Building Profile

Smithfield United Church of Christ

620 Smithfield St.

Saturday: 10am-4pm
Sunday: 1pm-4pm

Neighborhood: Downtown

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes -

Street level entrance. Sanctuary accessible, main first floor is not. Steeple tour not accessible.

Restrooms Available: Yes, but not wheelchair accessible


Design Matters

This Gothic Revival church, designed by Henry Hornbostel, was built in 1926. It has an airy, 80-foot aluminum steeple, which has the distinction of being the first architectural use of aluminum in the world. There is a 19-foot rose window made in 1860 and 12 towering, stained-glass windows illustrating Biblical scenes and Pittsburgh history, including a visit by Abraham Lincoln in 1861.

Your Experience:  

At 1:00PM each day, Music Director James Varner will play the church's magnificent organ, demonstrating his skill and the beauty of the instrument. 

At 2:00PM each day Facilities Chair, Jon Colburn will lead a group to the bells and the base of the steeple. This involves climbing stairs and is available only to the first ten (10) people each day, on a first come, first serve basis. Claim your ticket as early as 10am Sat and 12pm Sun for that day's climb. 

The Penn Charter, giving the land to the church will be on display.

Building Description:

Situated on a Penn Family land grant, Smithfield United Church of Christ is home to Pittsburgh’s oldest congregation (1782).

Built as the German Evangelical Protestant Church and designed by Henry Hornbostel, this building, dedicated in 1927, is the fifth home to our congregation on this site.

A true skyscraper, the steel frame and curtain wall construction makes the huge stained glass panels in the sanctuary possible. The windows depict Gospel stories as well as the history of Pittsburgh, including Lincoln’s 1861 visit to the city. The bright acoustics and magnificent pipe organ make the worship space a feast for both the ears and the eyes. The cast aluminum steeple is the first use of aluminum as a structural building material.

As one of the five churches in the Downtown Ministerium, Smithfield United Church of Christ, hosts a walk-in food pantry on a rotating basis. Operation Safety Net operates Allegheny County’s Severe Weather Emergency Shelter out of this building.