Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Houses of History Municipality's Oldest Buildings Serve as Lessons from the Past

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Houses of History Municipality's Oldest Buildings Serve as Lessons from the Past

Article excerpt

When Louis Chandler was researching local history for a book about Patton Township - the precursor to what today is Monroeville - he was able to talk with people who remembered when one of the community's oldest structures was still a family home.

The McGinley House on McGinley Road was built around 1830 by a stonemason and farmer named John McClintock and later acquired by the McGinley family. The last folks to live there were Betty Miller; her sister, Mary Lenhart; and their three brothers, David, Julius and Harry Solomon.

The McGinley House was occupied as a private residence by Mrs. Miller until 1975.

Monroeville Historical Society member Donna Ciarcinski recalled visits that she and her mother Anne made to see Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Lenhart. The aroma in the house always seemed to be of freshly baked pies, she told Mr. Chandler. "Mrs. Miller was generous and friendly, and she always offered family and friends something to eat," he said. "It was that kind of a home."

When the property was acquired by Westinghouse Electric in the late 1960s, the company agreed to transfer the building to Monroeville, but only after Mrs. Miller was ready to move out.

Mr. Chandler, a retired professor who taught at the University of Pittsburgh and lives in Monroeville, enjoys telling visitors stories about two of the oldest buildings in Monroeville and about the families who lived in them.

He and other volunteers from the community's historical society shared some of those tales and offered free tours of the historic structures this month. The last of the seasonal tours will be held Sunday.

The society, which meets monthly at the Monroeville Library, has about 40 members and about 15 active volunteers, Mr. Chandler estimated. He serves as treasurer and archivist.

In addition to overseeing and operating several historic structures in the community, the society has supported the publication of several local histories written by Mr. Chandler. He described those books as an effort to anticipate questions about life in Monroeville that people might be asking a century from now.

When the McGinley house was built, what is now Monroeville was part of a much larger municipality called Plum Township. …

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