Onion Dome Fever: St. Mary’s Russian Orthodox Church

St. Mary's Russian Orthodox Church, McKeesport, Pa.

St. Mary’s Russian Orthodox Church, McKeesport

It was a bleak late February day when Orbit cub reporter Tim and I set out in the slush for McKeesport. We were tracking big game: one muffler man and a couple onion domes.  And bag them we did. Oh yes, bag them we did. But so much more, too: fish and trains and saints and steps and one Magic Palace. More about all that (hopefully) in the weeks to come.

But for now, let’s get to the task at hand: the beautiful St. Mary’s Russian Orthodox Church. Located on a side street, a couple blocks off the main drag from McKeesport’s downtown, St. Mary’s looks nothing like the landscape that surrounds it.  It also looks not particularly like the other Eastern Orthodox churches we’ve seen on this beat: more modern, white-bricked, with glowing blue domes (you’ll have to take my word on that one, or see video at bottom).

If this blogger wants to hit the big time he’s going to have to remember to bring his reporter’s notebook and write down some facts, so I don’t have a date on when St. Mary’s was built.  That said, it feels very between-the-wars: sleek and stylish, its curves more suggestive, its lines part old world, part deco.

I don’t know if it’s worth a trip to McKeesport just to see St. Mary’s–that’s what the Orbit is here for!–but definitely do stop by if you’re out that way.  And if you do, let me know what it says on the cornerstone.

St. Mary's Russian Orthodox Church, McKeesport, Pa.

McKeesport skyline with St. Mary’s

St. Mary's Russian Orthodox Church, McKeesport, Pa.

“Tim: get out of my shot!”

Bonus footage!  Video of St. Mary’s new dome getting installed in 1998:

3 thoughts on “Onion Dome Fever: St. Mary’s Russian Orthodox Church

  1. Tim says:

    Cub reporter here… looking at the Allegheny County Real Estate site shows the property last transferred in 1958, which is consistent with when I would have dated that building: sometime in the 1960s. I would assume those were far better times for that piece of the planet.


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