Labor Day Block Party
Monday, September 7th. How can this be the end of summer so soon? An enclosed flyer has all the details for the event.
September 25that the Modern Café at 6:00 pm.
Allegheny Cemetery Tour
Looking ahead to October I am planning an Allegheny Cemetery Tour. Possible dates for the tour are October 10th or 24th in the morning.Many of the families who built and lived in our neighborhood are buried there. They don’t necessarily have to have lived in your house, so if you want to see if someone interesting from Allegheny West that you’ve heard about is buried in the cemetery feel free to pass those names along too. If you would like to find out if the family associated with your house is buried there call or email Mary Callison (firstname.lastname@example.org) by September 12th.
Calvary United Methodist Church
971 Beech Avenue
Tuesday, September 8th @ 7:00pm
- Guest Speaker: Jim Pashek, One Northside Community Grant
- Sign the petition if you haven’t already
- Guest Speaker: Q/Trek Development – Garden Theater Project
- Additional Guests
- Councilwoman Harris’s Office
- Mayor Peduto’s Office
- Pittsburgh City Police
- Motions passed by Executive Board in August
- Executive Board Membership / Nominating Committee
- Treasurer’s Report
- City Council Grant: Trash Can Updates
- Housing and Planning Updates
- Q Development / Coffee Building
- Stables National Register
- Loft District Historic District
- North Ave. Lights
- Housing Court: Wed 9/16
- Historic Review Committee
- New proposed Historic Guidelines
- AWDC Updates
- 928 – 930 Western
- Ways & Means: House Tour Update
- Neighborhood Clean-ups
- Upcoming Membership Events
- Bocce – now informal
- Sept. 25 Mixer – Modern Cafe
- Cemetery Tour
- 50th Anniversary Update
- NSLC Updates
- Gazette Deadline: 10/5 – send articles to email@example.com
- New Business
- Committee Q&A
- Housing & Planning
- Ways & Means
- Friends of Allegheny West
- Allegheny Commons
Presented by Front Porch Theatricals
August 23, 27 and 29
The Light in the Piazza tells the story of Margaret Johnson and her daughter Clara, a pair of wealthy women from the American south. Together, they encounter the charm of Italy and the famiglia Naccarelli while learning about themselves and each other. This poignant, romantic, and sometimes humorous tale is set during an emotionally-charged summer in 1953.
Thanks to the generous support of the Buhl Foundation, Northside residents and workers are invited to attend this performance for free. A limited number of tickets are available online, so reserve your seat today.
Sunday, August 23 at 2:00 pm Thursday, August 27 at 8:00 pm Saturday, August 29 at 2:00 pm
As many of you are aware, the One Northside initiative invited GTECH to coordinate a summer internship experience for Landscape Architecture students from three universities this summer, specifically to look at the resources that make Northside neighborhoods unique. The Asset Inventory and Mapping (AIM) project catalogued and then plotted out the destinations, resources, services and other local items of interest based on surveys of residents.
The final Community Asset Map was unveiled last week at the People, Places, Spaces event held at City of Asylum but if you missed the in-person reveal, you can also check out the interactive map online!
Community Asset Map – One Northside AIM
Francis Torrance was born in Letterkenny, Ireland in 1816. After living in various locations, Torrance settled in Pittsburgh and began working as manager of the Schenley Estate by 1858.
Francis Torrance appeared in the Pittsburgh city directory as early as 1857, when he was listed as a bookkeeper who roomed on Penn Avenue near Clymer Street in Pittsburgh. By 1859, Torrance moved to Allegheny, living with his family in a two-story brick Greek Revival house at 36 James Street (now 1300 James Street).
The 1860 manuscript census enumerated Francis Torrance and his family in the Third Ward of Allegheny. Francis Torrance, 40, worked as a real estate agent, and Jane Torrance, 36, had no occupation. Francis Torrance owned real estate valued at $1,000, and had a “personal estate” of $200.
In 1860, Francis and Jane Torrance had three children: Martha, 10, Catharine, six, and Francis J., one, all born in Pennsylvania. Jane Torrance’s widowed mother Ann Waddell, 68, also lived with the family.
