Theodore H. Nevin and his brother-in-law, John Irwin Jr., had the row of houses at 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue built between 1872 and 1873. The houses were built on property that Nevin and other Allegheny City businessmen had purchased in 1861, for $1700. The houses show the Second Empire style in their mansard roofs, arched window openings, and projecting front door surrounds and window hoods. The Second Empire style was popular in the Pittsburgh area between about 1870 and 1885.
John Irwin Jr. conveyed his one-third interest in the row of houses to Theodore H. Nevin in 1874. Nevin and another family member owned 852 North Lincoln Avenue until 1921, renting the property to tenants. Nevin lived in Sewickley, and was a partner in the Pioneer Paint Works at the corner of Western and Galveston avenues in Allegheny West. He was also president of the First National Bank of Allegheny and was a trustee of the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny City.
The first occupants of 852 North Lincoln Avenue who are known today were Thomas B. and W.S. Updike, who rented the house in 1873. Thomas B. Updike was a cashier, and W.S. Updike was a clerk. The next occupants, a family headed by Rev. Reese F. and Mary Alsop, lived there between about 1874 and 1880. Rev. Alsop was the rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Ninth Street, Downtown. At the time of the 1880 census, the Alsops employed two servants who lived in their home.
Other early occupants of the house included Benjamin B. Warfield, a Western Theological Seminary professor, Rev. John Fox of the North Presbyterian Church at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues, and their families. John M. Davidson, the manager of the William B. Scaife & Sons foundry, his brother-in-law, David F.H. McDowell, the owner of a machinery company, and other members of the Davidson family lived there between about 1897 and 1906. Albert F. and E. Essie Steigleder began renting 852 North Lincoln Avenue by 1910, and became the first owner-occupants of the house in 1921.
The house at 852 North Lincoln Avenue has now had a total of eight owners. Detailed information on the history of the house is contained in the following report.
- November 26, 1861
- August 28, 1863
- July 1, 1870
- July 7, 1874
- October 19, 1882
- March 18, 1921
- April 21, 1931
- August 2, 1945
- October 7, 1965
- August 15, 1977
- January 10, 1980
- September 30, 2016
John and Abigail Irwin of Allegheny City (now the Northside) conveyed property in the First Ward of Allegheny City to Theodore H. Nevin, Robert P. Nevin and Samuel M. Finley, all of Allegheny County, for $1,700. The property was bounded by the northern side of Central Street (later Lincoln Avenue and Lynndale Avenue, now North Lincoln Avenue), the eastern side of Tremont Street (later Grant Avenue, now Galveston Avenue), the southern side of an unnamed 20’ wide alley (later Manilla Street, now Maolis Way) and a private lot line. The property measured 96’5.125” along Central Street and the unnamed alley and 140’9.575” along Tremont Street and the eastern lot line. The property was known as Lots 43, 44, 45 and 46 in John Irwin’s Plan of the Rope Walk, later recorded in Plan Book Volume 2, Page 173.
(Deed Book Volume 165, Page 521)
Samuel M. and Sallie A. Finley of Allegheny County conveyed their one-third interest in Lots 43, 44, 45 and 46 and other property on Western Avenue to John Irwin Jr. for $967.
(DBV 166 P 300)
Robert P. and Elizabeth D. Nevin of Sewickley conveyed their one-third interest in Lots 43, 44, 45 and 46 and other property on Western Avenue to Theodore H. Nevin of Sewickleyville (sic) for $20,000.
(DBV 290 P 268)
Martha Mary and John Irwin Jr. of Leet Township conveyed their one-third interest in Lots 43, 44, 45, and 46 to Theodore H. Nevin of Sewickley for $15,000. With this deed, Theodore H. Nevin held full title to the property.
(DBV 330 P 318)
Theodore H. Nevin died while owning 852 North Lincoln Avenue. In his will, dated October 19, 1882, he left the house to Mary Nevin (Allegheny County Will Book Volume 27, Page 325).
