info@alleghenywest.org
806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

845 N Lincoln Avenue

845 N Lincoln Avenue (Front)

Introduction

John W. Simpson, a flour and grain merchant, had the original house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue built between 1864 and 1865. The original house on the lot had a two-story front section and a long two-story rear ell. It was probably built in the Italianate style, the most popular architectural style in the Pittsburgh area in the 1860s and the 1870s.

Joseph Walton, a prominent coal mine owner and coal merchant, purchased the original house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue for the considerable sum of $20,250 in 1888. Walton never resided at 845 North Lincoln Avenue, but apparently bought the property as a residence for his daughter and son-in-law, Ida Walton Scully and James W. Scully, who married in early 1889. Ida Walton Scully became the full owner of the house in 1894.

During the 1890s, 845 North Lincoln Avenue took on its present form and appearance through a series of additions and alterations. By 1893, the front section of the house was enlarged from two to three stories in height. The house’s Richardsonian Romanesque facade and contemporaneous interior features in the front section may have been added by that time. Over the next six years, the house was further updated by the addition of the three-story library addition to its front section and the removal of its original two-story rear ell and replacement with a larger three-story rear ell. The new rear ell was built with a Marshall Brothers elevator, rooms for servants and an integral carriage section at Chapel Way.

After the 1890s alterations, the only remaining part of the original 1864-65 house was its front section, covered on three sides and within. On the west elevation of the present house, one can see visual evidence of the addition of the facade, third floor and rear ell.

James W. Scully, a member of a prominent Pittsburgh family, was a glass manufacturer when he married Ida Walton and began living at 845 North Lincoln Avenue. His later business activities included serving as a partner in Joseph Walton & Company and as president of the First National Bank of Birmingham on the South Side. He and Ida Walton Scully had three children. Census records show that the family employed as many as six servants who lived in their home.

In 1917, the Scullys sold 845 North Lincoln Avenue to James S. Childs, a shoe, rubber and leather wholesaler whose wife, Alice, was a sister of Ida Scully. The Childs family, with three children, employed five live-in servants at the time of the 1920 census. The family owned and lived in the house until 1923, when they sold the house. The next owners, Samuel and Margaret Crow, lived at 845 North Lincoln Avenue and used the building as a rooming house.

Detailed information on the history of 845 North Lincoln Avenue is contained in the following report.

Ownership

  • March 17, 1790
  • November 2, 1813
  • March 9, 1816
  • June 26, 1858
  • March 19, 1863
  • March 6, 1871
  • March 23, 1871
  • September 28, 1888
  • December 5, 1892
  • May 5, 1894
  • May 9, 1894
  • February 27, 1917
  • May 2, 1923
  • March 11, 1941
  • September 28, 1944
  • May 19, 1960
  • 1982

Charles Wilkins, merchant, of the town of Pittsburgh, conveyed property that included the present site of 845 North Lincoln Avenue to John Irwin, esquire, of the town of Pittsburgh for 30 pounds. This deed conveyed Out Lot 276 in the Reserve Tract opposite Pittsburgh and Lot 69 in the town of Allegheny. Out Lot 276 was a 10-acre tract of land situated on the western side of land laid out for a common, and bounded by what are now Brighton Road, Ridge Avenue, Galveston Avenue and Western Avenue. Lot 69 in the town of Allegheny was a 60′ wide by 240′ deep lot at the comer of Ohio Street and Sandusky Street, measuring 60′ wide on Ohio Street and 240′ deep along Sandusky Street to Strawberry Alley.

(Deed Book Volume 2, Page 97)

William F. Irwin of the borough of Pittsburgh, one of the sons and heirs of John Irwin, rope maker, conveyed property that included the present site of 845 North Lincoln Avenue to John Irwin of the borough of Pittsburgh, another of the sons and heirs of John Irwin, for $1,772. This deed conveyed Out Lots 276, 263 and 268 in the Reserve Tract, containing 10 acres each, and property on Liberty Street (now Liberty Avenue) in Pittsburgh. John Irwin had died intestate and was survived by his widow Mary and four children, Margaret, John, William and Elizabeth.

(DBV 19 P 127)

John and Hannah Irwin of the town of Allegheny conveyed property that included the present site of 845 North Lincoln Avenue to Elizabeth Irwin and Margaret Irwin of the town of Allegheny. This deed conveyed Out Lot 276 in the Reserve Tract and other property in the borough of Pittsburgh. This deed was an amicable partition of the estate of John Irwin.

(DBV 22 P 189)

John and Abigail Irwin of Allegheny City conveyed property that included the present site of 845 North Lincoln Avenue to Daniel Euwer of Pittsburgh for $2,950.

(DBV 135 P 382)

Daniel and Martha Euwer of Allegheny City conveyed property that included the present site of 845 North Lincoln Avenue to John W. Simpson of Allegheny City for $1,000.

(DBV 166 P 29)

The estate of John W. Simpson of Allegheny City conveyed an earlier house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue to Lewis Collner of Clarion County, Pennsylvania, for $16,000.

(DBV 276 P 243)

Lewis and Sarah Collner of Richland Township, Clarion County, conveyed the earlier house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue to Jane McKelvy of Pittsburgh for $16,500.

Jane McKelvy died while owning the earlier house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue. She left the house to her daughter, A. Clara Rafferty.

(DBV 276 P 245)

James C. and A. Clara Rafferty of San Diego, California, conveyed the earlier house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue to Joseph Walton of Allegheny City for $20,250.

(DBV 624 P 452)

Joseph Walton died intestate on December 5, 1892. He was survived by his six children: Samuel B. Walton, John F. Walton, Clara Cook, Ida Walton Scully, Nellie Wood, all adults and Alice F. Walton, a minor.

Samuel B. Walton, John F. and Annie F. Walton, Clara W. and Thomas McK. Cook and James and Nellie Walton Wood, all of Allegheny City, conveyed their interest in the earlier house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue to Ida Walton Scully, wife of James W. Scully of Allegheny City, for $24,849.04.

(DBV 880 P 131)

D.T. Watson, guardian of Alice F. Walton, minor child of Joseph Walton, conveyed the interest of Alice F. Walton in the earlier house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue to Ida Walton Scully, wife of James W. Scully of Allegheny City, for $6,212.26.

(DBV 880 P 136)

James W. and Ida Walton Scully of Pittsburgh conveyed 845 North Lincoln Avenue to James S. Childs of Pittsburgh for $1 and other considerations.

(DBV 1894 P 21)

James S. and Alice Walton Childs conveyed 845 North Lincoln Avenue to Margaret N. Crow, wife of Samuel S. Crow, for $24,500.

(DBV 2155 P 419)

Samuel S. Crow died on March 11, 1941. Margaret N. Crow died on April 1, 1941. She was survived by her only child, Samuel S. Crow Jr.

Title to 845 North Lincoln Avenue was placed in the names of Samuel S. Crow Jr. and his wife, Georgea Crow. Samuel S. Crow Jr. died on December 15, 1952.

(DBV 2816 P 299)

Georgea Crow of Pittsburgh conveyed 845 North Lincoln Avenue to Alexander Watson Jr. and Merl N. Dickenson for $39,000.

(DBV 3857 P 261)

Full title to 845 North Lincoln Avenue passed to Alexander Watson Jr.

Age of the House

Local historical records indicate that the first house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue was built between 1864 and 1865. Between 1890 and 1893, the front section of the house was enlarged by the addition of a third story and the construction of a small addition to the rear elevation of the front section. A small wood frame addition at the back of the rear ell was also removed between 1890 and 1893.

The addition of the third story was followed by the addition of a new facade in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The new facade was accompanied by the remodeling of the interior with a stairway, woodwork, mantels, doors and other features typical of Richardsonian Romanesque houses. Historical records do not make clear whether the Richardsonian Romanesque facade was added when the third story was built, between 1890 and 1893, or when the library addition to the side of the house was built later in the 1890s.
Between 1895 and 1899, the transformation of 845 North Lincoln Avenue to its present form was completed by the construction of a three-story addition to the east side of the front section and the removal of the two-story rear ell of the original house and its replacement with a three-story rear ell.

First House Construction (1864-1865)

John W. Simpson purchased a lot on Central Street (now North Lincoln Avenue) that included the present site of 845 North Lincoln Avenue on March 19,1863. Simpson paid $1000 for the lot, which measured 48′ wide along Ridge and North Lincoln avenues and 285.5′ deep. The purchase, at seven cents per square foot, was comparable to or lower than prices paid for other undeveloped lots in Allegheny West at the time, and indicates that the lot was undeveloped.

The 1863 and 1864 Pittsburgh city directories listed John W. Simpson as living on Beaver Street (now Arch Street) in Allegheny City. Simpson, a flour and grain merchant, was listed at 66 Central Street in the 1865 directory, and at 64 Central Street (present 845 North Lincoln Avenue) in 1866. It is likely that Simpson lived in the original house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue by 1865, as house numbers may not yet have been standardized on the relatively new street and the house that then stood at 66 Central Street (an earlier dwelling on the present site of 841 North Lincoln Avenue) was owned and occupied by Joseph Tilton and his family.
An 1872 plat map confirms that the first house at present 845 North Lincoln Avenue had been built.

Fire insurance maps depict buildings with more detail than the 1872 plat map. The first fire insurance map of part of Allegheny West, published in 1884, depicts the first house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue as two stories in height. It is likely that the front section of the house had a side-gabled roof, with an attic, and the rear ell had a shed roof that slanted toward the side yard. The rear ell also had a one-story addition that extended back to Chapel Way.
An 1890 plat map depicts the original house with essentially the same footprint as the 1884 fire insurance map had shown. The 1890 plat map shows that the one-story rear addition to the rear ell was of wood frame construction.

Alteration and Addition (1890-1893)

The next fire insurance map, in 1893, shows that the front section of the first house had been enlarged to a full three stories, and the rear ell was still two stories. The front section had been enlarged by an addition to its rear elevation, which filled in the “notch” between the front section and the rear ell. The filling in of the notch appears likely to have taken place before the third story of the front section was added, suggesting that the third story of the front section was constructed between 1890 and 1893. The third story of the rear elevation was clad in slate, although it was apparently not a mansard roof. The one-story frame addition at the rear of the house had been removed.
The house was then owned by Joseph Walton, who had purchased it in 1888. Walton never lived in the house, but allowed his daughter and son-in-law, Ida and James W. Scully, to occupy it.

Alteration and Addition (1895-1899)

The house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue took on its present form through additional alterations that took place between 1895 and 1899. The house was then owned by Ida Scully, who continued to live there with her husband, James W. Scully. Joseph Walton died in 1892, and in 1894 Ida Scully acquired her siblings’ interests in the property and became full owner.