Pittsburgh city directories published during the 1860’s identified Francis Torrance as a clerk, real estate agent, or notary public.
In the mid-1860’s, Francis Torrance moved to a slightly larger two-story brick Greek Revival house at 33 Boyle Street (now 1223 Boyle Street) in Allegheny.
The 1870 manuscript census reported that Francis and Jane Torrance lived in Allegheny’s Third Ward with their three children, Ann Waddell, and one servant. Francis Torrance, still working as a real estate agent, owned real estate valued at $7,000 and had a personal estate of $20,000.
In 1870, the Torrance family’s children were Martha, 20, Kate, 16, and Francis J., 11. The family’s servant was Ellen Callahan, 20, a native of Ireland. The census indicated that Ellen Callahan could not read or write.
In the early 1870’s, Francis Torrance worked briefly for Bovard, Rose & Company, wholesale and retail dealers in carpets, oil cloths, mattings and window shades. Bovard, Rose & Company was located at 21 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh.
In the mid-1870’s, Francis Torrance became a partner in the Standard Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of enameled iron, located at 286-297 River Avenue in Allegheny.
City directories listed Francis Torrance at 33 Boyle Street until 1877, when he lived on Western Avenue near Allegheny Avenue.
The 1880 manuscript census shows that Francis Torrance lived at 86 Western Avenue (now 946 Western Avenue) with his wife, children, and two female servants. The census gave Francis Torrance’s occupation as real estate agent and reported that Jane Torrance did not work.
The Torrances’ children who lived at 86 Western Avenue in 1880 were Mattie, 30, who had no occupation, and Frank, 20, who worked as a clerk in a store.
In 1880, the Torrances’ servants were L. McLaughlin, 27, who had been born in Ireland, and M. Reethback, 18, who had been born in Ohio to parents born in Baden, Germany.
City directories indicate that Francis Torrance lived at 946 Western Avenue until his death in 1886. After Torrance died, his son Francis J. Torrance continued to live at 946 Western Avenue.
Francis J. Torrance first appeared in the Pittsburgh city directory in 1878, at age 19, when he was listed as a clerk living on Western Avenue. Francis J. Torrance married Mary or Marie Dibert in 1884, and lived with his new wife at 946 Western Avenue.
By 1887, Francis J. Torrance became secretary of the Standard Manufacturing Company. Subsequent city directories listed Torrance as secretary or treasurer of the company.
The 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on occupants of 946 Western Avenue in that year, was destroyed in a fire following its completion.
The 1900 manuscript census reported that a household headed by Francis J. Torrance lived at 946 Western Avenue. Francis J. Torrance, 40, worked as a manufacturer, and Mary Torrance had no occupation. The Torrances, married 16 years, had one child: Jane, 15. Francis J. Torrance’s mother Jane, 81, also lived at 946 Western Avenue.
In 1900, three servants lived with the Torrance family at 946 Western Avenue: John Dyson, Jennie McDougan, and Katie McDougan. John Dyson, 32, had been born in West Virginia. Jennie McDougan, 24, and Katie McDougan, 20, had both been born in Canada.
In 1900, no residents of 946 Western Avenue had been unemployed during the previous year, and all were able to read and write.
The 1900 census also indicated that Francis J. Torrance owned his home fully.
City directories published during the early 1900’s show that Francis J. Torrance served as first vice-president of the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company and as president
of the National Metal Weather Strip Company, located at 12 North Diamond Street in Allegheny. The 1910 manuscript census again enumerated Francis J. Torrance and his family at 946 Western Avenue. Torrance, 50, was vice-president of a manufacturing company. His wife Mary, 48, and daughter Jane, 24, did not work.
In 1910, the Torrance family had only one servant, Alice Savage, 22. Alice Savage had been born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1906. She was employed as a chambermaid, had not been unemployed during the previous year, and was able to read and write.
Pittsburgh city directories listed Francis J. Torrance as vice-president of the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company and living at 946 Western Avenue through 1918, the last year that Torrance appeared in the directory.
