Explore Art, Cars and Industrial History at the Frick Pittsburgh

Clayton, the Frick's Pittsburgh home

Located on the Pittsburgh estate of Gilded Age industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick, the Frick Pittsburgh is located on six acres of lawns and gardens. This fascinating complex of museums and historical buildings interprets the life and times of Henry Clay Frick. 

The Frick Pittsburgh includes not only the Gilded Age mansion, Clayton, but also a car museum and art museum. Also on the grounds are a greenhouse, playhouse and café. Unfortunately, during our visit, the car museum was closed.

Clayton, the Frick’s Pittsburgh Mansion

Today’s mansion began as an eleven-room, Italianate-style house purchased by the Fricks shortly after their marriage in 1881. The house was built in the 1860s, original architect unknown. The house served as the Fricks’ primary residence from 1883 to 1905.

After modifications by Pittsburgh architect Andrew Peebles, the Fricks renamed the mansion “Clayton.” In 1892, the Fricks hired Pittsburgh architect Frederick J. Osterling to make additional changes to the house. The house museum reflects the Osterling remodel.

The Fricks constructed the Playhouse in 1897 to house a dark room and a bowling alley.

In 1905, the Fricks moved to New York City, where they eventually established the Frick Collection. During her life, daughter Helen Clay Frick continued spending time each year at her beloved childhood home. Eventually, in 1981, she returned there to live permanently until her death just 3 years later. She intended for Clayton and the grounds to serve as a museum, honoring her family name and legacy. Clayton opened to the public in 1990.

The Frick Art Museum

During the house tour we learned the origin story of the Frick Art Museum on the grounds. Originally, the art collection had been loaned to the University of Pittsburgh for display in the building their money build. However, Helen became unhappy with how the art collection was being displayed and the overall use of the building that bore her father’s name, and pulled the art collection back, vowing to build her own museum. Thus, the cozy Frick Art Museum was built.

The Frick Art Museum’s collection includes a large group of works by Jean-François Millet, renaissance and baroque bronzes, and nineteenth-century European paintings. There are also late medieval and renaissance religious paintings. While we were there, the museum also featured an collection of American folk art, probably our favorite exhibit.

Know Before You Go to the Frick Pittsburgh

There is ample parking onsite at the museum, in front of the visitors center. You should plan to spend about two hours, at least, to view everything. It’s free to go into the museums, there’s no admission to pay unless if you want to go inside the Clay Frick House.

Getting there: 7227 Reynolds St, Pittsburgh, PA
Hours: Museums, Grable Visitor Center and museum store open Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Grounds open Tuesday – Sunday 8 a.m. – dusk.
Website: Pittsburgh Frick Museums

Clayton, Frick Pittsburgh
Clayton, the Frick’s Pittsburgh home. Photos courtesy The Frick Pittsburgh

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