The three-story front section of845 North Lincoln Avenue displays the Richardsonian Romanesque style, which was used in the Pittsburgh area between about 1890 and 1900. As the 1893 fire insurance map depicts the original front section of the house as being three stories, it is possible that the addition of the Richardsonian Romanesque facade took place by that year.

Allegheny City building permit dockets, available beginning in 1894, document changes to 845 North Lincoln Avenue after that year.

On October 8,1895, James W. Scully received a permit for what was described as an alteration to a two-story section of 845 North Lincoln Avenue. The section of the house that was to be altered measured 12′ wide by 16′ deep. The alteration had an estimated construction cost of $850. Building permit records provide no farther information on the 1895 alteration of the house.
On August 14,1896, Scully received a permit for the construction of a three-story brick addition to 845 North Lincoln Avenue. The addition was to measure 22’4″ wide by 20’3″ deep and had an estimated construction cost of $3,300. This permit appears to have been taken for construction of the side addition to the front section of the house.

On July 15, 1899, Scully received a permit for the construction of a new three-story rear ell at 845 North Lincoln Avenue. The addition was to be of brick construction, was to measure 29′ wide by 79′ deep, and had an estimated construction cost of $14,000.

The next fire insurance map to depict 845 North Lincoln Avenue, published in 1906, shows the house’s present footprint.

Construction Cost

In addition to the $20,250 that Joseph Walton paid for 845 North Lincoln Avenue, an additional $19,720 was outlaid to outfit the house for his daughter, Ida in 1888 – a total of $39,970.

The total estimated construction cost of the 1895-1899 alteration and additions to 845 North Lincoln Avenue was $18,150. Estimated construction costs of other buildings in Allegheny City in the 1890s included:

  • Allen Chapel, Columbus Avenue and Fulton Street, Manchester, 1894 – $3,000
  • 4017 Northminster Street, Brighton Heights, 1895 – $3,200
  • 3504 Perrysville Avenue, Observatory Hill, 1897 – $3,650
  • a carriage house at 705 Brighton Road, Allegheny West, 1898 – $4,500
  • 1623 Rhine Street, Spring Hill, 1897 – $5,000
  • 1235 Page Street, Manchester, 1898 – $5,000
  • 930 West North Avenue, Allegheny West, 1895 – $5,317
  • 2014 Osgood Street, Fineview, 1894 – $5,400
  • 61 Riverview Avenue, 1898 – $5,500
  • 3344 Perrysville Avenue, Observatory Hill, 1896 – $8,400
  • 940 West North Avenue, Allegheny West, 1895 – $10,000
  • 836 West North Avenue, 1895-1896 – $12,000

A 1906 renovation saw many additions to the house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue but, due to the annexation of Allegheny City coinciding with this year, many records of cost have been mislaid.

The Contractors

James W. and Ida Scully employed prominent local building contractors for the 1895-1899 alteration and additions to 845 North Lincoln Avenue.

George A. Cochrane

The Scullys hired George A. Cochrane for the 1895 alteration to the house. George A. Cochrane lived at 1612 Sedgwick Street in Manchester and his business was located at 1210 Columbus Avenue in the same neighborhood. Other work by Cochrane, a Civil War veteran, in Allegheny West included the construction of Calvary United Methodist Church and houses at 721 Brighton Road, 841 North Lincoln Avenue, and 911 Ridge Avenue.
Cochran also built a large public bath house at 35th and Butler streets in Lawrenceville, a house at 1023 Murray Hill Avenue in Squirrel Hill and a house at 6824 Juniata Place in Point Breeze.

L. Benz & Brothers

The firm of L. Benz & Brothers constructed the 1896 side addition to the front section of 845 North Lincoln Avenue. L. Benz & Brothers was then located at 125 South 12th Street on the South Side. The firm’s principals were Lawrence Benz of Arlington Avenue, Ferdinand Benz of 125 South 12th Street, John Benz of 1100 Frederick Street, and Philip Benz of 2112 Sarah Street, all on the South Side.

Like most 19th century contracting firms in Pittsburgh, L. Benz & Brothers did nearly all of its work within about a mile of its location. It appears likely that the firm was hired to build the addition to 845 North Lincoln Avenue because Ferdinand Benz and James W. Scully served together as directors of the First National Bank of Birmingham at South 12th and East Carson streets on the South Side.
Larger construction projects by L. Benz & Brothers included the construction of the original buildings of the Duquesne Brewery, Saint Casimir’s School at South 22nd and Jane Streets, three buildings for Thomas Coffin & Company and the Dixon-Woods Company at South 30th and Jane Streets, and commercial/residential buildings at 2004 East Carson Street and 126 Pius Street, all on the South Side.

A & S Wilson

The firm of A & S Wilson constructed the large rear ell at 845 North Lincoln Avenue in 1899. A & S Wilson was located at 541-551 Third Avenue, Downtown. The firm was a partnership of Adam Wilson of 318 North Neville Street, Oakland, J. Charles

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Marshall Brothers

The 1899 rear ell addition to 845 North Lincoln Avenue was constructed with an elevator that was manufactured by Marshall Brothers. The firm operated what was known as the Iron City Elevator and Machine Works at 341-347 Diamond Street, Downtown. Marshall Brothers was then a partnership of George V. Marshall of 814 Saint James Street and Robert Marshall of 707 South Aiken Avenue, both in Shadyside.
Marshall Brothers was a predecessor of the Marshall Elevator Company, which remains in business on Pittsburgh’s South Side under the ninth generation of Marshall family ownership and management. The company began operation in Pittsburgh in 1818 as a foundry, and is now among the oldest manufacturing businesses in the United States.

Architectural Style

The 1890s facade of 845 North Lincoln Avenue was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The style is shown in the facade’s arched door and window openings, asymmetrical design, terra cotta and brick belt courses connecting window sills, deepset window openings, and sandstone entry porch and sandstone foundation veneer.

The Richardsonian Romanesque style was widely used in the design of public buildings and upper-class and upper-middle-class homes built in the United States between the late 1880s and about 1900. The style was used less frequently than the contemporaneous Queen Anne style because of its cost.
The Richardsonian Romanesque style was developed in the 1870s and 1880s by Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Richardson designed two buildings in Pittsburgh: the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail (1884-88) and Emmanuel Episcopal Church at the corner of West North and Allegheny Avenues in Allegheny West (1885-86). Richardson was among the most influential architects in the United States between the late 1880s and late 1890s.

Known records do not identify an architect who is credited with design of 845 North Lincoln Avenue.

The Home Today

Photos by Chris Siewers

Through the Years


Residents

The Scullys

Pittsburgh city directories, U.S. census records, Allegheny County marriage license records and other sources provide information on James W. and Ida Walton Scully.

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The Childses

James H. and Alice Walton Childs owned and lived at 845 North Lincoln Avenue between 1917 and 1923.

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The 1900 Census

James W and Ida W Scully lived at 845 North Lincoln Avenue with their three children and seven servants as of the 1900 census.

  • James W Scully, 42
  • Ida W Scully, 36
  • James W Scully Jr., 9
  • Alice W Scully, 3
  • Walton T Scully, 1
  • Sabina T Rankin, 62
  • Mary Twerny, 24
  • Kate Twerny, 23
  • John Lewis, 34
  • Rose Bradley, 39
  • Margaret Mccany, 18
  • Elise Mueller, 39

The 1910 Census

James W and Ida W Scully lived at 845 North Lincoln Avenue with their three children and six servants as of the 1910 census.

  • James W Scully, 52
  • Ida W Scully, 43
  • James W Scully Jr., 19
  • Alice W Scully, 13
  • Walton Scully, 11
  • Elise Muller, 25
  • Clara Johnson, 38
  • Arnice Allingham, 29
  • Louise Reichart, 26
  • Jean S Michner, 28
  • William Dickson, 37

The 1930 Census

Samuel and Margaret Crow became the owners of 845 North Lincoln Avenue in 1923. The couple turned the dwelling into a rooming house. The 1930 census recorded 22 residents of 845 North Lincoln Avenue:

  • Samuel Crow, 54, who had no occupation; he had born in Pennsylvania, as had his parents
  • Margaret Crow, 50, the landlady of the rooming house; also born in Pennsylvania to parents born in Pennsylvania
  • Samuel Crow Jr., 25, with no occupation
  • Georgea Crow, 26, wife of Samuel Crow Jr., a Greek immigrant who worked as an interpreter in a department store
  • Ida M. Swichard, 50, a corseteer in a department store, born in Pennsylvania
  • Jane McDowell, 45, a saleslady in a department store, born in Ohio
  • Walter J. Muckle, 50, a salesman with a stock brokerage, born in Pennsylvania
  • Sara Muckle, 35, a private secretary in a broker’s office and apparently the wife of Walter J. Muckle, born in Pennsylvania
  • Arabella Hall, 50, a saleswoman in a department store, born in Ohio
  • Rebecca McKinsie, 56, a housekeeper in a rooming house, born in Pennsylvania
  • Clara Cummings, 38, a public school teacher, born in Pennsylvania
  • A. Woodward, 60, a saleswoman in a department store
  • Henry Harris, 90, with no occupation, born in Pennsylvania
  • Morrison A. Bryan, 32, an orchestra musician born in Pennsylvania
  • Helen Bryan, 28, with no occupation and apparently the wife of Morrison A. Bryan, born in Pennsylvania
  • Robert E. Paget, 49, a bridge construction engineer, born in Tennessee
  • Lily Paget, 49, with no occupation and apparently the wife of Robert Paget, born in Tennessee
  • Walter B. Paget, 24, a stationary engineer working on a bridge and apparently the son of Robert and Lily Paget, born in Tennessee
  • Dorothy A. Paget, 14, apparently the daughter of Robert and Lily Paget, born in Tennessee
  • John L. Cummings, 70, with no occupation, born in Pennsylvania
  • Vera Kennedy, 36, with no occupation, born in Pennsylvania
  • Vera J. Kennedy, six, apparently a daughter of Vera Kennedy, born in Pennsylvania

Records of the 1930 census also show that 845 North Lincoln Avenue had an estimated value of $24,000 and that Samuel and Margaret Crow owned a radio.

The 1930 census is the most recent census that provides detailed information on occupants of 845 North Lincoln Avenue. Manuscript census records are withheld from the public for 72 years, to protect the privacy of persons enumerated.

