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
842 North Lincoln Avenue is a two story red brick house occupying an irregularly shaped lot located in the Allegheny West section of the city of Pittsburgh.
Robert Graham, an Irish-born rope maker, built 842 North Lincoln Avenue between 1862 and 1870. Before building 842 North Lincoln Avenue, Robert Graham worked as manager of John Irwin’s Rope Walk, an early rope manufactory that operated in Allegheny City between 1813 and 1858.
Robert Graham and his family lived at 840 North Lincoln Avenue during the time that the Graham family owned 842 North Lincoln Avenue. Among families to whom Graham rented 842 North Lincoln Avenue were those of Walter L. McClintock, a carpet dealer, Charles Y. Wheeler, a Hussey & Co. employee, William J. Wilkins, a civil engineer and Robert J. George, a minister.
Detailed information on the ownership history, age, first owner, and early occupants of 842 North Lincoln Avenue follows.
- August 19, 1862
- June 26, 1875
- February 28, 1917
- February 28, 1917
- May 29, 1925
- October 30, 1925
- October 30, 1925
- June 3, 1929
- April 25, 1930
- February 23, 1977
- September 27, 1978
- September 27, 1980
John and Abigail Irwin of Allegheny County to Mrs. Martha Graham of the city of Allegheny, $450. This deed conveyed a 24′ wide by 140’9.625″ deep lot located on Central Street (earlier Irwin Avenue, later Lincoln Avenue and Lynndale Avenue, now North Lincoln Avenue), 168’4.5″ east of the corner of Central Street and Tremont Street (later Grant Avenue, now Galveston Avenue). The lot was known as lot 50 in a Plan of Lots laid out by John Irwin, later recorded in Plan Book Volume 2, Page 173.
(Deed Book Volume 155, Page 535)
Robert and Martha Graham of the city of Allegheny to Miss Martha Jane Graham, $1.
(DBV 348 P 50)
Bernard B. McGinnis of the city of Pittsburgh to Martha J. Graham of the city of Pittsburgh, $500. This deed conveyed a 7.375″ wide by 69’6″ deep lot of ground located 12’6″ north of the northern side of Lynndale Avenue. The lot was part of Lot 51 in John Irwin’s Plan of Lots. With this conveyance, the lot on which 842 North Lincoln Avenue stands took on its present configuration.
(DBV 1890 P 72)
Martha J. Graham of the city of Pittsburgh to Margaret J. Dietch of the city of Pittsburgh, $4,850.
(DBV 1882 P 571)
Margaret J. and Conrad Dietch of the city of Pittsburgh to Harry R. and Alice J. Williams Seager of the city of Pittsburgh, $11,640.
(DBV 2248 P 424)
Harry R. and Alice J. Williams Seager of the city of Pittsburgh to John A. Sharp of the city of Pittsburgh, $11,000.
(DBV 2286 P 3)
John A. Sharp, widower, of the city of Pittsburgh to B.F. Jones Jr. Properties, Inc., a corporation located in the city of Pittsburgh, $1. The deed stated that John A. Sharp had taken title to the property as an agent for B.F. Jones Jr. Properties, Inc.
(DBV 2250 P 574)
B.F. Jones Jr. Properties, Inc., a corporation located in Pittsburgh, to Julius H. and Mollie C. Luebkert of the city of Pittsburgh, $9,500.
The deed stated that B.F. Jones III was the president of B.F. Jones Jr. Properties.
(DBV 2386 P 741)
Julius H. and Mollie C. Luebkert of the city of Pittsburgh to Daniel A. and Elizabeth M. McGeary of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations.
(DBV 2410 P 515)
William R. and Eileen Guyton, Elizabeth M. and Edward P. Bowman Sr., and Donald F. and Mildred McGeary to David S. Boesel, single, $23,000.
Daniel A. McGeary had died on November 17, 1968, and Elizabeth M. McGeary had died on May 8, 1974.
(DBV 5740 P 949)
David S. Boesel, single, to N.S. Andrews, single, $54,000.
(DBV 6009 P 815)
N.S. Andrews of Chicago, Illinois, to Michael L. and Eleanor A. Coleman of Allegheny County, $70,000.
(DBV 6296 P 477)
Age of the House
All available information indicates that Robert and Martha Graham had 842 North Lincoln Avenue built between late 1862 and early 1870.
The August 1862 sale of a 3379 square foot lot for $450, at 13 cents per square foot, indicates that the lot was undeveloped. Allegheny County mortgage records show that on May 4, 1870, recorded in Mortgage Book Volume 107, Page 3, Martha Graham borrowed $2275 from John Frazier, George G. Frazier, and William G. Frazier, “doing business as carpenters and contractors under the name and style of Frazier Brothers.” A notation in the mortgage’s margin indicated that the mortgage was satisfied on April 4, 1872.
Plat maps published in 1872 and 1890 show that 842 North Lincoln Avenue was known as 65 Lincoln Avenue.
The 1870 city directory and 1870 manuscript census indicate that 65 Lincoln Avenue was occupied by Walter L. McClintock. The directory first listed McClintock at 65 Lincoln Avenue in 1870.
Robert Graham apparently built 65 Lincoln Avenue as an investment. City directories listed Graham and his daughter Martha at 67 Lincoln Avenue (now 840 North Lincoln Avenue) between the 1860’s and the 1890’s.
