Back in the spring of 1979, John Menhart was cruising the boat section of the classifieds when he hooked a great deal.
"There was a house listed with a 1969 Century Cheetah Power boat," he recalled.
Mr. Menhart landed the house, the boat and a front row seat to the Ohio River.
Built in 1909, the three-story, wood-framed Colonial at 115 River Road, Glenfield (MLS No. 1014704) features five bedrooms, 31/2 baths and about an acre of land that includes a beach and private boat dock. On the market for $250,000, the property is listed with Coldwell Banker Real Estate sales associate Margie Matthews, who is holding an open house Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. (412- 366-1600, ext. 287, www.pittsburghmoves.com).
"In all of Allegheny County, there are only 55 homes that have river frontage," said Karen Menhart, John's wife. "Our riverfront is a beach area. Many of the houses along the river have more cliff-like yards and need a galley ramp to get down to the water. We don't."
When the home was originally built, the river view wasn't considered an asset. The Menharts changed that by opening up the back of the house and adding a family room with sliding doors.
The 21-by-13-foot family room and another 18- by 8-foot addition combine to create a great room worthy of the name. Parquet flooring, wainscoting and the use of two shades of paint combine to create a comfortable feel while the numerous windows open the room to the backyard, which boasts three ponds, two fire pits and several picnicking areas. The large backyard and tall garden shed/playhouse with fireman's pole is great for a family, Mrs. Menhart said.
"This was the place where all the kids came."
It's also the place where residents can spend hours watching riverboats and barges glide by. At night, boat lights twinkle between the trees, offering a private light show.
"We go out there at night and sit out by the ponds and listen to the bullfrogs," Mrs. Menhart said.
Back inside, there is plenty of space for a growing family. The 16- by 15-foot kitchen has an island breakfast bar, tall white cabinets and parquet flooring. Kenmore stainless-steel appliances purchased last fall include a five-burner gas stove, French door refrigerator and dishwasher. There is also a stainless-steel Braun hood fan with curved glass.
Much of the original house retains its original stained woodwork and high ceilings.
"It is unique to find a 105-year-old house that has been upgraded and updated yet preserved its original ambiance," Ms. Matthews said.
The formal dining room measures 16 by 15 feet and has a large bay window currently occupied by an even larger philodendron worth negotiating for. The original pine floors and exposed-brick chimney breast give the room a vintage feel compared with the more formal living room (16 by 20 feet) with neutral-colored carpeting.
The 24- by 12-foot master suite includes a separate shower and tub and double vanity. This room and one other bedroom have the same pine flooring as in the dining room. A sliding glass door at one end of the room leads to the roof of the great room addition, where the next owner could add a private deck with an amazing river view.
The other three second-floor bedrooms measure 17 by 14 feet and two at 17 by 10 feet. On the third floor is a fifth bedroom measuring 24 by 12 feet, another full bath and a storage room. Like the master bedroom below, the third-floor bedroom has a sliding glass door at one end for a future deck or balcony.
The couple replaced many of the original plaster walls with drywall, adding extra insulation as they went.
Over the years, both the electrical and plumbing was updated to include a high-efficiency gas furnace and central air conditioning. There is a detached two-car garage, an irrigation system and a septic tank.
Located near the junction of Interstate 79 and Route 65, the property has easy access to the North Side and Downtown.
"We're at 8.7 miles from Downtown and in normal traffic conditions it takes about 15 minutes to get into town. The airport is maybe 20, 30 minutes," Mr. Menhart said.
"Since we're so close to 79, we can be in Robinson or Cranberry in about 15, 20 minutes."
The property has a 2014 county assessed value of $71,000 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx). Over the past three years, two properties have sold on River Road for $92,000 in January 2012 and $30,000 in April 2013 (www.realstats.net).
Lizabeth Gray: firstname.lastname@example.org.