Supplementary Materials

The following materials accompany this report:

  • a copy of part of an 1852 map depicting Allegheny City
  • a copy of an 1872 plat map of the area around 845 North Lincoln Avenue
  • copies of parts of fire insurance maps of the area around 845 North Lincoln Avenue, published in 1884, 1893, 1906 and 1926, and the 1926 map, updated by the publisher to 1950
  • 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 detailing the sale of James W. Scully’s country home in Sewickley from the Daily Post, May 24, 1912
  • 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

843 Western Avenue

843 Western Avenue (Front Door)

Introduction

843 Western Avenue was constructed no later than 1860, and probably as early as about 1850. The house was designed in a transitional architectural style that incorporated elements of the Greek Revival and Italianate styles.

The Irwin family, who owned property on Western Avenue between Brighton Road and Allegheny Avenue, was responsible for construction of 843 Western Avenue. The Irwins had the house built on the site of a rope walk, or factory, where members of the family supervised the production of rope between 1813 and 1858. The Irwin family then lived in a mansion facing Brighton Road, and never occupied 843 Western Avenue. It is possible, however, that 843 Western Avenue, which was probably built while the rope walk was still in operation, originally housed upper-level rope walk employees.

In 1860, the Irwin family sold 843 Western Avenue for $3000. The purchaser, George Elliott, did not live in the house, but used it as a rental property. His tenants included the family of Benjamin Oppenheimer, a merchant tailor.

843 Western Avenue has now had a total of 17 owners.

Detailed information on the history of 843 Western Avenue is contained in the following report.

Ownership

  • March 17, 1790
  • November 2, 1813
  • March 9, 1816
  • March 5, 1858
  • May 10, 1860
  • January 26, 1901
  • August 10. 1903
  • September 2, 1903
  • September 11, 1903
  • June 15, 1906
  • December 5. 1916
  • May 29, 1925
  • August 31, 1936
  • October 20, 1937
  • June 10, 1947
  • June 3, 1950
  • June 22, 1950
  • August 4, 1950
  • August 18, 1951
  • March 19, 1953
  • December 19, 1961
  • October 16, 1980

Charles Wilkins, merchant, of the town of Pittsburgh conveyed property that included the present site of 843 Western Avenue to John Irwin, esquire, of the town of Pittsburgh for 30 pounds. This deed conveyed Out Lot 276 in the Reserve Tract opposite Pittsburgh, and Lot 69 in the town of Allegheny. Out Lot 276 was a 10-acre tract situated on the western side of land laid out for a common, and bounded by what are now Brighton Road, Ridge Avenue, Galveston Avenue and Western Avenue. Out Lot 276 included the present site of 843 Western Avenue. Lot 69 in the Town of Allegheny was a 60′ wide by 240′ deep lot at the comer of Ohio Street and Sandusky Street, measuring 60′ wide on Ohio Street and 240′ deep along Sandusky Street to Strawberry Alley.

(Deed Book Volume 2, Page 97)

William F. Irwin of the borough of Pittsburgh, one of the sons and heirs of John Irwin, rope maker, conveyed property that included the site of 843 Western Avenue to John Irwin of the borough of Pittsburgh, another of the sons and heir s of John Irwin, rope maker, for $1,772. This deed conveyed Out Lots 276, 263 and 168 in the Reserve Tract, containing 10 acres each, and property on Liberty Street in the borough of Pittsburgh. John Irwin had died intestate and was survived by his widow Mary and four children, Margaret, John, William, and Elizabeth.

(DBV 19 P 127)

John and Hannah Irwin of the town of Allegheny conveyed property that included the present site of 843 Western Avenue to Elizabeth Irwin and Margaret Irwin of the town of Allegheny. This deed conveyed Out Lot 276 in the Reserve Tract and other property in the borough of Pittsburgh. This deed was an amicable and full and equal deed of partition of the estate of John Irwin.

(DBV 22 P 189)

John and Abigail Irwin of Allegheny City conveyed property on Western Avenue to John Irwin Jr. of Sewickley for $8,000. This deed conveyed property on the southern side of what is now the 800 block of Western Avenue (then Water Lane), measuring 349′ wide along Western Avenue by 125′ deep to an alley (later Manilla Alley, now Maolis Way). The property was known as Lots 23 through 38 in a plan of lots laid out by John Irwin (later recorded in Allegheny County Plan Book 2: 173).

(DBV 131 P 495)

Martha Mary and John Irwin Jr. of Sewickley conveyed 843 Western Avenue to George Elliott of Beaver County for $3,000. The house occupied the lot on which it now stands, measuring 27.5′ wide along Western Avenue by 125′ deep to an alley. The lot was known as parts of Lots 34 and 35 in a plan of lots laid out by John Irwin. This deed stated that the property that was conveyed contained a two-story brick dwelling house.

(DBV 143 P 484)

The heirs of George Elliott, deceased, conveyed their interest in 843 Western Avenue to Andrew A. Adams, also an heir of George Elliott, for $10,000. Grantors named in this deed were Andrew A. Adams, unmarried; John and Emma B. Adams; Thomas E. and Hattie Adams; Christiana and John Q. Adams; Nancy E. and Iredell B. Rush, all of Whitley County, Indiana; Andrew Adams Jr., unmarried, of El Paso County, Colorado; John Elliott, unmarried, of Jackson County, Missouri; Laura Elliott, widow, of Centre County, Pennsylvania; George M. Elliott, unmarried, of Marion County, Missouri; William W. Elliott, unmarried, of San Francisco, California; Joseph W. and May V. Elliott of Clinton County, Pennsylvania; John H. and Blanche W. Elliott of Grayson County, Texas; and Jane and James H. Doherty and Margaret Elliott, unmarried, of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

(DBV 1112 P 365)

Andrew A. and Lois A. Adams of Columbia, Indiana, conveyed part-interest in 843 Western Avenue to John H. and Margaret G. Dailey of Allegheny City for $5,000.

(DBV 1298 P 214)

James Harris of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, guardian of the person and estate of Elliott Vandeventer, a minor child of Kate Vandeventer and heir of George Elliott, conveyed the remaining part-interest in 843 Western Avenue to John H. Dailey of Allegheny City for $166.66.

(DBV 1288 P 217)

John H. and Margaret G. Dailey of Allegheny City conveyed 843 Western Avenue to Mary J. Armstrong for $5,500.

(DBV 1288 P 212)

Mary J. Armstrong of Pittsburgh conveyed 843 Western Avenue to George C. Lecky of Allegheny City for $5,850. George C. Lecky died in October 1913.

(DBV 1451 P 594)

Catherine Dallas Lecky, widow, of Pittsburgh conveyed 843 Western Avenue to the Home Mutual Building & Loan Association of Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, for $1 and other good and valuable considerations.

(DBV 1854 P 523)

The Home Mutual Building & Loan Association of Allegheny City, Pennsylvania conveyed 843 Western Avenue to Anna C. Lecky of Pittsburgh for $6,350. Anna C. Lecky died on December 18, 1933.

(DBV 2253 P 274)

W.C. and Jane C. Lecky Bender, Nielsen Lecky Smith, Trevanion and Adelia R.P. Lecky, all of Pittsburgh, conveyed 843 Western Avenue to John S. Phipps, Henry C. Phipps and Howard Phipps, as trustees under the Phipps Pennsylvania Land Trust, for $1 (tax stamps suggest a price of $5,000).

(DBV 2638 P 350)

John S. Phipps, Henry C. Phipps and Howard Phipps, as trustees under the Phipps Pennsylvania Land Trust, conveyed 843 Western Avenue to D.C. and Agnes Mae Greene of Pittsburgh for S3,000.

(DBV 2577 P 192)

D.C. and Agnes Mae Greene of Pittsburgh conveyed 843 Western Avenue to Stephen Kovacs of Pittsburgh for $1 and other good and valuable considerations (tax stamps suggest a price of $5,000).

(DBV 2945 P 655)

Stephen Kovacs of Pittsburgh conveyed 843 Western Avenue to James P. Casey of Pittsburgh for $1 and other good and valuable considerations (tax stamps suggest a price of $6,500).

(DBV 3100 P 22)

James P. and Marie W. Casey of Pittsburgh conveyed 843 Western Avenue to Patrick B. and E. Blanche Hart of Pittsburgh for $1 and other good and valuable considerations (tax stamps suggest a price of $7,500).

(DBV 3091 P 721)

Patrick B. and E. Blanche Hart of Pittsburgh conveyed 843 Western Avenue to Walter F. Johnson of Pittsburgh for $1 and other good and valuable considerations.

(DBV 3101 P 554)

Walter F. Johnson of Pittsburgh conveyed 843 Western Avenue to Joan and David Burrows Jr. of Crafton for $1 and other good and valuable considerations (tax stamps suggest a price of $7,500).

(DBV 3158 P 230)

Joan and David Burrows Jr. of Crafton conveyed 843 Western Avenue to Greeta L. Harbaugh of Pittsburgh for $13,000.

(DBV 3249 P 608)

Albert E. and Greeta L. Harbaugh Boyer of Pinellas County, Florida conveyed 843 Western Avenue to McClurg H. and Frances A. Shelton of Allegheny County for $10,500. McClurg H. Shelton died on April 15, 1970.

(DBV 3924 P 660)

Francis John Schmitt Jr. purchased 843 Western Avenue from Frances A. Shelton, widow.

(DBV 6309 P 954)

Age of the House

Construction

All available information indicates that members of the Irwin family had 843 Western Avenue built no later than 1860, and possibly as early as about 1850.

Maitha Mary and John Irwin Jr. of Sewickley conveyed 843 Western Avenue to George Elliott on May 10, 1860. This deed stated that the lot that was conveyed contained a two-story brick house. Exterior architectural features of 843 Western Avenue are consistent with construction in or before 1860, and indicate that the present house is the same that was conveyed by the 1860 deed. The purchase price of S3 000 is also consistent with the size, brick construction, and location of 843 Western Avenue.
An 1852 map that includes Allegheny City is the earliest map of the area that depicts structures. The map shows a structure in the approximate location of 843-845 Western Avenue. An 1858 plan of lots on the former rope walk site (Allegheny County Plan Book Volume 2, Page 173) also depicts double houses on the southern side of the 800 block of Western Avenue. It should be noted that the westernmost double house in the 1858 plan of lots is not depicted as occupying the lots on which 843-845 Western Avenue stand. However, as it is unlikely that the Irwins demolished and rebuilt the double houses between 1858 and 1860, it appears likely that 843-845 Western Avenue was the structure depicted in the 1852 map and 1858 subdivision plan.

Architectural style

843 Western Avenue was built with elements of the Italianate and Greek Revival styles.

Italianate features of 843 Western Avenue include the house’s side-gabled shape with rear shed-roof ell and its wood brackets. The house, as an early example of this style, does not display the arched, projecting window hoods that were common in Italianate homes built after the Civil War. The pediment that joins the front door entablatures of 843 and 845 Western Avenue is a Greek Revival feature, and supports the likelihood that 843-845 Western Avenue was built closer to 1850 than to 1860.
The Greek Revival style was used in construction of houses and commercial and institutional buildings in the Pittsburgh area between about 1830 and the 1850’s. The Italianate style was the prevailing architectural style for homes and commercial and institutional buildings constructed in the Pittsburgh area between about 1860 and 1885.

