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Old 09-20-2007, 07:08 PM
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,438 posts, read 70,412,771 times
Reputation: 17144


In order to help commemerate the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the founding of West Pittston, also known as the "Garden Village" to locals for its tree-lined streets, the borough's historical society will be hosting a tour of many of its historic dwellings and other sites of interest this Saturday, September 22, 2007 from 11 AM-4 PM. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the West Pittston Library at 200 Exeter Avenue in the borough.

Here is the tentative schedule of sites to tour, as listed on the brochure I received with the purchase of my ticket. I will also enclose photos from my "Garden Village Photo Tour" where applicable, and I will post a reply with interior photos of some of the structures on Saturday evening, assuming photography is permitted:

1.) 31 Exeter Avenue: Abene Residence
This brick revival home features beautiful woodwork throughout as well as pocket doors and several original fireplaces. It is interesting to note that throughout its long history, only two different families have lived in this home.

2.) 101 York Avenue: Scalzo Residence
This Italianite structure built in 1866 was the home to both the Merrimam and Bryden families in its early days. Interior features include both pocket and coffin doors. A highlight is the Civil War era gun collection of the Scalzo family.

3.) 100 Luzerne Avenue: Geisinger Residence
Originally constructed as a club house for the Exeter Bicycle Club in 1897, this home has served also as headquarters for the Dial Rock Chapter of the DAR during the 20th century. The spacious foyer and sweeping front porch are an indication of the home's early life as a private club.

4.) 406 Susquehanna Avenue: Recupero Funeral Home
This impressive Southern Colonial style brick home was built in 1906 by William Watson, a Pittston bank president who originally came from Scotland. One of the highlights of the elegant interior is the original mahogany paneling.

5.) 704 Susquehanna Avenue: Melberger Residence
This Revival home was listed as a century house in the 1957 West Pittston centennial booklet. The beautiful woodwork throughout is the highlight of this home.

6.) 303 Philadelphia Avenue: Dowse Residence
Built in 1875 by Thomas Monie, a local engineer, this home still retains the original built-in library cabinets and back stairway. An interesting feature is the music chaff chalkboard used by Mr. Monie's daughter, a music teacher in the early part of the 20th century.

7.) 502 Susquehanna Avenue: Vough Residence
This beautiful Queen Anne Victorian received a historic restoration award from the Luzerne County Historical Society in 1992. The interior of this home features stained glass windows, leaded glass doors, and three original fireplaces. Chestnut woodwork can be seen throughout the home.

8.) River Shores Development: Delaney Residence
Homes in the River Shores development are the newest in West Pittston and occupy a site overlooking the Susquehanna River. This finely appointed home features a vaulted ceiling and spectacular views.

9.) Wyoming & Montgomery Avenues: First Methodist Church
This Gothic styled building was completed in 1873. Beautiful stained glass windows including a rose window are a feature of this church. This spire, which can be seen for great distances, is another distinctive element.

10.) Montgomery Avenue & Spring Street: Trinity Episcopal Church
This Gothic styled brick church was designed by A.B. Culver. The first services were held on Christmas Day 1886. A notable feature of this beautiful church is the Tennessee marble floor of the sanctuary.

11.) Exeter Avenue & Warren Street: First Presbyterian Church
The present church structure, completed in 1899, is the second church to occupy this site. It replaced a smaller brick chapel that was constructed in 1877. An interesting feature of this building is the clerestory at the top of the church. The West Pittston Historical Society will have numerous historical items related to the borough on display in the church basement.

12.) 200 Exeter Avenue: West Pittston Library
The West Pittston Library was incorporated on November 10, 1873. The present library building, originally owned by A.B. Brown, was purchased in 1922. Over the years this building served as a furniture and cabinet factory as well as a private residence. Today the library will be offering a display of historical West Pittston items, including a recently restored vintage map of the borough.


It's going to be an absolutely terrific day on Saturday, with sunny skies warming the temperature up to a high of 83 degrees, so there's really no excuse for skipping out on this wonderful event. My aunt and uncle, who are visiting from suburban Atlanta, are looking forward to this event, as am I.
I hope to see more City-Data members strolling the tree-lined, quiet streets of West Pittston this Saturday!
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Old 09-21-2007, 09:24 PM
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,438 posts, read 70,412,771 times
Reputation: 17144
I hope to see some of you out and about on the pleasant, leafy, friendly streets of the Garden Village tomorrow!
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Old 09-22-2007, 09:09 PM
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,438 posts, read 70,412,771 times
Reputation: 17144
Smile The Results!!!

Wow! What an awesome experience! You folks on City-Data truly missed out on a wonderful opportunity to see the breathtaking insides of some of the most ornate homes in the "Garden Village." I was actually shocked by the turnout. There must have been literally hundreds of people swarming the town to appreciate all this fine day had to offer. Since this event likely raked in a few thousand dollars for the West Pittston Historical Society, I'm certain this will likely become an annual fund-raiser, and I look forward to seeing twelve different sites featured next year. For those of you that missed out on the fun, I took the liberty of snapping about fifty photos on my journey today to help bring the "Garden Village" into your living rooms. Enjoy!

1.) 31 Exeter Avenue, Abena Residence

Exterior of the home, which is currently on the market (Attn: Wealthy New Yorkers/New Jersians seeking Mayberry in PA!)

The circular side drive, which features a fountain and a vintage Range Rover. The stucco home in the background is also on the market.

First-floor fireplace.

Second-floor bedroom.

This impressive loft-style master suite encompasses the entire third floor of this historic home.

The view out the window of the third-floor master suite.


2.) 101 York Avenue, Scalzo Residence

The home's impressively-restored exterior, featuring striking stone work. My sister, Amy, is on the right.

The side yard pool, accented by my aunt and uncle from Atlanta.

The impressive Civil War-era gun collection owned by the Scalzo family is prominently mounted on the wall of the foyer tower.

The "game" room. I was freaking my aunt and sister out with stories about the deer heads coming back to life and attacking. LOL!

An awesome 200-year-old tree (older than the town itself) rises prominently between this home and the next-door neighbors' residence.


3.) 100 Luzerne Avenue, Geisinger Residence

Exterior of this impressive home, which used to house a doctor's office, as well as a gentleman's club in the early 20th-Century. We were dismayed to learn that the house is rarely-occupied, as the homeowner is often in his second home in Stroudsburg.

Entering the foyer, one would be remiss to not take note of the beautiful woodwork featured on the ceiling and stairway.

This dining room had some funky wallpaper.

An apparent guest bedroom.

A beautiful marble second-floor bathroom.

Two images of the second-floor sunroom.


4.) 406 Susquehanna Avenue, Recupero Funeral Home

The impressive exterior of the home-turned-funeral home, which was originally built for a wealthy Pittston banker who moved to the region from Scotland. I was especially fond of the large Corinthian columns.

The second-floor is occupied by the owners and is correspondingly roped off, but I managed to sneak a peak up the stairs to snap an image of this gorgeous stained glass window.


5.) 704 Susquehanna Avenue, Melberger Residence

The patriotic exterior of this riverfront home was very inviting. The residence is owned by the family who owns Diversified Information Technologies in Scranton.

I just had to take a picture of this unique rear stairway, located in the kitchen.

Yes, I AM a fan of stairways, as can be seen by an image of the home's primary front stairway. Living in a ranch home, I miss having two stories very dearly and can't wait to live in a historic two-story of my own in Scranton's Hill Section in the upcoming years.

I took a keen liking to the stained-glass in the top of this Dutch door.

Shown here is the mule statue purchased by Mr. Clifford Melberger for his residence. Originally from the "Miles of Mules" art project, which littered the metroplex with all sorts of the colorful stone creatures, these were eventually auctioned off for charity. A similar one in Downtown Scranton was recently stolen and smashed by some uneducated people with no appreciation for the arts.

While traversing the manor's elegantly-appointed and lushly-landscaped grounds, I came across the opportunity to photograph two Monarch butterflies.


6.) 303 Philadelphia Avenue, Dowse Residence

The home's exterior. Seated on the front porch was a professor of mine at King's College, who I didn't realize was also a new resident of the Garden Village and a budding member of its historical society.

Here are some built-in bookshelves. Overall, this home proved to be quite a disappointment as compared to others we have been in. A lot of the original history and character of the home had been compromised over the years, and it was almost gut-wrenching to see the sorry effects of a lot of botched remodeling jobs over the years, including some unimpressive molding in the rear family room. The only saving grace to the home was being able to secretly gawk at a large graduation photo of the couple's rather attractive son. Otherwise we really couldn't determine why this home was on the tour.


7.) 502 Susquehanna Avenue, Vough Residence

The home's very attractive exterior.

Awesome stained glass windows highlighted the first landing of the stairway in the foyer.

I just love taking random photos of my sister when she least expects it! LOL!

I was eyeing up that awesome grand piano in the side parlor.

The scalloped clapboard shingles on this home deserved a closer look.

Here's the view of the river the homeowners get to enjoy. It's absolutely marvelous except for when the river rises and flows right into their homes. The frequent flooding is probably the primary reason why the borough's population continues to decline.


8.) River Shores, Delaney Residence

Shown here is one of the newest homes in West Pittston. This home was built as a primary residence for the developer of the adjacent River Shores gated community, but we recently learned that he will soon be putting this royal beauty onto the market to move into another larger home he is building just down the street.

I took this picture of the lower-level half-bath to showcase the funky wallpaper.

The luxurious master suite bathroom.

A view from the second-floor fitness room down into the living room below.

This photo was taken from the second-story catwalk and highlights the full two-story wall of windows in the living room that was designed to overlook the river.

A second-floor "Jack and Jill" bathroom is wedged between two more bedrooms. Those elevated sink basins are apparently the modern rage in bathroom renovation.

I know this photo is a bit blurred, but this is actually a double-vertical ceiling fan suspended from the vaulted ceiling in the living room with a snake figurine in the center. It truly had to be seen to be appreciated.


9.) Wyoming & Montgomery Avenues, First Methodist Church

The church's striking exterior, which is visible from miles away in the valley's upper east side.

The church's interior. We couldn't stay for long, as a nearby high school reunion for the West Pittston High School was coming in for a special reunion service, as one of the class members' father was a minister at the church.


10.) Montgomery Avenue & Spring Street, Trinity Episcopal Church

(Did not visit---sorry!)


11.) Exeter Avenue & Warren Street, First Presbyterian Church

The church's impressive stone exterior.

The interior of the church, which was amongst the most striking I've ever been in here in Greater Pittston. Another wing of the church hosted various historical trinkets and items to browse through, along with some historians and authors to converse with.


12.) 200 Exeter Avenue, West Pittston Library

The West Pittston Library was the "home base" of sorts for the tour, with various trinkets and refreshments available. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with some of the little old ladies inside about the borough's vibrant history. I also enjoyed the historic pictures of Downtown Pittston that were on display; apparently Pittston wasn't always such a run-down, poverty-infested town after all. On the contrary it used to be a THRIVING place!


Well, I hope you enjoyed seeing what you all missed here in the gorgeous "Garden Village," which is, in my opinion, one of the nicest communities in NEPA. Be sure to come next year!
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