Directories of the early 1870’s listed John Frazier and William G. Frazier as partners in Frazier Brothers, lumber dealers, located at Pennsylvania Avenue and Sedgwick Street in Manchester. Both lived at 68 Lincoln Avenue. Directories did not list George G. Frazier.
Allegheny County deed and mortgage directories of the 1800’s show that Frazier Brothers bought and sold many properties and borrowed and loaned money on many properties in the city of Allegheny and the borough of Manchester. Houses in Allegheny built by Frazier Brothers included 824830 Beech Avenue.
Frazier Brothers’ work as contractors, carpenters and lumber dealers suggests that they served as contractors for 842 North Lincoln Avenue.
Owner & Residents
Pittsburgh city directories, U.S. census records, an obituary, a will and other sources provide information on Robert and Martha Graham, the first owners of 842 North Lincoln Avenue.
The 1870 manuscript census indicates that Robert Graham rented 65 Lincoln Avenue to a family headed by Walter L. McClintock, a carpet dealer.
In 1870, the census did not indicate street addresses of individuals who were enumerated. However, the 1870 census enumerated Walter L. McClintock and his family between the families of Hugh Knox, of 63 Lincoln Avenue (now 844 North Lincoln Avenue) and Robert Graham. City directories of the early 1870’s list Walter L. McClintock at 65 Lincoln Avenue.
Walter L. McClintock, 29, lived at 65 Lincoln Avenue with his wife Mary G. McClintock, 27, their son, Evan G., two, a servant, Maggie Healy and Jennie Miller, 15, whose relationship to the McClintock family was not given.
The census reported that all members of the McClintock family and Jennie Miller had been born in Pennsylvania. Maggie Healy had been born in England. The census also showed that Walter L. McClintock owned no real estate and had a personal estate of $3,300.
City directories show that Walter L. McClintock was a partner in Oliver McClintock & Company, dealers in carpets, oil cloths and window shades at 23 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh.
In 1880, the census showed that the family of Charles Y. Wheeler lived at 65 Lincoln Avenue.
Charles Y. Wheeler, 37, had been born in Indiana and worked for Hussey & Company. His wife Sarah V., 35, had been born in Ohio and had no occupation. The Wheelers had four children living at 65 Lincoln Avenue: Charles V. , 14, Mary Y., 12 and Harry M., 10, all born in Ohio, and George Y., four, born in Iowa.
In 1880, the Wheeler family had one servant: Georgeana Savage, 19, who was single and had been born in Maryland.
In 1900, 842 Lincoln Avenue was rented to William G. Wilkins and his family.
William G. Wilkins, 46, was a civil engineer who had been born in Pennsylvania. His wife of 19 years, Sarah, 46, had been born in Vermont. William and Sarah Wilkins had no children. Their servant was Isabella Dewar, 28, who had been born in Scotland and immigrated in 1885.
In 1900, all residents of 842 North Lincoln Avenue were able to read and write.
The 1910 census indicated that Robert J. George and his family lived at 842 North Lincoln Avenue.
Robert J. George, 65, was a minister, and his wife Margaret, 70 had no occupation. Both had been born in Pennsylvania to parents also born in Pennsylvania.
In 1910, Robert J. and Margaret George had been married 41 years and had had five children, with four of their children alive at the time of the census. Two of their children still lived at home: Roy, 34, and Ruth, 29. Both had no occupation and had attended school during the previous year.
Also living at 842 North Lincoln Avenue in 1910 were Robert J. George’s sister Margaret A. Slater and niece Estell (sic) Slater. Margaret A. Slater, 61, was a widow who had had four children, with one child still living in 1910. Estell Slater, 31, was single. Both had been born in Pennsylvania.
In 1910, all residents of 842 North Lincoln Avenue were able to read and write.
The following materials accompany this report:
- a copy of part of an 1852 map depicting Allegheny City
- a copy of an 1872 plat map showing Allegheny West, including Irwin Avenue
- a copy of a 1910 plat map of part of the Northside, including Irwin Avenue
- a listing for the Scully family in the 1920 Pittsburgh Social Secretaire
- a description of the Walton sisters from the 1888 edition of The Social Mirror
- an article describing a dance held for Alice Walton Scully from the Pittsburgh Gazette Times, December 15, 1915
- a listing for The Crossways Shop, run by Ida Walton Scully, in the 1917 R.L. Polk & Co. Pittsburgh city directory
- a photo of Joseph Walton from the 1901 Notable Men of Pittsburgh and Vicinity
- the death notice of James W. Scully, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 16, 1934
- the death notice of Ida Walton Scully, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 11, 1951
- the death notice of Alice Walton Childs, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 16, 1963
- the death notice of James H. Childs, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 23, 1963
- the obituary of Rachel Mellon Walton, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 4, 2006
- a story on the home’s inclusion in the Allegheny West Wine & Garden Tour from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 30, 2015
A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson
all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted
Christian L. Stoner was born in November 1823 in Millersville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His parents were born in New York State and Pennsylvania. Stoner became a building contractor as a young man, and constructed homes in and around Lancaster for a number of years. He served one or two terms as Lancaster County Clerk of Courts, beginning in 1857.
