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806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

912 Beech Avenue

912 Beech Avenue (Front)

Introduction

912 Beech Avenue is a three-story red brick house occupying a 30′ wide by 100′ deep lot located in the Allegheny West section of Pittsburgh.

John S. Bell, an Irish-born dry goods merchant, and his wife Eliza had 912 Beech Avenue built in 1869 or 1870. The Bells and their children and servant lived at 912 Beech Avenue for only a year or less before they sold the house and moved to Bellevue.

Henry Meyer, an attorney who owned 912 Beech Avenue between 1886 and 1909, had the house updated in the late 1880’s. Meyer’s alterations to 912 Beech Avenue, which included a new facade, stairway, doors, mantels, woodwork and hardwood floors, incorporated fashionable home features of the time while leaving intact a number of items that date to the time of the house’s construction.

Other early occupants of 912 Beech Avenue included the family of Moses Bauer, a Prussian immigrant jewelery store owner who rented the house in 1880.

912 Beech Avenue, originally known as 47 Beech Street, has had 19 owners. The house was converted to a rooming house by the late 1920’s and was allowed to deteriorate until its 1991 restoration.

Detailed information on the ownership history, age, and first owner of 912 Beech Avenue follows.

Ownership

  • April 30, 1869
  • August 16, 1870
  • March 1, 1882
  • September 25, 1882
  • October 22, 1883
  • December 14, 1886
  • July 9, 1909
  • April 10, 1912
  • January 30, 1915
  • June 12, 1918
  • March 29, 1919
  • January 10, 1920
  • January 10, 1920
  • July 20, 1921
  • April 11, 1922
  • March 11, 1946
  • May 1, 1959
  • April 27, 1966
  • March 6, 1973
  • May 23, 1990
  • December 19, 1990

Arthur and Bell Hobson, Joseph and Jessie McNaugher and Samuel and Jane McNaugher, all of Allegheny City, to Eliza Bell, $4,000.

This deed conveyed lots 23 and 24 in Block 4 in Elizabeth F. Denny’s Plan of Lots, located in the Second Ward of Allegheny City. The property conveyed was located on the northern side of Beech Street (now Beech Avenue), 440′ east of Allegheny Avenue, and measured 40′ wide along Beech Street and 100′ deep to Butter Cup Alley (now Buttercup Way).

(Deed Book Volume 244, Page 243)

John S. and Eliza Bell of Allegheny City to Ralph Bagaly, son of William Bagaly of Allegheny City, $13,000.

This deed conveyed Lots 23 and 24 and the western half of Lot 25 in Block 4 in Elizabeth F. Denny’s Plan of Lots, measuring 50′ along Beech Street and 100′ deep to Butter Cup Alley.

(DBV 261 P 114)

Ralph and Mary A. Bagaly of the city of Pittsburgh to William Semple of Allegheny City, $7,000. This deed and subsequent deeds conveyed a 30′ wide by 100′ deep lot on Beech Avenue, 460′ east of Allegheny Avenue.

(DBV 424 P 679)

William and Marion Semple of Allegheny City to August G. Hatry of the city of Pittsburgh, $10,000.

(DBV 442 P 686)

August and Louisa Hatry of the city of Pittsburgh to Alexander M. Byers of Allegheny City, $8,000.

(DBV 466, P 682)

Alexander M. and Martha F. Byers of Allegheny City to Mattie E. Meyer of the city of Pittsburgh, $6,500.

(DBV 558, P 254)

Henry and Mattie E. Meyer of the city of Pittsburgh to John Goettmann of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other good and valuable considerations.

(DBV 1645 P 88)

John Goettmann, widower, of the city of Pittsburgh, to Enoch James of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations.

(DBV 1713 P 615)

Enoch and Annie James of the city of Pittsburgh to Henry H. Daubenspeck of Washington Township, Butler County, $1 and other good and valuable considerations.

(DBV 1832 P 199)

Henry H. and Elizabeth J. Daubenspeck of Washington Township, Butler County, to Roscoe M. Daubenspeck of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other good and valuable considerations.

(DBV 1944 P 3)

Roscoe M. Daubenspeck, unmarried, of the city of Pittsburgh to Grace E. and Phillip J. Artz Jr. of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations.

(DBV 1951 P 487)

Grace E. and Phillip J. Artz Jr. of the city of Pittsburgh to Kathryn D. Float of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations.

