Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

#FavoritePAPlaces: Preservation Pittsburgh’s Matthew Falcone

Pennsylvania’s communities are filled with special and meaningful historic places and spaces that add value to our lives and offer comfort and stability during these challenging times. Now more than ever, it is important to stay connected to our communities.

Today’s Spotlight: Matthew Falcone

The next entry in PA SHPO’s #FavoritePAPlaces campaign is Matthew Falcone, President of the Preservation Pittsburgh, talking about why the Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County is one of his favorite Pennsylvania places.

Rodef Shalom Congregation

Rodef Shalom (“Pursuer of Peace”) Congregation can trace its beginnings to the 1850s and today remains western Pennsylvania’s oldest Jewish congregation.  The congregation played an integral role in establishing the 1885 Pittsburgh Platform, a pivotal document that shaped American Reform Judaism for over half a century.  

After outgrowing their downtown synagogue at the turn of the 20th century, congregational leaders embarked on a campaign to build their current home on the border of Pittsburgh’s Oakland and Shadyside neighborhoods.

American architect Henry Hornbostel won a competition sponsored by Andrew Carnegie to design the new temple for the Rodef Shalom Congregation (Key #001768) in 1906. Hornbostel spent most of his professional career in Pittsburgh after securing the commission for the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). Hornbostel incorporated four stained glass windows from the congregation’s previous synagogue and added a stained glass skylight and lunette designed by artist William Willet into this Beaux Arts building.

Rodef Shalom was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Share your #FavoritePAPlace

What older and historic places in your community are you looking forward to connecting with again?  Share your answer with us in the comments or email us at

Use the hashtags #FavoritePAPlace and/or #PreservationHappensHere and your entry just might be featured, too!



    It has always been my go to place. 🙂


    Really impressive! The choice of colors are really pleasing to the eyes! 🙂

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