The Alexanders

Madelaine F. Laughlin Alexander and her husband, Rev. Maitland Alexander, lived at 838 North Lincoln Avenue between 1907 and 1910. Madelaine F. Laughlin Alexander was a daughter of Mary Franklin Jones Laughlin, first child of B.F. and Mary McMasters Jones, and Alex Laughlin Jr. Maitland Alexander was the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh between 1899 and 1929.

The 1910 census enumerated the Alexander family at 838 North Lincoln Avenue. Maitland and Madelaine Alexander had been married for four years and had one child, Maitland Jr., who was 23 months old. The couple employed six servants who lived in the house:

  • Margaret Cleary, 31, a chambermaid, a widow who had been born in Pennsylvania to Irish immigrant parents
  • Anna Fitzpatric, 27, a nurse, she was a widow who had immigrated from England in 1895
  • Katharine McGonigle, 39, an unmarried cook who had immigrated from Ireland in 1899
  • Marguerite Steen, 21, a waitress, born in Pennsylvania and unmarried
  • Bridget Gagin, 38, a laundress who had immigrated from Ireland in 1898, unmarried
  • Hulda Richter, 29, a ladies’ maid who was unmarried and had immigrated from Germany in 1907

In about 1911, the Alexander family moved into one of the largest houses ever built on the Northside, a mansion at 920 Ridge Avenue. At around the same time, Madelaine Alexander’s sister, Mary McMasters Laughlin Robinson, her husband William C. Robinson, and their children moved into a mansion of similar size next door at 900 Ridge Avenue, at the corner of Galveston Avenue.

Mary Franklin Jones Laughlin had made the construction of the mansions possible in 1909, when she purchased the Pittsburgh and Allegheny Orphan Asylum at that site, demolished the building, and gave the property to her daughters. The Alexander and Robinson houses, alone with the adjacent William Penn Snyder house across Galveston Avenue, were the last mansions constructed in Allegheny West. The Alexander and Robinson mansions were demolished between 1938 and 1940.