Guide to the Smithfield Congregational Church, Pittsburgh, Pa. Records, 1832-1971 AIS.1974.25

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections
Smithfield Congregational Church, Pittsburgh, Pa. Records
Smithfield Congregational Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
Collection Number
6.0 microfilm reels
The collection consists of six microfilm reels containing information regarding baptisms, weddings, funerals, confirmants, and communicants; along with, baptismal and confirmation registers, records of internments, and information regarding Orphan's Home from 1832-1971.

Preferred Citation

Smithfield Congregational Church Records, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1832-1971; AIS.1974.25, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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The Evangelical Protestant Church was founded in 1782, incorporated in 1821, and is the oldest German congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains. The congregation is a descendant of the original German Reformed Protestant Church that received a land grant from the Penn family in 1787. The Evangelical Protestant Church is the mother church of the Voeghtly Evangelical Church (1833), First Lutheran Church (1837), German Trinity Lutheran Church (1837), St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church (East End, 1839), Birmingham Evangelical Protestant Church (1846), and Grace Reformed Church (1854).

The first church building was constructed in 1792 and was replaced successively by new buildings in 1815, 1833, and 1875-1877. The Reformed congregation merged with a German Lutheran congregation to form the German Evangelical Protestant Church in 1812, which became the Smithfield Congregational Church in 1925. The present church building was built after the congregation sold or leased its land on Sixth Avenue and the former church was demolished for construction of a commercial building. The Smithfield Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) and the Smithfield Methodist Church merged in 1968 to create the Smithfield United Church.

The Smithfield United Church is a Gothic-style building and its unusual design was by one of Pittsburgh's premiere Classical architects, Henry Hornbostel. The building, a tall, blocky structure, included a main sanctuary, a chapel, Sunday school classrooms, a social hall, a shelter, and a gymnasium. The mass of the building culminates in a square tower that is capped by an openwork aluminum spire, an early architectural use of aluminum. The Gothic ornament on the exterior is a surface treatment, limited to the exterior stone panels attached to the steel structural frame. The tall, relatively narrow sanctuary at the top of the building is focused on the eighteen-foot-diameter rose window, which was relocated from the 1875 church. The sidewalls are lined with tall stained-glass windows that depict both the life and teachings of Christ, and the history of the congregation and the city of Pittsburgh. The interior ornament, like the exterior, is surface ornament dominated by Gothic arches, with plaster fan and groin vaults in the ceiling.

Hornbostel created a steel framed structure, clad with stone to evoke a religious presence, but still fit in to the urban context. His design was a three story structure with a single tower to maintain the spirituality of the Gothic style. He strayed from the rigid laws of religious architecure and added aspects of art deco and modernism. The abstract geometries, emphasized verticals and the open web of the aluminum spire made the church an eclectic work of art. The spire was the first example of aluminum used as a large scale architectural piece.

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Scope and Content Notes

The collection consists of six microfilm reels (35mm; 2,160 frames, positive). Reel one contains baptism, wedding, and funeral indexes from 1837-1971. Reel two contains information on confirmants, communicants, funerals, weddings, baptisms, and confirmation and tauf registers from 1832-1971. Reel three contains information on Orphan's Home from 1874-1941. Reel four contains information on baptisms and weddings from 1873-1971. Reel five contains information regarding funerals from 1873-1924. Reel six contains records of internments from 1887-1925.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, 1974

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
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Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.


Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Smithfield Congregational Church (Pittsburgh, Pa) in 1974.

Processing Information

This collection was reprocessed by Michael O'Malley on May 13, 2003.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Michael O'Malley on May 13, 2003. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 1406100

Existence and Location of Copies

Originals are retained by the Smithfield Congregational Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Birmingham Evangelical Protestant Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • First English Lutheran Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • German Trinity Lutheran Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Grace Reformed Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Smithfield Congregational Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Voegtly Evangelical Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.).


  • Church records
  • Communion records
  • Marriage records


  • Baptismal records -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Church buildings -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Churches and Synagogues
  • Confirmation records -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Evangelicalism -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Funeral records -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • German Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- Religion

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Previous Citation

Smithfield Congregational Church Records, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1832-1971; AIS.1974.25, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Smithfield Congregational Church, Pittsburgh, Pa., Records, 1832-1971; Archives of Industrial Society, University Library System, University of Pittburgh

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Collection Inventory

Baptism, Wedding, and Funeral Indexes, 1837-1971 171

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Confirmants, Communicants, Funerals, Weddings, Baptisms, and Confirmation and Baptismal Registers, 1832-1971 2

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Orphan's Home, 1874-1941 3

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Baptisms and Weddings, 1873-1971 4

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Funerals, 1873-1924 5

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Records of Internments, 1887-1925 6

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