Christian L. Stoner married Lizzie Hostetter in 1847. Lizzie Hostetter was born in November 1822 in Pennsylvania, to parents born in Pennsylvania. Their children included David H. Stoner, who was born in December 1847 and lived at 849 Beech Avenue in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. David H. Stoner and his wife, Mary Dilgen Stoner, were married in 1869.
The Stoner family left Lancaster County in the 1860s. The family may have lived in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1872, when Elizabeth Stoner (usually known as Bessie), one of four children of David H. and Mary Stoner, was born in that city. Other children of David H. and Mary Stoner, all of whom later lived at 849 Beech Avenue, were Mary, born in March 1871, Gertrude, born in April 1876, and Anne, born in January 1878.
Christian L. Stoner was first listed in the Pittsburgh city directory in 1876, as the superintendent of the Columbia Conduit Company. Stoner lived on Allegheny Avenue near West North Avenue. David H. Stoner began living in Allegheny City by 1880, when the city directory listed him as a clerk living on Pennsylvania Avenue in Manchester.
In the late 1870s, Christian L. Stoner became a partner in Stoner & McClure, proprietor of the Pittsburgh Saw Mills, which produced lumber, nail kegs and boxes at 27th Street and the Allegheny Valley Railroad in the Strip District. His partner was Alexander McClure of 946 Beech Avenue. Stoner remained a partner in Stoner & McClure until he retired in about 1890. During that time, Stoner was also a director of the Pittsburgh Gas Company and the Smithfield Street Bridge Company, which commissioned construction of the Smithfield Street Bridge as a privately owned toll bridge in the early 1880s.
David H. Stoner became treasurer of the Pittsburgh Gas Company in the early 1880s.
Christian L. Stoner purchased 849 Beech Avenue in October 1887. He never lived in the house, and remained at 1101 Allegheny Avenue for the rest of his life. He apparently bought the house for David H. Stoner, who lived there with his wife and children between 1887 and 1904.
The 1889 Pittsburgh and Allegheny Blue Book, a directory of socially prominent residents of both cities, included listings of the families of Christian L. and Lizzie Stoner and David H. and Mary Stoner. Christian Stoner appears to have been among a small minority of men who had any type of blue-collar background who were listed in the Blue Book.
Elizabeth (Bessie) Stoner, a daughter of David H. and Mary Stoner, married Francis E. Gaither, a draftsman, on June 9, 1892. Elizabeth Stoner was 19, and Francis Gaither was 23. The Pittsburgh Press mentioned the wedding in its social column the same day, describing the bride’s gown and reporting that a reception was to be held “at the home of the bride’s parents” at 849 Beech Avenue. The couple, later residents of 849 Beech Avenue, lived on Coltart Square in Oakland for about a decade after they were married.
Pittsburgh directories listed David H. Stoner as treasurer of the Pittsburgh Gas Company until the mid-1890s; Stoner was listed as a bookkeeper in the late 1890s, and subsequently as a clerk. Directories did not name Stoner’s employer after he became a bookkeeper.
Records of the 1900 census list six residents of 849 Beech Avenue: David H. Stoner, 52, a clerk, enumerated as the owner of the house; Mary Stoner, 52; and Mary, 29, Bessie, 27, Gertrude, 24 and Anne, 22. The enumeration of Bessie Stoner Gaither at 849 Beech Avenue in 1900 appears to have been erroneous, as she had been married and living in Oakland for eight years.
No servants or other unrelated persons lived at 849 Beech Avenue at the time of the 1900 census. Census records show that in 1900, at least half of all middle-class families living in Allegheny City employed at least one servant who lived in their home. It is possible that the Stoner family employed one or more servants who did not live in their home, or were between servants when the census was taken.
David H. and Mary Stoner and their unmarried daughters moved from 849 Beech Avenue to live with Christian Stoner at 1101 Allegheny Avenue in about 1904. At around the same time, Francis E. and Bessie Stoner Gaither moved to 849 Beech Avenue from Oakland. The Gaithers had one child, David S., who was seven years old in 1904.
By the early 1900s, Francis E. Gaither was a patent attorney and notary. His office was in the Farmer’s Bank Building at Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, downtown, in 1903, and moved to the Frick Building by 1907.
Christian L. Stoner died in April 1910, leaving 849 Beech Avenue to David H. Stoner. David H. Stoner continued to live at 1101 Allegheny Avenue after his father’s death, and Francis E. and Bessie Stoner Gaither remained at 849 Beech Avenue. The 1910 census enumerated three residents of 849 Beech Avenue: Francis E. Gaither, 41, a patent attorney, Bessie S. Gaither, 36 and David S. Gaither, 13.
Francis E. Gaither died in about 1914, when he was 45 years old. Available local records do not provide information on the date or cause of his death. Bessie and David S. Gaither lived at 849 Beech Avenue through about 1921. The 1920 Pittsburgh directory listed David S. Gaither as a student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University).
Records of the 1920 census contain no information on residents of 849 Beech Avenue in that year, suggesting the house was temporarily vacant at the time of the census. David H. Stoner died in 1921, leaving 849 Beech Avenue to Bessie Gaither. Stoner had been widowed several years earlier, according to his obituary.
Bessie Gaither sold 849 Beech Avenue in February 1922, and appears to have left Pittsburgh with her son after she sold the house. She was not listed in Pittsburgh directories published in 1922 and in later years, and the Allegheny County estate index contains no information on her death.
