Monday, March 4, 2019


The Sayers Building, Church Street

Prominent Pittsburgh architects T. C. McKee and W. A. Thomas designed two projects for Waynesburg attorney Lewis Wetzel Sayers between 1908 and 1910: a three-story office building and a 10-room addition to his home. While the office building still stands on Church Street, the residence—long known as “Sayers Manor”—is only a memory. Its site is now a parking lot on the Waynesburg University campus.  

Sayers Manor, Wayne & Morris Streets, demolished..  TPS_@_WU.

The office building site on Church Street presented design challenges for the architects because it was surrounded by buildings on three sides. Only the west elevation facing Church Street accommodated windows. With techniques that would today be called “green building,” they maximized the amount of natural light brought into the building with skylights and prism windows. 

The 3-story Sayers Building is in the right corner behind the portico of the Courthouse. " Sayers Corner" is the 2-story building in front. Read about it in my February 2019 blog.  Postcard by W. T. Hays, ca. 1915.
The architects placed a large skylight in the ceiling of the third floor with large glass floor tiles below to direct natural light further into the building. Similarly, they placed glass tiles in the sidewalk above the basement. 

On the first floor, they used ribbed glass panels in transoms above the large shop windows. These panels of rough patterned glass contained angled prisms. As natural light hit the prisms, it was straightened to reach directly into the building, a technique known as “skylighting.” PPG (Pittsburgh Plate Glass) was one of the producers of such panels. 

All of the transoms are ribbed glass with prisms

In typical early 20th-century fashion, the building’s roof is flat and sloped toward the back. The front cornice is decorated with dentils. 

Lewis Wetzel Sayers, son of B. F. Sayers.

Handsome stone lintels adorn the upper windows, carved in the shape of keystones, symbol of the 28th Infantry, Pennsylvania National Guard. One wonders if they honor Sayer’s service in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War when he was the regimental Sergeant Major of Company K.

The A. B. Miller House faced Morris Street. This photo appeared in Fred High's "Waynesburg Prosperous & Beautiful,"  1907.

The home L.W. Sayers enlarged at the corner of Morris and Wayne Streets was built by Waynesburg College President A. B. Miller and his wife Margaret Bell Miller shortly after the Civil War in the Gothic Revival style. The exterior was made of bricks fired from clay dug across the street in the Commons.  This created an excavation that later became “Lake Winetta.”  

Sayers Manor viewed from the Commons along Wayne Street looking west.  Steps and pathway on right lead to Lake Winnetta. Photo by William E. S. Fletcher, ca. 1930. Cornerstone Genealogical Society,

Sayers and his wife Sallie acquired the house from her father, A. I. Cooke, who had purchased it from Miller in 1896. Their addition of 1910 added ten rooms to the original nine, creating a palatial mansion that fronted on Wayne Street. The style was Colonial Revival with an exterior of press brick and stone while the interior was richly finished with hardwood paneling, mantels and floors. Waynesburg College acquired the house in the 1940s and used it for many years as a girls’ dormitory, during which time it became known as Sayers Manor. 

Sayers Manor.  Source: TPS_@_WU