Sharpsburg resident pens book spotlighting Pittsburgh mansions
Melanie Linn Gutowski's love of old houses started when she took music and art classes at the King estate in Pittsburgh.
She was most interested in the building itself and the old fireplace inside.
“That house was like the start of my obsession,” Gutowski said.
That interest led to her first book, “Pittsburgh's Mansions.”
The history of local mansions includes a home on La Tourelle Lane in Fox Chapel and the David Kirk mansion in Sharpsburg, the former home of a local Eagles organization.
It also features a chapter on homes in Sewickley.
Gutowski, who lives in Sharpsburg, took about eight months to write the book. However, her research had been ongoing for years for her own enjoyment.
When she saw a call for ideas from Arcadia Publishing she pitched to them the concept of a book focused only on mansions.
Since the book's release in August, Gutowski said she has heard from many people at readings and various events who are glad the book has provided them more information about the region's history.
“People have a lot of memories of the places that they pass by every day even if they haven't been inside,” Gutowski said.
Preserving the history of local mansions is important to Gutowski, especially since many disappear.
She said the Clayton House, where she works as a part-time docent, and Hartwood Acres are among the few mansions that are open to the public.
“They're almost entirely all gone,” Gutowski said.
Most of the homes featured in the book are from Pittsburgh's East End neighborhoods including Shadyside, Point Breeze and Squirrel Hill.
Gutowski said she has heard suggestions from readers for other homes that could be featured in a second book.
Gutowski said she plans to focus on freelance writing opportunities and hopes to write more books in the future.
She said she's glad to know the topic she became obsessed with is of interest to others.
“I'm gratified to know there are a lot of other old house geeks out there,” Gutowski said.
Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rain barrel initiative in Lower Valley river towns aims to reduce pollutants
- Aspinwall holiday celebration to feature many new attractions
- Fox Chapel homecoming activities include community carnival
- Fox Chapel native returns home to tell tale at Cooper-Siegel Community Library
- O’Hara RIDC Park business plans to expand, add jobs
- Blawnox seeks grant to fix McKinley Street