Theodore Gray was born in New York State in 1834, to parents from Scotland and Ireland. His wife, Annie Gray, was born in Pennsylvania in 1841. Her parents were born in Pennsylvania.
Theodore Gray was first listed in the Pittsburgh city directory in 1856, as a railroad engineer who lived in an un-numbered house on Western Avenue (then Water Lane) near Brighton Road (then Pasture Lane) in Allegheny City (now the North Side). Gray was listed as living on Federal Street in Allegheny City in the late 1850s. By 1860, he and his family lived on West North Avenue (then Fayette Street) near Bidwell Street (then Bagaley’s Lane).
Available records suggest that Annie Gray was the second wife of Theodore Gray. Records of the 1860 census show that Annie Gray, in addition to being seven years her husband’s junior, was also only 14 years older than the Grays’ older child.
In 1860, Theodore and Annie Gray, who were 26 and 19, had two children: Mary E., five, and Louis H., eight months. Theodore Gray was enumerated in the census as a railroad engineer, and Annie Gray had no occupation. Records of the 1860 census show that Theodore Gray owned no real estate, and had a personal estate of $700.
Pittsburgh directories listed Theodore Gray as a railroad engineer during the first half of the 1860s, and subsequently as a conductor. Gray and his family lived on Western Avenue near Bidwell Street in 1861, and at the corner of Western and Galveston Avenues during the rest of the decade. The 1867 Pittsburgh directory provides the only known information on Theodore Gray’s employer, indicating that Gray was employed by the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad.
Theodore Gray bought the lot on which 849 Beech Avenue now stands in 1869. That transaction was Gray’s only purchase of property in Allegheny County. The 1870 Pittsburgh directory listed Theodore Gray as a conductor living at 72 Beech Street (now 849 Beech Avenue) for the first time.
The 1870 census enumerated the Gray family in their new home on Beech Avenue. Theodore Gray, 36, was enumerated as a railroad conductor, and Annie Gray, 28, did not work. The couple had three children: Mary E., 13, Lewis, 10 and Margaret, eight. The census enumerated no servants or other unrelated persons at 849 Beech Avenue.
The 1870 census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Theodore Gray owned real estate valued at $6,000 and had a personal estate of $3,000.
City directory listings show that Theodore Gray continued to work as a railroad conductor throughout the 1870s. Available records do not suggest that he and his family were adversely affected by an economic depression that lasted between about 1874 and 1877. Gray, a railroad worker who was lower in status than most of his neighbors, was probably able to endure the depression more easily than Beech Avenue residents who owned retail and manufacturing businesses.
In 1880, four members of the Gray family lived at 849 Beech Avenue: Theodore, 45, a passenger conductor; Annie, 39; Lewis H., 20, a sleeping car conductor; and Margaret, 17. A servant, Louisa Lubin, also lived at 849 Beech Avenue. Lubin, 17, was a Prussian immigrant.
Pittsburgh directories listed Theodore Gray as a conductor and living at 72 Beech Street through 1884. Theodore and Annie Gray sold the house for $7,575 in 1884. The Gray family appears to have left the Pittsburgh area the same year. Neither Theodore or Lewis Gray were listed in Pittsburgh directories published in 1885 or in later years. Records of the 1890 census, which might provide information on the Gray family in that year, were destroyed in a warehouse fire. The 1900 and 1910 censuses do not appear to have enumerated Theodore or Annie Gray, suggesting that they died before 1900.
The Allegheny County estate index and an index of obituaries published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and its predecessors provide no information on the deaths of Theodore and Annie Gray.
Theodore Gray and his wife, Annie Gray, had 849 Beech Avenue built between 1869 and 1870. The house was built on a lot that Theodore Gray purchased for $3,000 in 1869. The house is an example of the Second Empire style because of its mansard roof, projecting window hoods, arched dormer roofs and window openings, and brackets below its box gutter. The Second Empire style was popular in the Pittsburgh area between about 1870 and 1885. Theodore and Annie Gray also had a small wood frame stable, likely the building that still stands at the rear of the lot, built by 1872.
Theodore Gray was a railroad conductor during the time that he lived at 849 Beech Avenue. He was born in New York State, and Annie Gray was born in Pennsylvania. The Grays had three children who are known to have resided in the house: Mary, Lewis, and Margaret. The family appears to have lived comfortably, as evidenced by their ownership of the house and by their ability to employ a servant who lived in their home. Louisa Lubin, who lived at 849 Beech Avenue at the time of the 1880 census, was a 17-year-old Prussian immigrant.
The Grays sold 849 Beech Avenue in 1884, for $7,575, and left Pittsburgh. Edward L. Dawes of the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company in Allegheny City, predecessor of today’s American Standard, bought the house from the Grays, and lived there for two years.
Christian Stoner owned 849 Beech Avenue between 1887 and 1910. Stoner was a partner in a Strip District lumber mill, a director of the Smithfield Street Bridge Company, which had the bridge of the same name constructed, and a director of the Pittsburgh Gas Company. He lived on Allegheny Avenue. His son, David H. Stoner, lived with his family at 849 Beech Avenue between 1887 and 1904. A daughter, Elizabeth Stoner Gaither, her husband, attorney Frances E. Gaither, and their son moved to the house in 1904. Members of the Gaither family lived there until about 1921, and sold the house in 1922 for $7,750.
The former Gray house at 849 Beech Avenue has now had a total of 12 owners.
Detailed information on the history of 849 Beech Avenue is contained in the following report.
- May 12, 1869
- May 23, 1884
- April 22, 1886
- October 19, 1887
- April 5, 1910
- September 23, 1921
- February 20, 1922
- December 18, 1922
- April 30, 1928
- November 1, 1967
- July 31, 1992
- February 25, 2003
Elizabeth F. Denny of Pittsburgh conveyed the lot on which 849 Beech Avenue now stands to Theodore Gray of Allegheny City (now the North Side) for $3,000. The lot was described as being located on the southern side of Beech Street (now Beech Avenue), 100’2.75″ east of Grant Avenue (now Galveston Avenue), and measuring 23’7″ wide along Beech Street by 137′ deep to Pasture Alley (now Dounton Way). The lot was in the Second Ward of Allegheny City, which became part of Pittsburgh in 1907.
(Deed Book Volume 244, Page 191)
Theodore and Annie Gray of Allegheny City conveyed 849 Beech Avenue to Edward L. Dawes of Allegheny City for $7,575.
(DBV 500 P 50)
Edward L. and Jennie W. Dawes of Allegheny City conveyed 849 Beech Avenue to Francis J. Torrance, as executor of the estate of Francis Torrance, for $7575.
(DBV 547 P 144)
Francis J. Torrance, executor of the estate of Francis Torrance, conveyed 849 Beech Avenue to Christian L. Stoner of Allegheny City for $7,350.
(DBV 575 P 350)
Christian L. Stoner died on April 5, 1910. In his will dated December 6, 1905 (Will Book Volume 105, Page 132), he left 849 Beech Avenue to David H. Stoner.
David H. Stoner, who died on September 23, 1921, left 849 Beech Avenue to Elizabeth S. Gaither (Will Book Volume 170, Page 270).
Elizabeth S. Gaither conveyed 849 Beech Avenue to Carrie M. Henderson, wife of William F. Henderson of Wellsville, Ohio, for $7,750.
(DBV 2126 P 177)
Carrie M. and William F. Henderson of Pittsburgh conveyed 849 Beech Avenue to Annie E. Hamill of Pittsburgh for $7,750.
(DBV 2151 P 231)
Annie E. Hamill, widow, of Pittsburgh conveyed 849 Beech Avenue to Evelyn M. Reynolds of Pittsburgh for $9,000.
(DBV 2352 P 482)
William F. and Evelyn M. Reynolds of Pittsburgh conveyed 849 Beech Avenue to Jacob and Arlene Smith of Pittsburgh for $5,850.
Jacob Smith died on July 11, 1981.
(DBV 4485 P 713)
Arlene Smith conveyed 849 Beech Avenue to John K. McCarthy for $63,000.
(DBV 8777 P 183)
Benjamin E. and Gretchen R. Schmaus purchased 849 Beech Avenue from John K. and Deborah D. McCarthy on February 25, 2003. Title to the house was placed in the name of Gretchen R. Duthoy (formerly Gretchen R. Schmaus) on March 17, 2005 (Deed Book Volume 12382, Page 233).
(DBV 11582 P 543)
Age of the House
Local historical records indicate that Theodore Gray had 849 Beech Avenue built between 1869 and 1870.
Theodore Gray purchased the lot on which 849 Beech Avenue now stands on May 12, 1869. Gray paid $3000 for the lot, which measured 23’7″ wide by 137′ deep. This purchase, at 93 cents per square foot, was comparable to prices paid for other undeveloped lots in Allegheny West at the time, and indicates that 849 Beech Avenue had not yet been built.
The 1870 Pittsburgh city directory listed Theodore Gray as living at 72 Beech Street (now 849 Beech Avenue) for the first time. The house was also depicted on plat maps published in 1872 and later years.
Exterior architectural features of 849 Beech Avenue are consistent with construction in about 1870.
The house was constructed in the Second Empire style, characterized by mansard roofs, prominent door and window hoods or lintels, arched window openings, decorative brackets, and sometimes by central gables, or towers. The Second Empire style and the related Italianate style were the prevailing architectural styles for homes and small commercial buildings constructed in the Pittsburgh area between the late 1860s and about 1885.
Interior details of Second Empire houses 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. In Pittsburgh, many Second Empire homes were built with stairways that incorporated landings located about three steps below the main level of the second floor.
Most Second Empire houses built before about 1880 featured two-over-two double hung windows; homes built in the style after 1880 were usually constructed with one-over-one windows.
Examples of the Second Empire style in the Pittsburgh area include houses on narrow lots in city neighborhoods like Allegheny West, Manchester, the Mexican War Streets, Lawrenceville and the South Side, and wider center-entry houses in areas such as Shadyside and Sewickley.
Known records do not identify an architect who is credited with design of 849 Beech Avenue.
