Million Dollar Tiffany Windows at Pittsburgh's First Presbyterian

Location: First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, 320 Sixth Ave., Downtown Pittsburgh

Featured guest: Senior Pastor Tom Hall

3 things that surprised me:

  1. The current building, the church’s fourth, was completed in 1905, but they’ve had a presence on this piece of land since 1787. Pastor Tom says the church was the first organization founded in Pittsburgh. The first church was a log house and the second, built in 1805, was a yellow brick structure.
  2. The First Presbyterian Church is home to 13 massive stained glass windows that were crafted and installed by the famous Tiffany Studios of New York City. Each window is 26.5 feet tall and 7.5 feet wide. Crafting these windows was a complicated process that involved hundreds of hours of detailed painting, creating specially milled lead and then backing it all with Tiffany’s signature opalescent Favrile glass. The windows are insured for somewhere around $50 million.
  3. The church’s organ was installed in 1988. It was built by Casavant Frères, a famous Canadian organ manufacturer, and contains more than 4,400 pipes. The church organ is played every Sunday as part of the 10:45 a.m. service.

One thing that didn’t make the final cut: This current church is quite a bit bigger than the church that it replaced. To make room for the enlarged structure, an old cemetery had to be moved. Pastor Tom says the church sent out letters to the descendants of everyone buried there and let them know that they were responsible for relocating the remains of their buried ancestors.

Additional info: The doors to the church are open nearly every day and you can learn more about their service times and history at the website.

Want more Yinzer Backstage Pass? Check out our visit to the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning where we got a VIP tour of their Nationality Rooms and discovered a hidden staircase.