info@alleghenywest.org
806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

852 N Lincoln Avenue

852 N Lincoln Avenue

Introduction

Theodore H. Nevin and his brother-in-law, John Irwin Jr., had the row of houses at 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue built between 1872 and 1873. The houses were built on property that Nevin and other Allegheny City businessmen had purchased in 1861, for $1700. The houses show the Second Empire style in their mansard roofs, arched window openings, and projecting front door surrounds and window hoods. The Second Empire style was popular in the Pittsburgh area between about 1870 and 1885.

John Irwin Jr. conveyed his one-third interest in the row of houses to Theodore H. Nevin in 1874. Nevin and another family member owned 852 North Lincoln Avenue until 1921, renting the property to tenants. Nevin lived in Sewickley, and was a partner in the Pioneer Paint Works at the corner of Western and Galveston avenues in Allegheny West. He was also president of the First National Bank of Allegheny and was a trustee of the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny City.

The first occupants of 852 North Lincoln Avenue who are known today were Thomas B. and W.S. Updike, who rented the house in 1873. Thomas B. Updike was a cashier, and W.S. Updike was a clerk. The next occupants, a family headed by Rev. Reese F. and Mary Alsop, lived there between about 1874 and 1880. Rev. Alsop was the rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Ninth Street, Downtown. At the time of the 1880 census, the Alsops employed two servants who lived in their home.

Other early occupants of the house included Benjamin B. Warfield, a Western Theological Seminary professor, Rev. John Fox of the North Presbyterian Church at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues, and their families. John M. Davidson, the manager of the William B. Scaife & Sons foundry, his brother-in-law, David F.H. McDowell, the owner of a machinery company, and other members of the Davidson family lived there between about 1897 and 1906. Albert F. and E. Essie Steigleder began renting 852 North Lincoln Avenue by 1910, and became the first owner-occupants of the house in 1921.

The house at 852 North Lincoln Avenue has now had a total of eight owners. Detailed information on the history of the house is contained in the following report.

Ownership

  • November 26, 1861
  • August 28, 1863
  • July 1, 1870
  • July 7, 1874
  • October 19, 1882
  • March 18, 1921
  • April 21, 1931
  • August 2, 1945
  • October 7, 1965
  • August 15, 1977
  • January 10, 1980
  • September 30, 2016

John and Abigail Irwin of Allegheny City (now the Northside) conveyed property in the First Ward of Allegheny City to Theodore H. Nevin, Robert P. Nevin and Samuel M. Finley, all of Allegheny County, for $1,700. The property was bounded by the northern side of Central Street (later Lincoln Avenue and Lynndale Avenue, now North Lincoln Avenue), the eastern side of Tremont Street (later Grant Avenue, now Galveston Avenue), the southern side of an unnamed 20’ wide alley (later Manilla Street, now Maolis Way) and a private lot line. The property measured 96’5.125” along Central Street and the unnamed alley and 140’9.575” along Tremont Street and the eastern lot line. The property was known as Lots 43, 44, 45 and 46 in John Irwin’s Plan of the Rope Walk, later recorded in Plan Book Volume 2, Page 173.

(Deed Book Volume 165, Page 521)

Samuel M. and Sallie A. Finley of Allegheny County conveyed their one-third interest in Lots 43, 44, 45 and 46 and other property on Western Avenue to John Irwin Jr. for $967.

(DBV 166 P 300)

Robert P. and Elizabeth D. Nevin of Sewickley conveyed their one-third interest in Lots 43, 44, 45 and 46 and other property on Western Avenue to Theodore H. Nevin of Sewickleyville (sic) for $20,000.

(DBV 290 P 268)

Martha Mary and John Irwin Jr. of Leet Township conveyed their one-third interest in Lots 43, 44, 45, and 46 to Theodore H. Nevin of Sewickley for $15,000. With this deed, Theodore H. Nevin held full title to the property.

(DBV 330 P 318)

Theodore H. Nevin died while owning 852 North Lincoln Avenue. In his will, dated October 19, 1882, he left the house to Mary Nevin (Allegheny County Will Book Volume 27, Page 325).

Mary Nevin Booth of Sewickley conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to Albert F. Steigleder of Pittsburgh for $6500. The house occupied the lot on which it now stands, described as being located on the north side of North Lincoln Avenue, 57.5’ east of Galveston Avenue, and measuring 19.09’ wide along North Lincoln Avenue, 80.5’ along the east and west lot lines, and 19.19’ along the north (rear) lot line.