Comparable Home Values
The house at 849 Beech Avenue was sold for the first time in 1884, for $7,575. Sales of other Allegheny City houses within a few years of 1884 included:
- 2141 Perrysville Avenue, Perry Hilltop, $3,250 (1885)
- 523 Jacksonia Street, Mexican War Streets, $3600 (1882)
- 1239 Resaca Place, Mexican War Streets, $4300 (1886)
- 1228 Palo Alto Street, Mexican War Streets, $4,625 (1884)
- 1201 Palo Alto Street, Mexican War Streets, $5,300 (1888)
- 518 Jacksonia Street, Mexican War Streets, $5,400 (1884)
- 908 Beech Avenue, $8,500 (1886)
- 1511 Buena Vista Street, Mexican War Streets, $12,500 (1886)
- 842 Beech Avenue, $15,500 (1884)
- 940 N Lincoln Avenue, $24,000 (1887)
The modest size of the stable that stands at the rear of the lot at 849 Beech Avenue, and exterior features such as its partial cladding in board and batten, are consistent with construction in the 19th century. Plat maps published beginning in 1872 and fire insurance maps published in 1884 depict a small wood frame stable at the the rear of the lot. Although no known records document the construction of the stable, it appears likely that the stable is the same building depicted on the 1872 plat map.
Pittsburgh city directories and U.S. census records provide information on Theodore and Annie Gray who built 849 Beech Avenue between 1869 and 1870.
Local historical records also provide information on Christian L. Stoner, who purchased 849 Beech Avenue in 1887, and on his son and granddaughter who lived in the house.
Edward L. Dawes purchased 849 Beech Avenue from Theodore and Annie Gray in 1884. Dawes was associated with the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company (now American Standard), then located on River Avenue in Allegheny City. The 1885 and 1886 Pittsburgh directories listed Dawes at 72 (now 849) Beech Avenue. He had previously rented a house nearby at 1007 Galveston Avenue (then 157 Grant Avenue).
Francis J. Torrance, as executor of the estate of his father, Francis Torrance, purchased 849 Beech Avenue from Edward L. Dawes in April 1886. He owned the house until October 1887.
Francis and Francis J. Torrance were associated with the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company, which Francis Torrance had founded. Both lived at 946 Western Avenue in Allegheny West. The 1887 Pittsburgh directory did not list anyone living at 849 Beech Avenue.
Carrie M. Henderson owned 849 Beech Avenue between February and December 1922. Her husband, William F. Henderson, was listed in the Pittsburgh directory published in that year as a traveling salesman. The Hendersons lived in Pittsburgh for only a short time; the deed with which Carrie M. Henderson purchased 849 Beech Avenue stated that she was a resident of Wellsville, Ohio, and William F. Henderson was not listed in Pittsburgh directories published in 1923 or later in the 1920s.
Annie E. Hamill purchased 849 Beech Avenue in late 1922, and owned the house until 1928. Pittsburgh directories listed no one named Hamill at 849 Beech Avenue during that time, indicating the house was used as a rental property. Annie E. Hamill was not listed in Pittsburgh directories.
Evelyn M. Reynolds bought 849 Beech Avenue in 1928, and owned the house for 39 years. Her husband, William F. Reynolds, was a house painter. Records of the 1930 census show that William F. Reynolds, 36, had been born in Ohio, and Evelyn M. Reynolds, 24, was a Pennsylvania native. The couple had been married for seven years and had no children. Census records also report that 849 Beech Avenue had an estimated value of $9000, and that William and Evelyn Reynolds owned a “radio set.”
The 1930 census is the last census that provides information on residents of 849 Beech Avenue. Jacob Smith and his wife, Arlene Smith, purchased 849 Beech Avenue in 1967. Jacob Smith worked as a press operator for the Hipwell Manufacturing Company, which manufactured flashlights nearby at 823 West North Avenue. Jacob Smith lived at 849 Beech Avenue until his death in 1981, and Arlene Smith sold the house in 1992.
The following materials accompany this report:
- a copy of part of an 1872 plat map of the area around 849 Beech Avenue
- copies of parts of fire insurance maps of the area around 849 Beech Avenue, published in 1884, 1893, 1906 and 1926
- information on Stoner & McClure, from Industries of Pittsburgh, 1879-1880
- information on Christian L. Stoner, from Biographical History of Lancaster County (1872)
- an article mentioning the wedding of Bessie Stoner and Francis E. Gaither, from the Pittsburgh Press, June 9, 1892
- the obituary of Christian L. Stoner, from the Pittsburgh Gazette Times, April 6, 1910
- the obituary of David H. Stoner, from the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, September 24, 1921
A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson
all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted
Edward M. Butz was born in or near Allegheny City, possibly in the Troy Hill area, in 1850. Known records do not provide information on his parents or on his residence as a child. Butz was listed as an architect for the first time in the 1868 Pittsburgh directory, at age 18. Butz worked in an office on Sixth Street, Downtown, and lived in what was then Duquesne borough (in the vicinity of the present H J. Heinz plant).
In 1870, according to census records, Edward M. Butz and three of his siblings lived on Troy Hill with the family of John Snyder, a Swiss immigrant house painter. His siblings were Harry P. Butz, a coppersmith’s apprentice, John A., a sign painter’s apprentice and Roman J., 13, attending school.
The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Edward M. Butz owned no real estate and had no personal estate.
Butz’s architectural career appears to have flourished during the 1870s, when he designed a number of important buildings in Allegheny City, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere. Butz was not listed in the 1871 Pittsburgh directory, but by 1872 opened an office on lower Federal Street in Allegheny City. He and G.C. Monahan of North Taylor Avenue were partners in the firm of Monahan & Butz on Federal Street for a short time in 1872-1873. Butz began to work on his own in the same Federal Street office by 1874.