City directories show that 946 Western Avenue was known as Torrance House, a home for blind women, beginning in 1928, the year that a trust for maintenance of Torrance House was established.
Directories indicate that 946 Western Avenue was known as Torrance House until about 1963, when the house was converted to apartments.
Theodore H. Nevin was born in October 1814 in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Nevin’s father died while Nevin was a child, and Nevin and his mother moved to Allegheny City (now the North Side). Theodore H. Nevin was listed in the Pittsburgh city directory as early as 1841, as a druggist living at Mrs. Little’s boarding house on Fifth Avenue, Downtown. Nevin, according to information published in an obituary, by then owned a successful drugstore on Liberty Avenue near Sixth Street.
Nevin married Hannah Irwin, a daughter of Allegheny City rope manufacturer John Irwin, in the early 1840s. They had seven children who are known today: William, born in 1842-43, Eliza in 1844-45, Charles F. in 1847-48, Alexander in 1850-51, T. Herbert in 1855-56, Martha M. in 1862-63, and Frank Y. in 1866-67.
In 1841, Nevin established the Pioneer White Lead Works (later the Pioneer Paint Works), a paint factory, on Federal Street in Allegheny City. By 1847, Nevin, his wife Hannah, and their children lived on Federal Street. Samuel Finley, who later invested with Theodore H. Nevin in property at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues, was a partner in the Pioneer White Lead Works.
In the 1840s, Theodore H. Nevin became a trustee of the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny City. In or after the 1840s, he helped found the First National Bank of Allegheny. He became president of the bank in the 1860s. The bank was located at 110 Federal Street in Allegheny City.
Nevin and his family moved from Allegheny City to Sewickley in the mid-1850s. In 1858, after the Irwin rope walk ceased operation, the Pioneer Paint Works moved to its longtime home at the southeast corner of Western and Galveston avenues. The paint works apparently thrived at that location. Allegheny City and Pittsburgh experienced significant economic and population growth in the 1860s and the first few years of the 1870s, resulting in considerable demand for paint and related products. It is possible that Nevin and others originally purchased the adjacent property at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues as a site for possible expansion of the Pioneer Paint Works.
In 1872, with demand for housing for middle-class and wealthy families in Allegheny West apparently stronger than any impetus to expand the paint works, Theodore H. Nevin and his business partner and brother-in-law John Irwin Jr. commissioned the construction of 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue. John Irwin Jr. conveyed his interest in the property to Theodore H. Nevin in 1874. Nevin had a smaller row of houses at 808-810-812 Galveston Avenue built around that time. He rented 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue, which became known as Nevin’s Row, and 808-812 Galveston Avenue to tenants.
The 1870 census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, found that Theodore H. Nevin owned real estate worth $25,000 and had a personal estate of $53,000. Nevin’s total assets of $78,000 were comparable to more than $2 million in the early 21st century. Records of the 1880 census show that the Nevin family lived in an un-numbered house on the south side of Bank Street in Sewickley. Theodore H. Nevin had passed on his interest in the Pioneer Paint Works to his son Charles the year before, but remained president of the First National Bank of Allegheny. He served as president of the bank until he died on April 30, 1884. Hannah Nevin lived in Sewickley until she died in 1899.
Jacob Diffenbacher first appeared in the Pittsburgh city directory in 1863, when he boarded at 162 Lacock Street in Allegheny. The directory did not indicate Diffenbacher’s occupation.
In 1864, Diffenbacher was listed as owner of a bung (stopper or cork) factory at the corner of Market Street and Duquesne Way in Pittsburgh. Diffenbacher lived at 327 Rebecca Street in Allegheny. The 1865 directory listed Diffenbacher as a partner in Diffenbacher & Watson, dealers in oil lands, and living in New York. Diffenbacher’s partner in this venture was Henry Watson, who boarded on Resaca Place near the gas works in Allegheny.
In 1866 and 1867, Diffenbacher was a partner with John F. Glosser of 21 Diamond Street in Allegheny in a grocery store located at 21 Diamond Street. Diffenbacher lived at 327 Rebecca Street (now Reedsdale Street) in Allegheny.
