Ulysses J.L. Peoples
built Wightman School as a sub-district of the Colfax Schools. The original
building was only five rooms and an office. Later, the same architect was
contracted to enlarge the building, adding eight rooms, a library, and a third
floor gymnasium. The Romanesque style of the new wing is decorated with ornate
cherubic friezes, intricate stained glass windows and a highly elaborate facade
on the stage.
Enrollment started to
decline throughout the years and the last class was held at Wightman in 1980.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools sold the building to the Squirrel Hill Urban
Coalition. Then facing serious renovations, SHUC opted to sell the building
to the Carriage House Children's Center, Inc., for use as a community building.
Carriage House operates a pre-school program and childcare center on the lower
level and the first floor, while renting space to non-profit groups and various
tenants on the second and third floors.
As owner of the building, Carriage House Children's Center, Inc., has developed a strong renovation plan focused on bringing the building into the 21th Century while preserving the 19th Century charm.