(DBV 2052 P 432)

Title to 852 North Lincoln Avenue was placed in the names of Albert F. and E. Essie Steigleder.

E. Essie Steigleder died on November 6, 1938.

(DBV 2436 P 2608)

Albert F. Steigleder of Pittsburgh conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to Walter D. and Annabelle Shelton of Pittsburgh for $4500.

(DBV 2849 P 610)

Walter D. and Annabelle Shelton of Punto Gorda, Florida, conveyed 852 and 854 North Lincoln Avenue to Carl E. and Nancy P. Floyd of Pittsburgh for $22,500.

Carl E. Floyd died on December 30, 1974.

(DBV 4299 P 117)

Nancy R. Floyd of Pittsburgh conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to Gerald W. and Michele F. McNerney of Pittsburgh for $15,000.

(DBV 5820 P 979)

Gerald W. and Michele F. McNerney conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to John P. Wojtyna for $27,500.

(DBV 6212 P 311)

John P. Wojtyna conveyed 852 North Lincoln Avenue to 852 N. Lincoln LLC.

Age of the House

Construction

Local historical records indicate that Theodore H. Nevin and John Irwin Jr. had the row of party wall houses at 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue built between 1872 and 1873.

Theodore H. Nevin, Robert P. Nevin, and Samuel M. Finley purchased property that included the site of the five houses on November 26, 1861. Following transactions in 1863 and 1870, title to the site of the houses was held by Theodore H. Nevin (two thirds interest) and John Irwin Jr. (one third interest). The first plat map of the area, published in 1872, shows that the row of houses had not been built.
The 1873 Pittsburgh city directory listed residents of four of the five houses in the row. The directory listed Thomas B. Updike and W.S. Updike at 852 North Lincoln Avenue (then 55 Lincoln Avenue).

The next plat map of the area, published in 1882, depicts the five houses.

Architectural Style

Theodore H. Nevin and John Irwin Jr. had 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue built in the Second Empire style.

Second Empire buildings were characterized by mansard roofs, by prominent door and window hoods or lintels, arched window openings, and sometimes by central towers. The Second Empire style was used in the construction of thousands of houses built for occupancy by middle-class and wealthy families in Pittsburgh neighborhoods between approximately 1870 and 1885. The style shares some features with the contemporaneous Italianate style, particularly when used in rowhouse settings, but is distinguished from the Italianate style by its use of a mansard roof.

Interior details of Second Empire and Italianate houses and commercial buildings usually included flared newel posts and spindles, marble or wood mantels with arched openings, four-panel doors with porcelain knobs and ornamented cast-iron hinges, and non-symmetrical door and window trim with diagonally mitered corners.
In Pittsburgh, many Second Empire and Italianate houses were built with stairways that incorporated landings located about three steps below the main level of the second floor. Most Second Empire houses and commercial buildings that were constructed before about 1880 featured two-over-two double-hung windows, although larger and more ornate examples were built with one-over-one windows. Houses built in the style after around 1880 were usually built with one-over-one windows.

Known records do not identify an architect who is credited with the design of 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue.

Street Name and Numbering

The house at 852 North Lincoln Avenue was originally known as 55 Lincoln Avenue. The house was re-numbered 852 in 1899, when Allegheny City government put in place the Northside’s modern street numbering system. Lincoln Avenue became Lynndale Avenue in about 1909, when Pittsburgh city government changed a number of street names to avoid duplication that resulted from Pittsburgh’s 1907 annexation of Allegheny City (now the North Side). The street was renamed North Lincoln Avenue in about 1913.

Through the Years

(Archives Service Center/University of Pittsburgh)

The First Owner

The Nevins

Pittsburgh city directories, U.S. census records, and biographical materials provide information on Theodore H. Nevin and his wife, Hannah Irwin Nevin. Thomas H. Nevin built the row of houses that include 852 N Lincoln Avenue with his brother-in-law in 1872.

Learn More

Residents

1873-1906

Thomas B. Updike and W.S. Updike were listed at 852 North Lincoln Avenue (then 55 Lincoln Avenue) in the 1873 Pittsburgh directory, and were apparently the house’s first occupants. The directory listed Thomas B. Updike as a cashier, and W.S. Updike as a clerk.

Members of the Alsop family lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue between 1874 and 1880. Rev. Reese F. Alsop was the rector of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Ninth Street near the Allegheny River in Downtown Pittsburgh. Edward B. Alsop, probably his brother, was a clerk. He worked for Bissell & Company, a manufacturer of stoves, grates, and mantels, during at least part of the time that he lived in the house. Edward B. Alsop moved from 852 North Lincoln Avenue to Centre Avenue in the East End in the late 1870s.

The 1880 census was the first census taken following the construction of 852 North Lincoln Avenue. Census records list Reese F. Alsop, 30, as a preacher and the head of the household. He had been born in Indiana, like his parents. His wife, Mary, also 30, kept house. She had been born in Pennsylvania, like her parents. Maria Alsop, 70, Reese’s widowed mother, also lived in the house.

The Alsops employed two servants who lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue in 1880. They were Margaret Dawson, 43, and Kate McElvay, 25. Both were Irish immigrants and unmarried.
Pittsburgh directories listed Benjamin B. Warfield at 852 North Lincoln Avenue in 1882 and 1883. Warfield was a professor at the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny City. Occupants of the house between 1884 and 1886 are not known.

Rev. John Fox, the pastor of the North Presbyterian Church at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues, lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue between 1887 and 1891. Records of the 1890 census, which would provide information on Fox and any other occupants of the house in that year, were destroyed in a warehouse fire in Washington D.C. in the 1920s.
Residents of the house in 1894 and 1895 were Benjamin G. Boggs, a clearing house clerk at 309 Market Street, Downtown, William J. Boggs, a drug clerk, and Thomas A. Allen of the Forest County Lumber Company, which had offices at 28 Seventh Avenue, Downtown.

Members of the Davidson family rented 852 North Lincoln Avenue between 1897 and 1906. John M. Davidson managed the William B. Scaife & Sons foundry at 221 First Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. His son, William L. Davidson, was a clerk. A brother-in-law, David F.H. McDowell, owned McDowell & Company, a machinery company with offices at 347 Fifth Avenue, Downtown, and also lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue.

John M. Davidson was recorded in the 1900 census as a 51-year-old filter manufacturer and as the head of the household at 852 North Lincoln Avenue. His wife, Elizabeth A., 45, had no occupation. Both had been born in Pennsylvania, like their parents. The Davidsons had been married for 28 years and had two children, both of whom were still living at home. They were Joan, 22, and William L., 21. David F.H. McDowell, 41, was enumerated as an iron merchant. He was unmarried.

David F.H. McDowell lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue until 1903-04, when he moved to Bidwell Street in Manchester. The Davidson family lived in the house until 1906-07.

The 1910 Census

Albert F. and E. Essie Steigleder rented 852 North Lincoln Avenue at the time of the 1910 census, 11 years before they purchased the house from a member of the Nevin family.

Albert F. Steigleder, 46, was the treasurer of a brewery. He had been born in Pennsylvania to German immigrant parents. E. Essie Steigleder, 48, had been born in Pennsylvania, like her parents. The couple had been married for three years, and had no children. Alwild Moore, 45, a sister of E. Essie, lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue, as did Roy E. Moore, 15, who was one of her five children. Alwild Moore was a private nurse.
The Steigleders also shared their home with three lodgers in 1910. They were:

  • Emma Snyder, 28, a public stenographer; she was unmarried and had been born in Pennsylvania, to parents born in Pennsylvania and Germany
  • Anne Elliott, 25, a nurse working in a hospital; she had been born in Pennsylvania to Irish immigrant parents
  • John McFarland, 72, a printer and widower; he had been born in Pennsylvania, like his parents.

The 1920 Census

Records of the 1920 census do not list any residents of 852 North Lincoln Avenue. The house was apparently either temporarily vacant or was skipped by the census taker.

The 1930 Census

Albert F. and E. Essie Steigleder owned and lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue at the time of the 1930 census.

Albert F. Steigleder, 66, was the treasurer of a food products company. E. Essie Steigleder, 60, had no occupation. A seven-year-old named Robert Steigleder lived at 852 North Lincoln Avenue and was listed as a son of Albert and Essie.

The Steigleders supplemented Albert’s income by sharing their home with two lodgers, both unmarried.
Fanny Myers, 45, worked as an assistant buyer in a department store. She had been born in Pennsylvania, like her parents. Freda Kline, 36, was a typist with a typewriter company. She had been born in New York State, to parents born in New York State and Pennsylvania.

In 1930, 852 North Lincoln Avenue had an estimated value of $8000.

The 1940 Census

In 1940, Margaret Roseman and Guy and Betty Lizito rented apartments at 852 North Lincoln Avenue.

Margaret Roseman, 66, rented for $30 per month. She was a widow with no occupation, and received income other than from salary or wages. She was a Pennsylvania native and had completed two years of high school. She shared her apartment with her son, Neal, 23, who worked as a timekeeper for a railroad. Neal had been born in Illinois, was unmarried, and had completed three years of high school. In 1939, he had worked 44 weeks and earned $960.
Guy and Betty Lizito rented for $33 per month. Guy, 34, was a self-employed barber. He had been born in Italy and had completed three years of high school. The census did not record his 1939 income. Betty, 32, had been born in Pennsylvania and had a fift h grade education. She did not work outside the home. The couple had one child, Anthony, who was 13 years old.

The 1940 census is the last census that provides information on occupants of 852 North Lincoln Avenue. Manuscript census records are withheld from public view for 72 years, to protect the privacy of persons who were enumerated.

Supplementary Materials

The following materials accompany this report:

  • copies of maps from 1872, 1882 and 1906 of the area around 852 North Lincoln Avenue
  • copies of parts of fire insurance maps of the area around 852 N Lincoln Avenue, published in 1884, 1893 and 1906
  • real estate plat maps from 1882, 1901, 1907 and 1925 showing the area around 852 North Lincoln Avenue
  • the obituary of Theodore H. Nevin, from the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, May 1, 1884

A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson

all photos by Chris Siewers, unless otherwise noted

The Hoffstots

Gideon Norton Hoffstot was born in York County, Pennsylvania, on February 13, 1812. His parents, John and Mary Norton Hoffstot, had immigrated from Germany and England, respectively. His wife, Mary Cannon Hoffstot, was born in October 1822 in Ohio, to parents born in Pennsylvania.

The Hoffstots were married on October 25, 1838. They lived in Ohio in the 1840s and early 1850s, and settled in Allegheny City by I 856, renting a house at the corner of Lacock and Morgan Streets. In 1856, Gideon N. Hoffstot was a partner in Wilkinson & Hoffstot, leather goods dealers, located at 217 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh. His partner was William Wilkinson of Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh.

Gideon Hoffstot and his family moved to the corner of lsabella and Anderson Streets in Allegheny City in the late l850s. At about the same time, Hoffstot terminated his partnership in Wilkinson & Hoffstot and opened a leather goods store on Liberty Avenue near Ninth Street.

Records of the 1860 census show that Gideon and Mary Hoffstot had three children: Ada, 20, DeWitt, 18, who was employed as a clerk, and John, seven. The 1860 census reported that Gideon Hoffstot owned no real estate and had a personal estate of $5000, comparable to around $400,000 in the early 21st century.

The last Hoffstot child, Frank Norton, was born in 1861. The Hoffstot family moved to Ninth Street in Pittsburgh in about 1866. They remained there until Gideon and Mary Hoffstot had 841 North Lincoln Avenue built in 1879-80.

In 1859, Gideon N. Hoffstot was among the founders of the Second National Bank of Pittsburgh, with which he remained associated for the rest of his life. He supported the bank’s founding as a stockholder, and subsequently joined the board of directors. He became vice president of the bank in around 1890. Hoffstot’s ability to build wealth for himself and his family and his prominence in the Pittsburgh business community were probably as much a result of his roles with the bank as his leather goods business.

It is also possible, if not likely, that Hoffstot was among the many Pittsburgh businessmen who profited from government contracts to sell goods to be used in the Civil War effort.
Gideon N. and Mary Hoffstot were 68 and 57 years old when they had 841 North Lincoln Avenue built in 1879-1880. The house was intended as a mansion, although it was not among the largest in its wealthy neighborhood.

Records of the 1880 census shows that the Hoffstot family and two servants lived at 841 North Lincoln Avenue. Gideon N. Hoffstot was a leather merchant, and Mary Hoffstot had no occupation. Two of the Hoffstot children lived in the house: Ada, 32, with no occupation, and Frank, 19, attending school. The family employed two servants who lived with them: Ida Nichols, 18, who had been born in Pennsylvania to English immigrant parents, and Albert Lawson, 20, a carriage driver born in Virginia.

In about 1885, Gideon N. Hoffstot became chairman of the Union Foundry and Machine Company. The company had offices on Fort Pitt Boulevard, Downtown, and its shops were in the Woods Run area of Allegheny City. Hoffstot continued in that position until he died on August 2l, 1894.

Records of the 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on residents of 841 North Lincoln Avenue in that year, were destroyed in a warehouse fire in Washington, D.C. in the 1920s.

The 1900 manuscript census reported that Mary and Ada Hoffstot and two servants lived at 841 Lincoln Avenue. The Hoffstots’ servants were Minnie Bluemke, 18, who had immigrated from Germany in 1884, and William Dickson, 27, an African-American man who had been born in Pennsylvania. Dickson was a coachman and lived in the Hoffstot carriage house.

Mary Hoffstot died at home at 841 Lincoln Avenue on September 26, 1900. Ada Hoffstot lived at 841 Lincoln Avenue until she sold the house in 1903.

841 N Lincoln Avenue

841 N Lincoln Avenue

Introduction

Gideon N. and Mary Hoffstot had 841 North Lincoln Avenue built between March 1879 and early 1880. The house was constructed on property that Gideon N. Hoffstot had purchased for $11,500 in 1879. The Hoffstots had the house built in the Second Empire style, which is shown in its mansard roof, the façade’s projecting central section, segmentally arched window openings with ornate stone lintels, front door surround, and brackets below the box gutter. The Second Empire style was popular in the Pittsburgh area between about 1870 and 1885. The house took the place of a smaller, earlier dwelling that had stood on the site for a number of years.

Gideon N. Hoffstot was a Pittsburgh merchant, industrialist, and bank officer during the second half of the l9th century. He was born in York County, Pennsylvania, in 1812, and came to Pittsburgh with Mary Cannon Hoffstot in the 1850s. Hoffstot was a leather merchant on Liberty Avenue, Downtown, and later was chairman of the Union Foundry and Machine Company in the Woods Run area. He was also associated with the Second National Bank of Pittsburgh for 35 years, as a founder, stockholder, director, and vice-president. Through his various roles in Pittsburgh commerce, Hoffstot was one of the better-known local capitalists of his time. Gideon Hoffstot died in l894, and Mary Hoffstot died in l900. One of their children, Ada Hoffstot, sold 841 North Lincoln Avenue in 1903.

Members of the locally prominent Watson family owned and lived at 841 North Lincoln Avenue in the early 20th century. The family, however, began renting the house to tenants while they owned it. By l9l0, the house contained ten apartments that were home to 20 residents. The former Hoffstot house at 841 North Lincoln Avenue has now had a total of ten owners.

Detailed information on the history of the house is contained in the following report.

Ownership

  • March 17, 1790
  • November 2, 1813
  • March 9, 1816
  • June 24, 1858
  • January 25, 1865
  • March 31, 1865
  • April 20, 1878
  • March 21, 1879
  • August 21, 1894
  • March 24, 1903
  • March 10, 1925
  • June 15, 1948
  • September 2, 1975
  • December 4, 1976
  • October 27, 1987
  • November 15, 1991
  • May 15, 2015

Charles Wilkins, merchant, of the town of Pittsburgh, conveyed property that included the site of 841 North Lincoln Avenue to John Irwin, esquire, of the town of Pittsburgh, for £30. This deed conveyed Out Lot 276 in the Reserve Tract opposite Pittsburgh and Lot 69 in the town of Allegheny. Out Lot 276 was a l0-acre tract of land situated on the western side of land laid out for a common, and bounded by what are now Brighton Road and Ridge, Galveston, and Western avenues. Lot 69 was a 60′ wide by 24O’ deep lot at the corner of Ohio and Sandusky streets.

John lrwin died intestate while owning Out Lot 276. He was survived by his widow Mary and four children, Margaret, John, William and Elizabeth.

(Deed Book Volume 2, Page 97)

Wlliam F. Irwin of the borough of Pittsburgh, a son and heir of John Irwin, rope maker, conveyed propety that included the site of 841 North Lincoln Avenue to John Irwin of the borough of Pittsburgh, another son and heir of John Irwin, for $1,772. This deed conveyed Out Lots 276, 263 and 268 in the Reserve Tract, containing l0 acres each, and property on Liberty Street in the borough of Pittsburgh.

(DBV 19 P 127)

John and Hannah Irwin of Allegheny town conveyed Out Lot 276 to Elizabeth Irwin and Margaret Irwin of Allegheny town. This deed was an amicable partition of the estate of John Irwin.

(DBV 22 P 189)

ohn and Abigail lrwin of Allegheny City conveyed property that included the site of 841 North Lincoln Avenue to John Frazier of Manchester borough for $1600. This deed conveyed a 48’wide by 285’7″ deep lot extending from Central Street (later Lincoln Avenue and Lynndale Avenue, now North Lincoln Avenue) to Ridge Avenue in the first ward of Allegheny City, and located 415′ west of Irwin Avenue (now Brighton Road). The property was known as lot 65 in John Irwin’s Plan of the Rope Walk.

(DBV 155 P 64)

John and Eleanor Frazier of Allegheny City conveyed property that included the site of 841 North Lincoln Avenue to William Stevenson of Allegheny County for $15,000. This deed conveyed a44’wideby 285’6.75″ deep lot that
consisted of all but the eastem 4′ of Lot 65 in John Irwin’s Plan of the Rope Walk.

(DBV 181 P 366)

William and Nancy Stevenson of Allegheny City conveyed the lot described in the January 25, 1865 deed to Joseph C. Tilton of Allegheny City for $15,000.

(DBV 183 P 142)

Allegheny County Sheriff R.H. Fife conveyed property that contained the site of 841 North Lincoln Avenue to the estate of William Stevenson, for $4500. This deed conveyed a 44′ wide by 143′ deep lot on Lincoln Avenue that was part of Lot 65 in John lrwin’s Plan of the Rope Walk. The property consisted of the lot on which 841 North Lincoln Avenue now stands, with an additional 10′ depth along the rear of the property that later became part of Chapel Way. The deed stated that the lot contained a two-story brick dwelling house with back buildings and other outbuildings.

(Sheriff’s Deed Book Volume 4, Page 171)

Nancy Stevenson, Martha L. Stevenson, Robert J. Stevenson, John E. and Kate Stevenson, Emma W. Stevenson, and Charles B. and Helen M. Grant, all of Philadelphia, conveyed property that contained the site of 841 North Lincoln Avenue to Gideon N. Hoffstot for $l1500. This deed conveyed the lot described in the April 20, 1878 deed.

(DBV 2849 P 610)

Gideon N. Hoffstot died while owning 841 North Lincoln Avenue. In his will (Allegheny County Will Book Volume 46, Page 543), he left the house to his daughter, Ada Hoffstot.

Ada Hoffstot of Allegheny City conveyed 841 North Lincoln Avenue to Mark W. Watson of Allegheny City for $18,000. The house occupied the lot described in the April 20, 1878 deed.

(DBV 1265 P 117)

Martha Watson Sewell, Harriet B.W. and Henry Chalfant, all of Pittsburgh, Harriet Watson Sproul Bolton and Doria St. Clair Bolton, her husband, of London, England, and Julia Watson Horne, unmarried, of Santa Barbara, California, conveyed 841 and 835 North Lincoln Avenue to William J. and Pearl A. Schaffer of Pittsburgh for $34,500. The houses occupied a lot measuring 122′ wide by 140′ deep.

(DBV 2237 P 631)

William J. and Pearl A. Schaffer of Derry, Westmoreland County, conveyed 841 North Lincoln Avenue to Margaret Wade of Pittsburgh for $11,500. The house occupied a 44’wide by 140′ deep lot.

(DBV 3003 P 426)

The estate of Margaret Wade conveyed 841 North Lincoln Avenue to Daniels Realty Company for $21,500.

(DBV 5535 P 149)

Daniels Realty Company conveyed 841 North Lincoln Avenue to Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation for $29,000.

(DBV 5725 P 423)

The Landmarks Real Estate Corporation conveyed 841 North Lincoln Avenue to Maryanne Barnes of Allegheny County for $100,000. This deed included restrictions on exterior alterations to 841 North Lincoln Avenue that had been
placed on the house by Pittsburgh History and landmarks Foundation for a period of 99 years.

(DBV 7667 P 152)

Maryanne Barnes conveyed 841 North Lincoln Avenue to Louis John DePellegrini for $136,500.

(DBV 8605 P 286)

Oakglade Realty II LP purchased 841 North Lincoln Avenue from Louis John DePellegrini.

(DBV 15983 P 15)

Age of the House

Construction

Gideon N. and Mary Hoffstot had 841 North Lincoln Avenue built between March 1879 and early 1880, after demolishing a smaller house on the site.

An 1872 plat map of the Lincoln Avenue area shows that the lot on which 841 North Lincoln Avenue stands, then owned by Joseph C. Tilton, contained a house that occupied part of the western half of the lot. The map shows that the house was narrow and deep. When Nancy Stevenson, administrator of the estate of William Stevenson, purchased the property at sheriff’s sale on April 20, 1878, the deed stated that the property contained a two-story brick house and other buildings. An 1882 plat map of the area shows that the house now known as 841 North Lincoln Avenue had been built.

Gideon N. Hoffstot’s March 21, 1879 purchase of the lot on which 841 North Lincoln Avenue stands for $11,500 indicates that 841 North Lincoln Avenue had not yet been built.

Allegheny County records show that between about 1870 and l880, Allegheny West houses occupying single lots measuring 25′ to 30′ wide and 100′ to 140′ deep were worth $11,000 to $13,000. County records also show that undeveloped lots in Allegheny West during this time typically sold for 80 cents or more per square foot. A large house such as 841 North Lincoln Avenue, occupying a double lot, would have been worth significantly more than the $11,500 that Gideon N. Hoffstot paid for the property.

Pittsburgh city directories and U.S. census records indicate that Gideon N. Hoffstot and his family began living at 841 Lincoln Avenue by early 1880, suggesting that the present house was completed by that time. Exterior architectural features of 841 North Lincoln Avenue are also consistent with a construction date of 1879 to 1880.

Linking 841 and 835 North Lincoln Avenue

Mark W. Watson purchased 841 North Lincoln Avenue from Ada Hoffstot on March 24, 1903. Watson already owned 835 North Lincoln Avenue, where his family had lived for a number of years.

Allegheny City building permit dockets, available beginning in l894, show that on September 2, 1903, Watson received a permit for the construction of a wood frame section that linked 841 and 835 North Lincoln Avenue.

The structure was to be two stories in height and measure 12′ wide by 12′ deep. It’s estimated construction cost was $600.

A 1906 fire insurance map and a 1907 plat map confirm that the structure had been built.

Architectural Style

Gideon and Mary Hoffstot had 841 North Lincoln Avenue built in the Second Empire style.

Second Empire buildings were characterized by mansard roofs, and sometimes by prominent door and window hoods or lintels, arched window openings, and central towers. The Second Empire style was used in the construction of thousands of houses built for occupancy by middle-class and wealthy families in Pittsburgh neighborhoods between approximately 1870 and 1885. The style shares some features with the contemporaneous Italianate style, particularly when used in rowhouse settings, but is distinguished from the ltalianate style by its use of a mansard roof.

Interior details of Second Empire and ltalianate houses and commercial buildings usually included flared newel posts and spindles, marble or wood mantels with arched openings, four-panel doors with porcelain knobs and ornamented cast-iron hinges, and non-symmetrical door and window trim with diagonally mitered corners.

In Pittsburgh, many Second Empire and Italianate houses were built with stairways that incorporated landings located about three steps below the main level of the second floor. Most Second Empire houses and commercial buildings that were constructed before about I 880 featured two-over-two double-hung windows, although larger and more ornate examples were built with one-over-one windows. Houses built in the style after around 1880 were usually built with one-over-one windows.

Known records do not identify an architect who is credited with the design of 841 North Lincoln Avenue.

Street Name and Numbering

The house at 841 North Lincoln Avenue was originally known as 66 Lincoln Avenue. The house was re-numbered 841 Lincoln Avenue when the Northside’s modern street numbering system was put in place in 1899. Lincoln Avenue became Lynndale Avenue in about 1909, when Pinsburgh city government changed a number of street names to eliminate duplication that resulted from Pittsburgh’s 1907 annexation of Allegheny City. The street was renamed North Lincoln Avenue in about 1913.

The First Owner

The Hoffstots

Pittsburgh directories, U.S. census records, and other sources provide information on Gideon N. and Mary Hoffstot.

Learn More

Residents

The 1910 Census

The l9l0 census did not record any residents of 841 North Lincoln Avenue. The house was apparently either temporarily vacant or was missed by the census taker.

The 1920 Census

In 1920, according to census records, B.E.V. and Jessie Luty rented 841 North Lincoln Avenue. B.E.V. Luty, 47, was a trade newspaper correspondent. He had been born in Pennsylvania, to parents born in Switzerland and France.
Jessie, also 47, had been born in Ohio to parents born in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The couple had three children living at home: Eugenia, 25, a high school teacher, Donald, 20, and Bronson, 14.

The 1930 Census

In 1930, Carl and Elizabeth Stratford rented 841 North Lincoln Avenue for $150 per month, and shared the house with nine lodgers. Carl Stratford, 36, worked as a bus driver. Elizabeth, 37, had no occupation. They had been married for six years, and had no children. Both were at least second-generation Pennsylvania natives.

Lodgers who lived at 841 North Lincoln Avenue in 1930 were:

  • Frank J. Miller, 39, a bus driver, his wife Myrtle M., 36, and their children Mary M., ten,
    and Frank J. Jr., four. All members of the family were born in Pennsylvania.

  • Henry Cameron, 22, an unmarried magazine salesman from Kentucky.
  • Rollin Edwards, 2l, an unmarried magazine salesman who was from Pennsylvania and at
    Ieast partly of Welsh descent.
  • John Clutter, 28, a brush factory laborer, his wife Marie, 20, and their daughter Marie, four
    All members of the Clutter family were Pennsylvania natives.

The 1940 Census

The 1940 census recorded 20 residents of 841 North Lincoln Avenue, in ten apartments in the house. That census was the first to gather information on education and income.

Hettie Ponter, 47, rented the first apartment that was enumerated for $30 per month. She was an apartment house keeper, and a widow with an eighth grade education. The census did not state her income. She had a son, William, who was 20 years old and a college student.

Bernard and Evelyn Moran rented their apanment for $24 per month. Bernard, 36, was a railroad brakeman. He had not worked or had any income in 1939. He had been born in Pennsylvania, and lived in Connellsville, Fayette County, in 1935. Evelyn, 23, had no occupation. She had been born in West Virginia, and in 1935 was a “Gypsy” in that state. Bernard had completed two years of college, and Evelyn had a high school diploma. The couple had one child, Paul R., who was four months old.

Albert Abaffy, 50, lived alone in an apartment that he rented for $20 per month. He was a freight truck driver who had been born in Hungary. He was a high school graduate. In 1939, he had worked 50 weeks and earned $1750.

Geraldine Becki, 31, rented for $24 per month. She was a Pennsylvania native with an eighth grade education, and her marital status was not stated. She had two children: Marjorie, 13, and Albert J., 11.

George Adams, 67, was a widower who rented for $22 per month. He was employed as a collector with a jewelry store. In 1939, he had worked 12 weeks and earned $800. He was a Pennsylvania native with a second grade education.

Sarah A. Bader, 31, was a sales clerk in a butcher shop, and rented for $24 per month. She was unmarried and had completed one year of high school . In 1939, she had worked 52 weeks and earned $1200. She was born in Pennsylvania.

Perry and Gertrude Anderson rented their apartment for $28 per month. Perry, 54, worked as an auditor for an accounting firm. In 1939, he had worked 52 weeks and earned $2400. He and Gertrude, 55, were native Pennsylvanians who had completed the eighth grade.

Elizabeth Campbell, 57, was a widow whose rent was $24. She worked as a matron in a theater, and had eamed $672 for 52 weeks of work in 1939. She had been born in Pennsylvania and had an eighth grade education.

George and Evelyn Stephens’s rent was $28 per month. George, 36, was a truck driver who had earned $ $1440 for 52 weeks work in 1939. He and Evelyn,25, were born native Pennsylvanians with eighth grade educations. They had three children: Beatrice, six, George, four, and Richard, two.

William Noble, 49, rented his small apartment for $4 per month. He was a retail bakery salesman with a fifth grade education. He had been unemployed during 1939. He had been born in Pennsylvania, and lived in Columbus, Ohio in 1935. He was married, but living apart from his wife.

The l940 census is the last census that provides information on occupants of 841 North Lincoln Avenue. Manuscript census records are withheld from public view for 72 years, to protect the privacy of persons who were enumerated.

Neighborhood Development

842 Beech Avenue was built a few years after Beech Avenue and nearby streets began to develop as a genteel alternative to sections of Allegheny City like the east and south commons and the Anderson Street area, which were crowded and contained mixed residential, commercial and industrial uses by 1870. Most of the original residents of the houses of the type that line Beech Avenue were merchants or owners of small manufacturing firms who previously lived in older sections of Allegheny City. Many had moved to Allegheny City from Downtown Pittsburgh around the time of the Civil War.

Learn More

Supplementary Materials

The following materials accompany this report:

  • copies of plat maps of the area around 841 North Lincoln Avenue, published in 1872, 1882, 19011907 and 1925
  • a copy of an 1884 fire insurance map of the area around 841 North Lincoln Avenue
  • “ln Memory of G. N. Hoffstot,” from the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette , August 24, 1894
  • The obituary of Mary Hoffstot, from the Pittsburgh Post, September 27, 1900

A Researched History
By: Carol J. Peterson