Theodore H. Nevin was born in October 1814 in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Nevin’s father died while Nevin was a child, and Nevin and his mother moved to Allegheny City (now the North Side). Theodore H. Nevin was listed in the Pittsburgh city directory as early as 1841, as a druggist living at Mrs. Little’s boarding house on Fifth Avenue, Downtown. Nevin, according to information published in an obituary, by then owned a successful drugstore on Liberty Avenue near Sixth Street.
Nevin married Hannah Irwin, a daughter of Allegheny City rope manufacturer John Irwin, in the early 1840s. They had seven children who are known today: William, born in 1842-43, Eliza in 1844-45, Charles F. in 1847-48, Alexander in 1850-51, T. Herbert in 1855-56, Martha M. in 1862-63, and Frank Y. in 1866-67.
In 1841, Nevin established the Pioneer White Lead Works (later the Pioneer Paint Works), a paint factory, on Federal Street in Allegheny City. By 1847, Nevin, his wife Hannah, and their children lived on Federal Street. Samuel Finley, who later invested with Theodore H. Nevin in property at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues, was a partner in the Pioneer White Lead Works.
In the 1840s, Theodore H. Nevin became a trustee of the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny City. In or after the 1840s, he helped found the First National Bank of Allegheny. He became president of the bank in the 1860s. The bank was located at 110 Federal Street in Allegheny City.
Nevin and his family moved from Allegheny City to Sewickley in the mid-1850s. In 1858, after the Irwin rope walk ceased operation, the Pioneer Paint Works moved to its longtime home at the southeast corner of Western and Galveston avenues. The paint works apparently thrived at that location. Allegheny City and Pittsburgh experienced significant economic and population growth in the 1860s and the first few years of the 1870s, resulting in considerable demand for paint and related products. It is possible that Nevin and others originally purchased the adjacent property at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues as a site for possible expansion of the Pioneer Paint Works.
In 1872, with demand for housing for middle-class and wealthy families in Allegheny West apparently stronger than any impetus to expand the paint works, Theodore H. Nevin and his business partner and brother-in-law John Irwin Jr. commissioned the construction of 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue. John Irwin Jr. conveyed his interest in the property to Theodore H. Nevin in 1874. Nevin had a smaller row of houses at 808-810-812 Galveston Avenue built around that time. He rented 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue, which became known as Nevin’s Row, and 808-812 Galveston Avenue to tenants.
The 1870 census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, found that Theodore H. Nevin owned real estate worth $25,000 and had a personal estate of $53,000. Nevin’s total assets of $78,000 were comparable to more than $2 million in the early 21st century. Records of the 1880 census show that the Nevin family lived in an un-numbered house on the south side of Bank Street in Sewickley. Theodore H. Nevin had passed on his interest in the Pioneer Paint Works to his son Charles the year before, but remained president of the First National Bank of Allegheny. He served as president of the bank until he died on April 30, 1884. Hannah Nevin lived in Sewickley until she died in 1899.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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
812 Galveston Avenue is a three story Italianate style red brick house occupying a 19.01′ wide by 96.18′ to 96.19′ deep lot located in the Allegheny West section of the city of Pittsburgh.
Theodore H. Nevin, a bank president and paint manufacturer, had the row of houses that includes 812 Galveston Avenue built between 1881 and 1884. Nevin, who lived in Sewickley, built the row of houses as rental property. Early occupants of 812 Galveston Avenue included the family of John Blue, a boiler setter.
812 Galveston Avenue was originally known as 112 Grant Avenue.
Detailed information on the ownership history, age, first owner, and early occupants of 812 Galveston Avenue follows.
- November 26, 1861
- August 28, 1863
- July 7, 1874
- December 17, 1919
- February 2, 1920
- January 31, 1952
- December 15, 1969
- July 27, 1982
- June 29, 1984
- October 16, 1989
John and Abigail Irwin of the city of Allegheny to Theodore H. Nevin, Robert P. Nevin, and Samuel M. Finley, all of Allegheny County, $1700. This deed conveyed a lot of ground bounded by Tremont Street (later Grant Avenue, now Galveston Avenue), an unnamed 20′ wide alley (later Manilla Street, now Maolis Way), and Central Street (later Lincoln Avenue and Lynndale Avenue, now North Lincoln Avenue). The lot measured 140 ‘9.575″ along Grant Street, 96’5.125″ along the alley, 140’9.575″ along the eastern lot line, and 96’5.125″ along Central Street. The property conveyed consisted of Lots 43, 44, 45, and 46 in John Irwin’s Plan of the Rope Walk, later recorded in Plan Book Volume 2, Page 173.
(Deed Book Volume 165, Page 521)
Samuel M. and Sallie A. Finley of Allegheny County to John Irwin Jr., $967. This deed conveyed the grantors’ one third interest in Lots 43, 44, 45, and 46 in John Irwin’s Plan, and in other property on Western Avenue.
