OHI hosts annual house tour this Sunday


House tour season starts this weekend, and Observatory Hill Inc. is kicking off June with its tour this Sunday.

Tickets are available for the June 2 tour can be reserved by calling 412.736.2489 or e-mailing OHIhousetour@comcast.net

Read more from OHI below…

PITTSBURGH, PA—Observatory Hill, Inc. (OHI) is proud to announce the 2013 House Tour, “The Park In Our Backyard,” the sponsored by First Niagara Bank, with support from Molly’s Trolleys, on Sunday, June 2 from 1:00 – 5:00 PM.  Tickets are $12.00 in advance if purchased by Wednesday, May 29th; $15.00 afterwards. For more information, please call Observatory Hill, Inc. at 412.736.2489 or e-mail OHIhousetour@comcast.net.

“The Park In Our Backyard” is centered around three historic buildings in Riverview Park in Observatory Hill, a neighborhood on the city’s North side.  Founded in 1894, Riverview Park is one of four beautiful city parks maintained by Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.  On the tour will be the recently restored Merry Go Round Chapel Shelter which will display photos and a slideshow presentation about the development of the area and Riverview Park; a newly refurbished volunteer center; and the building of the Allegheny Observatory, home to the 13’ Fitz-Clark refractor.

Among the historic homes on the tour will be 16 Richey Avenue where George J. Hollar and his family lived during the First World War.  He was a successful building contractor for the City of Pittsburgh who served on the governing council of the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny.  The family demonstrated its self-made fortune with an extraordinary 6.5 by 4.5 foot stained glass

window on the landing. Depicting a storybook castle on a lake at sunset, the Arts-and-Crafts style window was created for the house by the Rudy Brothers Glass Studio of Highland Park, celebrated for such local art glass masterpieces as the windows in the Sarah Heinz House, Peabody High School, and the J. Horace Rudy house. Lost for several years, the home has been restored with the original window by Millvale stained glass artist, John Kelley.

Cherry Ionic columns separate the foyer from the living room (originally the music room), which features hand stenciled gold fleur-de-lis, leaded glass windows, and a stained glass window created in the late 1990s by previous owner Earl Robinson.

A buzzer on the floor under the dining room table was used to summon live-in help from the kitchen or downstairs, while the kitchen back door bell would be sounded by tradesmen delivering goods. The modern kitchen boasts Mexican hand painted and terra cotta floor tiles, introduced by Mr. Robinson.

This well preserved residence has many turn-of-the-century charms, such as nine foot tall ceilings, transoms for cooling the house, pocket doors, window seats, push-button light switches, a coal chute, cherry woodwork, oak flooring, two first-floor chandeliers, and fireplace mantelpieces, all original to the house.

Other highlights on the tour include Astrid Kersten’s 1904 home on 57 Riverview Avenue, a home that reflects world culture and her many travels.  Ms. Kersten’s garden was featured in the 2011 Pittsburgh Botanical Gardens Tour.  For more information on all of our house tour participants, please visit our website at www.observatoryhill.net.


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