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'Toast the Tour' party kicks off Historic House Tour

Kim Stepinsky | For The Tribune-Review
Clinton Piper, (R), Historic House Tour committee chair, joins hosts, George and Nancy Stewart, on the front stairs of their Armstrong-Fogg House 1903, during the Westmoreland County Historical Society's annual 'Toast the Tour' cocktail party, held at the Armstrong-Fogg House in Greensburg on Friday evening, September 21, 2012.

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Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, 9:20 p.m.

George and Nancy Stewart opened their home Friday to 70 guests on the eve of Westmoreland County Historical Society's 2012 Historic House Tour.

The cocktail party, called “Toast the Tour,” featured trips through the three floors of the Stewart home with Brother Nathan Cochran and Jordan Hainsey, with St. Vincent College.

The house, a Colonial Revival, was built in 1903 for druggist James Armstrong and his wife Jane, who retired to Florida in the 1920s, when Charles Fogg and his wife Rebecca acquired it for their large family.

Fogg descendants owned the home, situated along North Maple Avenue in Greensburg, until 1984.

The Stewarts purchased it 2000 and began renovations.

“The Stewarts have meticulously preserved the architectural details of the house,” Cochran said. “They installed special venting for the air conditioning so it wouldn't interrupt the flow of the details.”

The columned porch was decorated with mums, pumpkins and bales of hay, and light streamed through the lead-glass transom and sidelights at the entry.

Inside, the original oak, cherry and walnut woodwork gleamed, and plush, crimson carpet followed an angled stairway to the second floor.

On the third floor, a children's playroom was transformed into a British pub and billiards room, and pull-down steps led to a roof-top retreat.

The evening ended early in preparation for Saturday's self-driving tour of six historic structures that dated from 1840 to 1926 in Mount Pleasant, Unity and Latrobe.

WCHS director Lisa Hays expressed gratitude to owners of the buildings, who have invested their time, energy and money to preserve the past for posterity.

“The owners of our featured homes have taken this service one step further, by opening their doors to give us a closer and more personal picture,” Hays said.

Seen: Lou and Joan DeRose, Linda and David Assard, Kris Smith, Dayna Costello, Chuck and Nancy Anderson, Terry Graft and Linda Brown, Joanna Moyar, Susan Tanto, Jay and Carol Ober, Donna Connor, Dr. George and Linda Aus tin, Clinton Piper, Nancy Jamison, John Mickinak and Kelly Linn and Jessica Kadie-Barclay, with West Overton Museums.

— Dawn Law

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