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Help save history in your community by restoring and reusing historic buildings.

Beneficial Building

Beneficial Building

“This building helps tell the story of our past, and it's going to be interesting to go inside it when it is fixed up for a new use.” —student quote

1505-07 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Date and Style
Built in 1881
—Victorian Renaissance

The windows are set within basket-handle arches with carved keystones. The cornice, or top of the building, is ornamented with brackets and carvings.

Facade improvements funded, in part, through the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation's Preservation Loan Fund
Click here to play the game for this building.
Facts and Stories Worth Knowing
  • The datestone consists of a carved beehive surrounded by the name “Elias Kauffeld.” The date of 1881 appears under the beehive. The beehive recalls a famous German phrase: “Work makes life sweet.”
  • A map of 1916 shows that the “German Beneficial Union” was located here. The initials, "GBU," were uncovered in 2005 during the building restoration (see photo below).
  • The name "Schwartz Sanitary Market" was uncovered on the storefront signage of 1507 East Street during the 2005 restoration, revealing the original location of Schwartz Market (see photos below).
  • From the 1960s on, Foto Hut Factory occupied the three-story commercial building, along with a few other tenants. Film was processed on the upper stories, and a store was on the ground floor. The building was painted yellow, representing Foto Hut's corporate color.
  • In the early 2000s, Foto Hut closed its store and put the building up for sale.
  • In 2004, the South Side Local Development Company (SSLDC) and TREK Development Group purchased the vacant building, with the help of a $250,000 loan from the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.


  • Restoration began in the summer of 2005 (see photos below). The project cost was just over $4 million. The project team included UpStreet Architects (Indiana, PA; Michael Eversmeyer, historic preservation architect; and Guardian Construction, contractor).
  • In 2008, three new tenants moved into the newly-renovated building: Carson Street Deli and Owens Cleaners occupied the first floor; and Cardinal Resources, an environmental consulting firm, occupied the third floor. City Theater master leases the six residential units on the upper floors for out-of-town performers.
  • Owens Cleaners has since moved out. Wingharts Burger and Whiskey Bar, which has a location in Market Square, has plans to move into the vacant first floor space.
  • The South Side Local Development Company relocated to the second floor, along with the South Side Chamber of Commerce. Contact SSLDC for up-to-date news on South Side events and developments.

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Additional Images