does not convey the feel of a locally prosperous commercial center.
Monongahela, on the Monongahela River, has a linear Main Street comprising multiple story commercial buildings of more elaborate late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but significant gaps exist in the historic commercial fabric of the town as a result of demolition and modern construction. Mount Pleasant's Main Street retains a bustling late nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial center feeling since the buildings are only two and three stories, while those in Monongahela are larger and have the appearance of a later period. Somerset Borough also emerged as an early Glades Road town with an intense two-block by two-block core around its diamond. It does not have the same linear quality as Mount Pleasant since it also developed as the county seat, centered on the courthouse. Fires in the 1870s destroyed all of Somerset's early linear turnpike architecture.
Towns with origins similar to Mount Pleasant include Salem Crossroads (Delmont), in Westmoreland County. Listed in the National Register, Salem Crossroads developed along the Northern Turnpike from Blairsville to Pittsburgh. Salem Crossroads has a densely-packed main street lined with commercial buildings, churches, and houses of a scale similar to Mount Pleasant. As with Mount Pleasant, Salem Crossroads not only provided services to travelers, but also was the market town for the immediate rural agrarian area. Salem Crossroads retains its early nineteenth-century crossroad feeling to a greater degree than Mount Pleasant, since little occurred in the subsequent years to alter the appearance of the town such as the growth spawned by Mount Pleasant's adjacent industrial complexes. Unlike Mount Pleasant, a number of log houses still stand along the main street of Salem Crossroad interspersed with 2 1/2 story, red brick, five bay houses of the 1830s and 1840s. Some later buildings were erected at the intersection of Greensburg and Pittsburgh Streets including a bank, hotel, and other commercial buildings.
Like Mount Pleasant, nearby National Register listed Scottdale, initially developed as a commercial center to an agricultural region, and gradually shifted to support industry in the mid to late nineteenth century. Few if any early nineteenth century buildings exist in the borough. The impact of the coal and coke era on Scottdale was substantial and resulted in a dense concentration of elaborately-detailed turn-of-the-century houses and other period style residences, commercial buildings, and industrial complexes. Unlike Mount Pleasant, Scottdale is a grid plan town with commercial and business oriented streets surrounded by excellent late nineteenth and early twentieth century housing and religious buildings. Portions of the district have been removed in recent years and replaced with parking areas. Mount Pleasant continues to convey the feeling of prosperous late nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial center with a corresponding cohesive architectural fabric.
Church Street South • College Street • Eagle Street • Main Street • Quarry Street • Route 31