Buying Here: Carrick
This Queen Anne-style home at 1425 Brownsville Road in Carrick is on the market for $109,900. The apartment building on the left sold in 2008 for $125,000.
Detail of three stained-glass windows in the landing of the Wigman House in Carrick.
Detail of bottom panels of stained glass in the landing of the Wigman House in Carrick.
The staircase of the Victorian home leads to a landing dominated by three stained-glass windows.
The living room has large windows and a fireplace -- one of five in the home.
One of the home's bedrooms.
The kitchen has pine cabinetry and Formica counters installed in 1952, when the ceiling was lowered. There's a large pantry behind an elegant wood door.
An upper-floor fireplace.
The home's bathroom.
A view around 1910 of grand houses that lined The Boulevard in Carrick.
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In the late 1800s and early 20th century, affluent Americans loved Queen Anne -- the style, that is. Imported from England and introduced at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, the architectural style characterized by "gingerbread" trim, turrets and grand wraparound porches was a hit across the country.
One of Pittsburgh's best examples of an American Queen Anne is at 1425 Brownsville Road (MLS No. 865454), the main thoroughfare in the city neighborhood of Carrick. Listed for $109,900 with Howard Hanna Realtor Mo Kaylor (www.1425brownsvillerd.howardhanna.com), the three-story house with four bedrooms and two bathrooms was built of wood in 1903-1904 by William Wigman, who owned Wigman Lumber on the South Side.
Set on a corner lot, the Wigman House is the first in an impressive row of houses on a brick-paved street called The Boulevard. Walter Kidney, the late architectural historian, devoted an entire page of his 1997 book, "Pittsburgh's Landmark Architecture" to The Boulevard and the house.
"Though not perfectly kept and not designed to a unified scheme, this cluster of turn-of-the-century Colonial Revival houses makes a solid, coherent impression. ... At the junction with Brownsville Road is a remarkable Queen Anne house of wood," he wrote.
At a glance
- Website: carrickpa.com
- Incorporated: Originally a separate borough established in 1906, Carrick became a Pittsburgh neighborhood in 1926.
- Size: 1.673 square miles
- Population: 10,500 (University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research)
- School district: Pittsburgh (www.ppps.k12.pa.us)
- Mean SAT scores: Math, 457; critical reading,432; writing, 430 (Carrick High School)
- Annual taxes on a $100,000 house: $2,870
- City: 10.8 mills ($1,080); school: 13.92 mills ($1,392); county 1: 4.69 mills ($398)
- Claim to fame: In 1997, Carrick was the first community in the northern United States to be named a "cool community" by the U.S. Department of Energy. Community groups partnered with conservation groups to weatherize homes and businesses, plant trees and flowers and add "green" elements to the renovation of Carrick High School.
The city's Historic Review Commission and Planning Department recently approved designating the house as a historic structure after a nomination by members of the Carrick Overbrook Historical Society, The final decision rests with Pittsburgh City Council; no hearing has been scheduled.
The house presents a huge restoration challenge: The exterior needs a paint job and its interior requires plaster repair, repainting and probably new electrical and plumbing systems. Still, its architectural bones live up to Mr. Kidney's description of "remarkable."
Three elegant white arches frame the front porch, which needs to be stabilized. Ornamental exterior details include dentil molding, spindles and fish scale shingle siding. There's a front-facing gable, a polygonal tower and a second-story balcony that's accessible through an especially tall window in one of the second-floor bedrooms.
The second-floor balcony enchanted Julia Tomasic, a member of the Carrick Overbrook Historical Society who toured the home last year.
"You could sit out there in the middle of the night and watch the world go by," she said.
Unlike many properties from this era, this house was never divided into apartments so its plaster is intact, although some of it is flaking in the first-floor bathroom. The wood and craftsmanship are clearly first rate and it appears that all the hardware on the doors is original.
Inside the front door is a reception room and foyer. To the right is a window seat that has storage beneath it. A built-in bookcase with wooden doors on either side frames the fireplace. To the left is a bay window and a staircase.
The 17-by-15-foot living room has 10-foot ceilings and a pentagonal alcove. It's possible that dead family members were laid out in this space during a wake as that was a common practice during the late 19th and early 20th century.
Functioning pocket doors separate the living room from the 18-by-16-foot dining room, whose fireplace mantel is made from quarter-sawn oak and features carved leaf scrolls. The dining room fireplace is log burning; the other five fireplaces in the home do not work but are truly decorative.
From the foyer, a staircase leads to a landing dominated by three stained-glass windows done mostly in blue and gold with accents of pink, purple and green. Not surprisingly, the glass is buckling slightly after more than a century and metal rods have been placed across the windows to stabilize them.
The 15-by-14-foot kitchen has pine cabinetry and Formica counters installed in 1952, when the ceiling was lowered. There's a large pantry behind an elegant wood door. Off the kitchen is a 40-year-old bathroom.
The second floor contains four spacious bedrooms, three of which have fireplaces. Room sizes are 17 by 12 feet, 16 by 15 feet, 15 by 15 feet and 14 by 10 feet. A second-floor bathroom, installed 40 years ago, is trimmed in blue tile.
The home's slate roof is original, Ms. Kaylor said, and while it has been repaired, there have been no leaks. A new forced air gas furnace was put in about 10 years ago. The first-floor windows were updated about 40 years ago, but windows on the second floor and in the attic are original. The attic runs the length of the house and it's easy to stand upright in it and walk around.
Thieves stole copper plumbing from the basement and kitchen, but bathroom plumbing is intact, Ms. Kaylor said. The property's county assessed value is $64,000 (www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx).
Three nearby houses built around the same time also are on the market now. All on The Boulevard, they're listed for $274,900, $159,900 and $117,000, respectively.
Since 2008, five properties have sold in the 900-1400 blocks of Brownsville Road ranging in price from $42,000 in January 2010 to $125,000 in November 2008 for a four-unit apartment building next to the Wigman House (www.realstats.net). To tour 1425 Brownsville Road, Carrick, contact agent Mo Kaylor at 412-882-9100, ext. 235.
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28TH WARD/WEST END
20102011SALES120107MEDIAN PRICE$65,000$64,960HIGHEST PRICE$330,000$224,900
20102011SALES139130MEDIAN PRICE$40,000$41,760HIGHEST PRICE$147,500$104,652
First Published May 28, 2011 12:00 am