(DBV 2004 P 451)

Kathryn D.. Float, unmarried, of the city of Pittsburgh to Grace E. Artz of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations.

(DBV 2004 P 449)

Grace E. and Phillip J. Artz Jr. of the city of Pittsburgh to Martin and Catharine Schmidt of the city of Pittsburgh, $8.700.

(DBV 2071 P 200)

Martin and Catharine Schmidt of the city of Pittsburgh to Adam Kerr of the city of Pittsburgh, $9,000.

(DBV 2125 P 408)

Nettie Kerr, widow, Lela and Glenn E. Hilliard and Florence and Presley Albert Traft, all of the city of Pittsburgh, and Roy M. and Mary Kerr of Southgate, California, to George S. and Edna C. Harger of Evans City, Butler County, $1.

Adam Kerr had died on April 26, 1945, and left one-third interest in the property to his wife Nettie Kerr and two-thirds interest in the property to his children.

(DBV 2887 P 568)

Edna C. Harger, widow, of Evans City, Butler County, to Niels Bork of Evans City, Butler County, $8,500.

(DBV 3792 P 318)

Niels and Anne Louise Bork of Mercer, Butler County to Edward R. and Gay L. Hilderhoff of the city of Pittsburgh, $12,000.

(DBV 4328 P 613)

Edward R. and Gay L. Hilderhoff of the city of Pittsburgh to Joseph F. Coyne of the city of Pittsburgh, $13,700.

(DBV 4664 P 181)

Joseph F. Coyne, single, to Louis DePellegrini, $27,000.

(DBV 8253 P 525)

Louis DePellegrini, single, of the city of Pittsburgh to Barbara A. and Robert L. Wells Jr. of the city of Pittsburgh, $49,000.

(DBV 8394, P 583)

Age of the House

All available information indicates that John S. and Eliza Bell had 912 Beech Avenue built in 1869 or 1870.

The April 30, 1869 sale of a 40′ wide by 100′ deep lot on Beech Avenue for $4000, at $1 per square foot, was comparable to prices paid for other undeveloped lots in Allegheny West and indicates that 912 Beech Avenue had not been built.

Subsequently, the 1870 Pittsburgh city directory listed John S. Bell as living at 47 Beech Street (now 912 Beech Avenue) for the first time.
Pittsburgh city directories of the late 1860’s provide information on Arthur Hobson, Joseph McNaugher and Samuel McNaugher, who, with their wives, sold Eliza Bell property on which 912 Beech Avenue stands.

Arthur Hobson was a contractor who lived at 9 Knoll Street in Allegheny. Joseph McNaugher was a paver and contractor who lived at 268 Sandusky Street in Allegheny. Samuel McNaugher, a bricklayer, also lived on Sandusky Street.

Residents

The Bells

Pittsburgh city directories, and U.S. census records provide information on John S. and Eliza Bell and their family.

Learn More

Occupants in 1880

The 1880 manuscript census shows that 912 Beech Avenue (then 47 Beech Street) was rented to the family of Moses Bauer.

Moses Bauer, 30, was a Prussian-born jewelery store owner. His wife Laura, 25, kept house. Laura Bauer had been born in Pennsylvania to parents born in Baden, Germany.

In 1880, Moses and Laura Bauer lived at 47 Beech Street with their two children, Moses Bauer’s step-brother, and two female servants.
The Bauers’ children were Alice, two, and Walter, one. Both had been born in Pennsylvania.

Herm Cerf, Moses Bauer’s step-brother, was 18 and worked as a store clerk. He had been born in Prussia.

Servants living at 47 Beech Street in 1880 were M. Ackerman, 16, who had been born in Pennsylvania, and Millie Racy, 25, who had been born in Virginia and was not able to read or write. Both servants were the children of Prussian immigrants.

Other Information

Pittsburgh city directories indicate that 912 Beech Avenue was converted to a rooming house by 1929. In that year, Nettie Kerr was listed as proprietor of a rooming house at 912 Beech Avenue and living at the same address.

Supplementary Materials

The following materials accompany this report:

  • a copy of an 1872 plat map of part of Allegheny, including Beech Avenue
  • a copy of an 1890 plat map of part of Allegheny, including Beech Avenue
  • a copy of a 1910 plat map of part of the Northside, including Beech Avenue

A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson

all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted

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