In 1870 the directory listed Diffenbacher as a publisher who lived and worked at 68 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. Diffenbacher moved to Emsworth in the early 1870’s, and maintained an office on Fourth Avenue. The 1874 city directory indicated that Diffenbacher was publisher of the Pittsburgh Official Railway Guide. Diffenbacher began publishing the Pittsburgh city directory in addition to the railway guide by the late 1870’s.
Neither the 1870 or 1880 censuses provide information on Jacob Diffenbacher. The 1890 census, which would provide information on Diffenbacher, was destroyed in a fire following its completion.
City directories listed Diffenbacher as living in Emsworth until 1893, when he was listed at 78 Beech Avenue for the first time. Diffenbacher was listed in the directory at 78 Beech Avenue through 1897.
Jacob Diffenbacher died at Western Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane at Dixmont on April 1, 1898. Susan Diffenbacher was listed as a widow living at 78 Beech Avenue beginning in 1898.
Current house numbers on Beech Avenue and nearby were used beginning in 1900.
The 1900 manuscript census reported that Susan Diffenbacher, 57, lived at 843 Beech Avenue with a niece, Elizabeth Hale. Susan Diffenbacher had been married 34 years and had no children. She had no occupation.
Elizabeth Rale, 27, was single and had no occupation. She had been born in Virginia to parents also born in Virginia. City directories listed Susan Diffenbacher at 843 Beech Avenue through 1904, the year after she sold the house. She lived in the Buckingham Apartments at Craft Avenue and Kennett Square in Oakland in 1905. She lived at 3604 Forbes Avenue in Oakland in 1906, the last year that she appeared in the directory.
Part of the Community Supported Art Performance Series
August 13 | 8PM
With a small cast, David Bernabo crafts a semi-autobiographical, mixed-media movement theater production that presents characters in parallel states. Forces both abstract and concrete push performers in and out of storylines as the audience is guided through a range of actions, false paths, and surprises.
Thanks to the generous support of the Buhl Foundation, Northside residents and workers are invited to attend this performance for free. A limited number of tickets are available online, so reserve your seat today.
Thursday, August 13 at 8:00 pm Buy a Share in the CSA
Jacob Kaufmann was a confounder of what became Kaufmann’s Department Store. He was the first of four Kaufmann brothers to settle in Pittsburgh, and was the last of the four brothers to move away from Allegheny City to Pittsburgh’s East End in the early twentieth century.
Jacob Kaufmann was born in the vicinity of Mannheim, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, in June 1849. He was one of at least five children of a cattle and horse dealer. Kaufmann immigrated in about 1869 and began living in the borough of East Birmingham (part of the present South Side of Pittsburgh) within a short time. The 1870 Pittsburgh directory was the first to list Jacob Kaufmann or any members of his family. The directory listed Kaufmann and his brother Isaac, who had just arrived in Pittsburgh, as clerks who boarded at 1911 East Carson Street in East Birmingham.
The federal census of population taken in 1870 enumerated Jacob Kaufmann as a boarder in the home of Julius Prader, a German immigrant tailor, in East Birmingham. Isaac Kaufmann was not enumerated in Pittsburgh in the 1870 census, suggesting the census was taken before he arrived in the city.
The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Jacob Kaufmann owned no real estate and had no personal estate.
By 1871, Jacob and Isaac Kaufmann founded J. Kaufmann & Brother, a men’s clothing store at 1916 East Carson Street. The first store’s floor space was only 18’ by 28’. Each of the brothers initially invested $1500 in the store – an amount that was approximately half the value of many of the homes in the neighborhood in which the Kaufmanns started their business. The store operated at 1932 East Carson Street, in a larger space measuring 20’ by 85’, between 1872 and 1876.
Jacob Kaufmann, 25, married Augusta Katz, 18, in 1874. Augusta Katz was born in downtown Pittsburgh in March 1856. She was one of at least three children of Abraham Katz, a peddler and laborer, and Julia Katz, both German immigrants. The Katz family appears to have lived modestly, renting living quarters in a small alley Downtown in 1860.