Most information on buildings designed by Butz is provided by three sources: an entry in Industries of Pittsburgh, 1879-1880, an entry in Pittsburgh’s Business Proclamation (1903), and Butz’s obituary.
Unfortunately, many of the buildings that Butz designed in Pittsburgh and Allegheny City have been demolished in various redevelopment projects. Buildings that Butz designed that are still standing include:
- 948-950 Beech Avenue
- 1207 Allegheny Avenue, Manchester, Butz’s residence between about 1877 and 1880
- the Western Penitentiary, Woods Run (1876-1882)
- the Clarion County Courthouse, Clarion, Pennsylvania (1870s)
- the Westmoreland County Courthouse, Greensburg
Butz claimed to have designed the Dollar Bank building (1868-71) on Fourth Avenue, Downtown, which is attributed to the Philadelphia firm of Isaac Hobbs & Sons. It is possible that Butz was employed by Hobbs for a short time in 1871, when he was not listed in the Pittsburgh directory.
It is interesting to note that by 1879, Butz designed Reineman’s Hotel (location unknown) in Pittsburgh for a member of the Reineman family. The Reineman family was prominent in the development of Troy Hill, the neighborhood in which Butz lived as a young man and possibly during his childhood. Documentation that Butz designed Reineman’s Hotel in the 1870s suggests that he may have designed other buildings for the Reineman family. The family was responsible for the construction of several large homes on Troy Hill, including a large and elaborate double Second Empire house built at 1515-1517 Lowrie Street in about 1875 for banker and real estate investor Adam Reineman.
Buildings by Butz in Allegheny City that have been demolished include the First National Bank and the C. Wattiey & Company furnishings store building, both on lower Federal Street; the C.C. Boyle lumber dealership at River Avenue and Sandusky Street; Trinity Lutheran Church, Stockton Avenue and Arch Street; Central Presbyterian Church at Lacock and Anderson Streets; a building for Western Theological Seminary, Ridge Avenue; and the Ridge Avenue homes of J.W. Dalzell, H. Sellers McKee, and D.M. Long. Buildings by Butz in Pittsburgh that no longer survive include the Seventh Avenue Hotel, downtown, and the Seventh United Presbyterian Church on 44th Street in Lawrenceville.
Butz married Mary A. Yeager of Allegheny City on December 28, 1876. Mary A. Yeager was born in Pittsburgh or Allegheny City in December 1856. She was a daughter of Christian Yeager, who owned a variety and dry goods store on Market Street, downtown. The Yeager family moved from Ninth Street, downtown, to Stockton Avenue in Allegheny City around the time that Mary A. Yeager was born. She lived on Stockton Avenue until she married.
In 1876, Edward M. Butz designed and commissioned construction of a large Second Empire house at 1207 Allegheny Avenue in Manchester (at the southwestern comer of Allegheny Avenue and Bidwell Street; now Duke’s Bar). He and Mary A. Butz began living at in the house after they were married. The couple had two children: Christian Yeager Butz, born in 1878, and another child whose name is not known. Christian Yeager Butz died in 1884, at age six, and the other child also died while young.
The Butz family lived at 1207 Allegheny Avenue until 1879 or 1880. The family resided in the Central Hotel in Allegheny City (in the present Allegheny Center Mall area) for a short time while 948-950 Beech Avenue was being built. They began living at 950 Beech Avenue in late 1880 or early 1881.
Edward M. Butz’s architectural office was still located on Federal Street when he lived at 950 Beech Avenue. Work with which Butz was associated while he lived in the house included the construction of the Western Penitentiary.
In 1883, Edward M. and Mary A. Butz sold 950 Beech Avenue and moved to 508 Pressley Street (demolished) in the East Allegheny neighborhood. The family lived on Sherman Avenue in the present Allegheny Center Mall area in 1884, and began living on Arch Street in the same neighborhood in about 1885. The family lived on Arch Street until about 1897.
Butz’s architectural office moved from Federal Street to 132 First Avenue, downtown, in 1886-1887. Butz became a partner in the architectural and engineering firm of Butz & Kauffman at 605 Smithfield Street a short time later. The firm’s other principal was William Kauffman of Buena Vista Street. The partnership dissolved in about 1891, and Butz returned to 132 First Avenue. In about 1893, his firm became known as E.M. Butz & Company, architects and engineers. Frederick A. Yeager, who was probably a brother of Mary A. Butz, was among its principals.
In the 1880s, Edward M. Butz was a founder of the Columbia Iron & Steel Company. The company’s headquarters was at 132 First Avenue, and it operated a mill in Uniontown. Butz’s younger brother, Roman J., was the company’s secretary.
E.M. Butz & Company moved to 236 First Avenue in about 1895, and to the 11th floor of the Park Building about a year later. In about 1897, Edward M. and Mary A. Butz moved from Arch Street in Allegheny City to Fremont Street in Bellevue.
Edward M. Butz lived on Fremont Street in Bellevue and ran E.M. Butz & Company until he retired in the 1910s. He and Mary A. Butz then moved to 1711 Termon Avenue in Brighton Heights. Butz died at home at 1711 Tennon Avenue on October 3, 1916, at age 66. His obituary incorrectly gave his age as 57. Earlier census records confirm that Butz was born in 1850.
Mary A. Butz outlived her husband by ten years. During part of the 1920’s, she worked at Joseph Horne’s in downtown Pittsburgh. She died on December 31, 1926, at age 70.
Edward M. Butz had 948-950 Beech Avenue built between early 1880 and early 1881. Butz, an architect, designed the double house in the Second Empire style. After 948-950 Beech Avenue was constructed, Butz and his family began living at 950 Beech Avenue. Butz sold 948 Beech Avenue for $12,500 in 1881.
Edward M. Butz appears to have been among the more active and accomplished architects who worked in Pittsburgh during the last third of the nineteenth century. Butz was selected at age 26 to design the Western Penitentiary in Allegheny City, which was built while he lived at 950 Beech Avenue. Butz also designed office and commercial buildings, churches, homes, courthouses, and other buildings in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and elsewhere in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, many of the buildings he designed locally have been demolished.
Edward M. Butz, his wife, Mary A. Butz, and at least one of their children lived at 950 Beech Avenue between 1880-1881 and 1883. The Butz family subsequently lived in the Allegheny Center Mall area, in Bellevue, and in Brighton Heights.
The houses at 948 and 950 Beech Avenue were owned by several prominent persons in the late nineteenth century, when Allegheny West was at its height of popularity as a residential community. Attorney Wynn R. Sewell and his wife, Martha McC. Watson Sewell, owned 948 Beech Avenue between 1881 and 1908. The house at 950 Beech Avenue was owned and occupied by Franklin Finsthwait, a broker and his wife, Caroline, between 1883 and 1885. Philander C. Knox, an attorney and future United States Attorney General, Senator, and Secretary of State, owned 950 Beech Avenue between 1885 and 1887, but did not live in the house. Dr. John S. and Sarah E. Dickson owned and lived at 950 Beech Avenue between 1887 and 1897.
The conversion of 948-950 Beech Avenue to apartments took place in the early twentieth century, as Allegheny West changed from a primarily upper-middle-class and wealthy community to a neighborhood of apartments and boarding houses. 948 Beech Avenue contained three apartments in 1910, and 950 Beech Avenue contained eight apartments by 1930. The double house deteriorated until it was acquired in 1979 and rehabilitated by Robert Fierst and Douglas Simmons. Miles Bausch and Douglas Lucas purchased 948-950 Beech Avenue in 1999 and continue to care for and improve this unique historic property.
Detailed information on the history of 948-950 Beech Avenue is contained in the following report.
Age of the House
Edward M. Butz commissioned construction of a double house at 948950 Beech Avenue in 1880.
Edward M. Butz purchased the lot on which 948 Beech Avenue now stands on February 2, 1880. His wife, Mary A. Butz, purchased the lot on which 950 Beech Avenue stands on February 16, 1880. Each paid $2,100 for lots measuring 20′ wide by 100’ deep. These purchases, at $1.05 per square foot, were comparable to prices paid for other undeveloped lots in Allegheny West at the time, and indicate that 948-950 Beech Avenue had not yet been built.
The 1880 census of population did not enumerate any residents of 5 (950) or 7 (948) Beech Avenue. The census was taken on Beech Avenue on June 2 and 3, 1880.
Edward M. Butz conveyed the eastern half of the property, containing the site of 948 Beech Avenue, to Martha McC. Watson on March 7, 1881. The purchase price was $12,500, indicating that the double house had been built.
The 1881 Pittsburgh city directory listed Edward M. Butz as living at 5 (now 950) Beech Avenue for the first time.
An 1882 plat map also confirms that 948-950 Beech Avenue had been built.
Edward M. Butz designed 948-950 Beech Avenue in the Second Empire style.
In urban neighborhoods like Allegheny West, where high land costs discouraged construction of homes with more than about 22’ frontage, Second Empire house exteriors were characterized primarily by mansard front roofs, arched door and window openings, prominent or projecting door and window hoods, and decorative brackets supporting box gutters. The majority of urban Second Empire homes were one room wide. Second Empire homes built in suburban and rural settings were built with full mansard roofs, and sometimes with centered wings or towers. Most were two rooms in width with a central or offset hallway.
Interior details of Second Empire homes 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 comers. In Pittsburgh, many Second Empire homes were built with stairways that incorporated landings located about three steps below the main level of the second floor. Most local Second Empire 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 Second Empire style and the related Italianate style were the prevailing architectural styles for homes and small commercial buildings constructed in the Pittsburgh area between the late 1860’s and about 1885.
The facade of 948-950 Beech Avenue also displays the influence of the Eastiake movement in its incised stone lintels. The lintels, the stone belt courses and raised foundation, and the inset tile combined to make one of the most ornate late Victorian residential facades in Allegheny City.
Pittsburgh city directories, U.S. census records, biographical materials, and other sources provide information on Edward M. and Mary A. Butz.
A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson
all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted
Presented by Urban Impact Shakes
A Performing Arts Program of Allegheny Center Alliance Church
August 7th and 8th
Revenge meets Gossip Girl in Urban Impact Shakes’ production of The Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare’s tale of love and bitterness, choice and fate, takes on new meaning as the actors connect the story to their own lives. Come eager to laugh, quick to empathize, ready to ask questions of faith, and to snap a selfie or two!
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.
Friday, August 7 at 8:00 pm Saturday, August 8th at 8:00 pm
Tuesday, July 28th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm
The New Hazlett Theater
6 Allegheny Square E, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Learn More & RSVP Today