Available records do not identify an architect who is credited with design of 843 Western Avenue.

Owners & Residents

The Elliotts

George Elliott purchased 843 Western Avenue from John Irwin Jr. and his wife, Martha Mary Irwin, on May 10, 1860. The 1860 census, taken on June 15 of that year in Allegheny West, enumerated George Elliott and his family in the Second Ward of Allegheny City, indicating the family did not live at 843 Western Avenue. Western Avenue was the boundary between Allegheny City’s First and Second Wards, with the First Ward located to the south and the Second Ward to the north.
George Elliott was listed in the 1861 Pittsburgh directory for the first time in 1861. Elliott was listed as a gent living on Western Avenue near the lead works in 1861, and as a gent living on Western Avenue near the West Commons in 1862. Neither he or other members of his family appeared in directories published in 1863 and in later years.

George Elliott and his heirs owned 843 Western Avenue until 1903.

1875 and Earlier

Pittsburgh city directories provide the only means of identifying residents of 843 Western Avenue before 1875, the year that the family of Benjamin Oppenheimer is known to have rented the house. Directories listed nearly all residents of Pittsburgh and Allegheny City alphabetically, making it necessary to read directories to determine occupancy of 843 Western Avenue and other houses that were occupied by tenants.
Homes on the 800 block of Western Avenue were assigned numbers in about 1867. Identification of tenents before this time is probably impossible.

1876-1880

The 1880 census enumerated Benjamin Oppenheimer and his family at 43 (now 843) Western Avenue. Benjamin Oppenheimer, 46, was enumerated as a merchant tailor. He had been bom in Germany and his wife, Eva, had been bom in Poland.

Benjamin and Eva Oppenheimer had three children who lived with them at 43 Western Avenue: Jacob, 21, and Samuel, 17, both store clerks, and Nora, 11.
The Oppenheimer family employed one servant who lived at 43 Western Avenue. Julia Kier, 23, had been bom in Pennsylvania to German immigrant parents.

Pittsburgh city directories show that the Oppenheimer family lived at 843 Western Avenue between 1876 and 1880. Benjamin Oppenheimer’s shop was located on Market Street, Downtown.

Neighborhood Development

843 Western Avenue was built over a decade before the Allegheny West area began to develop as a genteel alternative to sections of Allegheny City like the east and south commons and the Anderson Street area, which were crowded and contained mixed residential, commercial and industrial uses by the end of the Civil War. While Ridge Avenue and Brighton Road became the home of some of the wealthiest residents of the Pittsburgh area, and Beech Avenue homes were built for middle-class families, Western Avenue developed as a somewhat unlikely mixture of mansions, homes of middle-class and working-class families, and small industrial sites. North Lincoln Avenue was developed with a mixture of mansions and middle-class housing.

Learn More

Rope Walk

835 North Lincoln Avenue occupies part of the site of a rope walk, or factory, that was operated by members of the Irwin family until 1858.

Learn More

Supplementary Materials

The following materials accompany this report:


A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson

all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted

912 Galveston Avenue

912 Galveston Avenue (Front)

Introduction

912 Galveston Avenue, originally known as 140 Grant Avenue, is a two-story brick house occupying a 55′ wide by 35′ deep lot located in the Allegheny West section of Pittsburgh’s Northside.

Josephine Noe Dale, a physician’s widow and a descendant of John Alden, commissioned construction of 912 Galveston Avenue between May 1873 and March 1874. The house was probably built by Reed & Craig, a contracting firm whose shop was located on Beech Avenue near Brighton Road.

Josephine Noe Dale and her daughter Mary Maitland, a school teacher, lived at 912 Galveston Avenue for about 25 years, sharing the house with a number of boarders. After Josephine Noe Dale died in 1898, her descendants owned 912 Galveston Avenue until 1942, maintaining the house as an apartment building.

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

Ownership

  • May 3, 1873
  • June 24, 1929
  • March 20, 1942
  • June 25, 1942
  • October 29, 1942
  • May 2, 1977
  • February 22, 1980
  • May 30, 1980
  • May 8, 1981
  • March 23, 1993

Robert M. and R.B. Dickey of Allegheny City to Mrs. Josephine N. Dale of Allegheny City, $3,000. This deed and subsequent deeds conveyed a 55′ wide by 35′ deep lot located at the northeastern corner of Grant Avenue (now Galveston Avenue) and Pasture Alley (now Dounton Way). The lot was part of a larger tract of land that Robert Dickey had purchased from Mrs. Elizabeth F. Denny on August 16, 1866, recorded in Deed Book Volume 207, Page 221.

(Deed Book Volume 312, Page 73)

Josephine A. Bakewell, widow, of Riverside, California, to Mary M. Bakewell of Riverside, California, $10. Josephine N. Dale had died on August 22, 1898, and in her will, dated December 10, 1896 and recorded in Will Book Volume 57, Page 17, left the property to her daughter Mary Maitland, who died on July 11, 1928 at Riverside, California, intestate, unmarried and without issue, and survived by Josephine A. Bakewell, a niece, as her only heir at law.

(DBV 2399 P 178)

Thomas Bakewell, unmarried, individually and as trustee under the will of Mary M. Bakewell, deceased, of Riverside, California, and Charles M. Bakewell of New Haven, Connecticut, to Michael Lucas of the city of Pittsburgh, $2,750. Mary M. Bakewell had died on March 3, 1937 in Riverside, California and left the property to her brother Thomas Bakewell in trust to pay the income to himself for life with the power to sell the property with the approval of Charles M. Bakewell. Charles M. Bakewell joined in this conveyance to show his consent to and approval of the sale.

(DBV 2729 P 410)

Michael and Virginia Lucas of the city of Pittsburgh to Ruth J. Burdman of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations.

(DBV 2732 P 602)

Ruth J. and Louis P. Burdman of the city of Pittsburgh to James L. Caine of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations.

(DBV 2743 P 296)

James L. and Antoinette Caine of the city of Pittsburgh to Eric Vaughn Shearer of the city of Pittsburgh, $5,000.

(DBV 5772 P 207)

Eric Vaughn Shearer of the city of Pittsburgh to Mark W. Shearer of the city of Pittsburgh, $5,000.

(DBV 6259 P 820)

Mark W. Shearer of the city of Pittsburgh to Louis John DePellegrini of the city of Pittsburgh, $24,000.

(DBV 6259 P 816)

Louis John DePellegrini of the city of Pittsburgh to Miles Leroy Bausch of Washington, Washington County and Douglas Michael Lucas of the city of Pittsburgh, $34,000.

(DBV 6367 P 728)

Miles L. Bausch and Douglas M. Lucas to Carolyn Anne Maue, $60,000.

(DBV 8929 P 559)

Age of the House

All available information indicates that Josephine Noe Dale had 912 Galveston Avenue built between May 1873 and March 1874.

An 1872 plat map of the Allegheny West area shows that 912 Galveston Avenue had not yet been built. The land on which the house now stands was still part of a lot occupied by a home at the southeastern corner of Beech and Grant (now Galveston) Avenues, with a carriage house occupying the present site of 912 Galveston Avenue.

Josephine N. Dale’s May 3, 1873 purchase of the 55′ wide by 35′ deep lot on which 912 Galveston Avenue now stands for $3,000, at $1.55 per square foot, was slightly higher than costs per square foot for nearby undeveloped properties and indicates that 912 Galveston Avenue had not yet been built. The slightly higher cost may have reflected the value of the carriage house on the lot or the 55′ front footage, wider than most Allegheny West lots.

Allegheny County mortgage records show that on March 18, 1874 (Mortgage Book Volume 182, Page 91), Josephine N. Dale borrowed $1,400 against the lot she owned at Grant Avenue and Pasture Alley from William Reed and John Craig of Allegheny City, partners in the firm of Reed & Craig. The mortgage stated that the lot contained a two-story brick dwelling.
Pittsburgh city directories published during the early 1870’s show that Reed & Craig was a carpentry firm with a shop located on Beech Avenue near Irwin Avenue (now Brighton Road). The firm was a partnership of William Reed of 69 Lincoln Avenue (840 North Lincoln Avenue) and John Craig of 101 Webster Avenue (now Sherman Avenue; house demolished), Allegheny City.

It is likely that Josephine N. Dale hired Reed & Craig to build her new home on Grant Avenue. The $1,400 that Josephine N. Dale borrowed from Reed & Craig, while much lower than the probable construction cost of 912 Galveston Avenue, may have been the unpaid balance of of the construction cost of 912 Galveston Avenue.

912 Galveston Avenue was originally known as 140 Grant Avenue. Most older Northaide neighborhoods received their current street numbers in 1899 and 1900. Grant Avenue became Galveston Avenue after the 1907 annexation of Allegheny City by the city of Pittsburgh, when many street names were changes to avoid duplication.

Through the Years

912 Galvestion in the 80s

Residents

Josephine Dale

U.S. census records, Pittsburgh city directories, and biographical materials provide information on Josephine Dale, the first owner of 912 Galveston Avenue, and members of her family.

Learn More

Occupants in 1900

The 1900 manuscript census indicates that 912 Grant Avenue was occupied by families headed by Hugh McCarroll, George Geyser, and Aldus Fay.

Hugh McCarroll, 32, was a student who had been unemployed during most of the previous year. He had been born in Michigan to parents born in Ireland and Scotland.

He and his wife Ada F., 34, had been married two years and had no children. Ada F. McCarroll had been born in Iowa to parents who were natives of Pennsylvania.
George Geyser, a 25-year-old pattern maker, and his wife Mame, 20, had been married three years and had no children. Both had been born in Pennsylvania to parents born in Pennsylvania.

Aldus Fay, a 27-year-old clerk, and his wife Charlotte, 33, had two daughters: Helen E., three, and Marian R., two months. All family members had been born in Pennsylvania.

Occupants in 1910

By 1910, 912 Galveston Avenue was divided into six apartments. The 1910 manuscript census enumerated the families of Lewis B. West, Arthur Aust, Elmer H. Moore, Alonzo Curren, Joseph Ostrow and Henry Husser at 912 Galveston Avenue, with a total of 14 people living in the house.

Lewis B. West, 46, a native of Maryland, was a flower salesman. He and his wife Fanny, 46, born in Louisiana, had had three children, two of whom were alive at the time of the census: Florence, 18, and Martha A., 13. The Wests were the only couple with children living at 912 Galveston Avenue.

Arthur Aust, 33, a native of Ohio, worked as an engineer for a construction company. His wife Anna M. , 23, had been born in Austria and immigrated in 1902.
Elmer H. Moore, 30, was a traveling stationery salesman. He and his wife of three years, Lillian, 19, had both been born in New Jersey.

Alonzo Curren, 30, was a machinist who was unemployed at the time of the census and had been unemployed during all of 1909. He and his wife Mamie, 22, were natives of Pennsylvania.

Joseph Ostrow, 23, was a ladies clothing salesman who had been born in Pennsylvania to Russian immigrant parents. His wife Lucy, 18, had been born in Massachuetts. The cojiple had been married one year.

Harry Husser, 34, a hotel chef, had been born in Germany and immigrated in 1900. Rose, 32, his wife of less than one year, had been born in Germany and immigrated in 1904.

The 21st Century

After enjoying life in Europe for 37 years as Department of Defense Overseas School (DoDDS) teachers, Carole and John Robert purchased the house in 2006. Extensive renovations occurred during their first year in their new home. Wooden floors were laid to replace the carpeting on the first two floors, new windows were installed, and the kitchen was remodeled. John and Carole refer to 912 Galveston as “their European cottage” because nearly all the furnishings in the house were purchased during their many years living overseas.

Neighborhood Development

912 Galveston Avenue was built several years after the area around Galveston and Beech Avenues began to develop as a desirable alternative to older sections of Allegheny City like the East and South Commons and lower Federal Street, which contained residential, commercial and industrial land uses.

Learn More

Supplementary Materials

The following materials accompany this report:

  • a copy of an 1852 map of Allegheny City and adjacent areas
  • a copy of an 1872 plat map of part of Allegheny West, including Galveston Avenue
  • a copy of a 1910 plat map of part of Allegheny West, including Galveston Avenue
  • information on Josephine N. Dale, from The Social Mirror (1888), a book about prominent Pittsburgh area women
  • the obituary of Josephine N. Dale, from the Pittsburgh Bulletin, a society magazine, August 27, 1898

A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson

all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted

Josephine Dale

Josephine Dale was born Josephine Noe Alden in 1815 in Newark, New Jersey. She was a daughter of the Reverend Timothy Alden, founder of Allegheny College in Meadville, and a descendant of John Alden, who had crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower.

In 1829, at age 14, Josephine Noe Alden was brought by her parents to Pittsburgh. She soon married William Maitland, and the couple had two daughters, Mary and Margaret, in 1835. William Maitland died and left Josephine Noe Maitland a widow at age 26 in 1841.

By 1852, Josephine Noe Maitland lived in Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh’s Northside), residing on the East Commons (now Cedar Avenue) at the corner of Water Street. Josephine Noe Maitland, 40, married Dr. Thomas Dale, 45, a physician who lived on the South Commons, in 1855. Dr. Thomas Dale was a native of Delaware.

Dr. Thomas and Josephine Noe Dale began living on the South Commons between Sandusky and Federal Streets. An immediate neighbor was I. Morrison, then Mayor of Allegheny City.

The 1860 manuscript census shows that Dr. Thomas and Josephine Noe Dale lived on the South Commons with other family members and three servants. The census taken in that year does not provide information on familial relationships of persons enumerated, making it difficult to determine the relationships of some members of the Dale household.

Living with Thomas and Josephine Noe Dale were Mary Maitland, 25, a public school teacher, Margaret Maitland, 25, who had no occupation, M. Dale (female), 28, R. Dale (male), 21, a clerk, L. Dale (female), 12, J. McLane (female), 23, apparently a boarder, and three servants: H. Coyle (female), 40, born in Ireland, R. Rooney (female), 26, born in Ireland, and W. Burke (male), 28, born in New Jersey. E. Coyle, 13, probably a child of H. Coyle, also lived with the family.

The Dale family moved from the South Commons to 19 Stockton Avenue, near Federal Street, in 1863, lived there until about 1869, then moved to 205 Western Avenue in Allegheny West, where they lived when the 1870 census was taken. The 1870 manuscript census enumerated Dr. Thomas and Josephine Noe Dale, Josephine Noe Dale’s daughters Mary and Margaret Maitland, both 35, Louisa Dale, 21, and a servant whose first name was Annie.

The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Dr. Thomas Dale owned no real estate and had a personal estate of $10,000.

The Dale family moved to 38 Monterey Street (now 1222 Monterey Street) in what is now the Mexican War Streets area in about 1872. Dr. Thomas Dale died at about this time, on January 7, 1872. Josephine Noe Dale bought the lot on which 912 Galveston Avenue stands the following year, and had the house built by March 1874.

During the 1870’s, Margaret Maitland married Thomas Bakewell, an attorney who was a member of a family that owned a glass factory on Pittsburgh’s South Side.

The 1880 manuscript census enumerated Josephine Noe Dale, 65, her daughter Mary Maitland, 43, a school teacher, and four boarders living at 140 Grant Avenue. The boarders were Thomas Swartz, 31, a druggist who had been born in Pennsylvania, his wife Carrie, 22, born in New Jersey, their daughter Anna E., four months, and Louisa Long, 49, who was widowed or divorced and a native of Pennsylvania. No servants were reported to live at 140 Grant Avenue.

The 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on residents of 140 Grant Avenue in that year, was destroyed in a fire following its completion.

Josephine Noe Dale lived at 140 Grant Avenue until her death in August 1898 in Cape May, New Jersey, shortly after a fall in Cape May. Funeral services were held at her home.

Pittsburgh city directories indicate that Mary Maitland lived at 912 Grant Avenue for the first few years of the 20th century, then died or left the Pittsburgh area. The 1900 census, however, did not enumerate Mary Maitland at 912 Grant Avenue.

Although descendants of Josephine Noe Dale owned 912 Galveston Avenue through 1942, no family members lived in
the house, which was divided into small apartments and maintained as a rental property.

Press

The Social Mirror

“Mrs. Dale, of Allegheny, widow of Dr. Thomas Dale, was a Miss Alden of Puritan stock. She was a sister of the late Mrs. James B. McFadden. Mrs. Dale’s daughter, Miss Maitland, lives with her; another daughter, Mrs. Thomas Bakewell, residing in Riverside, California.”

The Pittsburgh Bulletin

“The death on Monday, of Mrs. Josephine Noe Dale, widow of Dr. Thomas F. Dale, took place at Cape May, and removed a venerable and most highly esteemed woman, prominent in social circles in her day in the two cities, and related to some of the foremost families of Pittsburgh and Allegheny. She was bom in Newark, N. J., her father being the Reverend Timothy Alden, founder of Allegheny College in Meadeville. In 1829 she came to the city and was married to William Maitland who died in 1841. In 1855 she married Dr. Dale. Her warm heart and sympathetic nature impelled her to active charitable and philanthropic work during the Civil War and thereafter so that her name became identified with good deeds well done. She was prominent in the management of the Home for the Friendless, the Relief Society of Allegheny and similar institutions. The deceased was an original member of the North Presbyterian Church, Allegheny, and was . deeply interested in its concerns. Her gifts of mind and person were exceptional. A few weeks ago Mrs. Dale sustained injuries from a fall on the boardwalk at Cape May Point resulting in her death. She is survived by two daughters – Miss Maitland of Allegheny and Mrs. Thomas Bakewell of California. These were with their mother at the time of her death. The funeral services were held on Thursday afternoon from the main residence on Grant Avenue, Allegheny.”

843 Beech Avenue

843 Beech Avenue (Front Door)

Introduction

843 Beech Avenue is a three story brick and stone house occupying a 70’6″ wide by 137’4.5″ deep lot located in the Allegheny West section of the city of Pittsburgh.

843 Beech Avenue was built by Jacob F. Diffenbacher, publisher of the Pittsburgh city directory, in 1892 or 1893. Jacob Diffenbacher lived at 843 Beech Avenue until his death in 1898, and his wife Susan lived at 843 Beech Avenue until she sold the house in 1903.

Detailed information on the ownership history, age, and first owner of 843 Beech Avenue follows.

Ownership

  • December 18, 1879
  • March 11, 1890
  • March 11, 1890
  • July 11, 1892
  • July 12, 1892
  • May 1, 1893
  • October 28, 1903
  • April 11, 1904
  • December 16, 1908
  • July 7, 1909
  • February 21, 1916
  • April 20, 1928
  • April 20, 1928
  • April 28, 1928
  • April 28, 1928
  • September 15, 1942
  • June 22, 1949
  • August 6, 1949
  • July 2, 1956
  • January 24, 1974
  • April 14, 1975
  • April 18, 1977
  • November 7, 1977
  • March 29, 1979

Partition of the Estate of Elizabeth F. Denny, deceased. Robert McKnight, Esquire, and Rev. William M. Paxton, executors of the last will and testament of Elizabeth F. Denny, late of the city of Pittsburgh, to Mary O’Hara Spring, daughter of Elizabeth F. Denny, Margaret S. Denny, widow, and Henry S. Denny, James O’Hara Denny and Francis H. Denny, children of James O’Hara Denny, deceased, a son of Elizabeth F. Denny, Nancy Denny, widow, and Harmar D. Denny, Elizabeth (called Betty) Denny, and William Denny, children of William Croghan Denny, deceased, a son of Elizabeth F. Denny (St. Clair Denny, another son of William Croghan Denny, having died intestate and without issue before the death of Elizabeth F. Denny), Elizabeth O’Hara McKnight, daughter of Elizabeth F. Denny, Caroline Sophia Paxton, daughter of Elizabeth F. Denny, Amelia Melusina Brereton, daughter of Elizabeth F. Denny, Matilda Wilkins Denny, daughter of Elizabeth F. Denny, and Harmar Denny, son of Elizabeth F. Denny. This 65-page deed conveyed to Elizabeth F. Denny’s heirs many pieces of property in areas now known as Allegheny West, Manchester, Lower Lawrenceville, Polish Hill, the Hill District, the Strip District, Harmar Township and Downtown Pittsburgh.

(Deed Book Volume 401, Page 110)

Harmar D. and Elizabeth B. Denny of the city of Pittsburgh to J.F. Diffenbacher of the borough of Ben Avon, $5,625. This deed conveyed a 22’6″ wide by 137’4.5″ deep lot on the southern side of Beech Avenue, 176’9.75″ east of Grant Avenue (now Galveston Avenue) in the Second Ward of the city of Allegheny. The lot was known as part of Lot 28 in Block 1 in the Denny Estate Plan of Property, recorded in Plan Book Volume 6, Pages 193 and 194. This deed was later re-recorded in DBV 1308, P 154.

(DBV 719 P 39)

Charles W. and Elizabeth F. Sargent of Boston, Massachusetts to J.F. Diffenbacher of the city of Allegheny, $250. This deed conveyed a 1′ wide by 137’4.5″ deep lot on the southern side of Beech Avenue, 199’3.75″ east of Grant Avenue. The lot was known as part of Lot 27 in Block 1 in the Denny Estate Plan of Property.

(DBV 797 P 373)

J.F. and Susan E. Diffenbacher of Ben Avon to John C. Leitch of the city of Allegheny, $6,500. This deed conveyed a 23’6″ wide lot known as part of Lots 27 and 28.

(DBV 797 P 374)

John C. and Ida Leitch of the city of Allegheny to Susan E. Diffenbacher of the borough of Ben Avon, $6500. This deed conveyed a 23’6″ wide lot known as part of Lots 27 and 28.

(DBV 804, P 265)

Mary O’Hara Spring of the city of Pittsburgh, Amelia M. Brereton of Yonkers, New York, Reverend Harmar Denny of New York, New York to Elizabeth F. Sargent of Boston, Massachusetts, $1. This deed conveyed a 47′ wide by 137’4.5″ deep lot on the southern side of Beech Avenue, 239′ west of Ash Alley (now Rope Way) in the Second Ward of the city of Allegheny. The Lot was known as Lots 29 and 30 in Block 1 of the Denny Estate Plan of Property.

(DBV 911 P 508)

Susan E. Diffenbacher, widow, of the city of Allegheny to William McGee of Glenfield, Allegheny County, $14,500. This deed conveyed a 23’6″ wide lot identified as all of Lot 28. All subsequent deeds conveying this lot identified it as all of Lot 28.

(DBV 1293 P 284)

William McGee of the city of Allegheny to Mary Ann McGee and Emma McGee of the city of Allegheny, $1. This deed conveyed Lot 28.

(DBV 1325 P 337)

Mary Ann McGee, unmarried, of the Northside, city of Pittsburgh, to Emma McGee of the Northside, city of Pittsburgh, $1. This deed conveyed the one half interest of Mary Ann McGee in Lot 28 to Emma McGee.

(DBV 1731 P 488)

Emma McGee, unmarried, to Margaret Good, unmarried, $10. This deed conveyed Lot 28.

(DBV 1925 P 128)

Elizabeth F.D. and Addis M. Whitney of Boston, Massachusetts to John Fogarty of the city of Pittsburgh, $5000. This deed conveyed Lots 29 and 30.

(DBV 1849, P 225)

John A. and Margaret Good Fogarty of the city of Pittsburgh to Rachel A. Good, unmarried, of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations. This deed conveyed Lot 28.

(DBV 2361 P 222)

Rachel A. Good, unmarried, of the city of Pittsburgh to John A. and Margaret Good Fogarty of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations. This deed conveyed Lot 28.

(DBV 2361 P 225)

John A. and Margaret Good Fogarty of the city of Pittsburgh to Rachel A. Good, unmarried, of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations. This deed conveyed Lots 29 and 30.

(DBV 2361 P 224)

Rachel A. Good, unmarried, of the city of Pittsburgh to John A. and Margaret Good Fogarty of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations. This deed conveyed Lots 29 and 30.

(DBV 2361 P 226)

Margaret Good Fogarty, widow, of the city of Pittsburgh to the Sisters of Mercy, a corporation located in the city of Pittsburgh, $1. John A. Fogarty had died on December 22, 1929. This deed conveyed Lots 28, 29 and 30.

(DBV 2735 P 541)

The Sisters of Mercy, a corporation located in the city of Pittsburgh, to Abbott Sales and Service, Inc., a corporation located in the city of Pittsburgh, $9,000. This deed conveyed Lots 28, 29 and 30.

(DBV 3052 P 198)

Abbott Sales and Service, Inc., a corporation located in the city of Pittsburgh, to Nettie D. Lewis of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations. This deed conveyed Lot 28.

(DBV 3058 P 632)

Abbott Sales and Service, Inc., a corporation located in the city of Pittsburgh, to Nettie D. Lewis of the city of Pittsburgh, $5000. This deed conveyed Lots 29 and 30.

(DBV 3643 P 625)

Nettie D. Lewis, widow, of the city of Pittsburgh to Anne Lewis Grosso, in consideration of natural love and affection. This deed was a conveyance from mother to daughter. This deed and all subsequent deeds conveyed Lots 28, 29 and 30.

(DBV 4670 P 748)

Anne Lewis Grosso, widow, of the city of Pittsburgh to Barbara A. Templeton and Robert M. Beck of the city of Pittsburgh, $16,000.

(DBV 5469 P 37)

Barbara A. and R.K. Templeton of the city of Pittsburgh and Robert M. Beck, unmarried, of New York, New York, to John R. Polyak, single, of the borough of Sewickley, $32,000.

(DBV 5761 P 91)

John R. Polyak, single, of Allegheny County to Stephen D. McWhorter of Allegheny County, $42,000.

(DBV 5863 P 759)

Stephen D. McWhorter of the state of California to Robert C. Knaus of Allegheny County, $68,500

(DBV 6086, P 119)

Age of the House

Available information indicates that Jacob F. Diffenbacher had 843 Beech Avenue built in 1892 or 1893, after buying a 22’6″ wide lot on Beech Avenue from members of the Denny family.

The March 1890 sale of a 22’6″ wide by 137’4.5″ deep lot for $5,625, at $1.82 per square foot, was comparable to other sales of undeveloped lots in Allegheny West and Manchester during the 1880’s and 1890’s and indicates that 843 Beech Avenue had not yet been built. The July 1892 sale of the 22’6″ wide lot and adjacent 1′ wide lot for $6500, at $2.01 per square foot, also indicates the house had not been built. Subsequently, the 1894 Pittsburgh city directory listed Jacob F. Diffenbacher at 78 Beech Avenue for the first time.

City of Allegheny building permit dockets, available beginning in 1894, contain no record of issuance of a permit to Jacob F. Diffenbacher for construction of a house on Beech Avenue.

Allegheny County mortgage records show that on March 11, 1890, Jacob F. Diffenbacher borrowed $3500 from Harmar D. Denny against the 22’6″ wide lot on Beech Avenue that Diffenbacher bought from Denny the same day. Allegheny County mortgage records contain no record of any loan to Diffenbacher for construction of 843 Beech Avenue.

Ida Leitch, who with her husband John participated in a transaction that placed 843 Beech Avenue in Susan Diffenbacher’s name in 1892, was a daughter of Jacob F. and Susan Diffenbacher.

The Home Today

Photos by Chris Siewers

Through the Years

Residents

The Diffenbachers

Pittsburgh city directories and U.S. census records provide information on Jacob F. Diffenbacher, who published the Pittsburgh city directory from the late 1870’s until his death in 1898, and his wife Susan.

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Other Early Occupants

The 1910 manuscript census reported that a family headed by Mary McGee lived at 843 Beech Avenue. Mary McGee, 74, had been born in Pennsylvania and was of Irish descent. The census recorded her occupation as “own income.” She was able to read and write, and owned her home fully.

Living with Mary McGee were her sister Emma, her nieces Rachel A. Good and Margaret Good, a lodger, James B. Jordan, and a servant, Cecelia Pottgiesen.

Emma McGee, 53, was single and had been born in Pennsylvania. Her occupation was also given as “own income.” Rachel A. Good, 41, and Margaret Good, 39, were both single and had no occupation. Both had been born in Pennsylvania.

James B. Jordan, 30, had been born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1880. Jordan was single and attended school.

Cecelia Pottgiesen, 26, had been born in Pennsylvania to parents also born in Pennsylvania. The census indicated that she had not been unemployed during the previous year.

The 1910 manuscript census also reported that all residents of 843 Beech Avenue were able to read and write.

Supplementary Materials

The following materials accompany this report:

  • a copy of an 1872 plat map of part of Allegheny West, including Beech Avenue
  • a copy of a 1910 plat map of part of Allegheny West, including Beech Avenue
  • a copy of the title page of the 1894 Pittsburgh city directory, showing Jacob Diffenbacher as publisher of the directory
  • the obituary of Jacob Diffenbacher, from the April 2, 1898 Pittsburgh Press
  • an article featuring the home as part of the 1982 Christmas tour in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • an article featuring the home as part of the 1988 Christmas tour in the Pittsburgh Press

A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson

all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted

The Sweitzers

J. (Jacob) Bowman Sweitzer was born on Independence Day, 1821, in Brownsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, along the Monongahela River. Sweitzer, of Swiss descent, was a son of Henry Sweitzer, a manufacturer and Ann Elliott Bowman Sweitzer.

After graduating from Jefferson College in Canonsburg and studying law with a Washington County attorney, J. Bowman Sweitzer became an attorney in 1845. In 1846, Sweitzer moved to Pittsburgh, living at 115 Third Avenue. Sweitzer was appointed United States Attorney for Western Pennsylvania by 1850.

J. Bowman Sweitzer, 30, married Mary Holmes Stevenson, 24, on June 15, 1852. Mary Holmes Stevenson was a daughter of Dr. Henry Stevenson of 99 Fourth Avenue in Pittsburgh, and a granddaughter of early Pittsburgh residents Dr. George Stevenson and John Darragh. The Sweitzers began living at 101 Fourth Avenue. The Sweitzer and Stevenson homes were located on the northern side of Fourth Avenue, between Wood and Smithfield Streets, on or close to the present location of the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania at 337 Fourth Avenue.

The 1860 manuscript census enumerated J. Bowman and Mary Sweitzer, their two children, and three servants in
their Fourth Avenue home. The census reported that J. Bowman Sweitzer, 38, was an attorney at law who owned real estate valued at $2,000 and had a personal estate of $1,000. Mary Sweitzer had no occupation. The couple had two children: Annie B., four, and Henry S., two.

The Sweitzers’ servants in 1860 were Ann Sauls, 16, Mary Ward, 20, and Hannah Dougan, 25, all born in Ireland.

In 1861, J. Bowman Sweitzer left his position as United States Attorney and entered the Union Army. Sweitzer served with distinction in the Civil War through 1864, and his activities were described extensively an entry in Biographical Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania, accompanying this report.

J. Bowman Sweitzer returned to his family in Pittsburgh in 1864, at age 43. Sweitzer and his wife Mary, still living at 101 Fourth Avenue, had two additional children after Sweitzer’s return from the battlefield. Sweitzer was retired until 1869, when he was appointed Supervisor of Internal Revenue by the federal government.

The 1870 manuscript census shows that the Sweitzers’ children were Annie, 13, Henry, 11, both attending school, and J. Bowman Jr., four, and O’Hara Denny, two. The census enumerated no servants living with the Sweitzer family.

The 1870 manuscript census shows that J. Bowman Sweitzer owned real estate worth $20,000 and had a personal estate of $10,000.

J. Bowman Sweitzer was appointed Prothonotary of the Supreme Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in November 1873.

The Sweitzer family lived at 101 Fourth Avenue until 1884, when J. Bowman Sweitzer bought 81 Beech Avenue.

In the late 1880’s, J. Bowman Sweitzer Jr. became an attorney and began working as a clerk in the office of the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Harry S. Sweitzer became a partner in Dean & Sweitzer, insurance agents, located at 401 Wood Street in Pittsburgh. Sweitzer’s partner was George W. Dean of 20 Arch Street, in what is now the Allegheny Center Mall area.

J. Bowman Sweitzer died at home on November 9, 1888. Sweitzer’s death was attributed to blood poisoning caused
by kidney disease. The Pittsburg Press carried his obituary on its front page.

The 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on residents of 842 Beech Avenue in that year, was destroyed in a fire following its completion.

The 1900 manuscript census does not provide information on residents of 842 Beech Avenue, suggesting that the house was temporarily vacant or skipped by the census taker.

Mary Sweitzer lived at 842 Beech Avenue through 1910, when the census enumerated Mary Sweitzer and her son Harry S. Sweitzer, an insurance salesman, living at 842 Beech Avenue with no other family members or servants. Mary Sweitzer apparently lived outside the Pittsburgh area between 1911 and her death in 1912.

After the death of Harry S. Sweitzer in about 1911, the last member of the Sweitzer family to live at 842 Beech Avenue was O’Hara Denny Sweitzer, who was listed as living in the house in 1912.

The children of J. Bowman and Mary Sweitzer maintained 842 Beech Avenue as rental property between 1913 and 1925, when they sold the house.

The Gibsons

Robert M. Gibson was born in Taylorstown, Washington County, Pennsylvania, on October 27, 1828. His parents were Robert MacDowell and Sallie Wishart Gibson, both born in Pennsylvania. Gibson was educated at Watrings Academy in or near Taylorstown. As a young adult, Gibson taught school in Washington County and Illinois and worked in a Washington County attorney’s office, and then became an attorney himself without having attended college or law school.

Robert Gibson and his wife Eliza were married in the 1850’s. Eliza Gibson had been born in Pennsylvania to parents who were natives of Pennsylvania.

Robert Gibson practiced law in Washington County between 1853 and 1868, when he moved to the Pittsburgh area, opening an office at 103 Fifth Avenue in what is now Downtown Pittsburgh. Gibson and his family rented a home at Wilson and Liberty Streets in Pitt Township (now 32nd Street and Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Strip District) in 1868 and 1869. In September 1869, Robert Gibson bought a lot containing two houses at the southwestern corner of Beech Street (now Beech Avenue) and Freemont Street (later Grant Street, now Galveston Avenue) for $18,000. Gibson and his family began living in one of the houses, then known as 148 Grant Street.

The 1870 manuscript census enumerated Robert Gibson and his family at 148 Grant Street. The census reported that Robert Gibson, 41, was an attorney and that Eliza Gibson, 34, kept house. In 1870, the Gibsons had six children: John, 11, Sallie, 11, Lucy, nine, Amanda, five, Robert Jr., five and Barnett L., one.

The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Robert Gibson owned real estate worth $25,000 and had a personal estate of $2,000.

One servant lived with the Gibson family at 148 Grant Street in 1870: Mary Snyder, 21, who had been born in Pennsylvania.

In 1870, Robert Gibson formed a partnership, Weir & Gibson, attorneys, with H.W. Weir of Bidwell and Sheffield Streets in Manchester. The firm was located at 100 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. Robert Gibson and his family lived at 148 Grant Street until 1875, when the Gibsons moved to their newly built home at 81 Beech Street.

The 1880 manuscript census enumerated the Gibson family and their servants at 81 Beech Street. Five of Robert and Eliza Gibson’s children lived at home in 1880: Sallie, 20, Lena, 18, Amanda, 15, Robert Jr., 14 and Barnett L., 12.
Four servants lived with the Wilson family at 81 Beech Street in 1880. Amanda Holmes, 47, was an African-American woman who had been born in Virginia to parents born in Virginia. Amanda Holmes was reported to be married, but not living with her husband. Her sons Silas, 15, and Burnett, 11, both born in Texas, were also servants of the Gibson family. Sarah Thompson, 40, was a white woman who had been born in Pennsylvania to parents born in Pennsylvania. Like Amanda Holmes, Sarah Thompson was married but not living with her husband.

The census also reported that Amanda and Burnett Holmes were not able to read or write, and that Silas and Burnett Holmes did not attend school.

Robert M. Gibson died at home at 81 Beech Avenue at age 54 on November 26, 1882. His death was attributed to lung disease and overwork. Within a few months after Gibson’s death, Wilson Beall of Wellsburg, West Virginia,
instituted foreclosure proceedings against Gibson’s widow Eliza.

Eliza Gibson was listed as the widow of Robert Gibson and living at 81 Beech Avenue in the 1883 Pittsburgh city directory. She was not listed in subsequent directories, indicating that she and her children had left the Pittsburgh area.

842 Beech Avenue

842 Beech Avenue (Front Door)

Introduction

842 Beech Avenue is a large three-story brick Italianate style house occupying a 43’9-3/4″ wide by 100′ deep lot located in the Allegheny West section of Pittsburgh’s Northside.

842 Beech Avenue was built between late 1873 and 1874 for Robert M. Gibson, an attorney who had gained prominence despite never having attended college or law school. Robert M. Gibson lived with his family and servants at 842 Beech Avenue, then known as 81 Beech Street, between 1875 and 1882, when he died from lung disease and overwork. Shortly after Gibson’s death, his widow Eliza lost 842 Beech Avenue through foreclosure.

J. Bowman Sweitzer, an attorney and decorated Civil War veteran, bought 842 Beech Avenue in 1884. J. Bowman Sweitzer lived at 842 Beech Avenue for only four years before his death in 1888, but members of his family occupied 842 Beech Avenue until 1912 and owned the house until 1925.

The Sweitzer family maintained 842 Beech Avenue as rental property between 1913 and 1925.

Detailed information on the ownership history, age, and first owner of 842 Beech Avenue follows.

Ownership

  • December 27, 1872
  • September 1, 1873
  • December 19, 1883
  • February 19, 1884
  • March 27, 1925
  • June 6, 1947
  • June 6, 1947
  • December 27, 1963
  • July 23, 1973
  • February 1, 1991
  • October 28, 1992

Elizabeth F. Denny of the city of Pittsburgh to Robert M. Gibson of Allegheny City, $5,000. This deed conveyed a 40′ wide lot in the Second Ward of Allegheny City (now in the 22nd Ward of the city of Pittsburgh) The property was located on the northern side of Beech Street (now Beech Avenue), 180′ east of Grant Avenue (now Galveston Avenue), and extended 100′ to Buttercup Alley (now Buttercup Way). The property was known as Lots 10 and 11 in Block 3 of a plan of lots laid out by Elizabeth F. Denny and recorded in Plan Book Volume 6, Pages 193 and 194.

(Deed Book Volume 299, Page 357)

Elizabeth F. Denny of the city of Pittsburgh to Robert M. Gibson of Allegheny City, $667.18. This deed conveyed a 3’9-3/4″ wide lot on the northern side of Beech Street, bordering and immediately to the east of the 40′ wide lot that Robert M. Gibson had purchased on December 27, 1872. The property was known as part of Lot 12 in Block 3 of the plan of lots laid out by Elizabeth F. Denny. With this purchase, the lot on which 842 Beech Avenue stands took on its present dimensions.

(DBV 315 P 539)

Allegheny County Sheriff William McCallin to Wilson Beall, $6,500. The property was sold at sheriff’s sale as the result of a suit filed by Wilson Beall against Robert M. Gibson, resulting from an unpaid debt of $14,268.76. The deed stated that the lot contained “a brick dwelling house, 26′ front on Beech Street and 84′ deep, the front to the extent of 38′ being three stories high and the back being two stories high with an attic.”

(DBV 483 P 18)

Wilson and Mary J. Beall of Wellsburg, West Virginia to J. Bowman Sweitzer of the city of Pittsburgh, $15,500.

(DBV 487 P 143)

Anna B. and Peter S. Duncan of Hollidaysburg, Blair County, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth S. Park, widow, of Westbury, New York and Samuel S. and Mary Sweitzer Pierce of East Williston, Long Island, New York, to William G. Fullerton of the city of Pittsburgh, $13,000. J. Bowman Sweitzer had died and in his will left 842 Beech Avenue to his wife, Mary Holmes Sweitzer, who died on May 15, 1912. In her will, dated September 21, 1911, Mary Holmes Sweitzer left one-quarter interest in the house to her daughter Anna B. Duncan, one-quarter interest to her daughter Elizabeth S. Park, one-quarter-interest to her son J. Bowman Sweitzer, and one-quarter interest to the Union Trust Company of Pittsburgh, in trust for her son O’Hara Denny Sweitzer. Mary Holmes Sweitzer’s son J. Bowman Sweitzer died intestate, unmarried and without issue, in New York City on or about July 14, 1915, vesting his one-quarter interest in Mary Holmes Sweitzer’s other heirs. O’Hara Denny Sweitzer died intestate in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on or about July 13, 1916, survived only by his daughter Mary Stevenson Sweitzer, now of full age and the wife of Samuel S. Pierce.

(DBV 2231 P 510) (Will Book Volume 34, Page 180) (WBV 116 P 128)

William G. and Stella S. Fullerton of the city of Pittsburgh to Alberta Shipe of Whitaker, Allegheny County, $1.

(DBV 2967 P 91)

Alberta Shipe of Whitaker, Allegheny County, to William G. and Stella S. Fullerton of the city of Pittsburgh, $1.

(DBV 2967 P 92)

Stella S. Fullerton, widow, of the city of Pittsburgh to Henry R. Byers of the city of Pittsburgh, $22,000. William G. Fullerton had died on November 17, 1955.

(DBV 4112 P 184)

F.E. Rose and the Virginia Trust Company, co-executors of the estate of Henry R. Byers, deceased, to Thomas Lapinski, unmarried, of the city of Pittsburgh, $16,000. Henry R. Byers had died on October 25, 1972.

(DBV 5262 P 693)

Rita O’Brien, administratrix of the estate of Thomas Lapinski, late of the city of Pittsburgh, to Michael R. Bozzone, $37,900. Thomas Lapinski had died on February 20, 1990.

(DBV 8418 P 6)

Michael R. Bozzone, unmarried, by his attorney-in-fact Frederich E. Liechti, to Stanton H. and Kathryn G. McKibbin, $53,000.

(DBV 8839 P 47)

Age of the House

All available information indicates that 842 Beech Avenue was built between 1873 and 1874.

The December 27, 1872 sale of a 40′ wide by 100′ deep lot on Beech Avenue for $5000, at $1.25 per square foot, was comparable to other sales of undeveloped property in Allegheny West and nearby and indicates that the lot did not contain a house. An 1872 plat map of the Beech Avenue area also shows that the lot was undeveloped.
Allegheny County mortgage records show that on November 3, 1873 (Mortgage Book Volume 170, Page 240), Robert M. Gibson borrowed $11,365 from Wilson Beall of Wellsburg, West Virginia against the lot on which 842 Beech Avenue now stands. This loan, which was to be repaid in three years, indicates that 842 Beech Avenue was about to be built.

Robert M. Gibson was listed in the Pittsburgh city directory as living at 81 Beech Street (now 842 Beech Avenue) beginning in 1875.

Residents

The Gibsons

Pittsburgh city directories, U.S. census records and biographical materials provide information on Robert M. Gibson and his family.

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The Sweitzers

The Sweitzer family lived at 101 Fourth Avenue until 1884, when J. Bowman Sweitzer bought 81 Beech Avenue.

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In January 1884, Wilson Beall advertised 81 Beech Avenue in the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette:

FOR SALE – THAT FINE RESIDENCE,
lot 44×100 feet, No 81 Beach street, near
the Parks, Allegheny, the property formerly of
the late R.M. Gibson, deceased. An excellent
residence, substantially built, modern in all its
parts; will be sold at public sale on Thursday,
January 17, at 2 o’clock P.M., on the premises.
Terms and full information from JAS. W.
DRAPE & CO., Auctioneers and Real Estate Agents,
98 Fourth Avenue, Pittsburgh, or GEO. ALEXANDER &
CO., 134 Federal street, Allegheny.

Occupants in 1920

The 1900 manuscript census shows that 842 Beech Avenue had been divided into two apartments. One apartment was rented to Anna M. Price, a widow who took in boarders, and the other to John E. Fairfield, assistant manager of a coke company.

Anna M. Price, 43, was a native of Germany who had immigrated to the United States in 1886. She was not a naturalized citizen. The census gave her occupation as lodging house keeper. Three of her sons lived with her: Harold C., 18, who had no occupation, Meyer C., 16, an advertising clerk, and Edward, 12, attending school.

The Price family shared their quarters at 842 Beech Avenue with three single boarders at the time of the 1920 census. Harry Wentz, 38, was a salesman who had been born in Pennsylvania to parents born in Pennsylvania. Arthur Rutgers, 31, was a street car conductor who had been born in Pennsylvania to parents born in Ohio. James McGivern, 42, was an accountant who had been born in Pennsylvania to Irish immigrant parents.
John E. Fairfield, 48, had been born in Illinois to parents born in Massachusetts and New Jersey. His wife
Seana C., 47, was a native of New York. Her parents had been born in Connecticut and New Jersey.

One child lived with John E. and Seana C. Fairfield at the time of the 1920 census: John E. Jr., 14, who did not attend school. John E. Fairfield Jr. had been born in Ohio.

Neighborhood Development

842 Beech Avenue was built a few years after Beech Avenue and nearby streets began to develop as a genteel alternative to sections of Allegheny City like the east and south commons and the Anderson Street area, which were crowded and contained mixed residential, commercial and industrial uses by 1870. Most of the original residents of the houses of the type that line Beech Avenue were merchants or owners of small manufacturing firms who previously lived in older sections of Allegheny City. Many had moved to Allegheny City from Downtown Pittsburgh around the time of the Civil War.

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Supplementary Materials

The following materials accompany this report:


A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson

all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted

The Teufels

Harry Peter Teufel was born in Allegheny City on July 21, 1875. He was one of at least two children of Frank Teufel, a beer salesman born in Berlin, Germany and Gertrude Teufel, from Alsace-Loraine. The Teufel family lived on East Ohio Street near Cedar Avenue, in Deutschtown, during at least part of Harry’s childhood.

In 1896, at 21, Teufel married Margaret I. Mittendorf, 26. Mittendorf was born in Ohio in about 1870. During at least part of her childhood, she and her parents and siblings lived on a farm in Ohio township, Monroe County, along the Ohio River in the southeastern part of the state. Her parents were Benjamin Mittendorf, a German immigrant, and Susan Mittendorf, born in Ohio to immigrants from Wurtemburg and Switzerland.

Harry and Margaret Teufel appear to have had no children. After marrying, the couple lived near the present site of Allegheny General Hospital, and then in an apartment at 409 East Ohio Street in Deutschtown. Harry Teufel began working as a clerk for the Pittsburgh Gage & Supply Company, which made railroad, mill and mining supplies. The company’s offices were at 309 Water Street (Fort Pitt Boulevard), Downtown.

The Teufels lived in Beaver Falls, Beaver County, between about 1903 and 1906, while Harry Teufel ran the Windsor Hotel at 10th Avenue and 11th Street there. Returning to Pittsburgh, Teufel managed a hotel at 1317 Reedsdale Street on the Northside, at or near the present site of the north end of the West End Bridge. Census records from 1910 show that he and Margaret Teufel lived in the building with a nephew, a servant and a cook. Harry Teufel ran the Larkins Hotel at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Grant Street, Downtown, between approximately 1912 and 1915. He was also the proprietor of Ward’s Hotel in Tyrone, Blair County, at some point.

Teufel returned to the Pittsburgh Gage & Supply Company in about 1915, working as a clerk. He and Margaret Teufel rented an apartment in the Kinder Building at Western Avenue and Galveston Street. Harry Teufel became a salesman with the company in 1917 or 1918, around the time that he purchased an older dwelling at 840 North Lincoln Avenue and commissioned its remodeling with Spanish Eclectic and Mission influences.

The Teufels’ purchase and remodeling of 840 North Lincoln Avenue represented a considerable investment within a short time, and suggests that the couple did well financially in the second half of the 1920s. It is possible that Harry Teufel was able to save a significant amount of money while running hotels between about 1903 and 1915. It is also possible that Teufel enjoyed an increase in income as a result of the surge in industrial activity that was part of preparation for World War I, and a result of the war itself.

The 1920 census recorded Harry P. Teufel, 44, and Margaret Teufel, 49, at 840 North Lincoln Avenue. The couple shared their home with a lodger, Margaret Thomas, 21. The Teufels sold the house about four months later, in May 1920.

The Teufels lived in the Kinder Building again between 1921 and 1924. They lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey, between 1925 and 1927, and moved in about 1928 to a house that they purchased or had built at 3861 Perrysville Avenue in the Observatory Hill area. Harry P. Teufel appears to have left the Pittsburgh Gage & Supply Company, and did not work again. The couple moved in about 1931 to an apartment at 12 East North Avenue.

Harry Teufel died on June 4, 1933, at 58. Pittsburgh newspapers reported that he died “suddenly,” but did not state the cause of his death.

Margaret Teufel lived in apartments and rented rooms in the Central North Side for several years after she was widowed. She appears to have died or left Pittsburgh in about 1941.

The Grahams

Robert and Martha Farrell Graham were born in Ireland, Robert in 1802 and Martha in 1799.

They were married and living in Pennsylvania by 1837, when their son William F. was born. Martha Jane “Mattie” Graham, their other child who is known today, was born in Pennsylvania in 1839. Although a 1919 obituary of Martha Jane Graham stated that she “was born in Lincoln avenue, old Allegheny,” North Lincoln Avenue was created in 1858, and known records do not document the family’s residence prior to 1850.

Pittsburgh city directories published before 1850 did not list Robert Graham, and the family was not enumerated in Allegheny County in the 1840 population census. The 1850 Pittsburgh directory contains the earliest known documentation of the family’s presence in the Pittsburgh area. The directory listed Robert Graham as manager of a rope walk (rope factory) and living in an un-numbered house on Western Avenue (then Water Lane) in the neighborhood now called Allegheny West.

After the rope walk closed, Pittsburgh directories listed Robert Graham as a salesman, superintendent, watchman, and laborer. His workplaces during that time are not known. Martha Graham bought an undeveloped lot on the former rope walk site in 1861, and she and Robert Graham had 840 North Lincoln Avenue built on the lot by 1863. The Grahams had a larger house built at 842 North Lincoln Avenue later in the 1860s and rented that house to tenants.

Martha Jane Graham became a public school teacher at age 18, in the late 1850s. After teaching in Allegheny City for a year, according to her obituary, she began a long career at the Grant School on Grant Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. She was a teacher until about 1879, when she became one of Pittsburgh’s first female principals. She held that position at the Grant School until she retired in 1912. As a female principal, Graham earned several hundred dollars per year, less than her male counterparts but more than female schoolteachers.

The 1870 census was the first census taken following the construction of 840 North Lincoln Avenue. Robert Graham was enumerated as a watchman at a car station and Martha Graham did not work outside the house. Martha Jane was recorded as having no occupation, although Pittsburgh directories document that she taught school. The census reported that Robert Graham owned real estate valued at $22,000, consistent with the size, location and brick construction of 840 and 842 North Lincoln Avenue, and had a personal estate of $10,000. Graham’s total assets of $32,000 were comparable to $1 million or more in the early 21st century.

Martha Graham died in 1879, at 80. At the time of the 1880 census, Robert Graham, 78 and retired, lived at 840 North Lincoln Avenue with Martha Jane Graham, 41, and his widowed sister Rebecca Toner, 60. A servant, Norah Mooney, also lived in the house. Mooney, 22, had immigrated from Ireland. Robert Graham died in 1883.

The Social Mirror, an 1888 book about prominent Pittsburgh women, reported that “Mattie Graham, the principal of the Grant School, is one of the phenomenally successful women. She is forcible and determined, yet full of a genial warmheartedness that wins her pupils’ love. Miss Graham is intellectual, well versed in ancient and modern literature- in short, keeps up with the times, a bright, smart, capable woman.”

Possibly to help make ends meet, in about 1887 Graham began to share her home at 840 North Lincoln Avenue with Jennie Ralston, an unmarried public school teacher, and William Ralston, who had no occupation. Jennie Ralston became principal of the Pittsburgh Normal School, a training school for teachers, in about 1890. William Ralston appears to have died or moved from the house in about 1895.

Martha J. Graham sold 840 North Lincoln Avenue in 1896, for $13,000. She and Jennie Ralston moved to Oakland, and over the next 23 years rented a series of apartments together in that neighborhood. Graham died on July 22, 1919, at 79, at St. Francis Hospital in Lawrenceville.