Abraham Katz died in the late 1860’s, and Julia Katz subsequently supported her children by operating a confectionery on East Ohio Street near Cedar Avenue in, the East Allegheny neighborhood. Augusta Katz worked as a saleswoman in the early 1870’s, before she was married. Known records do not identify the store in which she was employed.
After marrying, Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann initially lived above the store at 1932 East Carson Street. Isaac Kaufmann, still unmarried, lived with his brother.
In 1876-1877, the Kaufmann brothers closed the South Side operations and moved J. Kaufmann & Brother to storefronts on Smithfield Street, downtown, and Federal Street in Allegheny City (on the present site of Allegheny Center Mall). Jacob, Augusta and Isaac Kaufmann then moved from the South Side to a small house at 1414 (then 290) Federal Street in Allegheny City.
Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann’s first child, Alfred D, was born in September 1877. Following were Raymond M. in August 1879, C. Chester in July 1882, Edwin J. in May 1884, and Carl J. in July 1888. The Kaufmanns were among the minority of families who did not experience the death of a young child in the nineteenth century. The couple also adopted an orphan, Mitchell Schonberg.
In the late 1870’s, Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann moved to a larger house on Penn Avenue near Fifth Street, Downtown. Isaac Kaufmann, recently married, and his wife, Emma, began living next door to Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann. Another brother, Henry Kaufmann, had just settled in Pittsburgh, and boarded with Isaac Kauffmann’s family. Henry Kaufmann was the third of the four brothers who would become partners in what became Kaufmann’s Department Store.
J Kaufmann & Brother’s Federal Street store closed in about 1879. Subsequently, the Kaufmann brothers incrementally expanded the Smithfield Street store from its original 20’ by 50’ space to nearly a full city block by the end of Jacob Kaufmann’s life. With the expansion of the store, Kaufmann’s evolved from being one of many small clothing stores in Pittsburgh to one of a handful of large department stores in the city in the early twentieth century. The store began to offer women’s clothing and dry goods in addition to men’s clothing. It was not, however, the largest department store in Pittsburgh. in 1892, Kaufmann’s was worth $2 million, while its rival Joseph Home’s was worth $4.7 million.
As Kaufmann’s expanded, Jacob Kaufmann invested in real estate in its vicinity and became a significant owner of downtown property. Kaufmann also recognized the development potential of the East End, and invested in real estate there in the 1890’s.
The 1880 census enumerated the Kaufmann family in their home on Penn Avenue. Jacob Kaufmann was recorded as a clothing merchant, and Augusta Kaufmann kept house. The couple had two children, Alfred D., three, and Raymond, 10 months. Hannah Katz, a 26-year-old sister of Augusta Kaufmann, lived with the family. Census records also show that Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann, although only 30 and 25 years old, were able to employ three servants who lived in their home on Penn Avenue.
Morris Kaufmann, the last of the four brothers to arrive in Pittsburgh, began living on Penn Avenue in the early 1880s. A fifth brother, Nathan, remained in Germany. J. Kaufmann & Brother was renamed J. Kaufmann & Brothers at around the same time. The store became informally known as Kaufmann’s by the turn of the century.
Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann and their children moved in about 1883 from Penn Avenue to a home at 1238 Sheffield Street in Manchester. Isaac Kaufmann and his family moved to 1203 Sheffield Street and Morris Kaufmann moved to 1301 Bidwell Street in Manchester at around the same time. Henry Kaufmann moved from downtown to 1208 Sheffield Street later in the 1880’s. The Kaufmann’s new neighborhood became the home of some of the most prominent and prosperous Jewish residents of the Pittsburgh area in the 1880’s. Manchester’s Jewish population appears to have been concentrated on Sheffield and Liverpool Streets and W North Avenue.
The Kaufmanns lived at 1238 Sheffield Street until they purchased 913 Brighton Road in late 1890. Jacob Kaufmann’s brothers continued to live in Manchester for the next several years.
