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Cathedral of Learning: 1948

Cathedral of Learning: 1948

The University of Pittsburgh main campus in Pittsburgh, circa 1948. This is from a scan of a stereo slide taken by my grandfather Ralph E. Archer. With no information on the slide it took some searching to determine what this structure was and where it was located. It was the most "alien" or out-of-place looking structure I had ever seen both with its unusual design and much greater height (42 stories, 535 feet tall) than everything surrounding it.

Known as the Cathedral of Learning this Late Gothic revival is the tallest educational building in the western hemisphere and the second tallest gothic style building in the world. Commissioned in 1921 and dedicated in 1937 it is a steel frame structure overlain with Indiana limestone and contains more than 2,000 rooms and windows.

During WWII the cathedral was assigned to house, feed and instruct about 1,000 Army Air Corps as well as dozens of Army engineers. As my father, Ralph H. Archer served in the Army Air Corps during WWII this may be the reason for this particular photo in his father's collection and so may date somewhat earlier than 1948.

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