Mary Nevin Booth of Sewickley conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to Albert F. Steigleder of Pittsburgh for $6500. The house occupied the lot on which it now stands, described as being located on the north side of North Lincoln Avenue, 57.5’ east of Galveston Avenue, and measuring 19.09’ wide along North Lincoln Avenue, 80.5’ along the east and west lot lines, and 19.19’ along the north (rear) lot line.
(DBV 2052 P 432)
Title to 852 North Lincoln Avenue was placed in the names of Albert F. and E. Essie Steigleder.
E. Essie Steigleder died on November 6, 1938.
(DBV 2436 P 2608)
Albert F. Steigleder of Pittsburgh conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to Walter D. and Annabelle Shelton of Pittsburgh for $4500.
(DBV 2849 P 610)
Walter D. and Annabelle Shelton of Punto Gorda, Florida, conveyed 852 and 854 North Lincoln Avenue to Carl E. and Nancy P. Floyd of Pittsburgh for $22,500.
Carl E. Floyd died on December 30, 1974.
(DBV 4299 P 117)
Nancy R. Floyd of Pittsburgh conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to Gerald W. and Michele F. McNerney of Pittsburgh for $15,000.
(DBV 5820 P 979)
Gerald W. and Michele F. McNerney conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to John P. Wojtyna for $27,500.
(DBV 6212 P 311)
John P. Wojtyna conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to 852 N. Lincoln LLC.
Age of the House
Theodore H. Nevin, Robert P. Nevin, and Samuel M. Finley purchased property that included the site of the five houses on November 26, 1861. Following transactions in 1863 and 1870, title to the site of the houses was held by Theodore H. Nevin (two thirds interest) and John Irwin Jr. (one third interest). The first plat map of the area, published in 1872, shows that the row of houses had not been built.
The next plat map of the area, published in 1882, depicts the five houses.
Second Empire buildings were characterized by mansard roofs, by prominent door and window hoods or lintels, arched window openings, and sometimes by central towers. The Second Empire style was used in the construction of thousands of houses built for occupancy by middle-class and wealthy families in Pittsburgh neighborhoods between approximately 1870 and 1885. The style shares some features with the contemporaneous Italianate style, particularly when used in rowhouse settings, but is distinguished from the Italianate style by its use of a mansard roof.
Interior details of Second Empire and Italianate houses and commercial buildings usually included flared newel posts and spindles, marble or wood mantels with arched openings, four-panel doors with porcelain knobs and ornamented cast-iron hinges, and non-symmetrical door and window trim with diagonally mitered corners.
Known records do not identify an architect who is credited with the design of 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue.
Street Name and Numbering
The house at 852 North Lincoln Avenue was originally known as 55 Lincoln Avenue. The house was re-numbered 852 in 1899, when Allegheny City government put in place the Northside’s modern street numbering system. Lincoln Avenue became Lynndale Avenue in about 1909, when Pittsburgh city government changed a number of street names to avoid duplication that resulted from Pittsburgh’s 1907 annexation of Allegheny City (now the North Side). The street was renamed North Lincoln Avenue in about 1913.
Through the Years
The First Owner
Pittsburgh city directories, U.S. census records, and biographical materials provide information on Theodore H. Nevin and his wife, Hannah Irwin Nevin. Thomas H. Nevin built the row of houses that include 852 N Lincoln Avenue with his brother-in-law in 1872.
Members of the Alsop family lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue between 1874 and 1880. Rev. Reese F. Alsop was the rector of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Ninth Street near the Allegheny River in Downtown Pittsburgh. Edward B. Alsop, probably his brother, was a clerk. He worked for Bissell & Company, a manufacturer of stoves, grates, and mantels, during at least part of the time that he lived in the house. Edward B. Alsop moved from 852 North Lincoln Avenue to Centre Avenue in the East End in the late 1870s.
The 1880 census was the first census taken following the construction of 852 North Lincoln Avenue. Census records list Reese F. Alsop, 30, as a preacher and the head of the household. He had been born in Indiana, like his parents. His wife, Mary, also 30, kept house. She had been born in Pennsylvania, like her parents. Maria Alsop, 70, Reese’s widowed mother, also lived in the house.
The Alsops employed two servants who lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue in 1880. They were Margaret Dawson, 43, and Kate McElvay, 25. Both were Irish immigrants and unmarried.
Pittsburgh directories listed Benjamin B. Warfield at 852 North Lincoln Avenue in 1882 and 1883. Warfield was a professor at the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny City. Occupants of the house between 1884 and 1886 are not known.
Rev. John Fox, the pastor of the North Presbyterian Church at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues, lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue between 1887 and 1891. Records of the 1890 census, which would provide information on Fox and any other occupants of the house in that year, were destroyed in a warehouse fire in Washington D.C. in the 1920s.
Members of the Davidson family rented 852 North Lincoln Avenue between 1897 and 1906. John M. Davidson managed the William B. Scaife & Sons foundry at 221 First Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. His son, William L. Davidson, was a clerk. A brother-in-law, David F.H. McDowell, owned McDowell & Company, a machinery company with offices at 347 Fifth Avenue, Downtown, and also lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue.
John M. Davidson was recorded in the 1900 census as a 51-year-old filter manufacturer and as the head of the household at 852 North Lincoln Avenue. His wife, Elizabeth A., 45, had no occupation. Both had been born in Pennsylvania, like their parents. The Davidsons had been married for 28 years and had two children, both of whom were still living at home. They were Joan, 22, and William L., 21. David F.H. McDowell, 41, was enumerated as an iron merchant. He was unmarried.
David F.H. McDowell lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue until 1903-04, when he moved to Bidwell Street in Manchester. The Davidson family lived in the house until 1906-07.
The 1910 Census
Albert F. Steigleder, 46, was the treasurer of a brewery. He had been born in Pennsylvania to German immigrant parents. E. Essie Steigleder, 48, had been born in Pennsylvania, like her parents. The couple had been married for three years, and had no children. Alwild Moore, 45, a sister of E. Essie, lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue, as did Roy E. Moore, 15, who was one of her five children. Alwild Moore was a private nurse.
- Emma Snyder, 28, a public stenographer; she was unmarried and had been born in Pennsylvania, to parents born in Pennsylvania and Germany
- Anne Elliott, 25, a nurse working in a hospital; she had been born in Pennsylvania to Irish immigrant parents
- John McFarland, 72, a printer and widower; he had been born in Pennsylvania, like his parents.
The 1920 Census
Records of the 1920 census do not list any residents of 852 North Lincoln Avenue. The house was apparently either temporarily vacant or was skipped by the census taker.
The 1930 Census
Albert F. Steigleder, 66, was the treasurer of a food products company. E. Essie Steigleder, 60, had no occupation. A seven-year-old named Robert Steigleder lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue and was listed as a son of Albert and Essie.
The Steigleders supplemented Albert’s income by sharing their home with two lodgers, both unmarried.
In 1930, 852 North Lincoln Avenue had an estimated value of $8000.
The 1940 Census
Margaret Roseman, 66, rented for $30 per month. She was a widow with no occupation, and received income other than from salary or wages. She was a Pennsylvania native and had completed two years of high school. She shared her apartment with her son, Neal, 23, who worked as a timekeeper for a railroad. Neal had been born in Illinois, was unmarried, and had completed three years of high school. In 1939, he had worked 44 weeks and earned $960.
The 1940 census is the last census that provides information on occupants of 852 North Lincoln Avenue. Manuscript census records are withheld from public view for 72 years, to protect the privacy of persons who were enumerated.
The following materials accompany this report:
- copies of maps from 1872, 1882 and 1906 of the area around 852 North Lincoln Avenue
- copies of parts of fire insurance maps of the area around 852 N Lincoln Avenue, published in 1884, 1893 and 1906
- real estate plat maps from 1882, 1901, 1907 and 1925 showing the area around 852 North Lincoln Avenue
- the obituary of Theodore H. Nevin, from the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, May 1, 1884
A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson
all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise notedTags: n lincoln avenue