|Historic House Tour 2011|
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The 2011 Historic House Tour emphasized the breadth of Westmoreland County's contribution to the state and nation's unfolding history. From colonial times through the present, our county's businesses and residents have been making an impact. The homes on the tour dated from 1820 to 1950 and included a sturdy stone house built to provide income to a family as a tavern to an architectural style reflecting the beginning of America's environmental awareness as a life-style choice.
We thank the homeowners who generously shared these special places:
- Congurity Tavern - New Alexandria
The Congruity Tavern was built circa 1820 by the Kirkpatrick family and stands along the historic Northern Turnpike, the original U.S. Route 22. The 2-1/2 story stone house with brick end chimneys was a tavern for many years, but we know that after 1881 it was certainly a house because newly weds Maggie Buchanan and Robert Stewart purchased it. Today, copies of several old letters to a younger Maggie Buchanan are preserved in a pocket flap of an old silk pillow at the house. As with any house that is over 150 years old, it has seen many changes including a disastrous fire in December 1975 which left only a broken shell. It was completely rebuilt by Canonsburg-based specialists Gump and Miller Restorations, Inc. Some original details surviving the fire include the front door, several mantels and other woodwork. A wood frame summer kitchen is a short distance east of the house, and on tour day, a demonstration of open hearth cooking and baking was much enjoyed by visitors.
- James Steel House - Delmont
This 2-1/2 story frame house in Queen Anne style on East Pittsburgh Street in Delmont was built circa 1910 by James Steel, one of many descendants of the James Steel who emigrated from Ireland and came to Westmoreland County in 1773. The family occupied the house until James' daughter, Rebecca J. (Jennie) Steel, sold the home in 1959. More recently, the home remained true to its Victorian genre during extensive and meticulous updating and decorating by the current owner.
- Miller-Cole House - Greensburg
The husband and wife team of Peter Berndston and Cornelia Brierly, followers of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed The Miller-Cole House in 1950. Proponents of the principles of organic architecture, they designed buildings throughout western Pennsylvania. The current owners were drawn to the simplicity of the design - a single story Usonian design, constructed around a central chimney. Built on a slab with radiant floor heating, the house has a flat roof with broad overhanging eaves to provide protection from the summer sun, but allow winter light to penetrate. Windows above the roofline bring abundant natural light to the space. A dramatic living room features a mitered glass corner window, fireplace, built-in furniture, and a high ceiling.
- Charles H. Fogg House - Greensburg
At the turn of the last century, the west side of North Maple Avenue in the Academy Hill District of Greensburg was prime real estate for prominent and wealthy families. In 1905, James Armstrong and his wife Jane built the large Colonial Revival brick home on property inherited from his mother, the widow of Col. James Armstrong, an attorney and veteran of both the Mexican and Civil wars. In 1921, Charles H. Fogg, a civil and mining engineer, purchased the house and moved to North Maple with his wife Rebecca Barclay. The spacious home, with an abundance of natural oak and cherry paneling and moulding, was home to the Fogg family of six children and several servants. After the death of their parents, Fogg daughters Hester, Lydia, and Rebecca continued ownership until 1984. The current owners have maintained the elegance of earlier days.
- John A. Robertshaw House - Greensburg
Built for John and Emma Robertshaw in 1931, this handsome Colonial Revival style house today stands as the focal point of the St. Emma Monastery complex. The house was designed by fashionable Greensburg architect Paul Bartholomew and features many high-end details of the period such as call buttons for servants, cedar-lined closets, multiple showerheads, a pine-paneled library, as well as separate servants' quarters. The house was sold to St. Emma Monastery in 1943, and this spring the sisters opened it as a Bed and Breakfast to offer a peaceful space for guests and realize extra income for the monastery. It has been tastefully decorated with contributed furnishings and accessories that lend it a country charm.
- Robert Taylor Plantation House
In a Historic House Tour first, visitors had the rare opportunity to see a work in progress as owners and their crew carefully restore the original fine details of this historic property located in North Huntingdon that they purchased in 2010. Robert Taylor constructed the home circa 1820 from bricks that were very likely made on the site and timber cut from the original 320-acre property. It is a one and a half story red brick house with many interior and exterior details indicative of Georgian style architecture. The opportunity to witness a historic home restoration process is heightened by the generous invitation from the owners for our Tour to revisit the site once it is completed. Some visitors may recall that a former owner named the property Pine Hill Manor.