(DBV 166, P 300)
Martha Mary and John Irwin Jr. of Leet Township to Theodore H. Nevin of Sewickley, $15,000. This deed conveyed one third interest in Lots 43, 44, 45, and 46.
(DBV 330, P 318)
Elizabeth A. Nevin, widow, of Sewickley, to James J. Cunningham of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other valuable considerations. This deed and subsequent deeds conveyed a 19.01′ wide by 96.18′ to 96.19′ deep lot on the corner of Galveston Avenue and Manilla Way. The lot was known as part of Lots 43, 44, 45, and 46 in John Irwin’s Plan, and contained a three story brick dwelling known as 812 Galveston Avenue, with a brick stable in the rear. Theodore H. Nevin had died and in his last will and testament, dated October 19, 1882, and recorded in Will Book Volume 27, Page 325, left the property to his son Charles Finley Nevin. Charles Finley Nevin died and in his last will and testament, dated August 6, 1896, recorded in Will Book Volume 72, Page 148, left the house to his wife Elizabeth A. Nevin.
(DBV 2023, P 3)
James J. and Mary Cunningham of the city of Pittsburgh to Michael and Katherina Preininger of the city of Pittsburgh, $5850.
(DBV 2010, P 373)
Michael and Katherina Preininger of the city of Pittsburgh to Anthony and Rose Murlis of the city of Pittsburgh, $1 and other good and valuable considerations.
(DBV 3177, P 74)
Anthony and Rose Murlis of the city of Pittsburgh to George and Dorothy Liss of the city of Pittsburgh, $2000. This deed gave the grantees’ residence as 5721 Elgin Street.
(DBV 4517, P 336)
George and Dorothy Liss of the city of Pittsburgh to George Liss of the city of Pittsburgh, in consideration of natural love and affection.
(DBV 6562, P 507)
George Liss, unmarried, to Tulum, Inc., a corporation, $43,000. This deed conveyed 812 Galveston Avenue and 810 Galveston Avenue.
(DBV 6903, P 128)
Tulum, Inc., to Michael J. White, M.D., $85,000. This deed conveyed 812 Galveston Avenue only.
(DBV 8120, P 377)
Age of the House
All available information indicates that Theodore H. Nevin had the row of houses that includes 812 Galveston Avenue built between 1881 and 1884.
An 1872 plat map of part of Allegheny shows that the lot on which 808-812 Galveston Avenue and 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue were later built contained a long and narrow building at the corner of Galveston and North Lincoln Avenues and four small structures, apparently stables, on Maolis Way. The stables may have been used by Theodore H. Nevin’s paint factory.
An 1881 plat map shows a brick and frame building at the corner of Galveston Avenue and Maolis Way. The 1881 map also shows that 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue had been built.
An 1884 plat map shows that 808-812 Galveston Avenue had been built.
Allegheny County mortgage records contain no record of any mortgage taken by Theodore H. Nevin for construction of 808-812 Galveston Avenue.
The July 7, 1874 sale for $15,000 of one-third interest in the 13,577 square foot lot that contained 808-812 Galveston Avenue and 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue, at $3.31 per square foot, indicates that 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue had been built.
Through the Years
Owner & Residents
U.S. census records, Pittsburgh city directories, and biographical materials provide information on Theodore H. Nevin, the builder of the row of homes that includes 812 Galveston Avenue.
An 1890 plat map of Allegheny shows that 812 Galveston Avenue was known as 112 Grant Avenue.
The 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on occupants of 812 Galveston Avenue in that year, was destroyed in a fire following its completion.
The 1900 manuscript census shows that 812 Galveston Avenue was rented to a family headed by John Blue, a boiler setter.
John Blue and his wife Lizzie, both 55, had been born in Pennsylvania to parents also born in Pennsylvania. In 1900, John and Lizzie Blue had been married 25 years and had had five children, with all of their children living at the time of the census.
The Blue family’s children were Clara, 24, Stella, 22, John J., 19, Harry, 16, and Eva, 14. John and Harry Blue worked as boiler setters, and Eva Blue attended school. All of the children had been born in Pennsylvania.
The 1900 manuscript census also reported that all residents of 812 Galveston Avenue were able to read and write and that no working members of the Blue family had been unemployed during the previous year.
The 1910 manuscript census contains no record of residents of 812, 810 or 808 Galveston Avenue in that year.
The 1920 manuscript census will be available for public review in 1992 and should provide information on residents of
812 Galveston Avenue in that year. Census records are sealed for 72 years to ensure confidentiality.
The following materials accompany this report:
- a copy of an 1852 plat map of part of Allegheny, including Tremont Street
- a copy of an 1872 plat map of part of Allegheny, including Grant Avenue
- a copy of a 1910 plat map of part of the North Side, including Galveston Avenue
- the obituary of Theodore H. Nevin, from the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, May 1, 1884
- biographical information on Hannah I. Nevin, from The Social Mirror
- the obituary of Hannah I. Nevin, from the Bulletin-Index, September 23, 1899
A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson
all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted