One of Tyler’s most iconic buildings will soon be gone. The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported in March that the former home of Wienerland is set to be demolished. The business holds many memories for East Texans, but is also well known within the roofing industry. That is because Wienerland’s roof held the record for the steepest pitch on a commercial building in Tyler.
Pitch is essentially the angle or slope of a roof. It is expressed as a ratio of vertical rise to horizontal span. For consistency within the United States, the span is always 12 inches. So, pitch measures how many inches a roof rises over the course of 12 horizontal inches. The easiest and safest way to measure the pitch of a roof is from the attic.
There are several common pitches within the construction industry, such as 4/12 for low-slope roofs up to 9/12 for steeper-slope roofs. The old Wienerland building is an oddity at 18.4/12 and an angle of nearly 57 degrees.
Pitch helps to redirect water and snow. Areas that see significant amounts of precipitation will typically require greater pitches or minimum slopes on buildings for protection. Since rain and snow are not regular issues in East Texas, the Wienerland pitch must have been for other reasons.
Perhaps the pitch was to attract attention. If that was the case, it certainly worked. Wienerland was a cherished eatery in the Tyler community for five decades, starting in 1968 as Der Wienerschnitzel. It was rebranded as Wienerland in the 1980s and saw great success along East 5th Street. After the owners died in 2016, the location was sold. Wienerland then reopened in May 2017, but it closed again in August 2018.
The building is being torn down to make way for HTeaO, a modern iced tea franchise.