There are many reasons why people come to love old houses. These include the decorative features and layouts unavailable in the modern age, the solidity with which they are built, and the grand room sizes. One of the most interesting advantages of an older home is that it has a history. The world was different when it was built, and has changed dramatically over the years as the house has aged. Many families and people have lived in the house, and their stories are part of the fabric of American history. To live in an old house is to be a part of a much larger and longer story. What we today call Allegheny West is blessed by having a great many grand, unique and interesting houses. As a neighborhood, it has had a leading role in the history of both Pittsburgh and the country. As people move here, or come to walk our streets and see the architecture, they are curious about the people and the stories which animate the history of these houses.
Many of us have had house histories done by Carole Peterson. With Carole’s gracious permission, Allegheny West has undertaken to collect copies of those histories and publish them to our website. This will help tell the story of our neighborhood. We are hoping to build out a really robust house histories and Before & After section of the Allegheny West website as materials arrive. We’re also exploring the possibility of putting together a walking tour that could include an interactive, mobile device-driven component, allowing visitors (and residents!) to dig deeper into the homes around them and their long, glamorous pasts and the hard work that went into – and goes into – keeping them beautiful.
To do this, we need your cooperation.
If you have a house history, please share it with us and allow us to add it to the neighborhood website. We are also looking for old photos of the neighborhood, and before and after pictures of the houses, to help flesh out the story. If you have those, please send them along as well! Digital or scanned copies can be emailed to Cathy Serventi and to Nick Smerker, both reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hard copies can be dropped off at the Allegheny West office (806 Western Avenue). You can drop them through the office door, addressed to the House History Project. Please make sure they’re in a protective envelope. After you drop them off, please email email@example.com so we know that there’s a history for us to pick up. Also, please provide a phone number for us to call to make arrangements to return the materials to you. By dropping off items for scanning, you’re giving us permission to post the photos or histories on the website. You can also drop materials off during the AWCC Membership meetings. Please don’t leave house histories at Calvary during other times. If you have other questions you can call (412) 323-8884.
Jim Wallace and Nick Smerker