806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

PHLF: Painting Wooden Windows

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Location: Landmarks Preservation Resource Center, 744 Rebecca Avenue
Date: Tuesday, November 19th
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Contact: or (412) 471-5808 ext. 527

Wooden WindowsJoin us for a demonstration workshop on how to prepare wooden windows for painting. We will particularly focus on where to paint, and what not to paint, on your wooden sash windows and frames, and also show how to do this with minimal masking and post-painting cleanup.

About the Presenter: Regis Will is a woodworker, craftsman, and owner of Vesta Home Services, a consulting firm on house restoration and Do-it-Yourself projects. He blogs about his work at The New Yinzer Workshop.

This lecture is FREE and open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated: or (412) 471-5808 x 527.

Letter from the President – November 2019

November and December traditionally are busy months in Allegheny West, and this year is no exception. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved and also to enjoy the holiday season with your friends and neighbors without leaving the neighborhood! 

Some noteworthy upcoming events:

Tuesday, November 12:
General Membership Meeting & Election of Officers

The AWCC November meeting is the Annual Meeting of the Council. Included on the agenda are elections for Officers and Committee Chairs, election of Nominating Committee members and a vote to determine dues for the following year.

It’s also a regular Civic Council meeting and in addition to elections there is a full agenda. The Friends Committee will update us on the neighborhood signage they chose (using Block Grant Funds). There will also be updates from the By-Laws Committee, the Christmas Tour organizers and Housing & Planning Committee.

Tuesday, November 19:
Housing and Planning Meeting

There are a few hot topics on the agenda for H&P, including WANID update, GrayBar noise issues, CCAC Workforce building, Aviary events space and Hipwell update. The committee meets at 7:30 pm at the Go Realty Office at 848 W North Avenue. All are welcome.

Thursday, November 28:
Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates. For those who struggle with this day, may it land gently. To everyone, be safe.

Saturday, November 30:
Small Business Saturday

We are very lucky to have a business district that is thriving and expanding. Small Business Saturday is another chance to support the businesses that make our neighborhood more livable. From food and drinks to books to haircuts to bikes to clean teeth to stretched muscles to soothed muscles and more, there is at least one business here to serve you. Let’s all make an effort to stop in and spend some money in one or more Allegheny West small business on the 30th and throughout the holiday season.

Friday, December 13 & Saturday, December 14:
Old Allegheny Victorian Christmas House Tour

The Christmas House Tour is the highlight of the Allegheny West tours.  It’s a beautiful event and our largest fundraiser of the year.

Everyone who has volunteered in the past knows how much effort is required to put on the house tour and is asked to volunteer again this year if at all possible. For newcomers or volunteer novices – there are volunteer opportunities large and small, and the tour committee with work with you to match your skills to the perfect role. Many neighbors, myself included, will say that volunteering for the Christmas Tour (and, more specifically, attending the volunteer party) really cemented our feeling of belonging to this community. A small commitment of time can pay dividends.

A quid pro quo of the good kind.

Ann Gilligan
President, AWCC

AWCC Membership Meeting – November 12, 2019

Calvary United Methodist Church, 971 Beech Avenue
Tuesday, November 12th at 7:30 pm

  • 7:30 – Guests
    • Officer Burford, Pittsburgh Police
    • Molly Onufer, Mayor’s Office
    • Councilwoman Harris’s Office
    • Senator Wheatley’s Office
    • Erin Tobin, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • 7:50 – October Membership Meeting Minutes
  • 7:55 – Treasurer’s Report
  • 8:00 – Ways and Means Update
    • Christmas Tour Update
  • 8:10 – Housing & Planning
    • WANID Update
    • CCAC Workforce Building
  • 8:25 – Friends of Allegheny West
    • Block Grant Update
  • 8:30 – By-Laws Committee
    • Proposed Boundary Change
  • 8:45 – Nominating Committee
  • 9:30 – New Business
  • 9:35 – Adjournment

Holidays With Harp!

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Principal Harpist Gretchen Van Hoesen joins the Renaissance City Winds on Saturday, November 30th at 8:00 pm as they return to Allegheny West for their annual performance in the ballroom at Holmes Hall on Brighton Road.

This year’s concert features Gretchen Van Hoesen and the Winds in a particularly beautiful musical program. The harp will be featured in French music of Ravel and Berlioz, an exotic Russian work, a delightful Christmas setting by the late Pittsburgh composer Roland Leich, and a pleasant selection of holiday favorites.

Included in the ticket price is a post-concert reception with the musicians and a tour of the private Toy Train Museum on the upper floors of Holmes Hall, the world’s largest collection of antique American toy trains, featured nationally last holiday season on NBC’s Today Show.

Founded in 1975 and based at Carlow University, the Renaissance City Winds have been performing annually at Holmes Hall in Allegheny West for over a decade. Their performances and recordings have garnered accolades and awards throughout the country.

Tickets: Adults $20, Seniors $15, Students $10

Advance reservations are strongly recommended, as seating is limited. Tickets for the November 30th concert can be purchased at

Old Allegheny Victorian Christmas House Tour

The 2019 Tour is quickly approaching! The tour dates are Friday December 13th and Saturday December 14th. The tour committee is thrilled to share that we currently have ALL houses for the tour! Thank you to all of the homeowners. The tour committee will be reaching out to you concerning expectations, as well as to answer questions. We are  available for anything you need, even a hand for decorating.

Beech Avenue will be closed to traffic during the tour. Parking will be open to Allegheny West residents in the lower Babb parking lot starting on Friday the 13th at 4:00 pm and continuing through the tour on Saturday. Please keep our tour guests safe and utilize this lot. For residents who park on N Lincoln, please consider parking in the Babb lot as well to clear the street during the tour.

New This Year: Carriage Rides

This year we will be offering horse-drawn carriage rides for an additional fee during the Saturday afternoon tours (weather permitting).

Volunteers Needed

Saturday, December 7th (Cathy and Gene’s Garage) starting at 9: 00 am, coffee and donuts provided. We need a few (actually several) good men to help hang – please consider lending your time and ladders.

We will need volunteers for the train tours. A link will be sent in upcoming email blasts or if you are interested, please contact Cecile Canales at

Tour guide* sign up shifts now available. Doug Sprague leading the effort again this year. A link will be sent in upcoming email blasts. If you’re interested, you can contact contact Doug directly at

* Please note, tour guides are required to do a tour route walkthrough. Check future email blasts for walkthrough schedule.

We will need tour announcers and guest greeters at Calvary during tour times. Brandon Williams will be leading the volunteer sign-up for this. Please check future email blasts for schedule opportunities or contact Brandon at

Thank you all for your participation and we’re looking forward to another successful tour!

A Special Thanks

Submitted by Trish Burton

Thanks are in order . . . 

. . .  to the loyal group of volunteers who last week helped to put 7,435 labels on the lovely Christmas Tour mailers. A special thanks to Amelia Beer, who helped with set up and clean up, in addition to labeling about 3,000 mailers herself! 

. . .  to another small group who helped to do the fall clean-up for the Parklet. Tony and Diane Caruso, Sally Graubarth, Carol Schramke and Emilio Diendomi pulled out the annuals, transplanted perennials and moved bricks.

. . . and Cindy and Rich Fraer from Washington County loaded up the 15 bags of yard debris to dispose of them!

Thanks to all! Your time and energy are much appreciated!

Love Your Block Neighborhood Grant Applications Now Open

Nonprofit organizations across Pittsburgh are invited to propose projects for up to $1,500 in funds and the support of key City Departments. Funding supports volunteer-fueled neighborhood improvement projects that combat blight and build resilience, block by block. Projects may include but are not limited to: Community garden maintenance, neighborhood clean ups or tree and flower plantings. Successful projects will build strong partnerships, leverage donations, and most importantly, engage neighbors! 

Apply at by January 31, 2020. For detailed project guidelines and ideas, visit

Call (412) 255-4773 or email with any questions.


In Memoriam

Submitted by Arlan Hess, City Books

I got word yesterday that one of my favorite and best customers unexpectedly died in her sleep Monday night. She lived a block from the store. I am shocked and heartbroken.

Josette was a vibrant 80 years young. She never walked by without stopping in to say hello. She was a spry woman with a cracking wit who craved information the way some people hunger for adrenaline.

Books were Josette’s rush. A way for her to rise above the madness of twenty-first century life and discover the minutiae of the past. She preferred nonfiction because she felt it helped her better understand people. She was an ardent feminist, though that might not be a label she was comfortable with. She told me she lost friends as a young woman because she told new brides to stand up to their husbands.

For the years I knew her, Josette almost exclusively read biographies of US first ladies. She didn’t read them in order, so I kept a chart in the store to keep track. Her latest purchase was a bio of Rose Kennedy. It is probably still on her bed stand.

She was just beginning to read the memoirs of the female Supreme Court Justices. I knew her reading pace and tastes so well, that sometimes I ordered books in anticipation of her visits. Though occasionally, she would change it up and order the diaries of John Wilkes Booth, or War and Peace. She read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time this summer. I loved her unpredictability.

In the coming days, I expect I will meet her son—the one who lives in Iowa who likes to read about wartime aviation—and I hope I can be a comfort to Andy, the son who lived with her, who enjoys reading personal accounts of the Civil War.

We all know what it’s like when we finish a book or when one of our favorite characters dies. That emptiness, that sadness. Yesterday was a rough day, so I was thankful for the rain and a hot cup of tea. Today begins a new chapter. When you crack open your book this evening, know that you are part of a larger story and, no matter the size of the role you play, you are seen and valued. Thanks for being part of mine.

RIP (Read in peace) Josette K, 1939-2019

PHLF: The Mathematics of Style and Taste

PHLF 2017 Banner

Location: Landmarks Preservation Resource Center, 744 Rebecca Avenue
Date: Thursday, November 14th
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Contact: or (412) 471-5808 ext. 527

The Mathematics of Style and Taste
There’s no accounting for taste, goes the old aphorism, and yet things go in and out of style with almost mathematical predictability. Likewise, style in architecture is a specific set of historic formal properties in which geometry and precision figure notably by their presence or absence. These days, new styles may be driven entirely by algorithms and their use. There could be too much math or not enough. This lecture addresses numerical precision across several related topics in historic and current architecture, perpetually discussing mathematics without doing too much of it.

About the Presenter: Charles Rosenblum is a journalist, critic and scholar writing about architecture, art and other aspects of visual culture. For the past 20 years, he has taught the history of architecture and art at universities in Western Pennsylvania. His writing has appeared in books and publications nationally and regionally, including several for PHLF. He has won journalism awards for architectural writing in the Pittsburgh City Paper and Pittsburgh Quarterly. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia with a dissertation on the architecture of Henry Hornbostel.

This lecture is FREE and open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated: or (412) 471-5808 x 527.