Pittsburgh iron and steel manufacturer B.F. Jones commissioned construction of 705 Brighton Road in 1892 or 1893 as a home for his son-in-law and daughter, William W. and Alice Jones Willock. The house was built in the Chateauesque style. It took the place of an earlier house that had stood on the lot since the late 1850s or 1860s. A three-story brick stable was constructed at the rear of the property in 1898.
William and Alice Jones Willock began living at 705 Brighton Road after construction was completed in 1892-1893. In 1894, B.F. Jones transferred title to the new house to the Willocks. The couple lived at 705 Brighton Road for more than a decade, and owned the house until they died in 1939.
William W. Willock was a clerk when he began living at 705 Brighton Road. In about 1894, Willock became the manager of the Monongahela Connecting Railroad, a subsidiary of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company, in which his father-in-law was a founding partner. Willock became vice-president of the railroad in 1901. He joined the board of directors of Jones & Laughlin in 1902, and remained on the board for the rest of his life.
William and Alice Willock had two children: Franklin Jones Willock and William Willock Jr. Records of the 1900 census show that the family employed five servants who lived at 705 Brighton Road. In addition, two coachmen lived in the stable at the rear of the property. In the early twentieth century, the Willock family moved their primary residence from 705 Brighton Road to Gladmore Farm in Sewickley Heights. The family had a house in Lakewood, New Jersey, and later maintained homes in Manhattan and in Syosset, Long Island. At some point in or before the late 1910s, the Willocks began to use 705 Brighton Road as a single-family rental property. The house became a rooming house in the 1920s. It remained a rooming house throughout the Willock ownership of the property, which ended in 1944.
Detailed information on the history of 705 Brighton Road is contained in the following report.
- June 11, 1858
- October 7, 1867
- February 16, 1882
- May 29, 1889
- January 20, 1891
- May 29, 1894
- May 30, 1939
- August 16, 1944
- May 12, 1953
- August 1, 1956
- July 20, 1970
- October 29, 1980
- November 15, 1983
John and Abigail Irwin of Allegheny City conveyed property that included the present site of 705 Brighton Road to Samuel P. Shriver of Allegheny City for $5250. The property that was conveyed was located at the northwestern corner of Ridge Avenue and Brighton Road (then Irwin Avenue). The property measured 75′ wide along Brighton Road by 198′ deep along Ridge Avenue to Rope Way. It was known as Lots 1, 2, and 3 in John Irwin’s Rope Walk Plan.
(Deed Book Volume 139, Page 366)
Samuel P. and Rachel D. Shriver of Allegheny City conveyed the present site of 705 Brighton Road to Thomas Dawson of Allegheny City for $8000. The lot that was conveyed measured 25′ wide along Brighton Road by 198′ deep to Rope Way. The lot was known as Lot 3 in John Irwin’s Rope Walk Plan.
(DBV 224 P 245)
Thomas and Eliza Dawson of the borough of West Bellevue conveyed the present site of 705 Brighton Road to Mrs. Nettie McKee Graham of Allegheny City for $16,000. The lot that was conveyed measured 25′ wide along Brighton Road by 198′ deep to Rope Way. The lot contained an earlier house that occupied part of the present site of 705 Brighton Road.
(DBV 441 P 13)
James C. and Nettie McKee Graham of Allegheny County conveyed title to the present site of 705 Brighton Road to the Fidelity Title and Trust Company and Christopher L. Magee, as trustees. The lot that was conveyed measured 25′ wide along Brighton Road by 198′ deep to Rope Way. The lot contained an earlier house that occupied part of the present site of 705 Brighton Road.
(DBV 646 P 470)
The Fidelity Title and Trust Company and Christopher L. Magee, as trustees for Nettie McKee Graham, widow, of Allegheny City, conveyed the present site of 705 Brighton Road to Benjamin F. Jones of Allegheny City for $23,500. This deed and subsequent deeds conveyed an irregularly shaped lot that consisted of all of Lot 3 and part of Lot 2 in John Irwin’s Rope Walk Plan. The lot was described as beginning on the western side of Irwin Avenue (now Brighton Road), 50′ north of Ridge Avenue, and running west 40.35′; south toward Ridge Avenue 4.33″; west along a line almost parallel with Ridge Avenue, 95.5′; north 4.75″; west along a line parallel with Ridge Avenue 62.60′ to Rope Way; north 25′ along Rope Way; east, along a line parallel with Ridge Avenue, 198′ to Brighton Road; and south along Brighton Road 25′ to the place of beginning. The lot contained an earlier house that occupied part of the present site of 705 Brighton Road.
(DBV 728 P 504)
Benjamin F. and Mary McM. Jones of Allegheny City conveyed 705 Brighton Road (then known as 45 Irwin Avenue) to Alice Jones Willock, their daughter, of Allegheny City, for $1.
(DBV 883 P 2)
Alice Jones Willock died on May 30, 1939. In her will she left her residuary estate to William W. Willock, her husband, and William W. Willock Jr., Dickson C. Shaw Jr. and the Union National Bank, as executors and trustees. William W. Willock predeceased Alice Jones Willock on March 8, 1939. William W. Willock Jr. renounced his right to act as executor and trustee, leaving Dickson C. Shaw Jr. and the Union National Bank as executors and trustees.
Dickson C. Shaw Jr. and the Union National Bank of Pittsburgh, executors and trustees under the will of Alice Jones Willock, conveyed 705 Brighton Road to Annie L. Brooks of Pittsburgh for $10,000.
(DBV 2804 P 522)
Annie L. Brooks died on May 12, 1953. She left all of her estate to Gloria Colleen Brooks.
Gloria Colleen Brooks (also known as Gloria Brooks Compliment, also known as Gloria Brooks Murray) and her husband, William Compliment (also known as William Murray) conveyed 705 Brighton Road to Muriel Brooks Jennings of Pittsburgh for $1.
(DBV 3639 P 205)
Muriel Brooks Jennings of Pittsburgh conveyed partinterest in 705 Brighton Road to Charles Brooks Jennings of Pittsburgh for $1.
(DBV 4858 P 369)
Charles Brooks and Nancy S. Jennings of Allegheny County conveyed the interest of Charles Brooks Jennings in 705 Brighton Road to Muriel Brooks Jennings for $1.
(DBV 6316 P 31)
Muriel Brooks Jennings of Allegheny County conveyed 705 Brighton Road to James V. Costa of Allegheny County for $51,800.
(DBV 6768 P 580)
Age of the House
Plat maps of the area around 705 Brighton Road published in 1872 and 1890, and an 1884 fire insurance map, show that 705 Brighton Road had not yet been built. These maps show that an earlier house occupied the site of 705 Brighton Road. The earlier house had a smaller footprint than the present house on the property and was set back approximately 50′ from Brighton Road.
B.F. Jones, a Pittsburgh iron and steel manufacturer, purchased the property for $23,500 on January 20, 1891. The purchase price appears consistent with the size of the earlier house on the property.
Allegheny City building permit dockets are available beginning in 1894, and therefore contain no information on construction of 705 Brighton Road.
The Architect: William Ross Proctor
B.F. Jones hired William Ross Proctor to design 705 Brighton Road. Proctor was a New York City native who married Elizabeth Singer, a member of a prominent Pittsburgh family who lived on Western Avenue in Allegheny West. In 1892, Proctor’s office was on Sixth Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. He and Elizabeth Singer Proctor lived at Western and Allegheny Avenues in Allegheny West.
The Contractor: A & S Wilson
B.F. Jones hired the firm of A&S Wilson to construct the carriage house at 705 Brighton Road. A&S Wilson was one of the most prominent contracting firms in Pittsburgh between the 1880s and the 1920s, and built houses for a number of families who were prominent in social and manufacturing circles.
The Chateauesque style was used in the United States, particularly in the northeast and midwest, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Allegheny City building permit dockets show that on August 11, 1898, William W. Willock received a permit for construction of a three-story brick stable at what was then 45 Irwin Avenue. The building was to measure 25′ wide by 40′ deep. The 1900 census enumerated two coachmen living at 705 Rope Way. A 1906 fire insurance map also confirms that the stable had been built.
Comparable Construction Cost
The estimated construction cost of the stable at 705 Brighton Road was $4500. Costs of other buildings constructed in Allegheny City within a few years of 1898 included:
- 4017 Northminster Street, Brighton Heights, $3200 (1895)
- 3504 Perrysville Avenue, Observatory Hill, $3650 (1897)
- 1235 Page Street, Manchester, $5000 (1898)
- 1623 Rhine Street, Spring Hill, $5000 (1897)
- 930 W North Avenue, Allegheny West, $5317 (1895)<
- 2014 Osgood Street, Fineview, $5400 (1894)
- 3344 Perrysville Avenue, Observatory Hill, $8400 (1896)
- 940 W North Avenue, Allegheny West, $10,000 (1895)
- 920 N Lincoln Avenue, Allegheny West, $35,500 (1903)
- The Byers-Lyons House at 901 Ridge Avenue, $80,000 (1898)
The Home Today
Photos by Sara Sweeney and Nick Smerker
William W. and Alice Jones Willock owned 705 Brighton Road between 1894 and 1944. Pittsburgh city directories, U.S. census records, biographical materials and obituaries provide information on William W. and Alice Jones Willock.
The 1900 Census
In 1900, according to census records, the Willock family employed five household staff persons who lived at 705 Brighton Road. They were:
- Juliane W. Ficke, 37, a cook. She was born in Norway to parents born in Germany and
Norway, and came to the United States in 1890
- James W. Neale, 40, a butler. He had immigrated from England in 1899
- Marie Carney, 23, a laundress who had come to the United States from Ireland in 1897
- Winnie McBride, 18, a chambermaid. She was born in Ireland, and immigrated in 1897
- Hannah Hastings, 30, a nurse, born in West Virginia to parents born in West Virginia and
The family also employed two coachmen who lived in their recently constructed stable along Rope Way, at the rear of the property. Frank Lamb, 34, was the older of the coachmen. He had been born in Scotland, and came to the United States in 1880. John Biggins, 27, had been born in Ohio to immigrants from England.
The 1910 Census
The 1910 census did not enumerate any residents of 705 Brighton Road, suggesting the possibility that the Willock family then used the house as a secondary residence.
The 1920 Census
Charles F. Patterson, 46, had been born in New Jersey to parents born in Ohio and Pennsylvania. His wife, Elizabeth L., 36, had been born in Maryland. Her parents were born in New York State and Ohio.
The Pattersons had a daughter and son who lived at 705 Brighton Road in 1920. They were Forsyth, 16, and Charles L., 14.
Pittsburgh directories indicate that Charles F. Patterson and his family lived at 705 Brighton Road between approximately 1919 and 1923. Patterson’s law office was on the eighth floor of the Frick Building Annex, Downtown, during that time. In about 1923, the Patterson family moved to Sewickley.
Residential development of Allegheny West began by the middle of the nineteenth century. An 1852 map shows that a number of houses stood on both sides of present Western Avenue between Brighton Road and Allegheny Avenue. A few buildings had been constructed along Brighton Road between Ridge and Western Avenues, on what was then the grounds of the Rope Walk.
This report was based on the original 2001 research by Carol Peterson. It was enhanced with additional research in 2014 by Pfaffmann + Associates. Their full report is available as a PDF download.
A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson