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

Silver Eye Center for Photography

The Silvery Eye Center for Photography

“Save this building because it's a Pittsburgh landmark. It has been here for more than 100 years. Do not waste the bricks.” —student quote

1015 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Date and Style
Built in the 1880s, with a facade added in 1922
—Victorian, with 1920s simplicity, geometry, and color

The original building was erected during the time when Queen Victoria ruled England (1837-1901), and a new brick front, or “facade,” was added in 1922.

Facade improvements funded through the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Streetface Program
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Facts and Stories Worth Knowing
  • Maps of 1870 and 1901 list the building owner as William Breitwieser, a German immigrant most likely, who might have operated a business on the ground-floor and lived with his family in the upper story.
  • In 1916 the building was owned by a D. Rafalovitch, an immigrant from Eastern Europe most likely. He owned a men's furnishing store that might have sold hats, ties, collars, and socks.
  • In 1981, a Woolworth's was located in the building. Woolworth's sold things like needles and thread, pots and pans, and toys.


  • The Silver Eye Center for Photography was created in 1985. The non-profit organization moved into the building in 1992. A gallery hall and offices fill the space, and a two-story deck has been added to the back of the building.
  • A “privy,” or 19th-century outhouse, still stands outside in the courtyard.
  • The main street entrance was renovated in 2005 to provide better visibility and accessibility. The new awning and banner sign calls attention to the Gallery and is a fine finishing touch.

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Additional Images