Main Stair Railing

Main Stair Railing
Simple elegant railing at the main stair

Friday, April 8, 2011

My first post

RESTORATION 101 - A great house from 1830. This house was built in 1830 on a 100 acre tract of land, a ribbon farm that extended from the Allegheny River in a straight line up over some rolling hills in what is now the neighborhood of Lawrenceville, my favorite neighborhood in Pittsburgh.

The upper portion of the property is now part of Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh's grandest historic cemetery. The house was built by Doctor Peter Mowry, a prominent doctor at the time who moved from a house in what is now downtown Pittsburgh out to the country. At the time in 1830, the Allegheny River Valley east of Pittsburgh was a verdant landscape. The main industry in Lawrenceville was the Allegheny Arsenal whose main buildings were designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. The Mowry farm was approximately half a mile east of the Arsenal. Also at that time, Stephen Foster was living in the neighborhood in his family's homestead.

Miscellaneous Photos of existing conditions of house on Carnegie Street

Dentil mold at rake of roof
Symmetrical window arrangements
on each side .

Cast iron acorn gate post, probably installed by
the Carnegie partners
Iron fence and gate at front of property

Front of house with previously remodeled porch and
entrance to Pittsburgh Electric Club
Plaster detail in center hall
at first floor
East side of house showing sandstone
foundation and belt course

Main parlour on first floor showing beam that was
added by the Slovenians when they
turned two rooms into one

Stair rail at landing, and looking down
into first floor center hall

Dumbwaiter that goes from first floor
down to the bar in the Electric Club

Underside of porch overhang showing the Parthenon detailing

Front of porch beam and roof soffit and facia,
showing the Classic Greek Doric detail.
Brick columns replaced original wood columns

Original cast iron rimlock hardware at second floor doors.
See the finished restored rimlock boxes below.

Beautiful plaster detail at corners of first floor center hall ceiling. WOW.

Stair stringer detail

Continuous curved railing at stair landing,
simple turned spindles, pre-Victorian

Typical casing at tops of all first floor doors,
also showing paneled door jambs

Classic symmetry looking through door at
second floor center hall to large window
at center of the front facade of the house

Spectacular and elegant window mullion profiles
project out to narrow bead. Window
construction are mortise and tenon.

Stair to third floor with original newel post

Slovenian safe in parlour on first floor

At the landing from below

First floor Center Hall from front corner

Beautiful simple curve at stair rail

Moldings and plaster detail at
first floor Center Hall

Typical first floor 4-panel door and frame

One of five (all the same) of the chandeliers on the first floor
First floor Center Hall from front center, right inside the front door


  1. Ah, it is this house! I am so glad it is being restored! I used to walk by it all the time and wonder about it- it is a fascinating and beautiful building with clearly a great deal of potential- and hard work. Can't wait to watch it unfold.

  2. If you walk by it, and I'm there working, please stop in. It really is a great old building. You are right - hard work ahead. Thanks!!

  3. I just want to say that you own my dream house! It's so much fun to read about (and see) the discoveries you have made. I have a little row-house in McKees Rocks I am trying to fix up, and I hope to move up to a house like this one day! It's fascinating to think about how old the house is -- truly a historic piece of Pittsburgh. Have you seen "The Valley of Decision" -- that is the film that started my fascination with 19th century Pittsburgh. Anyway, good luck!