In 1900, according to census records, seven members of the Kaufmann family lived at 913 Brighton Road: Jacob, 50, a clothing merchant; Augusta, 44, with no occupation; Alfred D., 22, a clerk; and Raymond M., 20, C. Chester, 17, Edwin 16, Carl J, 11, all attending school. The Kaufmanns’ adopted son, Mitchell Schonberg, 15, also attended school.
The 1900 census enumerated three servants who lived at 913 Brighton Road:
- Dora Hamm, 30, a German immigrant
- Mary Pietch, 30, also a German immigrant
- Ella Gardner, 37, born in Pennsylvania
Records of the 1900 census also show that Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann owned 913 Brighton Road without a mortgage.
Nearly all of the Jewish residents of Manchester and Allegheny West moved to Pittsburgh’s East End between the late 1890’s and the middle of the first decade of the twentieth century. Morris Kaufmann was among the first to leave, moving to Forbes Avenue near Wightman Street in Squirrel Hill in 1896-1897. Isaac and Henry Kaufmann followed in about 1900, leaving Jacob Kaufmann the only Kaufmann brother still living in Allegheny City. In 1902, Jacob Kaufmann and his family sold 913 Brighton Road and moved to 4922 Wallingford Street in Shadyside.
In 1904 or 1905, Kaufmann commissioned construction of a large home at 1935 Wightman Street in Squirrel Hill. The Kaufmanns moved into their new house, described in the Pittsburgh Gazette Times as “one of the finest homes on Squirrel Hill,” in mid- or late-1905.
Jacob Kaufmann lived at 1935 Wightman Street for only a short time. Kaufmann died on November 1, 1905, at age 56. His death was caused by appendicitis.
After the death of Jacob Kaufmann, his brother Isaac succeeded him as president of Kaufmann’s.
Augusta Kaufmann lived at 1935 Wightman Street for the rest of her life. Her obituary suggests that she continued charitable activities in which she had participated, without identifying organizations in which she was involved. Her sons continued to live with her before marrying. At least two of her sons, Alfred and Edwin, were associated with Kaufmann’s as an adult; others continued their father’s real estate activities.
Augusta Kaufmann died at home at 1935 Wightman Street on December 31, 1921. She was 65 years old.
John Davidson, a saddler, commissioned construction of 913 Brighton Road in 1870 or 1871. The house was built on a piece of ground that Davidson had purchased for $2760 in 1860. Davidson had 913 Brighton Road built in the Italianate style. The house was built in the Second Ward of Allegheny City, which became part of the city of Pittsburgh in 1907.
The third floor of the front section of 913 Brighton Road was added in about 1890. At or about the same time, the house was altered with the addition of rough cut stone lintels, stone ornamentation around the front door opening, new front doors, and brick corbelling above the second floor front windows. These features express the Romanesque Revival style, popular in Pittsburgh between about 1890 and 1900.
Augusta Kaufmann, the wife of Pittsburgh department store owner Jacob Kaufmann, purchased 913 Brighton Road (then known as 68 Irwin Avenue) in 1890. Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann may have been responsible for the Romanesque Revival alterations to the house.
Augusta and Jacob Kaufmann and their children lived at 913 Brighton Road between 1890-1891 and 1902. Jacob Kaufmann was then one of four brothers who owned Kaufmann’s Department Store in Downtown Pittsburgh. He was the first of the Kaufmann brothers to immigrate to Pittsburgh, and founded the store on the South Side in 18704871. Kaufmann oversaw the store’s transformation from one of many small clothing stores in Pittsburgh to a large department store during the last two decades of the twentieth century.
Jacob Kaufmann was the last of the four Kaufmann brothers to leave Allegheny City for Pittsburgh’s East End. In 1902, he and Augusta Kaufmann sold 913 Brighton Road for $22,500 and moved to Shadyside. The family began living in a mansion in Squirrel Hill in 1905, only a few months before Jacob Kaufmann died.
The house at 913 Brighton Road has now had a total of seven owners.
Detailed information on the history of 913 Brighton Road is contained in the following report.
- July 1, 1852
- March 23, 1854
- November 1, 1860
- January 16, 1877
- February 28, 1880
- December 16, 1890
- May 12, 1902
- February 14, 1933
- January 27, 1939
- December 16, 1963
- July 13, 1979
Elizabeth F. Denny of Pittsburgh conveyed property that included the present site of 913 Brighton Road to the Allegheny Gas Company for $6,000. The property that was conveyed was located at the northwestern corner of the West Commons (later Irwin Avenue, now Brighton Road) and Water Lane (now Western Avenue) in Allegheny City. The property measured l8l’4” wide along Brighton Road by 220’ deep along Western Avenue to an alley.
(Deed Book Volume 103, Page 512)
Elizabeth F. Denny of Pittsburgh conveyed additional property on Brighton Road to the Allegheny Gas Company for $4,000. The property that was conveyed bordered the property described in the July 1, 1852 deed and measured 96’ wide along Brighton Road by 220’ deep to an alley.
(DBV 116 P 531)
The Allegheny Gas Company conveyed a lot that included the present site of 913 Brighton Road to John Davidson of Allegheny City for $2,760. The lot that was conveyed was located on Brighton Road (then Irwin Avenue), 75’ north of Western Avenue (then Water Lane), and measured 60’ wide along Brighton Road by 220’ deep to an alley.
(DBV 148 P 77)
John and Margaret Davidson of Allegheny City conveyed 913 Brighton Road to Eliza Davidson of Allegheny City for $20,000. The house occupied the lot on which it now stands, measuring 40’ wide along Brighton Road by 220’ deep.
(DBV 369 P 480)
Eliza Davidson of Allegheny City conveyed 913 Brighton Road to Clara L. McMurtry, wife of George G. McMurtry of Allegheny City, for $21,000.
(DBV 423 P 358)
George G. and Clara L. McMurtry of Allegheny City conveyed 913 Brighton Road to Augusta Kaufmann, wife of Jacob Kaufmann of Allegheny City, for $30,000.
(DBV 728 P 274)
Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann of Allegheny City conveyed 913 Brighton Road to G.C. Dellenbach of Allegheny City for $22,500.
Allegheny City became part of the city of Pittsburgh in 1907. G.C. Dellenbach died on November 13, 1927. He was survived by his son, George S. Dellenbach, and daughter, Hester Patterson.
(DBV 1178 P 573)
Hester and Edward H. Patterson of Mount Lebanon conveyed their half-interest in 913 Brighton Road to George S. Dellenbach of Ross Township for $1 and other considerations.
(DBV 2478 P 459)
George S. Dellenbach of Ross Township conveyed 913 Brighton Road to Clair E. McGinnis of Pittsburgh for $1 and other considerations (tax stamps suggest a price of $6,000).
(DBV 2619 P 266)
Title to 913 Brighton Road was placed in the names of Clair E. and Kathryn McGinnis of Pittsburgh.
(DBV 4135 P 484)
Robert I. and Carole E. Malakoff purchased 913 Brighton Road from Kathryn McGinnis on July 13, 1979.
(DBV 6138 P 889)
Age of the House
John Davidson commissioned construction of 913 Brighton Road in 1870 or 1871.
John Davidson purchased property that included the lot on which 913 Brighton Road now stands on November 1, 1860. Davidson paid $2,760 for a lot that measured 60’ wide along Brighton Road (then the West Commons) by 220’ deep to an alley. This purchase, at 21 cents per square foot, was comparable to prices paid for other undeveloped lots in Allegheny City at the time, and indicates that 913 Brighton Road had not yet been built.
The 1871 Pittsburgh city directory listed John Davidson as living at 68 Irwin Avenue (now 913 Brighton Road) for the first time. Davidson was listed as a saddler. An 1872 plat map of the Second Ward of Allegheny City confirms that 913 Brighton Road had been built.
Allegheny County mortgage records contain no record of any loan taken by John Davidson that could have been used to finance construction of 913 Brighton Road. If Davidson had taken a mortgage to build the house, the date of the loan could establish a narrower period of construction.
John Davidson had 913 Brighton Road built as a two-story Italianate house, Most of the exterior Italianate features of 913 Brighton Road were removed between 1890 and 1893, when Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann had the house enlarged and remodeled in the Romanesque Revival style.
Original exterior Italianate features of 913 Brighton Road include the house’s segmentally arched windows on its facade and the three-sided bay on the first floor of the southern elevation, with fully arched windows and eight-sided Italianate panels below the windows. It should also be noted that an 1884 fire insurance map shows that the house was originally two stories in height. It is likely that the original two story house was built with a side-gabled roof, like most Italianate houses built in urban neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.
In urban neighborhoods like Allegheny West, where high land costs discouraged construction of homes with more than about 22’ frontage, Italianate house exteriors were characterized primarily by arched door and window openings, prominent or projecting door and window hoods, and decorative brackets supporting box gutters. It is likely that 913 Brighton Road was originally constructed with all of these features.
Interior details of Italianate homes often 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. In Pittsburgh, many Italianate homes were built with stairways that incorporated landings located about three steps below the main level of the second floor. Most local Italianate homes also featured two-over-two double hung windows, although some later or larger examples were constructed with one-over-one double-hung windows.
The Italianate style and the related Second Empire style were the prevailing architectural styles for homes and commercial buildings constructed in the Pittsburgh area between the mid-1860’s and about 1885.
Comparable Home Values
The house at 913 Brighton Road was sold for the first time in 1877, for $20,000. Prices of other North Side homes sold in or about 1877 included:
- 1239 Resaca Place, Mexican War Streets, $4,000 (1877)
- 1228 Resaca Place, Mexican War Streets, $5,000 (1876)
- 1725 Perrysville Avenue, Perry Hilltop, $5,000 (1876)
- a row of five houses at 1013-1021 Galveston Avenue, $26,000, or $5200 per house (1876)
- 2141 Perrysville Avenue, Perry Hilltop, $6000 (1875)
- 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, Manchester, $25,000 (1875)
- 516 West North Avenue, Mexican War Streets, $32,500 (1875)
Alterations Circa 1890
An 1884 fire insurance map depicts the front section of 913 Brighton Road as being two stories in height. The next insurance map, published in 1893, shows that the height of the front section of the house had increased to three stories.
Some exterior architectural features of 913 Brighton Road are consistent with an expansion and remodeling of the house in about 1890. These features included the house’s rough-cut stone lintels, the stone ornamentation around the front doors, the brick corbeling above the second floor windows, the stone belt course linking the sills of the third floor windows, the textured brick used above the third floor front windows, and the arched third floor windows of the house’s northern elevation (facing toward Beech Avenue).
These features are characteristic of the Romanesque Revival style, which was popular in Pittsburgh between approximately 1890 and 1900. It appears likely that the Romanesque Revival features displayed by the original section of 913 Brighton Road were added when the third-floor addition was constructed. Allegheny City building permit records, available beginning in 1894, contain no record of issuance of a permit for alterations to 913 Brighton Road.
Available records do not identify an architect who is credited with design of 913 Brighton Road or with the enlargement of the house in about 1890.
Through the Years
Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann owned 913 Brighton Road between 1890 and 1902. Pittsburgh city directories, U.S. census records, Pittsburgh newspapers, and a book, The Jewish Experience in Western Pennsylvania: A History 1755-1945, provide information on the Kaufmanns.
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.
The following materials accompany this report:
- a copy of part of an 1852 map depicting the Allegheny City area
- copies of parts of plat maps of the area around 913 Brighton Road, published in 1872 and 1901
- copies of parts of fire insurance maps of the area around 913 Brighton Road, published in 1884, 1893, 1906 and 1925
- a copy of an advertisement for Kaufmann’s, from the Pittsburgh Press, October 30, 1905
- the obituary of Jacob Kaufmann, from the Pittsburgh Press, November 1, 1905
- the obituary of Augusta Kaufmann, from the Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 1, 1922
- “The Kaufmann Legacy” interactive special, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson
all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted