Historic North Side bed-and-breakfast Boggs Mansion up for sale
When department store owner Russell Boggs built his North Side mansion in 1888, he probably never thought of it as a business site.
But since 2000 it has been a bed-and-breakfast. The site with a carriage house also was a restaurant for one year. If he had his way — and he might even yet — co-owner Jeff Stasko would like to have a bar and lounge in the spacious basement.
And it is all for sale for $2.5 million.
“I'm just going to keep working on it,” he says as he walks through the basement. “If it takes a few years to sell it, who knows, we might have a bar here.”
Boggs (1845-1922) was co-owner with Henry Buhl Jr. of the Boggs and Buhl department store, not far from his home.
The mansion on North Avenue in the heart of the North Side is the home of the Inn on the Mexican War Streets, the eight-bedroom bed-and-breakfast Stasko and Karl Kargle established after they bought the building for $100,000 in 1998.
Stasko says they put $1.2 million “in blood, sweat and equity” in restoring the property, which has 9,000 square feet in the mansion and 4,000 in the two-story carriage house.
The two of them were among the early converts to life in the North Side, at one time having 18 properties there, Stasko says. This is their final one. They are moving to 100 acres in West Virginia where they will have what he calls an “Adirondack-style resort” for corporate retreats.
At the mansion, he and Kargle live in the carriage house, which has a commercial kitchen from the days of the Acanthus Restaurant.
They opened the restaurant in 2007, but Stasko, a retired culinary arts teacher, found it too much work and closed it in 2008.
The mansion and the carriage house were built by architects under the direction of H.H. Richardson, the famed designer of the Allegheny County Courthouse.
It is a roomy, high-ceilinged home with 10 bathrooms. The co-owners have seen to its restoration, repairing the damage that had befallen it since its days of glory.
A sitting room on the first floor, for instance, had been made into three tiny rooms, Stasko says, showing photographs of the area from when they moved in.
An ornate wooden staircase curves up the two-story foyer next to huge windows that give the entrance great brightness.
The guest rooms for bed-and-breakfast customers are on second and third floors. The third floor started out as a ballroom, but when the Boggses built another home in Sewickley, it became the quarters for their servants.
Now those rooms have been redivided, some into spacious suites for the B&B.
The basement that Stasko thinks is good for a bar is a remarkably spacious bottom of six separate rooms. Besides the utility area and a big tool room/workshop, there are rooms for the tavern-restaurant, a potential wine cellar as well as a small kitchen space.
The house is built in zones for fire-safety reasons. Thick, brick walls run up from the basement, a technique that can easily be seen down below.
There also is a sub-basement, which the Boggses sealed off, and there are tales of a mysterious death and hauntings, he says.
The carriage house is filled inside with American chestnut and has a more liveable look than the name would give it. The first floor still has its restaurant seating while the upstairs has been redone into the quarters for the owners.
The courtyard between the two buildings has been used for tent-covered weddings, Stasko says.
Bob Karlovits is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7852.