Buying Here: Mount Washington


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There are many old Victorians in Pittsburgh's neighborhoods, but only a very few have the rich history of the two-story, four-bedroom house at 651 Southern Ave., Mount Washington (MLS No. 964682).

After being in one family for more than 100 years, this classic is on the market for $150,000 through Maggie Jayson of RE/MAX Select Realty (412-999-9528 or www.maggiejayson.com).

Ms. Jayson says walking through the door is "like going back in time." Unlike many house of similar vintage, this one was never broken up into small apartments by investors.

"It's pretty much as is. [The family] kept it pretty immaculate."

She noted that townhomes have been built recently toward the top of Southern Avenue and that people are discovering bargains in the older homes near this one.

"I think Mount Washington is up and coming, turning the corner," Ms. Jayson said. "It's definitely attracting lots more folks."

In getting ready to sell the house, the current owner, Beverly Kerr, wrote a house history.

Built in 1900, it was home to a future mayor of Pittsburgh. William A. Magee, mayor in 1904-14 and 1922-26, resided there until 1904. He sold it to Joseph and Rose Sees, who then sold it to Ms. Kerr's grandparents, William and Mary Christina Stuebgen, in 1912.

Perched upon a 10,100-square-foot lot, the house has a wraparound porch offering great views of the fenced-in 8,700-square-foot side yard. A lot this size this close to Downtown is hard to find.

The architectural details of the house are set off by the cheerful yellow and green paint scheme that highlights everything from the tall columns on the porch to the corbels supporting the original slate roof. The landscaping is mature and dear to the family.

"A large yew along the walkway from Carfell Way [was] planted by Mary [Stuebgen] when the family moved onto property," she says in her house history, which notes that a mulberry tree by the front porch was planted about the same time.

The sunny living room measures 19 by 11 feet and has carpeting that came from Loew's Penn Theatre, which was built in 1927 and became Heinz Hall in 1971. Its decorative fireplace is plumbed for gas. Since the chimney was recently relined, it would not take much for the new owners to install a gas log system in both this room and the 13- by 13-foot dining room, where there is another decorative fireplace.

At the rear of the first floor is a large eat-in kitchen with high ceilings. The older oak cabinets are topped with a rather curious counter top.

"One of the folks that lived in the house was the custodian for St. Mary of the Point, Downtown. [And when] they took out the counter top from the vestry, he put it into the kitchen," explained Ms. Kerr.

The kitchen is equipped with relatively new appliances that include a refrigerator and a gas stove with oven.

"My great aunt put it in just a short time before she passed away and only used it to heat water for her coffee," said Scott Kerr of Butler, Ms. Kerr's son.

The property has a 2013 county assessed value of $61,600 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Default.aspx). Over the past three years, 23 properties have sold on Southern Avenue for prices ranging from $14,500 in October 2010 to $231,625 in January 2012 (www.realstats.net).

The basement is large and open and comes equipped with a newer washer and gas dryer. Some of the wiring has been updated and there is a newer electrical panel in the basement along with a whole house surge protector. The large gas boiler that feeds the home's radiator heating system was replaced sometime in the 1990s.

The 15- by 11-foot master bedroom is on the main floor while the other three, measuring 15 by 12 feet, 15 by 11 feet and 13 by 11 feet, are on the second floor. The steep slope of the roof and dormers give the upstairs rooms interesting angles and character. All have wall-to-wall carpeting. A nice feature is the pair of built-in drawers in the upstairs hallway.

The house's one bathroom is on the second floor and was updated during the time Ms. Kerr's aunts called it home.

Constance Stuebgen was a milliner at Miss Delores Salon in the Hardy & Hayes Building on Oliver Avenue, Downtown. To this day, you can see some of her handiwork in the hand-sewn clothes lovingly kept by the family. She lived with her sister, Mary Louise.

The two women never felt the need for a car since the street car then and now the bus line pass by the house's front steps. The home is within walking distance of a grocery store, coffee shops, dry cleaners and the ice cream shop on Shiloh, a neighborhood favorite.

"This was a home of contentment and joy, fun and empathy," Ms. Kerr wrote in her house history.

When asked how she felt about selling the family home, she sighed.

"Each of our family members have their homes. ... You hate to give up and move.

"It's a mixed emotions-type thing. It's always been wonderful and it will feel bad, like part of our lives is going."


SALES SNAPSHOT


16TH WARD/SOUTH SIDE


2012

2013

SALES

150

157

MEDIAN PRICE

$46,000

$50,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$500,000

$500,000



17TH WARD/SOUTH SIDE


2012

2013

SALES

131

199

MEDIAN PRICE

$139,000

$125,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$786,500

$628,850



18TH WARD/MOUNT WASHINGTON


2012

2013

SALES

113

154

MEDIAN PRICE

$13,000

$19,900

HIGHEST PRICE

$650,000

$620,000



19TH WARD/BROOKLINE


2012

2013

SALES

419

569

MEDIAN PRICE

$68,000

$74,900

HIGHEST PRICE

$1,100,000

$1,100,000



20TH WARD/WEST END


2012

2013

SALES

178

246

MEDIAN PRICE

$35,000

$28,500

HIGHEST PRICE

$225,000

$290,000



29TH WARD/CARRICK


2012

2013

SALES

150

189

MEDIAN PRICE

$42,237

$45,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$162,400

$2050,000

30TH WARD/KNOXVILLE


2012

2013

SALES

64

81

MEDIAN PRICE

$13,500

$15,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$240,000

$70,000



31ST WARD/LINCOLN PLACE


2012

2013

SALES

47

68

MEDIAN PRICE

$47,000

$56,900

HIGHEST PRICE

$164,000

$180,000



32ND WARD/OVERBROOK


2012

2013

SALES

76

115

MEDIAN PRICE

$67,000

$71,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$139,900

$170,000



MOUNT OLIVER


2012

2013

SALES

56

71

MEDIAN PRICE

$18,000

$22,500

HIGHEST PRICE

$119,000

$119,000



WEST HOMESTEAD


2012

2013

SALES

20

36

MEDIAN PRICE

$80,000

$61,000

HIGHEST PRICE

$176,000

$180,000


homes

Lizabeth Gray: lgray@post-gazette.com. First Published August 31, 2013 4:00 AM


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